MEET ALLY C TRAN
What do you do to support small and ethical brands?
As an influencer, nothing gives me greater joy than partnering with conscious brands who do things differently. Getting to dialogue with these brands and wear the pieces that have had such thought and care put into them is an experience I'm so grateful for. If I'm not doing a collab and need a new garment (and I can't find it second hand), I'm saving up to buy one from a slow fashion brand I trust.
What are some of your favorite shops in Calgary, Canada?
Calgary's supply of slow fashion boutiques is quite limited right now, but as the movement gains momentum, I'm seeing more and more conscious popups and stores appearing. One of the most well-known in Calgary is Field Study, and that definitely tops my list for the most aesthetically pleasing shop! Not only is it beautifully laid out, but they only carry environmentally or socially conscious apparel and artisan-crafted goods. Purr Clothing, which has a few locations and carries Just Black Denim and a couple other slow fashion brands, is another favorite! Other than those two, I tend to stick to my favorite consignment boutiques: The Clothing Bar, Peacock Boutique, and Danielle's.
You have an amazing aesthetic from social media to your blog, where do you find inspiration from?
Thank you! I draw a lot of inspiration from Pinterest and other influencers I admire, as well as minimalist aesthetics. I am a very visual person and love browsing through different styles and absorbing the way other people see the world. That can also be a challenge, because I'm constantly falling in love with new looks and sometimes find it tricky to stay consistent. I've just accepted this as a part of my personality and allow myself to go with the flow most of the time!
What is it like to be a female fashion blogger?
I've met so many inspiring women and feel part of a beautiful community.Those aspects of it are truly so much fun. On the other hand, I continue to put countless hours of free labour into my influencing each week, which can be draining—and a little discouraging. Despite the successful social media stars who insist that anyone can make the same lucrative income with enough hard work, that's the exception to the rule; there's a lot of luck and pre-existing sociological factors involved. Starting out as a fashion blogger is a strange in-between phase where you put in hours of unpaid work in the hopes of one day making it. The passion is what drives you, but there are a lot of sacrifices involved. And influencing in a very specific niche like ethical fashion, where small brands don't have a lot of money to spend on marketing, can make it even harder. The free garments and accessories that I receive on occasion are a lovely bonus, and I'm certainly grateful for them. But it's not really an income. So, it's a complicated relationship. As long as I treat influencing as a creative hobby and focus on what I truly care about, which is educating people about the ethics behind fashion, it's a very satisfying part of my life! But if you're interested in pursuing a career in blogging, I highly recommend first reading the book '(Not) Getting Paid to Do What You Love' by social media analyst Brooke Duffy so you know what to expect.
How did you get involved in slow fashion?
Like so many of my generation who have recently decided to make the shift into slow fashion, it started with watching the documentary The True Cost (available on Netflix). That was the first time I had ever really heard about corruption in the fast fashion industry. Of course, I had heard of the term 'sweatshop' before, but I thought that was mostly a thing of the past and probably only applied to brands like Walmart. I had no idea that people were working in inhumane conditions at almost every fast fashion brand at some point in the supply chain, in order to meet the insane quotas. I think the documentary has been such a powerful tool for raising awareness about the industry because it's not just giving you dry statistics, you're also seeing the names and faces behind the garments you're wearing. You hear them tell their heartbreaking stories. And that's something that stays with you. My views as a Christian also influence the way I approach fashion, because I passionately believe that every human being has value, and that no individual should be exploited or oppressed. Not only that, but we have the task to advocate and fight for their freedom, even if it means sacrificing something on our part. It's been said that the opposite of love isn't hate, it's indifference—and in this case especially, I agree. The way I see it, we have the opportunity to trade our shopping freedom for the much more valuable freedom of other human beings. How can we not?