Have you ever stumbled across someone's Instagram account and immediately wanted to just like, hang out? That's how we felt when we first connected with Montreal blogger, (and Unbelts Affiliate) Kimiko Martone (@kimiko_martone). Not only does Kimiko have a passion for slow fashion (and a wicked sense of personal style), but she also doesn't shy away from some #realtalk - when it comes to body neutrality, inclusivity, or mental health.
Our Marketing Assistant Evelyn, had the pleasure of chatting with Kimiko about her personal style, some of her favorite brands, and her advocacy for size inclusivity within (but not limited to) the slow fashion movement.
If you could describe your personal style in three words or phrases, what would they be?
I would describe my personal style as comfy, casual, and playful. I never understood fashion being painful, I think if you feel good in the clothes you wear that's the most important thing that matters. I love having casual staples in my closet because they're so versatile, you can dress them up or down, and I always have so much fun playing around with my outfits, which I think is really important if you want to feel good in the clothes you're wearing.
We love to celebrate our victories at Unbelts, no matter how large or small they are. What have been some of your “tiny wins” lately? For example, a few of my “tiny wins” include discovering a new favorite pasta recipe and finding one of my favorite reusable face masks that I thought I lost.
Some small victories I've had have been wearing sweats at night or on the weekends and making myself get dressed every morning, it's helped me feel better about myself and motivates me to get more done during the day. Another small victory was finishing a book I've gotten (Women Don't Owe you Pretty by Florence Given) a few years ago that I left on the shelf for months. I always feel a sense of accomplishment when I finish a book and this book made me learn so much about myself, which feels like another tiny win too!
We love your advocacy for body neutrality, inclusivity and slow fashion. Can you tell us a bit more about what these mean to you?
A few years ago, I stumbled upon a few fashion and body neutrality influencers and it was the first time I’ve ever been interested in sustainability and body inclusion when it came to fashion.
Body neutrality, to me, isn’t about accepting your body or hating it. It’s about letting your body exist and reminding yourself that without a body, you wouldn’t be here. I don’t think other people’s bodies are something to judge or criticize because there [are] so many aspects that we can’t control.
Inclusivity is really important to me, especially when it comes to size inclusivity. When I was growing up, I always felt like I needed to fit into the clothes I wore, instead of the opposite. Many clothing brands still have XS-XXL sizing, which excludes a lot of people from wearing clothes that make them feel good. It's as if the brands are telling fatter folks that they aren't deserving of nice clothes or to feel good in them, which I don't think is fair and only ostracizes fat people from our collective society even more so than they already feel.
Slow fashion is something that I’ve recently learned about. It’s clothing that typically comes in small batches and made to last. It also allows people to get creative with the pieces they have instead of constantly buying new clothes just to wear a handful of times and then [get] thrown out. As a plus-size woman, I never thought I would be able to feel comfortable and stylish in my clothes, while also feeling good about [its] quality and knowing whoever made my clothes were paid a living wage.
We know that finding clothes that feel good - for our bodies, budgets, and values - can be challenging at times. What are some of your favorite fashion brands that have worked well for you?
- Unbelts, of course (editor’s note: thanks Kimiko, we love you too ❤️)
- Free Label (@free.label)’s a great brand - they’re a Canadian-based company that has sizing from XS-4XL. Their products are made from sustainable fabrics and they’re made in batches, so nothing goes to waste(Kimiko recommends their comfy no-wire bra tops).
- Em & May (@emnmay) is another great Canadian-based brand - they’re a small team of women who make sustainable swimwear, loungewear, and most recently, lingerie.
- Seek Shelter (@seek.shelter) is another Canadian-based brand who makes small batches of clothes. I love the linen fabric they use and [they’re] sustainable as well. (Kimiko loves their Eva shorts - check out their Eva pants that are currently on their website).
I want to help educate others about body neutrality, slow fashion and size inclusion. I’ve started a blog where you can find sustainable and small businesses I love, as well as write blog posts about topics that are important to me, with the hopes that they resonate with others as well. I’m also going to start an online thrift shop on my Instagram (@kimiko_martone) because I have a huge passion for thrifting, re-working outfits (we LOVE an outfit repeater), while also making it accessible for everyone. I want people to feel good in the clothes they wear without having to spend too much when it comes to slow fashion.
We love your blog, and we can't wait to check out the online thrift shop once it launches. Thanks for taking the time to chat!
Shop Kimiko's Look