Aditi Mayer is a full-time sustainable fashion blogger, photographer, and journalist whose work explores the intersections of style, sustainability, and social justice. Seeing fashion's disproportionate effects of communities of color globally, she began her blog, ADIMAY.com, after the Bangladesh Rana Plaza factory in 2013. Her platform looks at the fashion industry through a lens of decolonization and intersectional feminism, created in order to bring inclusivity to the sustainable fashion movement. She has become a frequent speaker on topics of social and environmental justice, minority representation, responsible storytelling, and more.
As now that you have told us what you do, can you share why you love it and what inspires you?
I love my work because it allows me to intersect my two passions of visual culture and social justice together. Fashion is such an incredibly powerful tool in drawing in community, and we can use the medium not only to celebrate aesthetics and culture, but to bring meaningful change on a social, cultural, and environmental level.
As a sustainable fashion influencer what cause(s) matter the most. Can you share some ideas on how our readers can be a part of it.
As a sustainable fashion influencer, you can find me talking about labor first and foremost. I entered this industry after the 2013 Rana Plaza Factory collapse, which killed over 1,134 workers in Bangladesh. My work is deeply rooted in understanding the historical and structural oppression that frames the abuse of human life and labor in fashion.
The environment is the obvious second-- but I think it’s important to note that any hit to the environment will eventually impact humans as well. A major goal of my work is to highlight the intersections between social and environmental issues.
How did the journey of conscious lifestyle begin?
So before sustainable fashion even came onto my radar, I identified as a visual storyteller. At the young age of 12, I developed a love for photography. Photography was my gateway for falling in love with storytelling; I really learned to see the power of my own subjective lens through the imagery I was able to create, and it was truly a form of escapism for me. From the start, photography style showcased a lot of ethereal imagery, with a focus on femininity and the natural environment, which I think still carries through in my style today.
This natural inclination to storytelling led me to pursue Journalism in college. Once I delved deeper into journalism, I found myself drawn to issues of inequality and injustice. From here, I wanted to understand issues from a structural perspective, which led me to pursue a degree in International Studies as well.
Around the start of my college career, I learned of the Rana Plaza factory collapse, which was an 8-story garment factory that killed over 1,134 people; one of the largest industrial disasters of our time. The day before the collapse, deep cracks had appeared in the eight-story building, but there was so much pressure from upper management to have workers finish orders, facilitating this mass industrial homicide.
So my entry into the world of sustainable fashion was rooted in looking at the industry through a lens of social justice. After the 2012 Rana Plaza Factory collapse, my eyes were opened to the intersection between labor rights and marginalized communities (eg POC, women, immigrants). At the same time, I was beginning to take my photography more seriously and was establishing myself in the fashion photography world. From that point forward I decided that I didn’t want my love for creating come at the cost of my importance of justice, and my work became centered around the ties between style, sustainability, and social justice.
Now, I work as a full-time multi-hyphenate between a sustainable fashion blogger, journalist, photographer, and speaker.
We have noticed you enjoy works from artisan. How can we as consumers do better to help preserve craftsmanship and carry on the heritage of art in fashion into the future?
In terms of working towards an equitable fashion industry and what you can do as a consumer, it’s understanding the source. It’s consciously choosing to support artisans as opposed to multinational corporations that don’t have our best interest in mind. It's focusing on revitalization of crafts and processes that honor, rather than destroy the earth.
It’s making sure that the folks on the supply chain are compensated fairly.
That’s why sustainable fashion lends itself so well to this conversation around transparency, ethics, and regeneration on an environmental, social, and cultural level.
What inspires you outside of work?
I am inspired deeply by the natural environment-- the colors, textures, scale of the natural world has been a huge source of inspiration, but also an important tool in grounding me on a spiritual and mental level.
There's so much going on today, is there anything you would like to share on the role you play in this world?
I think a major parallel between ethical fashion and intersectional feminism is centering marginalized voices– those that are seldom heard. Conscious consumerism is linked to broader issues of social justice, whether that’s the fight for workers rights all across the globe, to the exploitation of resources internationally.
As much value I find in ethical fashion as a way to share my perspectives on intersections of culture and aesthetics, representation and identity, to politics of labor, I don’t want the conversation to end at what we wear. I believe that fashion and expression is a vehicle to explore greater issues of where we stand structurally in systems of inequality— from gender, cultural identity, class and race— and how we can work towards a more just future. Put simply, I want to use my platform to show just how intersectional conversations about fashion can be.
What does living sustainably look like to you in your everyday life?
Beyond fashion, it’s about limiting my consumption and my impact. Most recently, I’ve been thinking about how to be more sustainable in my food consumption-- whether that’s eating out less, bringing my own tupperware, growing food in my own garden, shopping at farmer’s market, thinking about how to use all parts of my vegetables, etc.
One action you would want the readers that can have a strong positive impact on the
Opt out of a culture that makes you feel like you constantly need to be consuming. Think quality over quantity. Think about the ways you can extend, or repurpose, the life of your items.
A few words on what you thought of AGAATI designs/ brand/ what we could do better
I think it would be great to take more of your audience on the process and journey of your artisan processes (digitally). It is such an intricate process, the world needs to know more about the labor and art behind your products!
One inspirational thought you want to leave the readers with - a life’s lesson, a mantra that could be useful etc….
Lead with love. Low ego, high impact. Move at the speed of trust. — The 3 organizing guidelines for the Black Lives Matter Movement.
To hear more from Aditi follow her on IG @aditimayer