The sustainable fashion vlogger who has us excitedly copying our Grandparents' outfits.
For this installment of the Lingerie On Film Profile Series, we are excited to introduce you to one of our favorite sustainable fashion influencers, Jenny Welbourn. On her Youtube channel, WearILive , she inspires over 230K followers to live a more low waste lifestyle in an approach that's fun, encouraging and doable. Through her videos she shares her experiences and tips on everything from the newest thrift shopping platforms to a Sunday morning detox routine, and how to create your own starter low waste kit for your daily bag.
Was there a moment that inspired you to really start caring about the environment and how your personal decisions impact it?
Growing up in a small town in Colorado, I’ve always had a connection to the outside world and the environment which has made it easier for me to want to protect it. However, I wasn’t always conscious of what my actions were contributing to. It was from a lack of not thinking and/or not being exposed to the knowledge of what was happening behind the scenes in say the fashion/meat/etc. industries. Once I started learning more in my late teens, it became very clear to me that I wanted to do my part to change my habits. I’ve started with fashion because that is where my interests were before and I felt like I could have the biggest contribution here.
What made you decide to start sharing your discoveries and experiences with other people?
I had a very small platform in the beginning of this shift in my life, but I still felt some sort of responsibility. I felt like I was just mindlessly doing what everyone else was before. Once I started focusing on what I actually cared about, which was change in the industry, my Youtube channel started taking off and I felt more passionate about it than ever. I’ve always liked creating and sharing otherwise, and video is really fun for me.
Why is sustainable and ethical fashion important to you?
I find it especially important to not take advantage of workers and to make sure that the products we often just want do not come at the expense of other people’s lives. I think fashion does have a role in our society, but we have to do it in a way that creates the least amount of harm. I often debated leaving this realm entirely, but I think there is so much room to make changes, and it’s already happening which is amazing.
Can you share about how you started your YouTube Channel and the impetus behind it?
I was living in Colorado, upset that I wasn’t at a point financially that New York could be a reality for me. At the time, I was just really interested in fashion and video and decided that would be a good place to start since I couldn’t be physically present where I wanted to be. I love looking back at the evolution of my life and style. I’m glad it’s turned into something that really feels like me and my ideas.
Your IG tagline says "A moderate lifestyle. Focused on more sustainable fashion + life in NYC" What is a moderate lifestyle to you?
I’ve been playing around with vocabulary around these topics. Being online, once you stand for something, it also immediately makes you a hypocrite in some ways. This is something most people don’t have to confront in their daily lives when they make lifestyle shifts. I’m fine with taking responsibility for my actions, but I personally don’t like to feel pigeonholed. I have always been someone who sees both sides or tries to at least (I’m Libra as hell). Moderation felt like a good way to not take on an idea of perfection, while sharing that I focus on consuming more consciously. I liked the word moderation because it means something different to everyone.
Can you share about your process of transitioning your life to a healthier paradigm?
I really focus on balance. I feel like everyone says this but when I feel balanced I feel the happiest. This means eating healthy when my body craves it but also not getting down if I’m not in the headspace to do everything correctly. So I think my health journey has been shifting and working on what goes on inside my head emotionally first to allow myself to be open to balance.
What would you say is the hardest thing about transitioning to a more low waste lifestyle?
It’s easy to get sucked into thinking you have to transition your whole life all at once but I think figuring out things bit by bit and creating routines is really helpful to make long term switches.
"Overall, I just try to think about what I am bringing into my life and putting out. I would say it's all an effort to use less, and use for longer."
When I realized the true amount of single use plastic in my life, I was completely overwhelmed and it temporarily stunted my moving forward because I couldn't see where to begin, it was so complex. How do you prevent yourself from becoming overwhelmed by your personal environmental impacts?
AHHHH! I feel this so much. I think “eco-anxiety” is something we are all starting to experience especially when we are engaging in media around it more frequently. I go through shifts of paralyzation and inspiration I think. I try not to be angry at myself for not being able to grapple with it every single day because I know there are people out there who are giving their lives and have no choice but to confront the climate crisis daily. If I feel like I’m getting overwhelmed, I try to 1.) take care of myself so I can take care of others 2.) remove myself from reading the news for a day or two. It feels like a failure to step away but I am no use to anyone if I’m overwhelmed. At the end of the day, we are fighting a long fight but we have to keep going.
What are your intentions and aspirations for your platform, Wear I Live?
I always want to work harder! I’m working on gaining more knowledge for myself and figuring out the best ways to disperse that! I’d love to find ways to create connections IRL for my followers. I’m also very interested in more sustainable textiles and basic wardrobe pieces like the perfect t-shirt, and would love to work that in eventually. Overall, I just want to work on things that create deeper connections for 2020.
What is something you are still working on to improve your life - either living a sustainable life or in general?
I would like to work on understanding more of the systematic and collective changes we can make outside of indirect individual action. I think that both are so important. I think people are becoming really polarized on this issue. As you said, it’s so, so complex and involves so much more than just what we consume. I would like to be able to lead more movements outside of what I’m already versed in. As for living more sustainably, I’m just working on always being as consistent as I can.
Over 230k people follow you on Youtube. How do you feel about having such a direct line of communication with your followers? Have you had a recent experience with a follower that is most memorable to you?
It’s extremely special! I try to take advantage of being able to speak with so many different people all at once. It still boggles my mind! There are so many smart, witty, amazing people out there that I get to befriend and also somehow share my life with. It can also be hard, because I’m a very sensitive person. My biggest challenge has been balancing hearing so many different perceptions of myself and feedback. As for memorable experiences, I think there are too many to choose! When I meet people in real life it always makes my day. I think recently I’ve been able to connect with some other women who struggle with the same chronic illness as I. I hadn’t opened up about until recently, and it has made me feel supported and gives me people to relate to, which is the really cool part about the internet.
We see that you are into documentaries. Are there any you would like to recommend?
I actually just watched the documentary about the making of the Planet Earth series called “Our Planet - Behind the Scenes” (it’s on Netflix). While it’s amazing to see all of the work the crew puts in to show these amazing animals, the documentary also delves into the struggles of climate change and how it is affecting wildlife in a huge way. It’s extremely sad and the behind the scenes gives a real look into this. For a more fashion related look, “River Blue” is super informative about the dye and tanning industries and the massive amount of pollution they create.
Ahead of the holidays, can you share any thoughts or tips on gift giving, or ideas for great gifts?
Gift giving is such a beautiful way to show someone you care about them and I think the more thoughtful the better! This is the first year that I’ve started my planning so far in advance to give myself enough time to either treat family and friends to something that they would really cherish, use for a long time, or can experience! If someone is hard to please, I’d say providing them a gift card to a store you support is a good way to support your alignments but also allow them a gift they will actually want! Oh yeah, and gifts don’t have to be material objects!
Any recommendations on beauty products that don't come in plastic packaging?
I’ve just ordered some products from By Human Kind to see what they are like- they make refillable bathroom essentials. I think beauty is by far the biggest place of waste I still have in my life, mostly from trying out products from brands I might like to share - which feels like a part of my job as I want to disperse information. Glass containers can be really hard/dangerous to have in the bathroom and heavy to ship which is what I’ve learned from some shampoo/conditioner companies such as Prose. So I think people are still really working on that sector and how to do better. There are tons of natural products out there though such as coconut oil for your body, oils that will last forever for your hair, etc. I love True Botanicals as they have really quality products for your skin and come in glass containers.
What are the main sustainable points you look for from fashion brands?
I think I have a pretty good eye for greenwashing at this point. It’s easy to tell if brands are just giving you the bare amount of information or if they actually want you to know more about their practices. I always look at the faq page of any website and see what I can find there. I also look to see how often they are producing clothing, what materials are used, and always look to see if they will tell me where they are made. If it doesn’t feel complete, I will usually email the brand directly to see if they can provide further insight. Emailing is always a good way to show brands that there are people out there who are watching and care to see how their products are made.
You mention how you wish the fashion industry were to move into a slower direction. What aspects of the industry do you want to slow down?
I think in some ways we are seeing things change in a way that there is more uniform based dressing available. There are a lot of unisex brands popping up and well-made basics. I think it would be nice to revert back to clothing being more than just “retail therapy” and it being centred around investment pieces that you want to wear for a long time. I think we need a restructuring of many things in our society to make this happen- mainly around redistribution of wealth.
How do you stay inspired?
Getting out of the house and being out in nature are my biggest sources of inspiration. I love the ocean, lakes, or really any body of water as long as it’s not frozen haha. New York City is a big source of inspiration too–I feel really inspired sitting on the subway listening to music. I try to balance being in the city and getting outside of it to stay sane and inspired.
What motivates you to keep creating?
Finishing projects is just always really fun for me. I enjoy putting everything together and the editing process. I create at such a high turnover rate with Youtube that it can be nice to do some bigger projects that take longer–more planning, better execution. Those are really fun for me and I would love to delve into directing short films hopefully at some point.
Is there a particular time period in fashion or sub-culture that you feel a special kinship with stylistically?
I really love all 90’s fashion, I know most people do right now! As for sub-culture, I think I’ve always had menocore style!
Can you describe the outfit that you feel the best in? Can you tell us why it makes you feel so good?
I love wearing my oversized jeans, I buy vintage denim a few sizes up and cinch at the waist with a belt. They are just so comfortable and I think they look cool (others might disagree) but I’ve been wearing all my denim like that for 2 years and I don’t see it changing. My favorite outfit is the aforementioned jeans, with some kind of frilly, printed top. I feel the best when I have fun accessories on, it makes me feel more confident and I just love funky earrings. I like to feel psychically comfortable in what I’m wearing while also feeling like it has fun pieces of me.
Can you talk to us about your recent interest in dressing like a grandparent? We love it!
There’s something about such evolved style and wisdom that I love that comes from older generations. They just know how to put together an outfit that is both stylish and comfortable and that is what I am here for! I think I just am working towards having a classic style that will just slightly tweak throughout the decades. I also love that it’s so easy to copy by finding items in a thrift store that were probably theirs to begin with!
What is something you have loved for a long time?
Any pair of denim. Denim is my best friend.
What is something you would love to learn?
I want to consistently make my own bread! I think making bread is such a beautiful process! I love cooking and have made my own before but I want to be known as the friend who brings loaves of bread over to their homes when I visit. I’d also like to travel in 2020 for an extended period of time and hopefully hone in on my Spanish.
What time of the day do you feel most energetic and what do you do in those moments?
UGH. Unfortunately, my brain always feels the most energized right before I’m about to go to sleep. I feel like I lay down and immediately start processing everything that I saw that day and ideas start flooding in. My note section on my phone is where I write down most ideas because of this.
Are there any principles that help guide your day, actions, or lifestyle?
I try to be thoughtful, non-reactive, and observant. In the mornings I focus on positivity to try to look at the world through that lens (usually works).
What is the favorite gift you have received?
Cards that make me cry (most do).
What is something that you feel is overrated? Underrated?
Overrated: Being hyper-competitive.
Underrated: Card games with friends.
What are you terrible at but love to do anyway?
Remembering song lyrics but continuing to try to sing them.
Can you tell us a joke?
I haven’t eaten a popsicle in awhile!
Please fill in the blank.
Beauty is knowing yourself.
What are you currently….
Coveting? A Dutch Oven from Great Jones
Watching? Sex and the City reruns and waiting for Mrs. Maisel season 3
Listening? Julia Jacklin on repeat or ABBA Gold Album in the mornings if I need a pick me up.
Reading? Our Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace Wells when I can handle it or The Road Less Traveled: A new Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth by M. Scott Peck
Dreaming? Of somewhere warm :)
Thank You, Jenny!
Follow Jenny ~ @wearilive