We are so excited to feature Dominique Drakeford in our Women Wednesdays series. She is making waves in more ways than one in the sustainable and ethical movement. Dominique is an environment educator, community advocate, sustainability stylist, and also founder of Melanin and Sustainable Style (MelaninASS) – a platform dedicated to celebrating and giving a voice to communities of color in sustainable and ethical fashion, beauty, and wellness.
Dominique is truly inspiring, and we are excited for you to get to know her and her story a bit more. We’ve been focusing a lot on sustainable style, and she has been one of our go-to women for socially conscious and environmentally sound style. Whoever says that you can’t do both hasn’t met Dominique because she not only champions an ethical and sustainable lifestyle, she rocks it so damn well.
1. When did you first realize that you wanted to focus on sustainable and conscious clothing? What drew you to it?
I would say sometime in my early college years. I knew in high school that my passion lied in some sort of creative environmental work. I think around Sophomore year in college is when I started to fuse my love for fashion and sustainability together. I was always drawn to fashion’s ability to communicate – culture, politics, attitude, etc. I think it just became second nature that fashion can creatively, culturally and politically convey the importance of sustainability without compromising style.
2. Tell us more about MelaninASS.
MelaninASS is literally my baby – and like most socially conscious platforms – it grew from 1) frustration and 2) love. I was frustrated about the lack of visibility for POC in this space. I was frustrated seeing all of the appropriate in the fashion world but also in this community as well. I was frustrated that not enough platforms for and by POC were covering sustainability. Now the love – I have such an unwavering love for black people and POC in general. We are an incredible people who so much to offer that gets overlooked and exploited – and my sheer love for melanin made me want to share the brands and stories that aren’t vocalized enough. With the right resources, tools and influences – POC can become the driving force to take sustainability to the next level. It’s starting to become a conscious hub for creative global pioneers of color.
3. What characteristics do you admire most in other women?
Beauty – Women may be complicated yes, but the sheer beauty of women is the driving force for everything. And I’m not talking about the outside necessarily – the beauty of passion, of skill, of resilience, of being a change agent. The beauty in women is what connects us and drives us to be leaders.
4. What was the best piece of business advice that you’ve received?
Create your own opportunities.
5. What is your personal or professional motto?
Invest in work that feeds your lifestyle and life purpose.
6. Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently when you started?
NOPE – I believe in alchemy – the shitty things that have happened, the “mistakes” that I’ve made and the things that I “regret” are part of the journey that transforms you to becoming the person you’re destined to be. So as far as I’m concerned, as difficult as it may to swallow and as easy as it is to complain, I’m right where I’m suppose to be and wouldn’t change a thing. Everything happens for a reason – the universe is working some magic that I may not see yet.
7. What resources do you recommend to someone starting in the fashion industry especially when it comes to sustainable and ethical clothing?
That’s a tough one – because the suggestions I would have given 5 years ago are very different from now. Fashion and Sustainability are such huge under takings. A documentary I would suggest watching is A True Cost which is on Netflix. Then I would suggest reading different books and articles but based on what aspects of sustainability you’re interested in. But True Cost would be my very very 1st resource to dive into – and then from that documentary – you will have a bunch of thoughts, feelings, idea etc and from there you can navigate the direction you want to go in terms of resources.
Otherwise … I think it can be very overwhelming.
Also – simply follow people and/or brands on say Instagram that resonate with your style and/or activist values.
8. What inspires you?
The earth and indigenous cultures (which as the basis of sustainability) despite whatmainstream advocates convey.
9. What’s next for you? Anything exciting that you’d like to share?
I’m not sure LOL – I’m working on a few different projects but I’m honestly just taking my journey one day at a time. I’m most interested in doing more work focused on up-lifting communities of color to be more sustainable in their fashion, beauty and wellness.
Photos Courtesy of: https://www.dominiquedrakeford.com/