Salem Mitchell Is Making The Internet A Kinder Place

Photos by Jasper Soloff

And fashion a more sustainable industry

Salem Mitchell uses her platform to start unprecedented conversations about fashion and sustainability. Discovered on social media, the model has since booked campaigns and photo shoots with Vogue, Gucci, Paper Magazine, and more. Her social media presence has even caught the attention of no less than Beyoncé, who famously asked Mitchell to model Lemonade merchandise. But, Mitchell also wants her fans to know that she's different than she might appear to her 307k (and counting) Instagram followers. She reveals to NYLON, "I think that people look at my Instagram and they look at the photos I post and assume I radiate confidence. That's not always the case." Mitchell admits that she is still learning about herself alongside such a rapidly changing social media landscape.

Recently, Mitchell has been speaking up about the lack of conversations around sustainability in the fashion industry. She tells NYLON, "I'm really passionate about making the fashion industry a more sustainable place." In her newest collaboration with Known Supply, a company that reimagines fashion though celebrating the makers, Mitchell has been creating clothes that feel authentic to her while also advocating for a more inclusive and sustainable future. Released last Friday, Mitchell's ONLY HUMAN collaboration with Known Supply, is a limited edition clothing line that is not only authentic to her creative taste, but also eco-conscious.

Below, Mitchell discusses her ever-evolving relationship with social media, the fashion industry, and what she's most passionate about right now.

What has social media taught you?
From social media, I've learned patience. Especially when I first started on social media, I wasn't used to having so many eyes on me all the time. This definitely added a layer of pressure to my life, and this [internalized my] need to always be saying and doing something. Social media moves so quickly.

Over time, I've learned to be patient with myself. Not everyone lives the same type of life and people have unique perspectives. Everything in life is a learning experience.

What is something you don't post about online?
I think people look at my Instagram and assume I radiate confidence. But, that's not always the case. I sometimes get nervous [offline]. I don't think many people even know this about me. I am still learning a lot of things. Before a shoot, my heart races and I text everyone close to me [for support].

Just because someone has a large following on social media, it doesn't mean that they are not a person. I think that if more people thought of models and influencers as actual people, I think that [the internet] might be a kinder place.

You just launched this incredible project with Known Supply. Can you tell me about this it and what it means to you?
I'm really passionate about making the fashion industry a more sustainable place, so I've been really committed to this project. Known Supply is such an incredible company! This collaboration has been such an incredible learning experience for me. I don't have a traditional background in art, design, or sketching, but Known Supply has been so accepting and welcoming and open to my creative vision. I really hope this new collaboration encourages a new way of shopping and paves the way for a more sustainable fashion industry.

I've also learned so much about myself as a creative. Ever since the beginning of this project, I felt like it was really important to create pieces that were easy to be incorporated into any wardrobe. I want everything to feel easy to wear. For example, if you're in high school, I want you to be able to throw this into your wardrobe once a week, at least. And if you're in college, I want anyone to be able to throw on these clothes before going to class. Or, if you're like me, you're just always looking for comfortable clothes for every occasion: music festivals, hanging out with friends, errands around the city, etc. I've always aimed to create designs and clothes that feel authentic and work for different people at different ages because that's something that's really beautiful about fashion to me.

What do you find the most beautiful about yourself?
I find my optimism really beautiful. I always look for positivity in life. I really try to remain optimistic about myself, all my experiences, and about those I love.

I also love how much I care about those around me. The people that I love mean everything to me. And that's really beautiful, too.

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