How To “Slay Responsibly” With Zavier Clark

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#SlayingResponsibly is more than a hashtag; it is a mindset.

 

The concept was bred out of a to include self-care practices into my consumption habits as an individual. As a Black, plus-size, queer, nonbinary person who often consumes luxury products, I felt like I was not the picture-perfect example of what the industry was looking for. This was highly toxic and made me have much self-doubt and participate in many unsustainable practices financially, ethically, and mentally. Thus, in November of 2018, Slaying Responsibly was born and converted to a hashtag in early 2020. The concept is multifaceted and hinged on five central principles: mental health, financial health, sustainability (personal and communal), inclusive diversity, and fashion activism. Each of these principles is central because they speak to the need to understand what a person is contributing to for themselves and others on a personal and communal level.

 

Principle #1 Mental Health

When Slaying Responsibly was first bred, an area that I was sorely lacking on was mental health practices. I had fallen into the trap of seeing what other influencers wore, bought, and looked like, and I began to compare myself with them ad nauseam. This led to my self-esteem and self-confidence starting to plummet. Yet, when I created Slaying Responsibly, I began focusing on how you consume and portray self-actualization that centers on mental health. I started to understand that many of the things I see on social media and in the fashion world are not necessarily real. Influencers often are gifted items and are not buying things weekly because they bulk create content. This helped me to understand that the constant comparison of myself was not helpful or productive but a hindrance to my mental health. 

Furthermore, I began to start embracing body positivity and respect as a plus-size person during this time. I started to understand that being ashamed of my body did nothing for me or others. Through Slay Responsibly, I began to center that self-image matters only to the extent that it empowers you. So often we are consumed by how others look and dress that we forget that we are much more than those surface-level attributes. Slay Responsibly via the principle of mental health centers that a person’s worth is not the sum of what they have or how they look, but how they feel when at their best. Never let what you have or how you look be detrimental to your mental health because you are more than enough. 

 

Principle #2 Financial Health

In line with the principle of mental health, financial health centers on effectuating health financial practices as it relates to what you consume. When my mental health was awry, so was my financial health. I constantly bought things that I did not need or genuinely wanted to keep up with trends and feel included in the fashion community. Yet, the funny thing is that I would have never been included because my buying practices were not authentic, and it was very visible.

Principle #1 and principle #2 are innately intertwined because we often do not realize how our mental health impacts our financial health and vice versa. What you buy can significantly impact how you feel or think about fashion. Without authentic buying habits and playing of attack, it can negatively affect you financially and mentally. Thus, Slaying Responsibly seeks to unpack and help individuals critically think about their financial health as consumers, no matter how big or small their purchase history is. 

 

Principle #3 Sustainability

Slaying Responsibly is significantly rooted in sustainability on a personal and communal level. Slaying Responsibly speaks to how a person can make self-sustaining choices on the individual level. It allows a person to be attuned to things they need in their lives and what they do not. Often, we overconsume or do not have a strategy as to why we consume things. Living in excess is not sustainable for yourself, and Slaying Responsibly helps individuals understand how to critically think about why, when, and where to consume products from. 

Conversely, Slaying Responsibly helps individuals understand how their consumer practices can be unsustainable for the larger community they are a part of. Individuals encourage others to consume, where a person articulates that it is okay to shop from, and how much a person consumes can adversely affect their community. This is especially true for influencers like myself.

Often, we show others where we got things and where we purchase from. It is vital that we understand the sustainability of our actions. Encouraging people to consume from fast-fashion brands or even overly consume/resell from thrift stores is not sustainable. It is important to understand the effects of shopping on the greater community a person is a part of, both physically and virtually. 

 

Principle #4 Inclusive-Diversity

One of the most important principles within the umbrella of Slaying Responsibly is understanding the diversity, equity, inclusion, and access (DEIA) practices you are taking. Are you supporting only brands with white influencers? Do you know the history of the brand? Do you know who else the brand is funding? What is the racial breakdown of the companies you support? How do you show up for causes on and off social media? Questions like these are vital to becoming inclusively diverse in your practice as a consumer.

As consumers, we have a duty to make sure that the issues, companies, and people we support are not problematic and harmful in nature. This means that we must do research, ask challenging questions, and pay attention to the details as consumers. It is not enough to predicate that you care about DEIA on social media if that does not extend to your real-life and those around you. 

 

Principle #5 Fashion Activism

Finally, the last principle of Slaying Responsibly is a pledge that those who want to “Slay Responsibly” need to take on––being a fashion activist. Fashion activism is crucial to Slaying Responsibly because it articulates that a person will not just consume fashion but take on an activist mindset when they participate in fashion. Fashion impacts everyone daily– no matter if they want it or not. Thus, as the world is impacted by issues like Black Lives Matter, LGBTQIA+ rights, environmental racism issues, reproductive rights, global warming, etc., fashion in how it is created, consumed, and what it predicates must be examined. People must understand that fashion is not one-dimensional, and sometimes we must get out of our comfort zones to positively affect the world around us. Fashion is innately political and social in nature, do not let that be forgotten through our actions as consumers. 

Slaying Responsibly through its principles wants people to become more conscious and critical consumers. Not to enjoy fashion any less, but to understand it more. Fashion is powerful and can affect the world around us either positively or negatively, depending on how we consume it. So, how will you Slay Responsibly today––and forevermore?

 

Updated, December 23, 2021.

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