The Consistency Project designs reworked clothing for all genders based on comfort, versatility, and style. Founded by Natasha Halesworth, who now lives in Hawaii with her family, TCP excels at bridging the gap between fashion and sustainability. They’re known for vibrant patterns and shapes created from existing deadstock and leftover pieces of fabric and clothing, creating new things out of the old.
Tell us about how you started The Consistency Project - when did it start and how has it changed over time to now?
It started as a blog back in 2014 highlighting other individuals and their connection to clothing in relation to travel. I believed that when we packed for our travels, we discovered (and leaned towards) the pieces in our closet that were actually functional, versatile and comfortable. These were the pieces we wore the most. This was important to reflect upon as our society became obsessed with mass consumption.
TCP started as a side project allowing me to explore my interest in fashion as I never really got a chance to make a career out of it. I started to learn more about the dirty secrets of fast fashion and then it clicked--Choosing secondhand can truly make a difference. At that point I knew I wanted to do everything I could to inspire others to choose secondhand when they can. TCP has evolved a lot and I know we’ll continue to evolve.
How have you adapted as a small business to the pandemic?
We went from having a retail shop in Brooklyn to transitioning online as many businesses were forced to do. However, the blessing in disguise was the shift to re-worked clothing born out of our inability to source second hand as easily. When you’re constantly hustling with a retail shop or selling at markets, there is little time for art of making.
When I found myself home 24/7, I turned to my sewing machine and haven’t looked back. It’s been a great growing process for us as a brand, and we hope to make even more of an impact within the fashion industry by changing the way people view secondhand when it comes to production of “new.”
What does sustainability mean to you as a business owner? What pushes you to have this as part of your business?
Sustainability means being a part of a bigger picture and contributing to the greater whole. This meaning not only pertains to me on a personal level and how I live my life, raise my daughter or how I carry myself to a standard of values, but also in how I approach running my business. It is about how we operate behind closed doors, and how we contribute to the industry at large. Sustainability is about balance. The constant ups and downs, pushing and pulling, giving and taking. We spend so much of our life “working” that it pushes me to constantly question why I’m doing what I’m doing, and how I’m bringing something positive to the table. I keep the mentality of “It’s not about “me”, it’s about us.”
There are a lot of small businesses now that use greenwashing to their marketing advantage - how do you feel about that and how do you try to avoid that in your own brand?
A lot of people don’t realize that greenwashing really downplays the actual issues and complications that exist in our industry and society at large. Greenwashing creates this facade that sustainability or being ethical can be effortless when in actuality it is extremely difficult to operate sustainably and is never achieved with just one initiative or campaign. A lot of larger brands make and market very small changes that yes, does make a difference because of their scale but really doesn’t scratch the surface when it comes to the systemic change that is needed.
We’ve navigated and avoided the traps of greenwashing by just staying authentic to our values and enjoying a challenge. Greenwashing is the easy road. We’re not one to take the easy road or we wouldn't have gotten into this business of rework and secondhand. ;)
What are some of the challenges of being a working mom?
Time!! But such is the challenge for everyone even when some may not realize it? Time is so precious and it is something we take for granted. It is a challenge to split my time between two things in life that I love dearly, but I try to constantly find that balance.
I often feel guilty for choosing to work when I can. Does it make me a bad mother? Of course not. At the same time it’s hard not to feel that way. I think this is an internal battle and challenge that many working mothers face.
In the end, we are raising the future, and children are so impressionable, so I try to remember that parental role in life I’ve taken by choice. It is such an important role that I can’t take for granted. It puts things into perspective to get me through the hard days and all I can hope is Nelly learns what it means to work hard towards what you believe in.
Where do you see TCP in five years?
The secondhand industry has changed drastically since we’ve started so in five years who knows what will be happening! But also, we look at a lot of the issues we’re facing as a society and I ask myself, is history just repeating itself?! Have we not learned anything?!
So in five years, I hope TCP will actually be an example of change or at least a consistent example of advocacy for change. I see us innovating new industry standards and bringing to light new ways secondhand is perceived. I hope we continue to evolve and adapt for the better.
What are three books, podcasts or articles that everyone should read on climate justice or environmentalism?
Wow. I am HORRIBLE when it comes to reading materials. This is actually a goal of mine to be better as I realize I need to take time for myself once in a while so I’m taking suggestions on Goodreads But a few sources that I turn to on a consistent basis are the article recaps from GoBlu’s newsletter and the other is Slow Factory. Both are very much “real-time” sources and reads, which is how I need to operate with little to no quiet time in my days.