Alumnae/i Feature

Kennedy Smith '20 Uses Journalism to Promote Fashion Sustainability

Photo of alum Kennedy Smith

Alumna Kennedy Smith is a gifted writer with a passion for fashion. She spoke with us about her work for the online publication No Kill Mag and her commitment to eco-friendly clothing.

Tell us about the kind of work that you do.

I am a digital writer with an interest in fashion and popular culture. I research trends and current events in fashion and pop culture, as well as fashion history, and write a variety of journalistic articles about them, including opinion pieces and essays.

How did you become interested in journalism?

I was always interested in writing, particularly non-fiction writing. I loved writing academic essays in high school and college as well. I did social media work for a while and wrote shorter content, but I gradually gravitated toward blogs and longer form pieces that became professional publications.

I enjoy writing for a wide audience. People tend to think of fashion as a kind of niche and assume that you must have a prior interest in fashion to read about it, but I don’t think that is true. We all get dressed in the morning and everyone has their own personal style, even if they don’t realize it. There is also an educational aspect that I would like to bring to my readers, namely where our clothes come from and how they are made.

I love to read articles myself and it’s wonderful that in the digital age there is so much accessible, open-access content that people can find to entertain and educate themselves. I am gratified to be a journalist who can provide free content to anyone who is interested, and contribute to the democratization of knowledge.

How does No Kill Mag differ in its mission and scope from other fashion and popular culture magazines?

I love this magazine because it is so unique. Most fashion magazines overwhelm readers/viewers with harmful body image and singular ideals of beauty. No Kill Mag differs in that it is very inclusive.

No Kill Mag is also committed to sustainability in the fashion industry. Traditional fashion can pollute the environment, and often depends on harmful chemicals. The content in No Kill Mag teaches readers about the relationship between fashion and the environment, and also communicates how fashion can be creative and versatile while still being eco-friendly.

I love being able to educate readers about fashion sustainability. For instance, readers should know that certain types of fabrics, such as polyesters and other synthetic fabrics, are very harmful to the environment. Their manufacturing processes involve chemicals that can get into the water and harm animals and humans. Natural, organic fabrics like wools and cottons are much better for the environment and the human body. They also last longer and can be recycled.

It is also wonderful for my written work in No Kill Mag to be accompanied by images that feature diverse body types and ethnicities. In addition to promoting eco-friendly fashions, it is important for me to highlight women who make clothes under safe, ethical working conditions and receive fair wages. Fashion should be fun and cruelty-free at the same time.

Why did you choose to attend Simmons?

Although I am a Chicago native, I have always loved the east coast. Attending a liberal arts college was also important to me, and I believed that Simmons would give me a well-rounded education. I realized that the professors and curriculum at Simmons would be able to guide and mentor me and help me figure out what my niche would be. Simmons faculty members were immensely supportive in my journey.

How did your Simmons education prepare you for your line of work?

At Simmons, I was a double major in Women’s and Gender Studies and Studio Art. Writing college essays was instrumental in developing my skillset as a journalist. Looking back, the media bootcamp writing class with Professor Erica Moura was a huge help. This was my first introduction to journalism, and we learned the specifics of Associated Press style and how to address a large audience.

What advice do you have for students who wish to pursue a similar career?

I encourage students to write. You can keep a journal or join a creative writing group or online writing community. This will help you develop your skillset and identify your passion. No matter what, keep writing.

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