November 23, 2020
PeopleWeLove Featuring: Kandia Nzinga

A San Antonio,Texas native now living in sunny East L.A, Kandia exudes the confidence, smarts, and personality of a reFIND girl. Hard working as a vintage archivist, photo producer, and full time model she has seen and learned the way fashion brands and designers have jeopardized the future of our planet in the name of style. Get to know Kandia and how she practices sustainability, her tips on falling back in love with our wardrobes, and who her eco-idol is.

What does sustainability mean to you?

"Sustainability means securing our future. Sustainable practices help make the earth inhabitable for us and future generations to come. We can’t control most things in life but we can try to not participate in what we think will cause the planets demise."

When did you start practicing sustainability & being more environmentally aware?

"I have always practiced some form of sustainability. My mother has always been a thrifter. We even had a stand in the flea market growing up. I have 3 siblings so wasting and buying things without an intention was not an option at times."

What besides shopping sustainably do you do to be more environmentally conscious?

"I advocate for candidates that make land conservation and renewable energy a priority. I strive to make as little of a negative impact on the earth as possible. I’m not perfect at it, but I think if everyone makes a small effort to a big cause it can have a huge impact."

"We can’t control most things in life but we can try to not participate in what we think will cause the planet's demise."

Do you have any sustainable brands you really love at the moment?

"Yes, I love ARQ, Selva Negra, Fanm Djanm to name a few."

Who if any do you look to for eco/sustainable inspiration/activism?

"Of course, my girl AOC is making moves in regards to renewable energy."

What do you wish people would think about more when it comes to sustainability in the fashion industry?

"I wish people didn't value consumerism or capitalism as much as they do. In my field of being an Archivist, we quickly expose designers poor decisions in the past. There are several designers who destroyed their brand by the mass production of products. Causing people to spend large amounts of money on something that instantly depreciates in value versus really investing in something they love."

What are some tips you have for shopping sustainably?

"Research the store or brand beforehand and read about their sustainable practices. I always make a list of things I’m eyeing in order to prevent impulse buying. I also try to find everything second hand or vintage first before I purchase something new."

Where do you typically shop for your clothing?

"I have several go-to vintage and thrift shops here in LA in addition to frequenting the flea market. I also use Instagram as an aid to read about companies’ missions and find new brands doing the work in sustainable fashion."

What excites you about reFIND?

"I’m excited to have an accessible resource to shop sustainably. I think reFind efforts will ultimately help people make the big switch from fast fashion."

Where do you get your style inspiration from?

"I love looking at and studying old photographs. One of my favorite photographers is Beth Lesser who documented the Caribbean dance hall scene. I also follow a few Instagram accounts that archive old photos from a few various subcultures."

How do you fall back in love with items in your wardrobe you’ve had for a while?

"I usually buy a complimentary item to refresh the piece or try styling it in a unique way. If that doesn't work, swap it with a friend. Sometimes seeing an item on someone else sparks your joy for that item again."

If you could only choose one item to wear, what would it be and why?

"I would say it would probably have to be my dickies coverall. It’s a classic that never goes out of style. I like having the feeling of being able to put on one item and leave. I often wear my pajamas underneath my jumpsuit that way I can just unzip and hop back into bed."

What advice would you give your younger self?

"Focus on school and learn as much as possible while you have access to free education. Don’t sweat the small stuff relationships come and go. Lastly don’t be afraid to express yourself."

One of the many missions reFIND has is to educate on sustainability and show how every journey looks a little different. Kandia says it best, “a small effort to a big cause can have a huge impact.” It is never about being perfect but making a conscious effort to put your dollars in what you believe in. Sustainability brings out the creative in each of us. Choose to look at your closet a little differently, be inspired by the art around you, be resourceful with the old to re-create something new! Find pieces you love from passionate people who are creating sustainably and know that these little changes and applied perspective make the world of a difference.

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