We first stumbled across Jenny Welbourn on YouTube, completely enamoured with how she used her channel to discuss slow fashion on a platform seemingly fuelled by style hauls. Unlike so many other YouTubers, Jenny has a vibrant and genuine quality to her that manifests itself in each and every photo she takes and posts onto Instagram. A few days ago, we had the pleasure of chatting with Jenny about her favourite eateries in New York, why she chooses to be a slow fashion advocate, and how YouTube changed her life.
Who is Jenny Welbourn? Hi! I’m originally from Colorado but reside in Brooklyn now. I currently make Youtube videos for a living, mostly about sustainable fashion and living. Other hobbies include but not limited to learning how to surf, swimming in rivers and lakes when possible and trying to find a roommate who will allow me to get a pet bunny in NYC.
For those who don't know you as well as (we feel) we do, can you describe your personal style for us? I can say that the core of my style actually hasn’t changed much even throughout times of huge personal growth. I think it started with my love for big, comfy t-shirts. Now, my style usually alternates between being a grandma who only leaves the house to play bingo once a week, your grandma who always has a matching accessory to her track suit, and a small boy.
What’s your morning routine? Link in bio! JK! My morning routine usually starts out with waking up later than expected no matter all the scheduling and planning to be productive I had done the night before. I don’t know what it is about NYC but my will to wake up early has decreased severely. Afterwards, there’s usually already a pot of coffee waiting for me from one of my lovely roomies and I drink it on our balcony, or back in bed while surfing the internet. There’s also skincare and brushing my teeth in there too! I’m working towards getting myself outside of the house in the beginning of my morning everyday as working from home some days I realize I never left which can get depressing.
What made you decide to start a YouTube channel? How has it affected your life? I started my channel when I felt really stuck. I had just graduated highschool and I was stuck in my hometown not able to afford to move and longing to get myself to NYC. It was one of those moments where you really are afraid to do something but you know you’ll be better off because of it, like forcing yourself to go to networking events. I often think about how glad I am I took the first leap and stuck with it through the ups and downs. It’s something that has consumed a large chunk of my life but I’m so happy it did. It’s helped me push myself to learn new things, be creative, and connect with more people. I love the process of planning, creating and editing and I’m super grateful that there’s anyone out there that watches! Discovering my passions through this has been the best thing I’ve done and this little community has been so special!
What are your favourite and least favourite aspects of YouTube? Selfishly, Youtube has helped me grow. I’m not sure if it’s that I get to look back on old videos and cringe just a tiny bit or that vocalizing my beliefs and sharing myself has pushed me to grow so quickly but I’m very thankful for this experience. Also, just meeting so many smart, talented, and beautiful people online! Seeing how gracious people are warms my heart. On the flip side, it can be very hard because people can forget that you are human too. As I’ve gotten a bit bigger, it still feels the same to me. I still feel like the same person, making the same videos but sometimes a larger number behind you gives people high expectations or ideas of who they think you are. That was hard for me to realize. I think taking any kind of stance on issues publicly is also hard (though well worth it). A lot of people avoid taking a stance on issues because it puts you in a box, so to say, and if you deviate from that box at all there will always be someone there to let you know. This aspect can be hard as I try to do the best I can to share the issues that matter to me, and it can get hard getting negative feedback if everything isn’t perfect. However, it’s always been my core belief to just do your best, we are all human.
How do you keep yourself grounded and prevent yourself from burning out? This can be really hard! I feel like I always set myself high expectations and if I don’t meet them I am definitely my own harshest critic. I think since Youtube has always been a form of self expression for me, it can be hard producing so much and not always having a five star idea. I try to be kind to myself and speak kindly to myself in these situations. I think taking periods where I dabble in other things when possible helps me recharge to get back to doing what I love. I’m still learning to find balance on this one though.
How did you first get interested in sustainable and ethical fashion? Why is it important to you? I think just realizing there were important things that I felt like needed to be incorporated more into the industry pushed me to change how I personally consume fashion. It stopped being more important for me to have a certain item than to make sure it came from a place where it wasn’t hurting anyone or hurting the Earth less. Moving to New York is when I completely changed my route. I think just seeing how the industry functioned first hand made me want to steer away completely.
Instead, my hopes have been to share the knowledge I gained and hopefully help shape the industry in a sustainable direction in any small way I can. Moving forward I want to start working on more active ways to help workers and change company policies instead of passively consuming alternative fashion. It was important to me because I feel like I’ve always felt connected to nature and animals as corny as that sounds. It makes me sad to see environments, people, and animals be abused so we can have the next best thing. I’ve always loved fashion and realized I had a platform that I wanted to use in a way that I felt was important. I’m also privileged to be able to make these choices.
What or who influences your work? Seeing women directors and filmmakers in media has inspired me to be more open and creating myself. I think my editing style has stayed pretty true since when I started but always gaining inspiration from watching older films online and fashion films and short docs on Vimeo.
How has your attitude towards fashion changed as you’ve aged? I think when I was younger I relied a lot more on it to define who I am and put more importance on it than I should have. It still makes me feel good and helps me express who I am but I put less importance on needing any certain item. I think fashion is a very fun and valuable aspect of life and I’ll always love it. Just getting older and finding myself a little bit more has helped me to coexist with my fashion choices instead of letting it consume me.
How are you sustainable in your day to day life? Over the past few years I’ve really tried to reform habits! It can be really hard at times. I’ve gotten to a really great place of shopping second hand and cutting out all “fast fashion”. That was a big flip for me that I couldn’t be happier about. I’ve also taken on making small choices in my daily life to just cut out things I don’t need. Really just trying my best to not use any single use items and also just overall trying to consume less. I’m also plant based which definitely helps! It’s all been a process making these changes!
Any exciting projects planned for the future that we can look forward to? I’ve been trying to do a little bit more short film work on the side so hopefully more of that soon!
What are your favourite restaurants or coffee shops in New York? Food is so good here! The restaurants I have on rotation are Ryujin (best vegan ramen), Bunna, Jungle Cafe, Dar 525, Baoburg (get the vegan buns), and Jajaja. My biggest downfall is eating at so many places and never remembering their names.
What are you currently listening to? Brazil by Geoff & Maria Mulduar
What is your favourite city to travel to? My home in Colorado is still the prettiest for me :)
Makeup or skincare product you couldn’t live without? Honestly Kate Somerville Eradikate spot treatment has saved me many of times!