We had the good fortune of connecting with Jacqueline Carrillo and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jacqueline, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
After working in the fashion industry for nearly a decade, I was witness to (as well as a victim myself) to numerous labor code violations. Working 7 days a week, for months at a time, with no overtime pay. Bounced paychecks. No health benefits. Often working without lunch breaks. Being on-call 24/7 to my job at the time. Of course, part of this was my fault for not enforcing better boundaries with work, but because of the extreme competition within the industry, I felt I had no choice but to suck it up and pay my dues, not fully realizing I was enabling a horrible practice.
The fashion industry is infamous for its historically poor treatment of its labor force, and thanks to documentaries like The True Cost (2015), people outside of the industry are starting to understand the full impact of the fashion industry not only on the people working within it but the harmful effects it is having on the planet.
I saw a way to potentially make the industry better by creating an eco-friendly unisex streetwear brand, PLANETARY ASYLUM, that is produced here in the United States.
In terms of lofty, long-term plans, the brand for me is just the beginning. It has been a dream of mine to create my own vertically-integrated factory where I can produce my own designs as well as offer design/ production services to other local brands that prioritize ethical labor and sustainable fashion. I also hope to blend this dream with my background as a fashion educator in some way by evolving to offer training programs, similar to what Kathleen Fasanella does with her Fashion Incubator boot camps.
It is hard to ignore the enormous amount of immigrant labor the fashion industry relies upon to create the clothing we wear every day. It is also hard to ignore the way immigrants are treated in this country, especially those from Latin America and Asia, two large and diverse groups I have encountered while working in the fashion industry, and two groups I am hoping to help at least in the tiny ways a small, slow-fashion brand like mine can.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Nothing makes me more excited than participating in the disruption of fast fashion and going against nearly everything I was taught about the industry while in fashion school.
Making the industry more accessible, more size-inclusive, more diverse, more eco-friendly, and more focused on ethical labor is what motivates me.
In addition to the line of eco-friendly printed apparel that I am offering, one thing that I am developing is a collection of modular clothing where a customer can invest in a couple of garments that can be updated with interchangeable pieces from each subsequent collection.
For so long, I think fashion has been about telling people what to wear or how to wear things, but with PLANETARY ASYLUM, I want my customers to feel like I am giving them endless options that are worth the investment and adapt to their changing lifestyle while also positively impacting the fashion industry and the planet.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would take the health nuts to hike the Beaudry Loop Trail and get celebratory drinks and lunch at Salazar or Mazal. Then, we’d hit all of the amazing local vendor markets we could find, like the Black Market Flea. We’d go to a casual dinner at Pura Vita before hitting any warehouse party that @TechnoidsLA, @SingularityLA, @Fixvtion, or @Club_Fallout is hosting. We’d recover the next day by sleeping in the sun at Hermosa Beach.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
While I am a one-woman show, there are so many people to thank when it comes to the work that I produce, and I would be lost without my support system.
I owe massive “thank yous” to my parents, my husband, Ebany Diaz and the @TechnoidsLA family, Jenna Kyle (@jennakyleworld), Alex Castañeda (@deviantbehavior.la), Selene Saavedra (@serenespring), David Watkins, Ruben Jimenez (@mentor_band), Carla Westcott, Laaleh Mizani, and the Squid Inc. Collective.
Alex Castañeda (@deviantbehavior.la), Jenna Kyle (@jennakyleworld), Mathew Kilivris (@skillivris)