Interview: The Green Thumb of Style, Jenny Affan on Waste Less Living

There’s a certain passion and forward-thinking that gets a stylish Photographer to put herself knee deep in a composting campaign.  Jenny Affan left Oregon to further her Photography only to share her talents with Waste Less Living, a cause that would make her hometown Oregonians proud.  She shot a video that will help fund the first community-based composting facility in Los Angeles.  When this campaign is funded the methane and toxic wastewater that is created by a ton of natural waste on a daily basis will instead be rich compost.  Why is decaying organic material so chic?  This article isn’t all flowers and nature, but a reminder that art and style can still be rooted in compassion and a vision of a better world.       


REFLEKT: What is your position in this environmental start-up?

I was the video-gal. So I did all the filming and editing, and it finally launched!  Actually, Jonathan did a lot of editing too.  I heard about this start-up through him.  We used to work at this place called LA BeachFit and he referred me for this.  I’m excited!  I’m hoping my mom shares it.  Aunts and uncles.  Everyone.

REFLEKT: How did this project catch your artistic eye?

For me, it was the fact that the sole purpose of it is to help the environment.  Today everyone is all about instant gratification.  Even though Waste Less Living is being turned into a profitable business, there is something with substance at its core.  If you want to live to see tomorrow, you have to take the steps today.  Educate yourself.  Research.  Go out there and see what’s in the landfill and don’t forget that our earth doesn’t have endless resources.  Or, it will be like Wally and we could all live in trash.  It’s so true.  Like, what’s going to happen in the future?

REFLEKT: As an eco-preneur, do you make earth conscious choices for your wardrobe?

I always try to buy used clothes.  I used to make new shirts out of old clothes.  I would take a plain white shirt and sew on Hawaiian shirt pieces and patterns.  Recycling is good.  This shirt was like 20 cents.  They were selling clothes for the pound in a Goodwill up North.  People call it the pound store.  It’s kind of dirty so a lot of people bring gloves but I’d just get in there without any gloves.  By the time we’d leave, me and my mom would have 30 pounds.

REFLEKT: Who taught you how to sew?

My mom, actually.  I used to sew purses for me, my mom, and my aunt.  She had an antique shop called Kaleidoscope Depot.  It’s not there anymore.

REFLEKT: What inspires your style?

I’d say it started with Fresh Prince of Bell Air.  I’m obsessed with that show and the 90’s in general.  Also Boardwalk Empire.  I would say my style is inspired by a combination of the 1920s and the1990s, making something different.  Also I used to work for American Apparel.  I never actually had a fitting pair of pants before then.  Now I have high-wasted everything.  This is how pants are supposed to fit.

REFLEKT: How can the fashion industry become greener?

I think if they take a lot of vintage clothes and materials and make them up-to-date and trendy.  It adds more character and history to a product.  That’s what I want to do more in the future. American Apparel has a vintage line which is the right idea, but who knows if it’s really vintage.

REFLEKT: Are you working up-close and personal with Christine Lenches-Hinkel(campaign founder)?

I have for the past couple of weeks for the IndieGogo Campaign.  Going to her house and planning the direction that the campaign should go with the group.  I’m thinking of new video ideas to work on next.  I come from up North where composting is really normal but here, we just don’t have the infrastructure for it yet.  We hope to get funds through a government grant.  Either way, this is definitely something I want to be a part of.  I didn’t really know what composting was exactly before I worked with her.  Being a part of this has helped me learn a lot about the actual composting process. 

REFLEKT: Who directly benefits from this program at the moment?

Business wise, I know it’s going to help Christine a lot.  She’s been at this for 7 years.  She can finally have the facility she needs to accomplish her vision.  There are composting companies, but what makes this campaign stand out is she’s actually pushing for the education part of it.  Spread it to children and parents, and it could turn into a wildfire.  Schools are a big focal point of this project.  I would love to see the facility just happen. Being a part of this is seeing her dreams happen.  In the end it’s going to make sustainable living an actual reality.  I’m hoping she could continue to use my skills.  We could take this idea to campuses and help people become aware, and spread the word.