Q&A with Ethical Style Journal Founder Katie Pruett

We love sharing stories with you about incredible people who inspire us personally, and who are are doing wonderful things to make the world a kinder and fairer place.

Let us introduce you to Katie Pruett, who is the founder of the groundbreaking magazine Ethical Style Journal, which celebrates ethical and sustainable fashion, and inspires readers to shop more consciously.

Katie and her team have published two digital issues of their fabulous magazine; with their third edition soon to be released. This edition will also hopefully be published in print too! (Their kickstarter is on for another 2 days, so please back it if you feel it's something you'd like to support)!

Now, let's get chatting..

The front cover of the soon to be released Ethical Style Journal issue.

The front cover of the soon to be released Ethical Style Journal issue.

Future King & Queen: You’re the founder and editor in chief of Ethical Style Journal - tell us about this project of yours and how it came to be.

Katie Pruett: In 2013, I started really paying attention to all the bad news surrounding the fashion industry, and I didn’t like what I was reading or hearing. I had been vegan for a while by then, and I remember shopping for boots which were neither leather nor suede, and noticing that all the labels read “Made in China,” and “from manmade materials." While I had no way to know what that meant exactly, I knew there had to be a better way to shop. So, I started researching and the more I learned, the more shopping responsibly made sense to me and the more excited I became about the alternatives—I just wanted to tell the world!

In 2015, just after the birth of my son, I started a blog, Fashion Just Cause, but I knew then that I wanted to do something more. A magazine seemed like the perfect platform to present a complete and continual body of work—a fun place for readers to learn about and get inspired by ethical fashion. A year later, we released our first issue of Ethical Style Journal, and I’m so proud of what our small team has been able to accomplish in such a short time.

FKQ: What sparked your passion for ethical fashion?

KP: I think I might have covered this in the first question, but I’d like to share that my first ever ethical fashion purchase was the Willow Boot in black by Nicora. Before that, I was only shopping USA-made items, but not necessarily from ethical companies run by people who I could build relationships with and feel good about supporting their business.

Once I discovered Nicora, Modavanti, Ethica, and later, Bead & Reel, I knew I would never have to struggle to find beautiful, ethically made, sustainable clothes and shoes again. I am thrilled to see so many ethical and sustainable fashion options popping up. I’m even more excited about the good companies—run by thoughtful people—that make it easy for us to shop consciously.

FKQ: Tell us about your vegan journey - what made you transition to this lifestyle? Do you think veganism ties in with ethical fashion?

KP: In 2011, I got a job with Natural Awakenings Magazine, and started learning so much about health, wellness, and nutrition. From there, my interest grew. I had already begun my journey into reading labels, specifically the labels on hair and hygiene products. At that time, I was all about using coconut oil and apple cider vinegar for everything, which I still am, but I really dove into nutrition once I joined Natural Awakenings.

I was tired of headaches, tummy troubles, acne, and many other ailments associated with a terrible diet. I remember having a debate with my friend and graphic designer for the magazine, Citlalli, about why we’re supposed to eat meat. (insert sad face) She had been vegan for years already, and she was very passionate. I think she got through to me.

I also watched a few documentaries on our consumption of animals and started to see the negative impact of this very big problem. Once I saw some of the footage  and photos taken at slaughter houses, I knew that was it for me. From 2011 to 2012, I worked on removing animal products and byproducts from my diet, and my life. Red meat was the first to go. Then, chicken and dairy. I was extremely selective in my personal care products and cosmetics as well. Though back then, the official Vegan label wasn't widely used, so you'd really have to read the ingredients to know. By April of 2012, I was full on vegan. I’m still so happy I made the choice! 

Yes, I do believe veganism ties in with ethical fashion. In our very first blog post for Ethical Style Journal, we write "We believe in respecting animal life, and that means choosing not to exploit animals for fashion. While some manufacturers have found more sustainable ways to produce leather, wool and silk-based garments, we prefer to shine light on those who have discovered new, innovative ways to create fashion without causing direct or indirect harm to our precious animals. " 

Additionally, both veganism and ethical fashion are about making conscious choices, every day, on behalf of someone else. But, I don't think it's enough to just be vegan, and buy ethical and sustainable garments. I think we have to always be willing to learn and do more, work with and listen to others (even if they're not vegan or where we are on the journey) on how we can make the world a better place for people and animals.

“I think we have to always be willing to learn and do more, work with and listen to others.. on how we can make the world a better place for people and animals”.
— Katie Pruett

FKQ: Who are your favourite vegan/ethical style icons? (They could include bloggers, celebrities, fashion brand owners etc).

KP: Ooh, great question. Is it terrible that I don’t really have ethical, vegan style icons specifically? I love Erykah Badu and she’s been eating vegan for nearly 20 years. She’s an incredibly talented artist and musician. Plus, she’s from my hometown of Dallas. Solange is one of my style icons. I like the challenge of pulling fashion inspiration and looks from her and others, then translating those looks to be completely vegan and ethical. There are too many brands to name, but Bhava is one of my favorite vegan-owned fashion labels.

FKQ: What are you currently reading?

KP: I’m usually reading children’s books with my little guy because when I’m not working on the magazine, I’m spending time with him. But, I recently got to read some of Madame President, a book about Liberian president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first democratically elected female president in Africa’s history. I had to return it to the library, but what little I read was so empowering. I think I’m going to buy it. It’s one I want to own.

FKQ: If you could offer one piece of advice to people wanting to make more conscious decisions around their wardrobes, what would it be?

KP: Be realistic with your budget and take it slow. First, have fun mixing and matching, styling what’s already in your closet before going to buy more. When you’re ready to shop new, buy something with a label to your liking (e.g. fair trade organic cotton, made in USA) that is made and/or sold by a company whose values match your own. That’s the easiest way to go about it, I think.

FKQ: How can we learn more about Ethical Style Journal? 

KP: Oh, I thought you’d never ask! 😉 You can subscribe to our magazine, and follow us on social media. I think you get a pretty good behind-the-curtain look at who we are through our social media posts. But, of course, the magazine tells you so much more about who we are, what we stand for, and why we do it.

Want to Follow Katie + Ethical Style Journal?

Stay tuned for a What's In My (Ethical) Handbag feature with Katie soon too!

All images credit of Ethical Style Journal