Meet Hannah Kinsella and Roanne Mendoza, the two U of A students who are breaking down mental illness stigmas one stereotype at a time. Initially created out of the need for a conversation discussing the body ideals imposed by the media and how this affects our mental health, Refreshing Standards, or simply, Refreshed, has since grown into a broader discussion of mental health. Hannah and Roanne, along with the rest of their team at Refreshed, believe that mental health should be an inclusive movement for everyone, and are using Refreshed as a platform to help contributors and readers make their minds a priority. 

PS: Is this is your first Local Portrait interview? No? Feel free to scroll down and read Hannah and Roanne's interview! Yes? Then keep reading!

Since 2015, we've been showcasing awesome individuals from all around Edmonton in hopes of sparking a city-wide, and eventually nation-wide, conversation surrounding the issues of sustainability and ethical malpractices within today's mainstream fashion industry. With fast fashion quickly suffocating the fashion industry, it is easy to forget that our shopping habits and choices do have an effect on both the environment and garment workers within the supply chain. So, at New Classics Studios, we're asking you to join the slow fashion movement and help us slow down the rate at which we consume disposable fashion. Start shopping local, sustainabfle, or secondhand. Start investing in quality and timeless garments. Start thinking quality over quantity.  Help us #WearTheChange.


Tell us a bit about yourselves!

Roanne Mendoza: I’m a 19-year old Human Ecology student at the University of Alberta, intern at local design company Hunt Amor, Visual Merchandising educator at Kit & Ace, and the Community Initiative Director of Refreshing Standards. I’m also an avid lover of plants, dogs (specifically golden retrievers), and mid-century furniture.
Hannah Kinsella: I’m Hannah! I’m a fourth year Sociology student, minoring in Psychology at the University of Alberta! I am a part-time barista, yogi, lover of vintage and your very typical Taurus personality. I am also the founder of Refreshed, basically what I do is a lot of the speaking engagements, whether it be within schools or workshops also while helping Ro with community initiatives!

We think it's so important to have inclusive conversations (especially around something as important as mental illness), so naturally, we're big fans of your work over at Refreshed. But for our readers who aren't as familiar with Refreshed, can you tell us what inspired its creation?

HK: HK: After years of battling mental illness I was ready to have a voice, so in the summer of 2015 I launched the site, not really knowing where it would go. But it’s turned out to be more incredible than I could ever imagine.

Can you tell us about the #YourOwnIdeal movement you've started on Refreshed?

HK: The hashtag really means being you on your own terms, being happy on your own terms, and doing what you need to make sure you are your most authentic and healthiest self. It’s really the idea of rejecting the notion of what society projects as a standard or Ideal, it’s doing things on your own terms.
RM: Like Hannah said, #YourOwnIdeal encompasses what it means to be physically, mentally, and emotionally present with yourself and doing so on a basis that puts yourself as a priority.

How can people join the conversation on mental health, especially since it's such an uncomfortable subject for many?

HK: It’s all what you’re comfortable with, but I think a good place to start is by talking or sharing how you make your mind matter, and always validating individuals experiences, whether they’re diagnosed or not. It’s really just being able to talk about your mental health with the same emphasis we do in regards to physical health.
RM: Totally. It’s equal parts listening to yourself and listening to the experiences of those around you, too. Mental health is unique to each individual and by not defining what that looks like for just one person, we can all gain a deeper understanding of the topic as a whole.

How do you two stay grounded and make sure that both your minds and bodies stay healthy despite having so much on your plates? (School is a lot of work already!)

RM: I’ll forever be thankful of Hannah for getting me into yoga and meditation this year. I practice regularly both at home and in studio, and I can’t imagine what my life was like prior. The intention of my practice always sets the tone for the rest of my day, filling each area (whether it be through work, school, or my personal life) with balance. My body craves it.
HK: I do a lot of yoga and meditation, like Roanne said, it’s my time where I can reconnect and focus on myself and what I need, it keeps me grounded. I also am a green smoothie enthusiast, always have to get my vitamins in!

This is always a tough question, but how would you describe your personal styles?

RM: It’s functional. I’ve been in the process of creating a timeless capsule wardrobe, and removing any excess pieces that aren’t transferable in my day-to-day wear-- let alone in a year from now. Having full contact days in my schedule means that I need pieces that will move with me from school or work in the morning and meetings in between. My closet consists of a lot of classic pieces like tees, turtlenecks, slip dresses, silk trousers, and foundations like denim and leather jackets that I can all interchange for the occasion. I have no problem in saying that my style could be seen as “boring”. I think it’s all about how you put it together and how it works for you.
HK: My style is really all over the place, one day I’m a tomboy, maybe a bit boho, or ultra girly. But right now I love the 70’s resurgence, my go to is big furry coats (always faux though), it’s my favorite. Also a splash of the classic French Girl style never hurts! I guess a word you could use to explain it would be eclectic!

Where can we find you ladies online?

RM: You can find us on Facebook at Refreshing Standards, Instagram at @refresh.ed, and on my personal account at @rrroanne!
HK: Like Ro said, @refresh.ed or! Or if you want to observe my real life @hannahinsella1!

What are some of your favourite local boutiques or shops?

RM: I’ve become progressively more downtown based, and it has made me appreciate how unique the core of the city is in terms of brick & mortar boutiques for finding well-curated goods, and building relationships with the people who own these businesses. Alberta Craft Gallery, Artworks (especially for florals!), and Nowhere Fast Studio are a few of my favorite go-to spots in Edmonton.
HK: This is a tough one for me! Once I started exploring all of Edmonton’s hidden gems, thats when my love for the city grew. But if I had to narrow it down I’d say For coffee, Lockstock or Little Brick, my Americanos are always perfect. Home Decor, the Antique Mall right off of Whyte Ave, Ro and I have spent many hours in that place! Boutiques, I love Habitat Etc. downtown, they have the coolest things! Clothing, I really love vintage or thrift stores around the city.

Best binge-worthy show you've seen lately?

RM: As someone who only got Netflix less than a year ago, I’ve never been huge on those current TV series’ that everyone buzzes about. I am really digging Donald Glover’s Atlanta on FX right now though, but that could also just be my biased opinion since I wholeheartedly believe that anything Glover does is genius haha. I have a big ol’ crush on him & talent.
HK: I’m such a tv junkie, I definitely spend way too much time watching tv, especially since all the fall shows are starting up again. But recently, I binged through Stranger Things and season two of Narcos. I was glued to my laptop for at least a couple days.

Favourite things to do in Edmonton on the weekend?

RM: Anyone who knows me would know my answer before I even say it... Lockstock Coffee/Red Star/ The Bower. I’m a sucker for all things jazz, hip-hop, funk, and R&B so by putting those musical elements together as a soundtrack for great food and drinks; the result is a comfortable space for conversation (and me being there almost 4-5 nights a week). Oops.
HK: I love going for coffee or lunch and exploring different parts of the city. I’m an old lady and I don’t really go out at night, I’m usually asleep by 11 haha. But I might go to yoga class in the city and grab a coffee nearby! In the summer I always hit up a farmers market or two, in the winter I love spending the day skating, the Victoria Oval is my favorite.

Tell us one of your guiltiest pleasures!

RM: Kroenenbourg Blanc and/or Seinfeld. Haha there isn’t any particular order, but you’ll always get double the points in my books if we can mutually bond over both at the same time.
HK: Insanely sugary coffee drinks and Mommy-bloggers, oh and pinterest. I love going through them for hours and getting all sorts of ideas. There was a phase where I went on GOOP a lot.. But it was all in research for organic sunscreen.. And let me tell you, it was not easy to find.

Any favourite albums or songs that you've had on repeat?

RM: 2016 has been such a great year for releases in music! Since I do most of my work off of my computer, it gives me the time to listen through a lot of new albums, or full radio shows like Soulection. As for albums, Mick Jenkin’s The Healing Component and BadBadNotGood’s IV are two of my favorites from this year.
HK: I am a spotify warrior, I’m always trying to find new tunes! I’m a big fan of Folk music and some chill-wave stuff, I’m also a secret rap lover too. But my current jam is No Salesman by Jordan Klassen!

Not a lot of people understand Edmonton (nor our reasons for living here), but we have to say it's pretty great. What are some of your favourite things about living in this city?

RM: The community. It’s the main reason why I am so passionate about the projects that I take on, regardless if it’s with my role at Refreshed, Hunt Amor, or Kit & Ace. Edmonton is home to a lot of genuine people, who are open to work with you and share their own talents rather than in competition. Even though everyone is doing their own thing, these connections give the city a real small town feeling.
HK: Same as Ro, the community here is amazing! Edmonton is gaining speed in being a creative force, and everyone here recognizes that the only way to move forward is together, which is really cool!

How has your attitude towards fashion changed throughout your life?

HK: I was so obsessed with fast fashion brands, I needed to have whatever was cool and current at the time, but over the years I’ve realized quality over quantity. Clothing is my way of making a small impact in the sustainable movement. I also used to really believe in the idea of dressing for others, so I would be cool or whatever, but now I dress for myself!
RM: As I am getting older, I’ve become more dissociated with the idea of dressing for other people. If you like what you like, there shouldn’t be that guilt in doing so.

What's the most exciting thing about being a young creative in Edmonton?

RM: Having a number of mentors throughout the years, they have shown me that it’s more than possible to integrate your passion into a profession. I’m looking forward to seeing what this could look like not only for myself, but also for my friends and others who are creatively driven within the city.
HK: That we’re still so young and there’s so much starting to happen, I can’t imagine what it’ll be like in 5 years!

What does slow fashion mean to you?

RM: I’ve worked in retail since I was fourteen, so I’ve experienced “fast fashion” first-hand. When you consistently surround yourself in environments that it’s expected for you to be on-brand and buy the latest pieces, it’s tough to separate yourself from consumption culture. With being in a holistic program in University such as Human Ecology, it has opened my eyes for how damaging this phenomenon can be, and the individual efforts that can move this industry. Single action bias prevents agency (for us all) towards sustainable efforts, although it can be as simple as asking yourself if you really “need” an item. To me, slow fashion is part of a personal process; it’s the investment return on garments with longevity in mind, and doing that bit more research in where your clothes comes from.
HK: Slow fashion means making conscious purchases, it’s really a part of the whole slow movement, which I really support, it’s about slowing down consumption and the manufacturing process. It’s really emphasizing sustainability and transparency!

How do you plan to #WearTheChange?

RM: I plan on continuing to look for the design intention behind the garments I buy, and supporting the transparency of businesses that stand for ethical sustainability.
HK: I plan on wearing the change by actively making decisions that support sustainability when it comes to fashion. Recycling and reusing clothing and supporting transparent companies, like New Classics ;)!