Representative Mena

Sharlett Mena
Washington State Representative, District 29

Representative Sharlett Mena represents the 29th district in Washington State. She has proposed legislation in WA that would help to regulate the fashion industry. Her story below was transcribed from an interview.

Why do you care about sustainable fashion?

“I care a lot about climate impacts on our communities and making sure that we’re doing things in a way that’s going to allow us to have a habitable, healthy planet. I first learned about this concept several years ago from a local Filipino American group in my district that’s been working on sustainable fashion. I was really interested in the movement and how communities were taking it upon themselves.

I’m really excited about what we can do in Washington because we can move in a direction that’s good for people, good for the environment, and good for the economy all at the same time.”

What do you think about fast fashion?

Fast fashion resembles the degradation of goods and the expansion of consumerism as we’re being marketed more and more things of poorer quality.

When we have markets that are not behaving in the best interest of the consumer, the government has typically been willing to step and build parameters for consumer protection and to ensure our goods and services are what they’re marketed to be. It’s not just about sustainability. It’s also about what consumers are getting on the other end.”

How do you hope to see the fashion industry change?

“I hope that [businesses] will come along voluntarily. I know that there are some individuals and brands that have really stepped up and made commitments to sustainability. It’s always good to have thought leaders and folks that are willing to walk the talk. My hope is that when we’re building parameters, targets, and disclosures, that we will have more businesses step-in and come along willingly.”

Representative Mena was featured as a panelist on our “Voices for Sustainable Fashion” Webinar on May 8, 2024. The conversation featured legislators and leaders who are advancing sustainability in the fashion industry. You can watch the recording and learn about all the incredible panelists here.


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