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January 07, 2021 3 min read

Dominique Drakeford (@dominquedrakeford) is a thought-leader, environmental justice educator, social and cultural sustainability writer, youth development and community engagement advocate, an equity-based public speaker and a creative director is sustainable fashion.

She is the Founder of @MelaninASS, a digital interview based magazine briging 'MELANIN to the forefront of sustainable fashion, natural beauty, wellness and agriculture'. She is also the co-founder of  @sustainablebk and the co-host of  @kaleandcognac podcast.

Tell us about yourself!  

WOAH such a massive question, but I think the heartbeat of who I am is a young spirit and old soul that continuously evolving. As I continue to hone in on self development, my passion and presence continues to mold alongside it.

I wear many hats in the world of Black womanhood and sustainability, but I think, most importantly, I'm continuously weaving the strands of my past, present and future to truly build a new paradigm for how we see, understand and align with regenerative sustainability in a modern context.

With that being said, I'm fluid in my personal and professional work in the sense that sometimes I'm working on 100 projects at once and other times I force stillness to understand self and community. I'm an adventurer, a writer, a chess player, a role model, a community advocate, a style icon and most importantly a soon to be mom. 


How does MelaninASS bring together sustainability, fashion, beauty and wellbeing, and what does it aim to achieve? 

MelaninASS started because there was a very clear deficit in sustainable fashion story telling. The narrative lacked BIPOC communities throughout the media and throughout conversation of who were/have always been solutionist. 

I created MelaninASS initially as an online interview-based magazine blog (if you will) to fill that void. It also celebrates our eclectic role in sustainable fashion. It wasn't long before it evolved to beauty, wellness and land justice - as all of these categories are intertwined in the same ecosystem. 


Why is sustainable beauty and skincare important? 


Beauty has become such an interesting ideal to me. Now that I'm more ingrained in this work - I understand beauty very holistically and perhaps even abstractly.

Beauty embodies:

  • Food
  • Intellect
  • Well-being rituals
  • And more...

All of this reflects how you physically show up in the world. Skincare is literally just one small aspect of it.

It's important to understand that even skin is not just what you put on your skin... it's also what you eat, drink, how much you sleep, etc. I think a lot of folks are realising that so much of these 'categories' are no longer linear.

Our skin is the largest organ and it's literally sponge that communicate with us either immediately or over time. For me - my skin is an immediate communicator because it's so sensitive.

From fake/costume jewelry to harsh chemicals - my skin notifies if I'm not treating it in a sustainable manner - so sustainable skincare is crucial for me. Ingredients matter when developing a relationship with your body and of course - making sure that I'm supporting small business, Black and POC communities first and foremost is a priority to sustainable beauty and self/community care. 

As a consumer, what are some of your tips for being conscious and sustainable?

  • Language: consider yourself an investor instead of consumer. Changing the language means that you are investing in self, community, planetary health, etc.
  • Self Assessment: when can you make conscious and mindful changes? These type of behavioural changes require baby steps, and I believe that starts with evaluating where you have the agency and resources to make those changes. Understand your current access - geographically, social media wise, financially, community wise...and start there.
  • Research: lots of research in this now congested world of "sustainability" - I think social media is always a great initial tool where you can follow blogts, influencers, brands, etc that really resonate with you - especially considering the language and authentic inclusive behavior that being shown
  • Start by doing 1 thing: start by just doing one thing - Saying no to plastic bag, bringing your own tote bag to grocery shop, reusing a candle container, traveling with your own water bottle, purchasing 1 item from 1 brand that you've researched, donating to 1 community organization, planting one herb seed in the Spring, thrift shopping, saying no to a specific toxic brand that you've always shopped at ... there are so many ways to get started and then elevate. 

To find out more, follow her handles on IG (@dominquedrakeford; @MelaninASS@sustainablebk and @kaleandcognac) or check out her website (https://www.dominiquedrakeford.com/).


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