Who is Alena?
I grew up in the prairies, though I never really much cared for the prairies. An aesthetically-driven spirit can feel parched in an relatively small oil and gas city, a landmark people only know of in conjunction with the word "Stampede." Most people here have their own ideas about fashion -- or none -- and it was never really on my radar growing up. I preferred to express myself creatively through art instead, and as I got a bit older, photography. Around the time I entered university, my relative ignorance of fashion changed. Pinterest began appearing on classmates' laptops during class. I explored it, and began to get a sense for my own style and aesthetic tastes. Fast-forward several years, to early 2017. I'm just beginning to shop more higher-end (which for me, was Aritzia - hah). Then in February, Iread Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion. I watched the documentary The True Cost. And after opening my eyes to the dark side of fast fashion, I couldn't continue on as I had. There was no question, no hesitation. I was horrified. People matter more than clothes, more than prices, every time. Still interested in exploring my personal style, however, I decided to switch my Instagram in June from a generic lifestyle account to a space for me to document my slow fashion journey and raise awareness about fast fashion. Though nervous and unsure, I set out to become a small voice for sustainable style, in the middle of a sea of popular fast fashion Instagrammers. Overwhelming, yes. But now that I know, I can't stay quiet. And I'm happy to say that through Instagram, I've met so many other wonderful like-minded creatives in this city, more than I ever would have expected.
How does the Andes beanie fit into your wardrobe/lifestyle?
I live in Canada -- need I say more? Toques (or beanies, if you will) are essential to every Canadian's wardrobe. Last winter we Calgarians endured far too many thirty below days! I'm also drawn to a very neutral colour palette for my closet, so a beanie made with warm Alpaca wool and a gorgeous muted shade is my ideal winter hat.
What do you love about Bare Knitwear?
Within the last several years, the ethical clothing movement has gained momentum, and we're seeing more and more sustainable brands popping up. This is exciting, but at the end of the day, they are just more clothing companies. The brands that I am truly passionate about are the ones that care about taking their ethical work one step further, by working alongside and supporting people in developing countries. People often cite that the exploitative garment factories are the best opportunity many have, and they are right to an extent. But rather than using that as an excuse to continue buying from fast fashion brands, it should be cause for reaching out to those people and making a change. When I learned that Bare Knitwear supports and provides opportunities for women in Peru, I was thrilled. Not only are their garments beautiful and well-crafted, but you know that your purchase is going further than just the brand's pocket. And of course, the styles and craftsmanship are stunning!