THE AGGREGATION OF SUSTAINABILITY & THE DARKER SIDE OF FASHION
An exploration of Display Copy and Disruptive Berlin’s ethical take on archival edits.

With the implementation of greenwashing, the coveting of hype-over-matter products, and sustainability as a trend, the fashion industry is far from cultural consciousness. From a New York-based art director and a German creative consultant, Brynn Heminway and Brenda Weischer’s Display Copy and Disruptive Berlin, are two vintage archives demonstrating sustainable style in storied shades of black, white, and grey. 

With the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and the ever-growing amount of fashion waste piling up, now, more than ever, sustainable style cannot be dismissed. To ‘sustain’ means to ‘maintain’ or ‘uphold’ a certain level of being. Brynn Heminway, Editor in Chief of vintage fashion publication Display Copy, states that we need to do much more than sustain if we want our planet and species to survive: “To me sustainable style should mean that we think about our wardrobes the way that anyone pre-industrial revolution thought about their clothes. With enormous consideration for the cost but knowing the importance of the occasion or purpose.” 

The concept behind Display Copy is simple: to cover pre-loved fashion as if it were new. It promotes circular notions through its expertly curated vintage, thrifted, upcycled and recycled items. “Our mission is to provide the best inspiration, curation, and selection of vintage items with which to dress, adorn, protect and express yourself without causing further damage to our planet,” explains Brynn.  

Brynn rationalizes that we need a whole new lexicon for style that more accurately describes its connection to sustainability. Taking a closer look at the language, the negative connotations speak for themselves: vintage – old, thrift – cheap, pre-owned – dirty, pre-loved – worn-out. Brenda Weischer, fashion consultant and founder of curated vintage archive Disruptive Berlin, agrees. “I am not trying to be fully sustainable, as I think it’s almost impossible – at least if you like clothes. I am trying to become more sustainable,” Brenda explains. “And I think we need a new word for it because everything else is just greenwashing and makes [having] goals unrealistic.” 

Where Display Copy set out with sustainable intentions, Disruptive Berlin is the organic progression of Brenda’s personal style Instagram account. No longer wanting to promote new labels and new items, when her well-edited wardrobe only featured thrifted ones, she started to “Develop the idea of opening a store with vintage clothing curated in my own taste. I didn’t set out with a huge goal, just to give back to my audience, and it’s become my biggest passion product.”

Over the past decade reuse, reduce and recycle received a rebranding, and consumer’s thoughts on vintage shifted. Then Gen Z entered the conversation and with them, more archival edits started to make an appearance. Giants such as Depop and Vestiaire cater to #fashun’s general public, however, Display Copy and Disruptive Berlin lend themselves to fashion’s goth girls; those that favor sleek silhouettes and a darker color palette. These carefully curated edits feature garments from the same period of 1990s minimalism, designers with an avant-garde aesthetic, and plenty of black. This kind of wardrobe will stand the test of time and rejects any frivolous trend the industry throws at it. 

Over 90% of human communication is non-verbal. Body language and how we dress are part of the 90%. “Trends are collective consciousness,” explains Brynn. “A way of mirroring and connecting with each other at best, and a result of clever marketing, at worst.” One of the roles of Display Copy is to show people how they can participate in the latest trend without participating in fast fashion.

One quick glance at Brenda’s Instagram, and her personal style is evident. By only wearing two colors – black and white – everything in her closet matches, and she gets plenty of wear from every item. Brenda also gravitates towards versatility, often opting for items that you can alter, ensuring she doesn’t get bored of them. She understands that this kind of sustainable shopping is easier, or only possible, once you have discovered your own personal style. And even once you’ve discovered what works for you, you can still fall trap to trends. “I would love to think I wasn’t affected by [them] at all, but that would be a lie, says Brenda. “I see something every hour on Instagram that inspires me. But hopefully my closet is versatile enough that I can recreate every trend with items that I already own.”

Brenda also hopes that she makes at least a little difference by demonstrating to her audience how she consumes and treats her clothing, and that, “Maybe this slower way of consumption will catch on. The industry would make big changes if only their customers would care – simple supply and demand. Sounds pessimistic, but it’s my realistic view: brands would offer better solutions in terms of sustainability, if their sales were at risk. but they aren’t. For now, at least.”  

Sales may not be at risk, but the planet certainly is. As the fashion industry grows, so does its carbon impact regardless of the number of sustainable materials its uses. In order to prevent irreversible damage that will make much of the earth uninhabitable within the next 15 years, the fashion ecosystem must value and use what already exists and mitigate its carbon emissions. Brynn is trying to inspire people to think about style differently, “When people change their buying habits, prioritize pre-owned items in their wardrobes, and thus value what already exists, we can individually and collectively reduce our impact on the planet by activating a circular economy.”  

Brynn believes that the future of fashion is vintage, “The resale market is expected to surpass fast fashion by 2024 because more and more people are realizing the extent to which fast fashion contributes to climate change. There are more than enough options to update a wardrobe and look great by buying only vintage and there is more than enough raw material in the world to be upcycled, recycled and reimagined ad infinitum.”  

Brenda is hoping that the future calls for a return to personal style. An end to fake streetstyle, six seasons a year, and quantity over quality. “Vogue Italia’s recent series on [the] personal style of some amazing people was more interesting than any high fashion spread I’ve seen in the last few years,” she explains. “It got me really excited and gave me hope; because it meant that the demand was there for something like this.” 

Style is so personal, and everyone’s journey is so unique. Sustainable style is no different. Although it can be overwhelming to start on a more mindful path, Display Copy and Disruptive Berlin offer insight and inspiration into more conscious consumption through their archives into fashion’s storied past. And if it just so happens to be all-black-everything, all the better for it. 

THE AGGREGATION OF SUSTAINABILITY & THE DARKER SIDE OF FASHION
An exploration of Display Copy and Disruptive Berlin’s ethical take on archival edits.

With the implementation of greenwashing, the coveting of hype-over-matter products, and sustainability as a trend, the fashion industry is far from cultural consciousness. From a New York-based art director and a German creative consultant, Brynn Heminway and Brenda Weischer’s Display Copy and Disruptive Berlin, are two vintage archives demonstrating sustainable style in storied shades of black, white, and grey. 

With the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and the ever-growing amount of fashion waste piling up, now, more than ever, sustainable style cannot be dismissed. To ‘sustain’ means to ‘maintain’ or ‘uphold’ a certain level of being. Brynn Heminway, Editor in Chief of vintage fashion publication Display Copy, states that we need to do much more than sustain if we want our planet and species to survive: “To me sustainable style should mean that we think about our wardrobes the way that anyone pre-industrial revolution thought about their clothes. With enormous consideration for the cost but knowing the importance of the occasion or purpose.” 

The concept behind Display Copy is simple: to cover pre-loved fashion as if it were new. It promotes circular notions through its expertly curated vintage, thrifted, upcycled and recycled items. “Our mission is to provide the best inspiration, curation, and selection of vintage items with which to dress, adorn, protect and express yourself without causing further damage to our planet,” explains Brynn.  

Brynn rationalizes that we need a whole new lexicon for style that more accurately describes its connection to sustainability. Taking a closer look at the language, the negative connotations speak for themselves: vintage – old, thrift – cheap, pre-owned – dirty, pre-loved – worn-out. Brenda Weischer, fashion consultant and founder of curated vintage archive Disruptive Berlin, agrees. “I am not trying to be fully sustainable, as I think it’s almost impossible – at least if you like clothes. I am trying to become more sustainable,” Brenda explains. “And I think we need a new word for it because everything else is just greenwashing and makes [having] goals unrealistic.” 

Where Display Copy set out with sustainable intentions, Disruptive Berlin is the organic progression of Brenda’s personal style Instagram account. No longer wanting to promote new labels and new items, when her well-edited wardrobe only featured thrifted ones, she started to “Develop the idea of opening a store with vintage clothing curated in my own taste. I didn’t set out with a huge goal, just to give back to my audience, and it’s become my biggest passion product.”

Over the past decade reuse, reduce and recycle received a rebranding, and consumer’s thoughts on vintage shifted. Then Gen Z entered the conversation and with them, more archival edits started to make an appearance. Giants such as Depop and Vestiaire cater to #fashun’s general public, however, Display Copy and Disruptive Berlin lend themselves to fashion’s goth girls; those that favor sleek silhouettes and a darker color palette. These carefully curated edits feature garments from the same period of 1990s minimalism, designers with an avant-garde aesthetic, and plenty of black. This kind of wardrobe will stand the test of time and rejects any frivolous trend the industry throws at it. 

Over 90% of human communication is non-verbal. Body language and how we dress are part of the 90%. “Trends are collective consciousness,” explains Brynn. “A way of mirroring and connecting with each other at best, and a result of clever marketing, at worst.” One of the roles of Display Copy is to show people how they can participate in the latest trend without participating in fast fashion.

One quick glance at Brenda’s Instagram, and her personal style is evident. By only wearing two colors – black and white – everything in her closet matches, and she gets plenty of wear from every item. Brenda also gravitates towards versatility, often opting for items that you can alter, ensuring she doesn’t get bored of them. She understands that this kind of sustainable shopping is easier, or only possible, once you have discovered your own personal style. And even once you’ve discovered what works for you, you can still fall trap to trends. “I would love to think I wasn’t affected by [them] at all, but that would be a lie, says Brenda. “I see something every hour on Instagram that inspires me. But hopefully my closet is versatile enough that I can recreate every trend with items that I already own.”

Brenda also hopes that she makes at least a little difference by demonstrating to her audience how she consumes and treats her clothing, and that, “Maybe this slower way of consumption will catch on. The industry would make big changes if only their customers would care – simple supply and demand. Sounds pessimistic, but it’s my realistic view: brands would offer better solutions in terms of sustainability, if their sales were at risk. but they aren’t. For now, at least.”  

Sales may not be at risk, but the planet certainly is. As the fashion industry grows, so does its carbon impact regardless of the number of sustainable materials its uses. In order to prevent irreversible damage that will make much of the earth uninhabitable within the next 15 years, the fashion ecosystem must value and use what already exists and mitigate its carbon emissions. Brynn is trying to inspire people to think about style differently, “When people change their buying habits, prioritize pre-owned items in their wardrobes, and thus value what already exists, we can individually and collectively reduce our impact on the planet by activating a circular economy.”  

Brynn believes that the future of fashion is vintage, “The resale market is expected to surpass fast fashion by 2024 because more and more people are realizing the extent to which fast fashion contributes to climate change. There are more than enough options to update a wardrobe and look great by buying only vintage and there is more than enough raw material in the world to be upcycled, recycled and reimagined ad infinitum.”  

Brenda is hoping that the future calls for a return to personal style. An end to fake streetstyle, six seasons a year, and quantity over quality. “Vogue Italia’s recent series on [the] personal style of some amazing people was more interesting than any high fashion spread I’ve seen in the last few years,” she explains. “It got me really excited and gave me hope; because it meant that the demand was there for something like this.” 

Style is so personal, and everyone’s journey is so unique. Sustainable style is no different. Although it can be overwhelming to start on a more mindful path, Display Copy and Disruptive Berlin offer insight and inspiration into more conscious consumption through their archives into fashion’s storied past. And if it just so happens to be all-black-everything, all the better for it. 

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