No one knows more about the ins and outs of the fashion industry than a stylist who truly has a finger on the pulse of everything industry-related—from designers to buyers, manufacturers, retailers and publications. So when Jamie Ortega—a stylist with a decade of experience working in fashion—says there’s something wrong with the industry, it’s wise to listen. According to Ortega, fast fashion’s high costs are incredible: “Whether it is the three billion tons of soot released into the air or the 1,129 lives lost at the Rana Plaza garment factory collapse, the casualties of the fashion industry are clear,” she says.
In 2014 Ortega founded Sumzine, a biannual publication that celebrates those who defy current industry standards by focusing on sustainable fashion. As the name suggests, Sumzine was initially conceived as an alternative press cut-and-paste zine, produced by Ortega alone. However, the concept was met with wild support from from friends, who helped Ortega create a polished, glossy first issue—filled with interviews and editorials featuring players in the growing NYC slow-fashion scene. Sumzine has cultivated a growing fan-base ever since, with international stockists including Opening Ceremony and the LACMA Shop.
Due to its popularity, Sumzine has outgrown its britches to become the leading authority on slow-fashion. The publication is currently seeking funding for its third issue on Kickstarter, with hopes to be able to support an expanding team of contributors. Up until now, Sumzine has been able to depend on the donated time and resources of its team of local creatives, but Ortega wants to take advantage of the widening demand for distribution so that she can spread her message about the need for major changes in the fashion industry.
In addition to the print edition, Sumzine will also use campaign funds to build an interactive community, with a lecture series, workshops and the ultimate goal of coordinating a Sumzine Fashion Week. “Slow-fashion can mean a lot of things, but at its core it’s about making better choices,” Ortega explains. And helping consumers make those better, more ethical choices is exactly what Sumzine has set out to achieve.
Images courtesy of Sumzine