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Lana Watkins: Creating a Dream Closet

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By Ameera Steward
For the Birmingham Times

Although Birmingham’s sustainable fashion community is made up of small businesses, they are collectively taking big strides to make a change.

Sustainable fashion is a movement centered on fostering a shift toward fashion products that prioritize ecological integrity and social justice; the term refers to clothing that is designed, manufactured, distributed, and used in ways that are environmentally friendly and socially conscious.

A big part of the sustainable fashion business model involves social media, which is the platform most of these local business owners use to educate their audience and customers about sustainable fashion, the effects of their fashion choices, and how they can make better choices.

Here’s how Lana Watkins encourages sustainable fashion in the Magic City.

Extending the life of an object or good was how Watkins grew to become more sustainable. She watched her mother get creative in how she made things last, how she made sure not to waste a product, and how she reused things.

In 2019, Watkins and her business partner Ethan Guinn decided to open Your Closet Inc. on the depop.com online platform, “… a fashion marketplace app, where the next generation [can] … discover unique items,” according to the site. At Your Closet Inc. (depop.com/yourclosetinc) clothing can be rebought, rented, or reworked. The ultimate goal is to give their audience the dream-closet experience, including previews of how an outfit looks, someone to style hair, someone to fit you, and more.

Watkins describes it as “everything you could think of that would go into clothing, reworking, making pieces ideal, just making it a perfect world, … all encompassed into a closet.”

For 23-year-old Watkins, sustainability is getting the most out items, using things to the last drop and not putting anything new into circulation.

“The idea is to … not put anything new into the world to be thrown away, to end up somewhere, to be a waste,” she said. “No, let’s try to go to the thrift store for something that’s already been in production, … something for which resources have already been used.

“I know things are already on the shelves, … but when [big companies] run the numbers at the end of the year, they’ll significantly cut back on production when they see they’re down $20,000 because a whole bunch of people didn’t buy anything this year because [they] went to the thrift store instead.

“It’s a spiritual understanding of … it’s bigger than you,” Watkins added. 

Click one of the links below to read more about Birmingham’s sustainable fashion scene. 

Collin Balentine and Jordan Joiner: Helping the Environment

Glenda Norman: Re-Fashioning Scrap Into Jewelry

Shaquala Courtland: Restoring Clothing…and Spirit

Samra Michael: Preventing Waste

Kristyn Edwards: Raising Awareness

Lacey Woodruff: Thinking Long-Term

Lakeicia Shanta: Establishing a Sustainable Lifestyle

Clothing Designer Leslie Gomez Grew Up in Thrift Stores. Now, It’s Business.