In the Blog
Kelly Drennan: Eco-Fashionista
Every Thursday I profile a new incredible woman, each from a different walk of life. Different professions, causes, backgrounds, ethnicities, orientations, and anything/everything else!
So without further delay, let me introduce the eco-fabulous Kelly Drennan…
Kelly Drennan knows that looking great can be eco-fabulous. Founder of Fashion Takes Action, a members-based organization whose mission is to have a socially and environmentally positive impact on the fashion industry, Kelly is also the Principal of Third Eye Media. Responsible for bringing about some of Canada’s greenest fashion events, The Green Gala and The Sustainable Style Show, Kelly is currently keeping Canada eco-conscious during Toronto’s LG Fashion Week.
What drives you to do what you do?
I’m not really sure that my motivation comes from just one place. I’m an entrepreneur at heart and so I have always had a very strong inner drive. I think that knowing I can effect change, even in a small way, is so rewarding for me. If I can get one person to think differently, or make smarter choices, then that motivates me to reach yet one more person, and so on. Educating and spreading awareness about the negative impact that the fashion industry has on our planet just feels good. It feels right. Bringing that awareness to people, an awareness that they never held before, keeps me going.
I’m also motivated by my kids. I have two young daughters, and when I think about their future, I am saddened. Unless we do something now to reverse the damage we have brought to our good earth, then what will their life be like? What will they be eating in 30 years? How will they live? Survive? This is a deep rooted motivation for me and its not something that I’m conscious about on a daily basis, but it’s there.
How does being a woman empower / challenge you?
I am fortunate to have had very few instances in my career where being a woman has brought on challenges. Sustainable business does tend to be a man’s world, but because I am knowledgeable and passionate, I am heard. I find knowledge and passion to be very empowering. Perhaps being a woman means I am more emotional, and I therefore channel my emotions into passion, and into dedication and sometimes into battle (I definitely am a warrior!).
What advice would you give to young women who want to follow in your footsteps?
I have always gone after what I believed in. Sometimes with reckless abandon, which means I didn’t always win in the end, but those are the instances where I paused to learn. I think that when you are young, you are in a better position to take risks. So if you have an idea, or a passion, or a goal to do something that doesn’t fall into one of the boxes that your parents, teachers, or mentors have put out for you, don’t worry, and just go for it.
Name one person, place, or thing every young woman should know about?
Person - I think it’s important for young women to have a mentor. It can be a man or a woman. But it has to be someone they respect and can be truthful with. Having a mentor can go such a long way in both their personal and business lives. Place - having an escape place is so important to maintain balance (and sanity). So whether that is a bedroom, a campsite, a cottage, or a villa in Italy, having somewhere to decompress and get away “from it all” is essential. Thing - Be open to change. For some people, change is terrifying. So the more you open yourself up to it, the easier it will be when it comes. Because it comes!
What is the most important thing we can do in order to change the world?
Well this is a tough question because I truly believe that individually, we can all easily do quite a bit. But at the top of my list would be: charity - giving money, time, etc to people in need deepens our connection as humans. How can we “fix” our planet, if we can’t also take care of those who inhabit the planet? And charitable acts lead to other acts of kindness so if we can all just pick one person, or one organization to devote a little bit of our time or money to, and spend less time obsessing about our own problems, then I think collectively this can have a great effect.
In terms of the environment, the most important thing we can do is to stop purchasing things that are bad. Stop buying products made in China. Stop buying things made from plastic. Stop buying things that need batteries. Stop buying GMO foods. Stop buying household cleaning products that contain toxic chemicals. Stop buying clothing that comes from fabric made with pesticides and other chemicals. Stop buying clothing that costs $5 or less - think about how it could possibly be that cheap and how much money the person who made that garment was paid to make it! And the list goes on. But if you generalize it, then just stop making stupid purchases covers it all!
Fashion Takes Action is hosting an online Eco Auction during LG Fashion Week. Own a piece of Canadian fashion history as nine sustainable garments are being auctioned off to raise money for FTA’s education and awareness programs.