By Kelly Hogaboom

i was recently told i offer "nothing new"

A little while ago on the big bad IG I was told by a fashion influencer (& one of her fans) that I offered "nothing new" in my work.

They meant my design work even though I was sharing about my business model.

I was direct, careful and polite - trying to align the conversation to full-ethics production - but this particular influencer didn't want to hear it, let alone give me credit for what I'm trying to do.

Why would she?

Like so many trying to make a name for herself, she is in the business of conspicuous (and glamorous) consumption. She is trying to sell her book and get partnership deals with fast fashion brands (even though she talks and tweets about the evils of fast fashion quite a bit). Her entire platform relies on a new outfit, a new photo with a great aesthetic, constantly rotating her look, and reaching for larger paychecks in an ever-increasingly monopolized media and commerce model.


The colonialist mindset creeps into even the most well-meaning person's worldview. And it seems the people who rise to the top of the influencer pile never had more than cash and power in mind in the first place (whatever they may have originally believed). They want their earnings, their followerships, their book deal (sold through Amazon, of course), the chance to be on "Oprah" (or in Forbes, or wherever) - more than they want anything else.

I don't blame them for wanting money and power. "Sure, we all do!" As a for instance: I enjoy being able to buy food, and to pay my bills.

But now that these types have a bit of security and power - they've voluntarily left behind revolutionary aims.

And I suspect they were never too radical to begin with.


Colonialism contains over seven circles of hell, but something I rarely see discussed is our voluntary opt-in to apathy. Colonialism and over-consumption breed a victim mentality; a voluntary disempowerment that even those with much larger platforms than mine elect for themselves, slipping into the tried-and-true co-opting of marginalized struggles like a ragged fur coat. So: "an unhoused person couldn't be vegan easily, and that's why I won't consider it (or invite you on my podcast to talk about it)" - that kind of thing. It's that whole: "Well yes the system is fucked but we can't do anything about it and here's why:" - literally talking over, arguing with, erasing, and failing to support those who are doing something about it.

It's fuckery.

It's exhausting.

Sometimes I feel foolish that I haven't given up.



I am so proud of my business model.

I commit to:

* total body inclusivity - I exclude no one
* (near-)zero waste in my studio
* crediting & paying collaborators (& tipping artists, every time)
* interest-free payment plans on everything I create
* a mutual aid program for trans and gender expansive recipients
* pay-forward donations and fundraisers (every month since January 2020)
* no-cost, high quality how-tos, tutorials, and livestreams
* quality and consistent community Creative support via my stellar Discord server

No fashion or "conscious consumption" influencer account or publisher I've yet met, has been interested in hearing about any of this (let alone boosting my signal).


In this Instagram conversation that went awry - where I was told I was "nothing new" - what came to me (after having my fee-fees hurt for a minute) is how the vast majority of the fashion world is full of sameness.

These influencers and adherents ONLY care about surface-level aesthetics, provenance/clout of designer wear or brands, and/or a constant cyclical rotation of looks/clothing/new outfits.

How can they accuse me of "nothing new" when they're lock-stepping into the most pedestrian, most popular, most status-quo consumption model there is?

Do these influencers really want a better world - like they say they do?

Or just more of the pie for themselves?

If they want a better world why do they tell the people working so hard to provide it, to shut up?

Or studiously ignore us?

Trust me when I tell you I am often considered gauche to bring up the exploitation of human and non-human animals, ecosystems, economies, the planet - all those things Americans trample over to get this season's cute halter top.

Very few people want to hear how I've built Bespoke Hogaboom - instead, they'll interrupt me to tell me why it can't be done!

And when these influencers do host conversations on ethics, the vast majority of their content is dedicated to why it's not possible, or too hard, to do any better.

Because you know: the System. "No ethical consumption under Capitalism", all that.


I'm not asking anyone to purchase from me. That stopped being my primary aim a long time ago.

I'm asking them to believe in me, to share more about my work, and to support and defend what I'm doing.

And I'm asking them - as a little treat, to themselves! - to consider releasing their personal chokehold on their need for over-consumption.

To just consider it.


This is a real elephant in the room.

Because many in the fashion space - influencer and aspirational and follower alike - are compulsive acquirers. They buy (new, custom, thrifted, whatever) - and are constantly hunting for More.

I get it!

This can be a hard thing to look at. (And of course, we are encouraged NOT to look at this!)

And listen: I'm not saying over-consumption makes you a bad person.

I'm saying there is SO MUCH MORE to life than gobbling up, than constantly craving!

It makes me sad because these behaviors - being driven to shop, and to have a new fit photo every day, and to acquire and acquire and acquire - well underneath that compulsive behavior and all that craving is an unmet need (or two) and these unmet needs are the compost, the humus, the absolutely rich and fruitful live-giving energy that can push us to greater heights.

An over-stuffed closet will never give you access to all that good dirt!

We need something bigger, something deeper.

And on a larger scale - where the human race is concerned?

The future is not yet another sexy bit of lingerie or a rehashed blazer style or a cute peplum top. These things aren't evil. Give me a break, of course I don't think that! I am constantly designing (if not creating) new beautiful things!

I am saying: there's more to life - and more to YOU! - than that blazer. (Promise!)

Where the human mind needs to apply itself is our ethics crisis - our exploitation of human and non-human animals. Where the human mind needs to apply itself are the twin aims of climate and planet justice. Where the human mind needs to apply itself is dismantling looming (or active) civil war(s). Where the human mind needs to apply itself is protecting the vulnerable, standing up for the disenfranchised, and sharing resources more freely.

We can do all this - and still retain our Creative joy, still be expressive, still be beautiful.

I am proof!

And I am not alone -

but I am often unheard, talked-over, and eschewed by the very people with power who could really help my work.


Despite being humiliated on an influencer's platform - where her fan followed suit in denigrating my work - they didn't discourage me from doing what I'm doing.

Because: fuck it.

I am who I am, I'm not going to wake up tomorrow and suddenly Not Care.

I'm not going to fall into apathy.

And I'm not going to lose my Creative power.

That's just now how I'm built.

I am doing my thing, and no one can stop me.

Thanks for reading. <3