When Meghan Farmer told her mother that she wanted to be in the fashion industry, she remembers what she said: If she’s going into the fashion industry, she needs to do something that helps others.
“I think she saw, understandably, the fashion industry, sort of as an industry that takes a lot and is rather vain, superficial,” Farmer said.
At first, she brushed it off. Now, she considers it one of the best pieces of advice she’s received. As she started studying and eventually working in the industry, she started seeing the truth.
The fashion industry isn’t good for the environment. It uses excessive amount of water and wastewater and contributed 2.1 billion tons of greenhouse gasses in 2018, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.
When a garment factory in Bangladesh collapsed and killed more than 1,000 workers in 2013, Farmer said she could no longer ignore the harsh realities of the fashion industry and dedicated herself to making it better.
Farmer owns a personal styling business called The Considerary in Fort Worth, where she helps clients find clothes that are better for the environment.
Now, Farmer wants to create a t-shirt factory that is environmentally friendly and ethical.
“Ethical, meaning we treat our workers with upstanding value, that we pay them the wages that they’re worth and beyond,” Farmer said. “That we have safe working conditions for them. How you would expect to be treated at a workplace.”
Farmer’s interest in fashion started early while growing up in Denton.
She remembers being in awe of fashion magazines, and getting excited when other girls in her Christian summer camp asked about ideas on what to wear for mess hall dinners.
Her family influenced her by teaching her how to be selfless, she said. Whether it was inviting people over for dinner or making sure people had a ride somewhere, they made sure people were taken care of by helping those in need.
Farmer carries a phrase with her that guides her life: “You are not the most important person.” She found that out when first starting out in the fashion industry as an assistant and throughout her career. When she thinks about others besides herself first, she said, she tends to have a better day.
While working in the fashion industry, Farmer said there were moments where she didn’t feel good about the products she was marketing to women. At times it would become clear that the brands weren’t paying workers a fair wage. There would also be marketing practices that would not be inclusive to different body types.
“The fashion industry, the marketing industry are the ones who kind of are telling us … the ideal image, what we’re supposed to look like,” Farmer said. “I just think that’s not how it was supposed to be.”
There were negative aspects of the industry, but she said she enjoyed being on photo shoot sets and using her creativity.
Farmer moved to Fort Worth in 2019 and started volunteering at the nonprofit The Net, an organization that visits incarcerated women and provides resources to those who have faced sex trafficking.
While she was visiting a prison, she had a conversation with a woman who asked her what she did, and expressed interest in Farmer’s career. After Farmer left the prison, she wondered what would happen if that woman’s life went in a different direction.
“What would her life look like? Like, why am I on this side of the glass working in the fashion industry? And why is she on that side of the glass?” Farmer said.
Most of the women she talked to also mentioned they wanted to find jobs and support their families after incarceration, but Farmer found out how hard it can be to find a job after being in prison.
According to a study from the Brookings Institution, 55% of people released from prison have any earnings, and the median salary is $10,090.
Jasmine Weiler, a friend of Farmer and pastor and founder of AXL Creative Co., helped Farmer with Bright Factory’s Kickstarter campaign. She describes Farmer as fun, loyal and dependable.
She said Farmer is slow to speak and quick to listen, something Weiler said is a good quality for a leader. Farmer has a track record for serving, Weiler said: Visiting women in prison and working with women coming out of sex trafficking.
“So as she’s coming up with ideas for The Bright Factory, I know it’s coming from a place of taking her time to understand the needs of women in these scenarios,” Weiler said. “And I think that’s phenomenal leadership.”
Megan Pruitt Winder, a former fashion editor and senior stylist for Neiman Marcus who worked with Farmer, calls her a natural leader.
Winder said she noticed Farmer’s talent and her knack for effective communication and teamwork when she started as an assistant and grew in her position. Winder said she eventually looked to Farmer as a second in command. Her leadership style is personable, she said.
“She’s fun, she’s lovable. She …will ask you a million questions, and she wants you to be known,” Winder said. “All the interest just comes really natural to her – which I’m so proud of.”
Farmer is looking to raise more money for equipment and find a space for The Bright Factory in the next couple of months. For now, she’s living her DNA moments: Finding ways to serve people.
“When I get to feel like I did something for someone – those are some of my favorite moments,” Farmer said. “And when I’m doing karaoke.”
Meghan Farmer bio
Moved to Fort Worth: 2019
Family: Married with a son
Education: Bachelor’s degree in merchandising from University of North Texas
Work experience: Various retail jobs from chain retail stores to boutiques (2012-2014); freelance assistant stylist 2014-2015; e-commerce and editorial stylist, Neiman Marcus Online 2015-2019; freelance interim styling manager, Bergdorf Goodman Online 2019-2020; owner + stylist, The Considerary Personal Styling Services 2019- Present; Founder, The Bright Factory 2020- Present
The Net 2019- present
Freedom Shield Foundation: 2021- Present
Our Calling 2017
Second Saturday 2017
First job: Babysitting, but when I turned 16 I worked at a Plato’s Closet
Advice for someone learning to be a leader: The best leaders serve others first and take feedback humbly.
Best advice ever received: You are not the most important person in the room so acknowledge that others may have something valuable to contribute in all situations
Seth Bodine is a business and economic development reporter for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at email@example.com and follow on Twitter at @sbodine120.