Former Brookhaven editor makes sustainability fashionable

Sustainable practices come in many shapes and sizes and a former student shows sustainable fashion can make a difference one garment at a time.

Photo+of+Carmina+Tiscareno

Desiree Gutierrez

Carmina Tiscareno shows off some of the great items that can be found at Elea de Leon Vintage and Handmade boutique. She recommends those inspired to pursue sustanaible fashion shop at local stores like the Elia de Leon boutique to create inspired, unique and environmentally conscious outfits.

Desiree Gutierrez, Managing Editor

Runway lights bounce off sleek black boots paired with a timeless black miniskirt. A camel-colored crew neck paired with an iconic camel blazer top off the look of Dallas blogger and journalist Carmina Tiscareño. The fashionista appears ready for the runway as opposed to an attendee. However, this fashion maven’s must-have outfit cannot be identically replicated. Apart from her footwear, the entire outfit was thrifted.  

“Fashion, pero make it sustainable” is Tiscareño’s motto for her blog, Mina Del Tex. She prides herself in advocating for sustainable fashion and has made a name for herself in Dallas as an educator for sustainability with a stylish twist.  

“Sustainable queen,” Pat Arreguin, Dallas Public Library Earth Day Every Day virtual event host, said when describing Tiscareño in an Instagram comment. 

“She knows building a sustainable closet and getting started can be daunting and overwhelming,” Helen Dulac, environmental coordinator for the city of Dallas, said. 

FASHIONISTA IN THE MAKING 

Tiscareño’s love of fashion awakened in high school. It was during that time she began to decipher her taste and sharpen her eye for distinguished style. 

Tiscareño quickly took the stance that the low-rise bottoms, mismatched layers of clothing and denim overload fashion trends of the 2000s were not for her. More importantly, another issue arose for Tiscareño that she could not ignore. 

“I always had this feeling like fashion is cool, but something is a bit off,” Tiscareño said. Sustainability began to be embedded into her morals and values as she paired her fashion intrigue with her membership at her school’s recycling club. Unconsciously, she was already practicing sustainability in fashion through trading and borrowing clothing with friends and classmates during high school. 

Tiscareño dreamed of pursuing fashion in higher education. As a first-generation college student, Tiscareño had no idea where to start. The schools she researched were in New York, and without direction Tiscareño put that thought on the backburner. Her way into the fashion world would begin through a different professional route.  

THAT PERSON WHO WRITES 

“I grew up in a household where we spoke Spanish, so I wasn’t sure, but [I wondered] who are those people who write,” Tiscareño said. “Maybe I could do that and hopefully get to write about fashion.”  

This hope manifested into reality for Tiscareño at the Dallas College Brookhaven Campus Courier newsroom.  

Tiscareño began as a staff writer for The Brookhaven Courier in the Fall 2013 semester. Her first fashion article was published in November 2013. The following semester, Tiscareño was named new media and fashion editor.  

“This was right when social media was blowing up,” Tiscareño said. “Reporters were finally using social media to share news content.”  

With the rise of social media, Tiscareño entered a realm that allowed her passion to blossom. Her experience at The Courier pioneering social media as a partner to news content would set the stage for her future development. 

Tiscareño took her experience from The Courier and transferred to The University of Texas Arlington where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in Mexican American and Latino studies. 

MINA DEL TEX 

It was through the window social media afforded her that Tiscareño began to unravel the problematic conditions of the fashion industry.  

“I’ve always tried to be mindful of the environment so just reading the facts like how much pollution the fashion industry costs and the conditions of the garment workers and the payment that they get, it was like, ‘Whoa, there are ways for me not to contribute to that,’” Tiscareño said.  

Tiscareño launched her personal blog, Mina Del Tex, in 2015 where she focused on promoting sustainable fashion. With the aid of social media, Tiscareño was able to expand her fact-based knowledge of the impact fast fashion has on the environment. 

“My kind of shopping I would say is slower than most people’s,” Tiscareño said. One of her sustainability tips she endorses for environmentally conscious buyers is to use what they have and refrain from unnecessary shopping when transitioning to a sustainable fashion lifestyle.  

On her blog, social media platforms and presentations, Tiscareño promotes slow fashion. Tiscareño defines slow fashion as the concept of rejecting consumeristic impulses and embracing a slower mindful model of consumerism.  

The consumer model of slow fashion opposes fast fashion. Fast fashion made its mark on the fashion industry in 1989 when retailer Zara caused shockwaves as they gloated about successfully creating a new design and delivering it to stores within 15 days, according to a 1989 article in The New York Times. This would be the birth of daily arrivals and manufacturing practices that are marketed voraciously in today’s market.  

During a presentation hosted by the Dallas Public Library where Tiscareño was the key speaker, she provided attendees with four steps for sustainable fashion: shop less, really think about purchases, do what works for you, and remember that you do not have to buy anything to transition to a sustainable fashion lifestyle. 

FASHION REVOLUTION 

When she is not working her day job as a digital media producer for Al Día Dallas, a Spanish news publication by The Dallas Morning News, Tiscareño continues to dedicate her time to researching sustainable fashion practices to enhance her knowledge.  

With the cancellation of in-person events in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Tiscareño found a silver lining. She was able to attend the United Kingdom based Fashion Revolution’s virtual fashion week in 2020. 

“Fashion revolution calls for greater transparency, sustainability, and ethics in the fashion industry,” Tiscareño said.  

Fashion Revolution is an organization founded in the wake of the Rana Plaza disaster on April 24, 2013. During the Rana Plaza disaster, a garment factory building in Bangladesh collapsed killing 1,100 people and injuring 2,500.  It is the fourth largest industrial disaster in history. Tiscareno highlights the Rana Plaza building collapse in her presentations to educate on sustainable fashion.  

Fashion Revolution fashion week occurs annually during the week that coincides with April 24, the anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster. 

During Fashion Revolution fashion week, the organization promotes and provokes action-oriented awareness practices that promote solution focused results within the industry. 

“In the future I would love to have an event in Dallas like Fashion Revolution fashion week,” Tiscareño said. Her dreams for the event include an inclusive environment that partners with students and local designers generating a space that will introduce and promote  sustainable fashion. 

FASHION, PERO MAKE IT SUSTAINABLE 

Tiscareño has proven repeatedly that embracing a sustainable consumer model does not mean that consumers must give up the latest trends.  

“A lot of people think that liberal fashion is boring and not stylish,” Tiscareño said. This is a common misconception. 

Tiscareño suggests consumers look into local independent designers. Shops like By Elia de Leon incorporate colorful stylish trends into their designs using upcycled and sustainable materials.  

Tiscareño warns to be wary of greenwashing. Tiscareño says brands are taking advantage of the growth of the sustainable fashion movement and jumping on the bandwagon by claiming they are green. According to an article in Investopedia, Greenwashing is the act of misleading consumers that the designer or company is embracing environmentally sound practices.  

Tiscareño recommends consumers curate a social media feed by following independent designers, sustainable fashion advocates and organizations that promote environmental consciousness. 

Tiscareño herself can be seen on her Instagram page staying true to her motto by advocating for sustainability and remaining stylish and on trend in her trademark blazers.