Venetia La Manna, podcaster, broadcaster and anti-fast-fashion campaigner, is engaging a new generation of activists, with collective and inclusive action at its core. Through her online presence, she creates a safe and accessible space for all to learn more on subjects such as conscious consumerism, slow fashion and ethical manufacture. We caught up with Venetia to find out what everyday action means to her.
Words by Venetia La Manna | @venetialamanna
Podcast: Remember Who Made Them
Tell us a little bit about yourself and the work that you do?
Sure! My pronouns are she/her andI’m a London based podcaster (Talking Tastebuds) and slow fashion campaigner. This year I co-founded Remember Who Made Them with three other feminists, which is campaigning for a new solidarity economy in fashion. I used to work in TV, first as a producer and then as a presenter, and I now feel very fortunate to be able to work for myself and bring my production and hosting skills into my projects.
Was there a particular moment, experience or learning that kick-started your career in campaigning against fast fashion and encouraging a more sustainable/responsible lifestyle for all?
I was called out on YouTube by a subscriber for wearing fast fashion, and honestly, I hadn’t thought about it before. So I went away and did lots of research and slowly changed my habits. I stopped buying clothes altogether for nearly a year (as opposed to throwing my existing clothes and replacing them with ‘sustainable’ brands) and really learnt to appreciate, love and look after what I already had. I started styling my clothes and fixing the ones that needed repairing. I then fell back in love with pre-loved shopping and discovered things like rental websites, Vestiaire Collective and BIPOC owned ethical brands like 11.11, Kemi Telford and Wow Sancho.
What advice would you give to someone who is starting out their own journey towards a more circular and responsible way of living? Any small changes they can make to their day to day as a first step?
If you’re looking to learn about fashion, good places to start are The True Cost documentary (Netflix) and ‘The Ugly Truth Of Fast Fashion - Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj’ (Netflix). Remember Who Made Them also have a really useful reading list here. And I’d really recommend our podcast!
Small individual changes can be helpful for our mental health and help us feel empowered to make a difference, but I think it’s more important for the focus to be on our collective power to come together and dismantle the racial capitalist system that we’re in. I’ve been able to make some substantial lifestyle changes (being plant based etc) but I’m aware that a lot of these changes are not accessible for everyone. We need this movement to be inclusive which is why my focus has shifted to systemic, collective change.
Your campaign work and your online platform acts as such an accessible education source for so many. What do you hope the main takeaways would be for someone new to your work?
- The most important people in fashion are garment workers
- The most sustainable clothes are the ones you already own and you should feel proud to wear an #OOOTD (old outfit of the day)
- That we can’t have a sustainable fashion revolution until it’s accessible for all sizes, abilities, races and genders
What does Everyday Action mean to you?
Doing my best, but accepting and allowing space for the fact that so often, action means rest to be able to take action. It’s also learning, unlearning, reading, listening and platforming. It’s collective power and action from us all.