It’s the newest edition of Jews of Philly Fashion, introducing you to the Chosen few who dress our city. They might mix wool and linen, but they’ve got some strong opinions on mixing stripes with florals. In this space, we’ll talk to designers, sellers, buyers, influencers, models and more. This week, we spoke to Rachel Mednick.
For almost 10 years, Rachel Mednick, 33, worked on selling new clothes to new parents — her children’s clothing line, Lucy & Leo, is still stocked at stores across the country, including three in Philadelphia and one in Kennett Square. But Mednick’s new project is quite different.
These days, Mednick, an adjunct instructor at her alma mater Drexel University, is trying to convince consumers, clothing producers and the budding designers in her classes to radically rethink their relationship to new clothes. Which is to say: buying much, much less of it.
“We’re making way too much. And we’re consuming way too much,” Mednick said. “And it just gets incinerated or put in a landfill in a place like Africa, and I don’t think that’s right. It’s our trash. It’s our problem. And we need to deal with it here.”
The Fishtown resident was initially drawn to fashion by the creative possibilities of design. Mednick joined the fight for sustainable clothing as she gained a greater understanding of the waste, pollution and subpar labor practices that produce the world’s new garments.
Mednick, who is a member of the sustainability committee of the Philadelphia Fashion & Garment Industry Task Force and a member of the Philadelphia Fashion Incubator Advisory Council, spoke about good jeans, landfills and Jackie O.
What’s the last book you read?
“The Editor,” by Steven Rowley. Jackie O is on the cover, which made me grab it immediately. I am now reading “Such a Fun Age” by Philadelphian Kiley Reid.
What clothing trend would you like to see make a comeback?
Not so much come back but continue: I would love to see people continuing to shop vintage and secondhand as their main form of shopping, and make wearing the same outfit over and over again cool. We don’t need so many clothes, and need to wear what we already have in our closets.
Dream Shabbat dinner guest?
What’s something you can’t believe you used to wear?
Those choker necklaces that look like tattoos. They were really cool in the ’90s.
What’s the best quality in a friend?
Honesty and heart. I believe the good friends tell you the truth, even if it’s hard to hear, and will be there for you no matter what.
Can any style tip be truly universal?
Jeans and a white T-shirt. A good pair of jeans that fit well can make anyone look good.
What item of clothing should more people be wearing?
The ones already in their closets. We have a huge fashion crisis right now — one garbage truckload of clothing is going into the landfill every second, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. Shop your own closet and be creative, learn to see clothing as fabric, not as “shirt” or “dress.” Can you take your cardigan and put it on backwards to create an entirely new look?
What person’s style do you admire?
Jackie Onassis. I love a classic vintage look.
Who’s an exciting designer in Philadelphia who people aren’t talking about enough?
Kim McGlonn from Grant Blvd. She is one of the smartest people I have ever met, and using her brand as a change agent in both the fashion industry and in the Philadelphia community.
What talent would you most like to have?
I would love to be able to play musical instruments with ease. I love the idea of it, but just don’t have the knack for it.
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