This holiday season, 360 Magazine had the chance to converse with up and coming sustainable designer and entrepreneur Jerry Buckner. Read our interview below, as well as about the brand, based in Atlanta
1. What was your defining moment regarding understanding the impact of the fashion industry on the environment?
My defining moment… After reading the report “A New Textiles Economy: Redesigning Fashion’s Future,” I realized two things; first, I tied success to wastefulness and secondly it didn’t matter what fight I was fighting, gay, black, growing up disadvantaged… none of it mattered if there wasn’t a planet with conditions healthy enough for the good fight to be won. I realized at the end of the day the throne means nothing because winter is coming.
2. What are your thoughts on the rise of the “eco-conscious” shopper? Is it a fad?
I think it’s going to take a complete dismantling and a rise is not the same as an overthrowing. Is it a fad? The better question would be can we afford another fad if it is?
3. Is eco-conscious retail inherently a luxury?
No not at all. When we know better we do better. Moreover, then we are more likely to do what is right. I’ve had the opportunity through my company Jerrimiah James to outfit men and women in pieces that they could otherwise not afford and here is how. When I select pieces from the closets of friends who have the luxury of shopping extensively I share with them the cost paid for these pieces to wind up in their closets unworn. It’s not about guilt its about empowering clients to share for the planet’s sake.
4. How has the Atlanta community responded to the venture?
It could not be better received. I’ve been asked to speak on the radio, participate in panel discussions, held a call to action event and have also gained the support of many Atlanta Influencers. I still have a long way to go before I have catapulted Atlanta to the forefront of the global fashion industry’s sustainability concern, but with continued support from the city in my endeavor to bring a“wear”ness to this issue I am confident I will make the experience of resale and rental a more desirable experience
5. Where do you see yourself and your company in five years?
In the next five years I see myself as a prominent voice and force in circularity in retail as well as an advocate for transparency in fashion, and for policy that does not allow for the creation of a product at the expense of the creator, that is planet earth.
6. Who are your style heroes?
It’s a privilege to wear the clothes, attend the parties, and meet the men and women instrumental in the Fashion culture. I’m grateful. If clothing brings us together then there must be enough minds in this group to solve the problems caused by the production of it. My style heroes are the men and women, shoppers and creative directors, courageous enough to go against the flock. Brands like Stella McCartney, Brother Vellies, Reformation, Grailed, and Toms.
JERRIMIAH JAMES LAUNCHED AS ECO-CONSCIOUS RETAILER AIMING TO SPREAD A “WEAR” NESS
Buckner, founder of Jerrimiah James, has been in the fashion industry for over 10 years and has navigated the realm of high-end retail, moving within circles of influence and affluence. While outfitting the lifestyles of an upscale clientele including entrepreneurs, high profile actors, actresses, models, music artists and well-known athletes, Buckner gained an acute awareness of the connection between a steady increase in sales of designer garments and the subsequent discarding of those garments. Buckner realized how significantly a “single-use” wardrobe item contributes to the global waste problem. The textile industry, Buckner discovered, uses an incredible volume of non-renewable resources to produce clothing that is eventually lost to landfill and incineration. Additionally, nearly 93 billion cubic meters of water annually and 20% of global industrial water pollution can be attributed to the dyeing and treatment of textile products.
The over-consumption and underutilization of clothing led to Buckner’s founding of Jerrimiah James which creates a new standard for conscientious consumers by providing the opportunity for luxury shopping resale and rental. As a membership resale and rental fashion service, Jerrimiah James caters to Atlanta-based influencers, artists and creatives. This format emphasizes garment sharing through a platform that introduces a meeting of both the minds and style.
“I had never given it thought before and, that was concerning because I find that the things that often cause the most damage are the things that we do thoughtlessly. Our vision of a planet as beautiful as the fashion we wear is a real possibility if we bridge the gap by creating circularity in our use of apparel,” states Buckner. “Circularity is the new black!”
Through this peer-to-peer e-commerce wardrobe platform, Buckner introduces the street fashion individual and environmental enthusiast, an opportunity for consumers to choose the pieces that will make the experience a lasting one and a sustainable solution for the planet.
In 2020 Jerrimiah James was named as a finalist in The Fashion Group International’s 24th Annual Rising Star Awards’ “New Retail Concept” category.