I'm Kasi Martin, the founder of Peahen Studio
Based in Austin, Texas (on Tonkawa land) and wandering frequently.
Reading Books. Creating Looks. Writing Hooks.
Novice pianist. Veteran tennis player. Dog mom.
Probably have my nose in an i-D or watching Bliss Foster on YouTube.
Before this studio came into existence, I was cataloging the correlations between America’s declining journalistic and media standards and the pernicious rise of the ‘fastification’ of everything - especially clothes. My goal was to bring critical conversation back to industries that had been de-intellectualized by media (lifestyle, fashion, beauty, health, design, consumption, women's issues) by enlightening but never judging.
Dialing back even further to my origins in fashion, I loved clothes for their ability to communicate when I couldn’t. I was shy when I was younger, but still had a lot to say. Before I honed my pen and my confidence, clothes were my words. The best part of every day was planning my outfit. As I grew up, learning about fashion and letting that inform my style gave me life.
As my writing developed, I chose to study journalism but was torn about applying myself to fashion or another area of interest -- sustainability. Initially, I chose fashion and studied fashion writing and merchandising at NABA in Milan.
From there, I did a short stint in fashion PR for clients like Vera Wang, Christopher Kane, and Proenza Schouler in Manhattan. This didn’t last long, however, after an incident where a CK ‘jelly’ dress sample exploded in the mail. I didn't depart because of the drama this caused in the office (fashion can be vicious, we know) but because it forced me to ask, "What was this garment made of anyways?" PVC. And how do we get PVC? Petroleum.
This was the moment I realized fashion was at odds with ethical and sustainable principles. This was also when fast fashion's grip on society was strengthening and plundering the invisible garment worker.
So I decided on a new trajectory in fashion and started The Peahen in 2014 to cover the issues in the industry and feature more conscious fashion. I ran interviews, published guides, and partnered with brands across the nascent sustainable fashion space. I became a recognized expert and spoke about fashion at TEDx, South by Southwest, and more. As my readers began asking for affordable ethical options, I started educating myself about vintage and launched a curated online shop based out of Austin.
In tandem, I built a diverse career in marketing and writing working for conscious companies, nonprofits, and eco brands. I've served as the head of public relations for Fair Trade USA and written content for businesses from eco-beauty brands to an edtech startup to a global fintech security firm.
A decade since my start, "sustainable" business has evolved so much. If brands aren’t acknowledging or planning for it, the public doesn't just notice, they launch public campaigns. Innovation has come from materials science, certifications, and better governance. I’m pleased to see this progress and to have been a small part of it from the beginning. But the popularity of sustainability has also given rise to new issues.
From carbon-washing to green-washing to the general over-hyping of sustainability commitments, it's hard for consumers to know what's real. And somehow, despite increased consumer awareness, we have even faster fashion (SheIn, ROMWE) that's marketed as sustainable because it's "on-demand." Finally, it's hard for brands that are truly ethical to compete because of their scale and today's pay-to-play web and social landscape.
We have more information than ever, but we're often overwhelmed and unable to make sense of it all, especially when it comes to ethics.
So many people get lost when they try, honorably, to lead sustainable lives and buy quality products that fit them. And brands get lost trying to connect the right people. Sustainablity may be the norm, but it still isn’t easy.
This is why I founded Peahen Studio. Today, I bring over a decade of experience and a deep network in the sustainable business industry to help brands get their message across with writing and to help individuals build sustainable wardrobes with personal styling.
I'm based in Austin, Texas and serve clients across the world.