Exuberant cherry earrings and cartoon toadstool ring belts are found in the eccentric corners of MINDFLOWERS, created by designer/owner Olivia Cupp. She focuses her groovy accessories brand around consciousness and duty, and also holds these standards for herself. “My sister, who
On top of using our own waste, we plan to pair up with other businesses to collect their plastic waste and form it into something new. From the beginning of our business, this has always been the goal, just a bit of a journey to get there,” Cupp explained.
is twelve years older than me, worked in international development in third world/developing nations. I was exposed to the horrible reality of not only fast fashion, but
With the feats that brands like MINDFLOWERS have taken towards an
“Sustainability is a multi-faceted term...”
ethical future, it is frustrating to see that larger, more funded companies are morally retreating. “Greenwashing is such an unfortunate outcome of the push for ethical and sustainable fashion, but it really isn’t surprising. Money is obviously a priority for any business, but is it balanced with an ethical ethos? For most fast-fashion brands it isn’t, and many of them don’t plan on changing that if it affects their number one goal-money,” Cupp said. “Therefore, greenwashing is the next best thing; make consumers believe that they have changed their ways by hiding other shady activities behind a facade of eco-products.” Sustainability is a multi-faceted term for Cupp. “A brand is ethical and sustainable if every decision they make keeps that ethos in mind. Who is affected by these business decisions? Is it positive or negative? This can be as simple as working with models and photographers. Are you paying them, or at least giving them trade? Do you have unpaid interns, and if so, what are they getting in return for their work? I’ve found that so many small businesses that label themselves as ethical and sustainable forget these smaller things, and the ethical mindset stops after production,” Cupp explained.
mass consumption in the food and candy industries. In fifth grade, I was protesting wearing Nike and eating Hershey’s Chocolate at my private school of fifty kids, and a lot of them started listening. They may not have changed their minds right away, but they definitely learned something they may not have until it hit mass media years later,” Cupp explained. A fashion design graduate of Columbia College in Chicago, Cupp focused her studies on ethics and sustainability, building her own brand during her senior year using new technology such as laser cutting. Cupp’s main medium is acrylic, or PMMA plastic, which she recognizes for its good and its bad. “We use all recycled packaging and source all our supplies from local and/ or ethical businesses in the U.S. We try to buy recycled acrylic when possible, but have developed other methods to offset our use of plastic. Instead of throwing the material out, I actually have kept every single scrap since the first time I ever laser cut. Since we’re a relatively new company, I am still in the process of building the capital necessary for our next phase of sustain- ability. This would include the machinery capable of allowing me to take all of my scraps and press them into sheets to use, or even new creations.
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