Kestrel Jenkins McGill is a conscious style maven who believes in the power of storytelling. She is the host and producer of the Conscious Chatter podcast, an inclusive audio space that opens the door to conversations about our clothing + the layers of stories, meaning and potential impact connected to what we wear.
What first started you on your ethical journey?
I studied Global Studies and International Journalism at University, and through my education, I became interested in ideas around the global flow of people, products and ideas. This led to being specifically intrigued by the concept of Fair Trade. So, after I graduated, I was searching for opportunities in the Fair Trade industry, when my mom suggested to explore fashion. I discovered People Tree, and was fortunate to gain an internship with their PR department, where I also had the opportunity to work with their founder Safia Minney. Over a decade ago now, this experience at People Tree ended up being my crash course on the realities of the fashion industry, and inspired me to realise my career direction and drive to do as much as possible to impact real change.
What’s your number one tip for how people can start to help the planet?
Start small. Nowadays, we are bombarded with all the things we should be doing in our daily lives. While the planet needs our help, we can’t change everything in the blink of an eye. Think about what’s important to you, and begin asking questions there. For example — are you really interested in food and cooking? Start asking questions about where your ingredients come from. Are you super into beauty products? Start researching more about what’s in the products you’re buying. For me, it’s all about asking questions. It sounds extremely simple, but it’s a great place to start, and a way to really start learning. Also, I think it’s the best way to navigate a sustainability journey that works best for you, because your behavior shifts won’t have longevity or be “sustainable” unless they work in your lifestyle.
Do you have any recommendations for books, films, documentaries etc that would help people just getting started on their own journey?
Absolutely. As many of you may already know, The True Cost is a great documentary available on Netflix, that can be an educational starting point. Additionally, check out non-profit Remake’s powerful short films, which bring you face to face with the women who make our clothes around the world. When it comes to books, I love Elizabeth Cline’s Overdressed, Safia Minney’s Slave To Fashion, and Clare Press’s Wardrobe Crisis. And if you’re a better listener than reader like me, you can check out my podcast Conscious Chatter, where I have chatted with over 169 guests about sustainability and fashion.
Do you have anything you’ll never leave the house without?
I always have my tote bags and my Khordz reusable mug with me. But let’s be real — I sometimes forget too. It’s not about perfection, it’s about progress.
Tell us more about the conscious fashion movement
I truly believe that what we wear matters, on so many levels. From the human impact to the environmental repercussions, the apparel industry can have an extremely detrimental effect on our global ecosystem. For me, fashion can also be utilised as a vehicle to help reduce these negative impacts.
As I mentioned above, I first got introduced to the conscious fashion world through interning with People Tree in London. From there, I have been on a mission to build an inclusive conversation, to welcome everyday people in, and to provide opportunities for them to join the sustainable fashion movement in a way that works best for them.
Every tiny change you bring into your life can make an impact. At times, it can be difficult to realise this, but small shifts, when done in large numbers, have an immense potential to drive change.