Founder Profile: Katie Pruett, Editor-in-Chief of Ethical Style Journal - San Antonio
Hey Katie! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Katherine, but I go by Katie. I am the founder and editor-in-chief of Ethical Style Journal, a sustainable fashion magazine; and a mom to a vivacious three-year-old named Castle.
What is your background (i.e. education, previous jobs, experiences that led you to create)?
I have always enjoyed the storytelling experience, be it in films, poetry, or articles. I studied film and digital media in college, which is where I got my first taste of writing via screenplays. From there, I worked as a video editor at a local news station and became very interested in concise storytelling; getting all the details in just 30 seconds or less, with very few words. I developed a real love for writing and started freelance writing for Natural Awakenings Magazine which led me to my job as a copywriter and editor at The University of Texas at San Antonio. It was once I left my position there, that I realized I wanted to write about ethical and sustainable fashion. It’s been an enlightening experience. I love what we do!
What does your relationship with ethical fashion look like? How has it grown and changed?
For me, it’s about doing everything I can to contribute to a healthier fashion industry. I make decisions both personally and professionally (with the magazine) to see this through. It started out with me looking for sustainable, vegan shoes, and has morphed into me thinking beyond the materials and about how fashion is linked to so many environmental and social justice issues that we can talk about, and hopefully change.
When did you begin Ethical Style Journal and what is the mission behind it?
I started Ethical Style Journal in 2016. Our first digital issue was released in November of that year. The mission was, and still is, to inspire people to shop more consciously. I knew that a platform, such as a digital and print magazine, that focuses exclusively on ethical and sustainable fashion would do that. And so far, our readers seem to really be enjoying it—and rethinking how they participate in fashion.
What can readers expect to find in your journals? How do you create the content for the magazine - is it through contributors, staff, freelancers?
Beautiful fashion made by brands that we trust and love, and lots of inspiring words and stories. The word I’ve heard used the most by our readers to describe the magazine is enlightening.
I start brainstorming about content for each issue around eight months before we start working on the issue. I run my ideas by our managing editor, and I usually have contributors (creative directors, photographers, writers) in mind. Together, we produce each one with the intent that it will be better than the previous one.
As a printed publication, what have you learned about the logistics of printing the magazine and getting it to your customers?
Printing is expensive, and the numbers really have to make sense and we have to be smart each time we go to our printer with a new job. At the current level, printing is more about us getting the word out about our magazine than it is about profiting. Having a hard copy of Ethical Style Journal has really helped establish us as a publication and has put us on the map. I’m grateful for that!
Who are a few ethical brands that are standing out to you right now?
I’m obsessed with Fauxgerty and Matter Prints right now!
What makes you passionate about what you do?
Knowing that the current way of doing fashion, with poor wages and working conditions, has to change is what motivated me to start down this path and is one of the main things that keeps me going.
Do you have a dream collaboration?
I recently came across Paolo Mathe, founder of Fanm Djanm, and I love how colorful her photography is. I’d love to collaborate with her. There are too many others to list, but she’s one of them!
What are some of the setbacks or challenges you face with your work?
Honestly, we still have a lot of fashion brands that tell us “no.” They can’t send items for photo shoots because they don’t have the inventory, or they don’t see working with us in that way as a good fit. That’s always heartbreaking when we have certain brands and looks in mind, but we keep it moving. Everything works out in the end.
At The Glossary, we believe in women working together and helping one another. Why do you think it is important for women to support each other?
Because women literally are the glue that holds everything together. When we come together, there’s simply nothing that we cannot accomplish. Personally, I find it to be so validating when a sister tells me I’m amazing and that she sees me. I respond so well to encouraging words from other women. Their words are invaluable.
What creative women do you find inspiring?
I’m inspired by Safia Elhillo’s poetry. I love Aditi Mayer’s writing and photography. Artist and graphic designer, Brittany Loar, is such a creative force and I am a huge fan. Also, each of these ladies are so delightful to work with!
Do you have any resources that have been helpful to you that we should know of?
Yes. I have a few online platforms and publications that I think are great. Melanin & Sustainable Style, Crwn Magazine, and Selva Beat. Also, the Good On You App has been useful in getting quick information on brands with high ratings on ethics. I also used to be a member of Ethical Writers and Creatives and found that to be a great network for me as I was starting out.
How do you deal with moments of self-doubt?
Much of the magazine’s content is there to speak to us during those moments self-doubt, which we all have from time to time. When I’m feeling doubtful and unsure about my purpose, I just think of some of my favorite quotes in the latest issue.
What are you trying to learn right now or what is something that you are wanting to learn?
How to let go. I’ve been doing so much of the work for the magazine for so long, that it is challenging to let someone else come in and take over; be it creative direction or styling. I’m learning to take a step back from things in order to allow these transitions to occur so that the magazine can continue to grow and be better!
What are some of your favorite places in Austin + San Antonio?
Well, I currently live in San Antonio, so I’ll share some of my favorite places here and in Austin. I love going down to the Pearl to walk along the river. It’s lush and green, and there’s a beautiful combination of historic architecture, newer structures, and nature. It’s lovely. I also love treating myself to acai bowls at Rise Up on Broadway. I am obsessed with the San Antonio Botanical Gardens. Come visit and you’ll see why! In Austin, well, I love Bouldin Creek Café because they have a vegan Blueberry Lavender Pie that is to die for…seriously! I also love hanging out in East Austin and Zilker, and I used to love walking around the Clarksville neighborhood of West Austin It’s just such a beautiful area.
What's coming up next for ESJ?
Look out for our Fall/Winter issue, coming this December!