Jo is our ultimate 25 ATW femme - she knows fashion and wears it like a second skin. And while we absolutely want to raid Jo's wardrobe... we also want to pick her brain. As the Editor of Conscious Citizen - a digital platform for 'people who give a f__k' - Jo implores her audience to think more consciously... about fashion, about the environment, about social matters. She's our kind of 25ATW girl. With our strong brand focus on sustainability and how we can make better choices through our own creative medium of fashion, we wanted Jo's take on sustainability in 2019! Read on for more!
Outside of the world of Conscious Citizen, who are you? What do you love?
I am a writer and creative, who is perennially curious and eternally cross-examining the predictable. I'm mum to two little feminist boys and wife to a loving and conscious man. I'm 100% a coffee-person, a foodie, a wine gobbler, a heliophile. I'm a somewhat obsessive lover of rap, blues and OG funk, a believer in science, your first time-caller and long-time listener. Yet mostly, I’m a woman on a climate-related mission, with Beyonce as my soundtrack. Cue my try-hard Beyonce hair flick.
Jo Lorenz wearing Ama silk blouse
What does modern femininity mean to you?
As femininity is an objective concept it therefore means different things to all people. Yet to me in the sense of personal style, it means confidence, strength, timelessness and a sense of polish. I love to dress with a more traditionally masculine edge - jeans and blazers are my staples - yet tend to give a subtle nod to my softer and more feminine side with jewellery, textures and fabrics. An ethically produced silk top with some vintage jeans - PERFECTION to me!
If you never had to think about a trend again, what would you be forever caught wearing?
Good question - yet in all truthfulness I don’t think about trends now. I have essentially been wearing the same “uniform” for years and believe everyone should be doing the same. Stick with the clothes that make you feel comfortable and confident. Whether that’s a floral maxi, a sharp suit, or shorts and a tee - just do it like a badass boss cat, as well as shopping in a conscious and considered way.
Jo wearing Olivia silk shirt dress worn as top
What do you want the readers and audience to take away from Conscious Citizen?
My website, Conscious Citizen, and the corresponding Instagram accounts, all focus on achieving conscious style through cultural, environmental, social and political awareness. Or as we like to say “lifestyle for people who give a f__k”!
We work with pioneers in the ethical sustainable fashion and clean beauty industries, as well as on features around environmentalism, intersectional feminism and social mindfulness, to encourage readers to be invariably more aware of their personal impact and accordingly be #ConsciousCitizens.
What and how we consume, our political and social beliefs, our understanding of the effect we have on the environment and on other people’s livelihoods - all these things matter. Be conscious of your surroundings, your consumption, your words, your impact - and then live with a sense of la dolce vita! This doesn’t mean living excessively - it means feeding your body and soul with quality, and your mind with light and truth. Life is too short for naïveté!
What prompted you to become more mindful in your habits around sustainability? Was there a turning point for you?
I have always been a big believer in the concept of ‘buy well, buy once’. In my early 20s I dreamingly started a list of considered, timeless staples to invest in - pieces I would use and keep forever, such as a perfectly cut trench, a classic black handbag, a sharp go-to black dress. Over the years I have built up my collection and adore the cohesiveness and consciousness of it all!
If you buy a timeless, well-made item - care for it, repair it, love it - you stay true to your own sense of style and values. You know how it was made, from what it was made, by whom it was made! And the icing on the cake here is that by buying quality, you buy less, and thus you considerably lessen your environmental footprint. A considered wardrobe is a satisfying pursuit!
Yet a real turning point in me taking the ‘buy well, buy once’ concept to the next level was when Rana Plaza collapsed in Bangladesh, in April 2013. Rana Plaza was primarily filled with garment workers who were under increasingly pressurised conditions to meet shortened fast fashion production deadlines - and this needless tragedy resulted in the death of 1,134 people, and a further 2,500 people injured. It is considered to be the deadliest garment factory accident in history and was a definite turning point in my decision to be more vocal with my values.
Rana Plaza was beyond devastating - yet also served as a catalyst for change. With so many lovers of fashion suddenly realising how in the dark they were about the origins of their clothes - while no doubt knowing the precise origin of the wine or meat on their tables - consumers took up the call to arms, calling for transparency in the supply chains of their favourite fashion houses and stores.
Over the years this call to arms has been led, loud and clear, by the vanguards of NGOs such as Fashion Revolution and Redress - as well as sustainability writers, journalists and influencers. These inspiring, feminist warriors are changing the world every day and I am humbled to stand amongst them.
What words do you live and die by?
One of my favourite quotes of all time comes from W C Fields . . . “Always carry a flagon of whisky in case of snakebite - and furthermore always carry a small snake!” In all seriousness though, the Jo I am now in 2019 is alllll about ‘Carpe Diem’! Seize the day to make yourself and your world a better place. The time to act is NOW.
Tell us something most don't know about you... (until now)
I am the daughter, sister, wife and mother of the greatest people that ever lived - and thus, I am the luckiest woman alive.