Tania Arrayales is most definitely a force to be reckoned with in the world of sustainable fashion and, more recently, politics. Hailing from Mexico as an illegal immigrant, her career led her to Style Lend, a peer to peer closet rental service where she began to question the environmental horror caused by fast fashion. More recently, she has made a foray into politics working with Suraj Patel and helping to increase millennial turnout. She is a board member at Amplify Her focused on trying to get more women elected to office, a board member of Unicef Unite NYC and member of Planned Parenthoods-Activist Council.
The transcript is below:
My name is Tania Arrayales; I currently live a sustainable lifestyle, mainly within fashion. I focus on sustainable brands and thrifting and vintage shopping, with a focus on sustainable living, as well was conscious living, which is conscious about who you are and how you’re impacting the world.
I think my journey started when I turned 30, so I had been working on this company called Style Lend, which is peer to peer fashion rental. The founder started this company, it wasn’t about sustainability, it was about access, so we didn’t even think about sustainable living or sustainable fashion until I turned 30 and I moved to New York. I was packing my things up and I didn’t have any clothes that I was proud of. At 30 I envisaged I would have this amazing closet full of vintage and all these pieces I had collected, and I had nothing, I had a closet full of fast fashion.
My initial thought was, I am just going to get better at how I shop, where am I shopping, where are my clothes coming from and that sort of thing and then I watched The True Cost documentary and I was blown away, I cannot believe I have been part of this industry and cause so much pain on our planet and humans. At the end of the day a lot of people just don’t care, they don’t see the impact right in front of them, so I took an entire year where I didn’t buy anything, not a dress, not a top, not a jacket, nothing, zero.
Being new to New York that was really hard, I realised how fashion played such a big role in expressing who you are, so if I walked into an event, I didn’t have that shiny new dress or shiny new bag, to sort of make me feel good. But slowly I started to learn that it was ok, when I was having a bad day or I did something good at work my initial inclination was to go to the store and buy myself something. I changed that and put energy into volunteering.
Thrifting you just don’t know the inventory so kind of have to go in and be like, I’m not really quite sure what I am going to find, and that took some training but the more I did it, the more I learned, I had friends who were big thrifters and vintage fans, so they taught me what to look for. By my third year, that is when I incorporated the sustainable brands, so Aday, Ocelot Market, LA Relax, The Everlanes and Reformations of the world.
My appeal is more of meshing the two worlds, there is a vintage and thrifting world and then there is the ethical sustainable world and I like to bring those together.