Kristen Leo - @kristenleo

In January this year I found myself in Greece finishing off six months of travel/a semester studying abroad with my boyfriend. Whilst I was there, I had spoken to my boyfriend consistently about Kristen Leo and how much of an epic changemaker and inspiration I had found her to be in my life. He turned to me and said ‘Why don’t you message her, tell her what you’re about and see if she would want to grab coffee while you are here from NZ? The worst she can say is no.’  He was right as per usual, but I was too scared to even message her – let alone ask. 

Fast forwarding a month later when I sat down and thought about the people who have influenced me to be where I am today on the journey of Ethical Made Easy, Kristen was at the top of the list. I’m not one to fan-girl, but when she replied and said she would love to be interviewed by me, I couldn’t help but be absolutely ecstatic for the next week or so. 

Kristen is absolutely fearless in her ability to call out big brands that aren’t up to human rights standards when it comes to fast fashion and the manufacturing of our garments. She’s also vegan and has some of the most incredible travel photos one could imagine, I highly recommend you follow her even if it’s purely for travel inspo/envy. 

In all seriousness, Kirsten is someone I have followed on social media for well over a year and I completely admire her and everything she stands for. She’s not afraid to voice her opinion and talk about what she believes in. To top it off she’s absolutely hilarious. In my opinion, we definitely need for souls like hers in the world. 

Oh and also -don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone, to ask people for a coffee or to ask for help. The worst thing that can happen is that people say no. 

This interview with Kristen is absolutely epic, so I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. 

What made you start out with social media?
I used to have a fashion blog back in 2009 which is how I started with social media initially, that later evolved into ethical fashion and vegan isn after I ditched fast fashion. 

What's the best piece of advice you have ever received?
Quality over quantity! It can be applied to so much in life, not just clothes. 

What does your everyday morning look like? 
Cuddling with my cats, doing yoga an working on social media as I eat breakfast. I like to keep it as chill as possible! 

How did you first come across ethical fashion?
My sister sent me a link for the docu-series “Sweatshop”. I was so horrified to discover the appalling working conditions hidden behind all the fast fashion brands I used to support. I immediately started trying to learn more, I also saw the documentary “The True Cost” and deduced to start making changes in the way I shopped. The change didn’t happen overnight and I wasn’t immediately a perfect ethical shopper and I’m still learning even now but I’m so happy for everything I’ve learned! 

How do you define success?
Success to me is when I’m happy, peaceful and not worrying about the future. I spent so much of my youth bring obsessed with this idea of success being defined by earning a lot of money and owning a lot of things and having those incredibly high expectation for myself only made me more stressed and disappointed at my achievements. Not chasing success to me is what true success feels like. 

What's one piece of advice that you would give to others who are starting out?
Don’t give up if you make mistakes and try to get your friends into it so you can have a thrifting partner! 

What's one book you recommend everyone should read?
Most of the “books” I’ve been reading have been my brothers comic books and Steven King novels, not sure those are really enlightening must-reads for anything haha 

Are there any other Movers & Shakers out there in your world that you think we should all know about?
I’m a fan of @dariadaria_com for ethical fashion, @yaknowme_hitomi for thrifted fashion inspiration and @jennymustard for minimalism.