Kara Fabella, Slow fashion digital creator/advocate/stylist
San Francisco, CA
Kara wears Aya Bralette and Astra Hi-Waist Brief in Mimosa.
- Where have you found inspiration this Spring?
From my fellow creator friends--mainly who I’ve become really close to since the pandemic started. They each bring unique perspectives to the table, and I’m grateful that we can be candid with one another and inspire each other to continue creating. Because, honestly, that’s what kept us all going this year and last.
My neighborhood also brings a source of inspiration. I’m lucky in that I live a few blocks away from Golden Gate Park, the Presidio, and the beach. I live in one of the most colorful cities, and I think that’s not only inspired my style color palette but also kept my serotonin levels up. =)
- How would you describe ethical fashion and what is your relationship to it?
I believe ethical fashion is the antithesis of fast fashion. I believe ethical fashion does not exploit BIPOC communities in their production of goods. That there is genuine commitment to using the least harmful fabrics and not just certified organic cotton--deadstock fabrics, recycled ones, using natural dyes, etc. I believe that it invests into the very communities that they are based. I believe ethical fashion is also inclusive of body types, genders, as well as diverse representation. I believe it’s educating both the consumer and the factories they partner with. I also believe that ethical fashion should be a tribute to the BIPOC designers and makers whose upbringings and cultures really championed and always advocated for the people and our environment from the very beginning before sustainability was labeled as “cool”.
My relationship to ethical fashion has evolved so much since I first started The Flipp Side. Like many people who shifted their consumer habits, I thought I had to completely change my wardrobe, toss out my Zara and H&M pieces and only shop from designers that claimed sustainability and neutral colors--not to call out anyone who loves neutrals. Rather, I was buying into the narrative that by consuming more, but in the right way, I would truly be more ethical.
I am willing to admit that I am an imperfect conscious consumer, but one thing that my micro-platform has given me is the voice to amplify others and to connect my audience to BIPOC-owned sustainable designers and makers. And, at the end of the day, that’s what gives me the most satisfaction of pursuing ethical fashion.
- The world is still reeling from the pandemic. What have you been doing to stay grounded and mindful during these times? Anything you would like to share or recommend? (Could be a recipe, a movie, a practice, a book...)
This is a tough one because oftentimes I feel like I’m still figuring out what keeps me grounded.
A few things that have brought me joy and solace--
Cultivating authenticity in friendships: I’ve realized with more time to reflect and prioritize areas that I want to grow in, especially on a creative or “professional” level, I’ve unintentionally found truly deep friendships with people I’ve either not even met yet (IG truly can be a place for community if you use it right!) or ones that I’ve had but begun to have deeper conversations with.
Skateboarding: I am one of those people who took up an outdoor sport as a hobby as an adult, and I don’t regret it! My partner has been skateboarding most of his life, and I wanted us to be able to do that together. It was also a great way to get me outside of the house! I’m a self-proclaimed extrovert, but I also really love the comfort of being at home with a good book and some wine--simple things that I didn’t have time for pre-pandemic.
Secondhand homeware/furniture-hunting: I am a sucker for a great vintage furniture Instagram account or an amazing find on Facebook Marketplace! Fun fact: almost all of our large furniture is secondhand minus our sofa and a rug. Another thing I felt like I didn’t prioritize pre-pandemic was making our home a true home. I’m genuinely excited every time we come back to our little oasis, and I can’t wait to have a few friends over once it’s safer.
Meet Kara, an ethical fashion advocate and stylist based in San Francisco. Her handle is both a tribute to her Filipina roots and sharing the other side of fashion that was not often talked about in the influencer space when it first started. She often saw a sea of designer fashion labels on former budget-conscious folks when, in fact, it was their ability to achieve that individual style with thrifted and/or vintage finds that drew her to them in the first place.
You’ll find that Kara’s account is filled with colorful looks reminiscent of that summer vacation we haven’t taken yet. She loves to highlight the pieces she owns from local and/or independent BIPOC and women-owned brand.
Kara’s style services merge her experiences as a digital creator, bold color lover, sustainability advocate, and merchandiser. She styles campaigns for brands with a like-minded focus on ethical manufacturing, inclusivity, and conscious consumerism. Additionally, she offers virtual wardrobe consultations that include closet audits, advice on how to donate items in a sustainable way, suggestions on how to repurpose or rework that one piece you just can’t seem to get rid of, and a curated list of sustainable brands based on your lifestyle, color choices, likes/dislikes, etc.
Outside of the ethical fashion and styling realm, Kara has an IG Interview series that features #BIPOC reflecting on their experiences with #colorism and how it ties directly to the #BLM movement. You can find all episodes on her IGTV series, “Living In COLOR(ISM)”.
Visit @theflippside page for more color combo inspo, goofy dance videos, and upcoming styling campaigns.