Fashion Revolution Conversation: Circularity


The final event I attended during @fash_revusa week was a panel hosted by @reformation .

I admire how the brand team at Reformation works to humanize sustainable practices by making them more accessible to customers. If you go on their website, you can see how clearly the small sustainable details are communicated, in a branded way. The Ref Scale is smart. The repetition of ownable phrase, recurring visual language, and site functionality really train the shopper to not only look for, but understand what the signals mean and how it relates back to a grander idea of sustainability. 

The event left me pretty unsettled - mostly because it dawned on me that I'd only begin to scratch the surface of how I can participate in making my day-to-day more sustainable as a whole. The panel was focused more on the practical (and political) business of sustainability than on making sustainable (and innovative) product - a stark contrast to the night before. I was unsure if that was the original intent of the event, or if the event morphed into more of that because of the audience. Let's just say, it was not very diverse... Sustainability is for everybody, why isn't everybody here? I was grateful for the person who during the QA session asked, "What if you can't afford sustainable materials, or clothes made in ethically sound conditions?"  I didn't find the answers to be that satisfying, but at least people are thinking about it.*

It made me think about the catalysts for change I've been hearing a lot more about since moving to San Francisco: 1) Voting Power and 2) Money Power, and how the two are intertwined.



*Disclaimer: I am a not an expert on any of this stuff, but trying to learn more.  

Panel: The Truth About Sustainable Textiles


Biggest take-aways from last night's panel, The Truth About Sustainable Textiles:

Listening to Annie Gullingsrud (@c2ccertified) wax on circular design/value chains and why viscose should be avoided (among other materials!)

Learning that Jamie Bainbridge is developing silk by fermenting sugar, yeast and water (!!) and leather from mushrooms (!!!) at the amazing @boltthreads, right here in the Bay! Seriously so smart. And really, really cool. Check it out.

Listening to Juan Diego Gerscovich @industryofallnations explain why he loves alpaca. So may natural colors! He chooses to source his material and craft from Bolivia, instead of Peru. The families there have a harder time getting exposure for their product (trade regulations and no coast).

Biggest thing though, is that people have the power to make change by where they put their dollars. Buy less, buy smarter.

Moderated by: Joyce Hu @wildlifeworks , Hosted by: @fisfatmacys @fash_revusa

Fashion Revolution Week


Did you know that yesterday was the 5 year anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory collapse? 1,134 people died, and 2,500 people were hurt, while making clothes for the western world.

This was just a few months before I began to work full-time in the fashion industry. Since then, I've embraced learning in depth about supply chains, raw materials, and the amazing individuals who craft the things we wear. Ethical and sustainable fashion has morphed from a minor interest into a full-fledged passion.

I am proud to participate in Fashion Revolution Week (@fash_rev) by attending lectures, panels, and events dedicated to growing awareness, nurturing curiosity and empowering a future of positive change. To learn more, check out I'll also be posting about my experiences here, and in real time at @melbaratbours on instagram.

Catching Up


So much has happened in the past 12 months. 

I got married, drove across America, explored Mexico, started a new gig, experienced loss and grief, embraced (at first begrudgingly) a new city, made good work and morphed into the Californian that was always in my heart.  

This has been a period of extreme growth in a very short amount of time. Things haven't been easy. They've been tough, busy, and downright awful. But more importantly, they've also been wonderful. 

I'm finally starting to find my grove in this new place. In an effort to build more of my own grounding, start updating this thing again. I won't promise that these posts will be regular, but I can say they'll be thoughtful. 

For more of the moment updates, follow along on @melbaratbours


Oaxaca Mojada

Two weeks ago Ben and I had a chance to meet Tatiana Godoy Betancur - she's the woman behind the olfactory studio, Olear. She was poised, friendly and so happy to talk about her new project, Oaxaca Mojada. The scent was developed as an encapsulation of the memory and feeling of being in Oaxaca , Mexico during the rainy season. It was also the product of a residency at Pocoapoco.  The scent, with notes of dirt, mezcal, and lime came to life through the space's textural installation, beautiful black clay vessels fired by artisans in Oaxaca, and the most delicious tamales. The evening's experience confirmed my curiosity in the residency. Pocoapoco describes the experience (and I'm paraphrasing here) as a time to research, retreat, create and have conversations with community. What a welcome respite to the hustle! 


Beautiful vessels guarding the coveted vials of fragrence and mezcal.


Display - it was a little intimidating to disrupt the dirt pile in order to test the scent. 


MUY YUM! And beautiful ceramics by Arc Objects

Sculpt Denim

In other news, the identity system I developed for Sculpt Denim is live and wild.

A new fabrication from Gap, these pants are intended to highlight your body in the best and most comfortable way. I wanted to use a typeface that functioned in a way that was somewhat classical but still felt really relevant and modern. Also - super chiseled. Dala Floda from Commercial Type was the perfect fit. Really excited to expand the global brand's typographic representation! 

Peep on 

I made this today thinking about all of the incredible, empowered, wickedly smart women I know and love marching out there. Our mothers did before us, and our children moving forward will understand and respect their bodies, know their worth, and embrace diversity in the best possible way.


#participate #solidarity #thefutureisfemale #sisepuede #thankyou

This is kind of a cool, random thing...

This is kind of a cool, random thing that happened to me at my office gig. I was selected to be the first face of Gap's new BTS social series #BehindTheGap. Luckily, I was finally able to find a pair of 1969 jeans that fit me in a way that I liked, pulled some supporting details from my closet and went on an iPhone shoot around TriBeCa with Amy Stone.  Amy was super sweet and an interesting person to get to know a little better. She somehow was able take the awkwardness out of posing on busy downtown sidewalks. Amy also asked me to answer a few questions to fuel the post blurb. The final was edited down significantly so I thought it could be fun to share the full guy here. 

Describe your personal style and what you’re influenced by:

Edited, comfortable, often utilitarian but sometimes feminine with worldly details. I've always been an active observer and as an artist, a bit of an escapist. I grew up watching a lot of old movies and also spent a lot of time around diverse, creative characters that all saw the world through their own specific lens. Being constantly surrounded by these visual storytellers undoubtedly influenced how I present myself to the world. I think about subtle details, like the puckering on the back of of a blouse that makes it hang just right, or the atypical weave of an alpaca cape that reminds me of the photo on the back of an old album cover. I like to pick things up on road trips and when I wear them I still feel like I'm on a little bit of an adventure. In the same vein, I love hunting for vintage. The shirt I'm wearing today is the end product of a late night internet wormhole when I tried to find the shirt Steve McQueen wore in the Magnificent Seven. I could probably wear that outfit for the rest of my days and be happy. Mind you, this isn't that shirt (or that outfit), but some men's western wear that does double time as a blouse and tunic.

That being said, the post went up late Tuesday night and already has over 10K likes - who knew? See the post in realtime here!