How often is it that we question the origins of our clothing?
Third year arts and business student, Devina Lookman, recalled feeling heartbroken after having watched The True Cost over the summer of 2016, a documentary depicting fast-fashion and the sweatshop workers behind the scenes. Following that life-changing moment, Lookman began taking everything from her closet to reflect and seek sustainable and ethical alternatives that very day.
“Take the time to think about what you are buying,” Lookman said, “I think it’s important that we know the story behind our shirts and clothing pieces that we put on everyday.”
From there, she took her ideas to the GreenHouse program and created her company //DEVINA, a “one-stop shop” for sustainable and ethical clothing, to connect consumers with the appropriate brands. Five such brands, comprised of Everlane, People Tree, Matt & Nat, Krochet Kids, and Cotopaxi, were showcased at her pop-up shop on both Mar. 15 and 16, taking place in the GreenHouse space at St. Paul’s University College to serve as a prototype project.
However, Lookman was also greeted by a seemingly long journey of discrepancy between her passion for sustainable, ethical clothing and student-friendly prices, a common theme shared amongst many clothing-conscious individuals today. Fortunately, through the “group buy” concept, wherein the more people who sign up for an item, the cheaper it will become, so //DEVINA is able to satisfy the demand for more affordable prices. While this distributes taxes, shipping, and online ordering expenses evenly between purchases, Lookman believes that it also fosters support and a community perspective.
So far, her response has been positive, and she continues to strive to “raise awareness about sustainable brands.” She describes the experience as fun, challenging, and liberating.
For those looking or struggling to find a starting point, Lookman said, “if you’re overwhelmed, then start small. [For example], starting with jewellery; you don’t have to change your entire closet right away.
“Essentially, [clothing is] a reflection of us, not only through the expression of art, but also it says a lot about what you care about.”