FIELD NOTES

Whitney Bauck

Meetings

Around 84% percent of world is said to have “faith,” an impressive statistic with ambiguous meaning. After all, the many synonyms for faith include conviction, loyalty, piety and orthodoxy. And the something or someone to which this faith is tied ranges from gods and politicians to science and moon cycles. “At its core,” a Quora article declares, “faith is just seeing possibility. It’s seeing that a value you hope for could potentially be or become [more] real.”

Journalist Whitney Bauck’s faith is linked to fashion or, rather, the realization that “faith and fashion were rarely mentioned in the same breath, but that there are a ton of intersections between the two.” This epiphany prompted Whitney to found Unwrinkling, a blog that “exists to engage fashion in a way that doesn’t embarrass God or thinking people.” Now through her work as an assistant editor at Fashionista, Whitney explores everything from the merits of Made-in-Africa brands to the resurgence of veils amongst millennial Catholics. Together, her oeuvre underscores an uncompromising belief in fashion that respects the Earth and its inhabitants — a theology to which we also subscribe, and that we hope becomes more real.

Meet Whitney.

Calder Pant.

Why is fashion a powerful political force?

Something like one in seven people, globally, work in the fashion industry and supply chain, and it has a massive impact on the planet. So it’s powerful simply by virtue of how many people and places it touches. Add to that the fact that it’s increasingly being consumed more like entertainment, than like a necessity, and you have something with incredible force to shape perspectives. Luckily, it’s an industry that includes some of the most passionate, creative people in the world, so the potential for good is considerable.

An important documentary.

The most important article you have written?

Are you telling me to choose between my children?! I truly don’t know. Let’s go with one of my favorites of the past six months.

The last article you forwarded.

If you could relive one day in your life, what would it be?

Any day I spent at the Pinto Art Museum in Manila, Philippines.

What advice would you give your 13-year-old self?

I would honestly rather she gave me advice! I guess I’d just tell her to keep prioritizing alone time and to savor every moment she gets with her best friend.

Your favorite place on earth.

Your favorite Instagram post.

What is your most irresistible vice?

Men who read too much philosophy for their own good.

The last thing that made you laugh.

Summer or winter?

Summer. I love the beginning of every new season, but I need summer in an existential way.

Mountains or ocean?

Ocean. I was raised in a country made up of 7,000 islands, so the beach was a home away from home.

A necessary extravagance.

A film world you would like to visit.

A Spring song.

A screenshot of a note on your phone.

How do you define faith?

Faith is belief in what you can’t see and living with the conviction that there are things bigger than yourself that matter.

How do you define success?

Success is finding a way to do what you believe in for the rest of your life.

The last petition you signed.

How does the fashion industry need to evolve?

It needs to become more conscious of the environmental and human rights costs of overconsumption, and it needs to become more inclusive in its depictions of what beauty and desirability look like.

A song that describes your mood today.

What fashion looks like in the future.

Something you would put in a time capsule.

What are the top five things an individual can do to support ethical fashion?

1. Educate yourself and those around you. 2. Buy less and shop secondhand or from ethical brands when you do buy. 3. Take care of the garments you already have. 4. Engage community — organize clothing swaps, attend events hosted by Fashion Revolution or other fair-fashion non-profits, and be vocal in your circles of influence (whether online or IRL) about why you think ethical fashion is important. 5. Push for systemic change by supporting legislators who are prioritizing environmental conservation and laborer protections.

A quote to live by...

If you’re still thinking about it, it’s probably worth the risk.

How do you say goodbye?

With a lot of tears.

Follow Whitney in her exploration of fashion, ethics and faith.

Imagery provided by subject or photographed by Luca Venter.

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