Ep 63 – Behind the Garments: Why Fast Fashion Fuels Environmental and Economic Racism

On this episode, Amber and Erika are joined by Whitney McGuire, an attorney, fashion law expert, consultant, strategist, and co-founder of Sustainable Brooklyn. We discuss how some of our favorite fast fashion brands are rapidly causing environmental havoc by proliferating waste, exploiting marginalized workers, subjecting employees to hazardous conditions, and depleting natural resources. This phenomena is part of the vicious cycle of racial capitalism that enables poverty and creates dependency on cheap items that ultimately cause long term harm to all of us. We also explore the ways that the pushback against environmental racism and for sustainability has largely been whitewashed, erasing the pioneering contributions of Black activists and organizers. Tune in to listen and learn on this important topic!


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Website: https://www.sustainablebk.co/
Instagram: @sustainablebk


How Fast-Fashion and Racism Are Intricately Linked
Author: Tyler Chanel
Date:  Jul 13, 2020

Date:  Jan 16, 2019

DIRTY THREADS, DANGEROUS FACTORIES:  Health and Safety in Los Angeles’ Fashion Industry Author:  Garment Worker Center
Date:  Dec 2016

Behind the Garment: Injustices Caused by Fast Fashion to Communities
Author: Cara Mu
Date:  Aug 28, 2021

The global environmental injustice of fast fashion
Authors: Rachel Bick, Erika Halsey & Christine C. Ekenga
Date:  Dec 27, 2018

Climate Justice with Sustainable Brooklyn


Dead white man’s clothes:  It’s the dirty secret behind the world’s fashion addiction. Many of the clothes we donate to charity end up dumped in landfill, creating an environmental catastrophe on the other side of the world.
Author:  Linton Besser
Date:  Aug 11, 2021

Guest Bio

Whitney McGuire. Esq. (she/her/hers) is a mother, a New York state licensed attorney, legal and sustainability consultant & strategist, and co-founder of Sustainable Brooklyn, an organization that disrupts the whitewashing of sustainability in order to concretize equity in the sustainability movement. Whitney is a pioneer in the field of fashion law and a fierce advocate for the sustainability of communities first and most impacted by environmental and social degradation due to the climate crisis. Whitney began studying fashion law in 2011, eventually becoming chairperson of Fashion Law Week, a student-run, annual series of events dedicated to educating the public about legal issues impacting the fashion industry. In law school, Whitney provided research for the Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Prevention Act (H.R. 2511), and joined her law school’s Journal of Contemporary Health Law and Policy where she drafted an article highlighting the human toll of fast fashion prior to the Rana Plaza tragedy. In 2013, after graduating the Catholic University of America – Columbus School of Law, Whitney opened her own law firm to support the sustainability of marginalized artists. Whitney completed a federal clerkship in 2017 and joined The Fashion Law Group as a contract attorney and eventually, of counsel before exiting to begin consulting and advising artists and art institutions on hybrid legal, business, sustainability, and equity issues. Whitney has held positions in lobbying, the U.S. federal judiciary, various fashion-oriented for profit and non-profit companies, and in law firms. In addition to her work as a mother, attorney and sustainability strategist, Whitney is an active community member. She has held positions on the Las Vegas Fashion Council Board of Directors, The Las Vegas Arts District board and The Women’s Prison Association Board of Directors. Whitney received her undergraduate degree in English Language and Literature and Africana Studies from The George Washington University.

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