Fashion (Canada) - - The Draw Sustainability Reboot - —I.B.S.

“I’ve al­ways been an earthy type of chick,” quips Do­minique Drake­ford, the founder of Me­lanin and Sus­tain­able Style, a web­site that goes by the cheeky acro­nym Me­lan­inASS. Drake­ford grew up go­ing on fam­ily camp­ing trips, and she says her love of pris­tine na­ture only strength­ened as she grew older. Af­ter re­ceiv­ing her mas­ter’s de­gree in sus­tain­able en­trepreneur­ship and fash­ion from NYU in 2013, she did PR for sus­tain­able fash­ion brands be­fore launch­ing Me­lan­inASS in 2016. Her mis­sion is to “bring Me­lanin to the fore­front of sus­tain­able fash­ion” by rec­og­niz­ing the con­tri­bu­tions that peo­ple of colour are mak­ing in eco fash­ion. The site was born out of a “crazy Venn di­a­gram of frus­tra­tions,” in­clud­ing her ir­ri­ta­tion that the faces of eco fash­ion by and large tend to be white women, plus what she sees as a fail­ure of black-cen­tred pub­li­ca­tions to ac­knowl­edge sus­tain­abil­ity is­sues. “I was tired of just see­ing peo­ple of colour seen as labour­ers,” she says. Drake­ford is ded­i­cated to am­pli­fy­ing the voices of women of colour—like Maya Shaw, who sells ar­ti­sanal ce­ramic weed pipes in her store SHAW., or Jas­mine Of­for-Verville, the founder of con­flict-free jew­ellery line Moon­dust & Me. “No mat­ter your fi­nan­cial sit­u­a­tion or your geo­graphic lo­ca­tion, this is a global move­ment for ev­ery­body,” she says.

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