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. Scrabble nemesis.
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 fashion 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 many ethical and sustainable principles I was supposedly espousing. 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.
Seven years later, this space has evolved so much. If fashion brands aren’t acknowledging or planning for sustainability today, the public crucifies them. 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. First off, we have carbon-washing, green-washing, and the general over-hyping of things a brand does well when, in fact, it's just perpetuating a new model of on-demand fashion (read: SheIn). Then, there's the over-saturation and hyper-targeting of fashion ads. The proliferation of fake Instagram fashion brands. And, finally, the inability of truly ethical brands to cut through this noise because everything is pay-to-play and big businesses dominate.
We have the information today, but we’re overwhelmed and not sure what is true.
Today, most people are still at a loss when it comes to creating meaningful and ethical wardrobes. And brands are at a loss for how to tell people their stories authentically. Sustainable fashion may be the norm, but it still isn’t easy!
This is why I founded Peahen Studio as the next iteration of my business. Today, I leverage more than 10 years of experience and a deep network in fashion to help individuals build wardrobes aligned to their values and to help brands get noticed. I serve local clients in the Austin area but also offer an array of online personal styling services, from curating shoppable lists to educating clients about ethical and sustainable dressing virtually.