New Balance’s 574 Core is paving the way for sustainable sneakers under its latest green leaf standard. Constructed with an upper made of 50% or more recycled content, leather that supports more responsible manufacturing through the Leather Working Group, and an outsole material that contains 5% recycled content, these kicks are the perfect pairing (both aesthetically and consciously) for all of your eco-responsible fits.

Giving us the down-low on how to consume more consciously in the fashion industry is Jess Tran. Tran is not only the founder of Brooklyn-based marketing company Scallion Pancake, but also works closely with vintage and second-hand shops, Second-Life Marketplace and The Consistency Project.

Tell us how you first became interested in vintage fashion.

Vintage was just op-shopping in Sydney, and there was a Salvation Army down the road to where I lived. I'd go there when I didn’t feel like there was much else to do. The experience of searching for things and not really knowing what you’re even looking for gives you the opportunity to turn off for a bit. I loved taking something home that didn’t feel like my present self, but felt like it belonged to a self that I could try on in the meantime. It felt expressive, creative, and fun. That’s just sort of carried me throughout my entire adult life – the only difference now is that I have more disposable income and better taste.

How has working closely with second-hand shopping stores inspired you to change other elements of your life surrounding sustainability?

Examining your consumption habits is a bit of a cornerstone habit, like how the discipline and measurable improvement aspect of physical activity can have positive effects on other parts of your life. Buying second-hand clothes got me interested and passionate in thinking about where my clothes come from, which leeches into the rest of my consumption habits and lifestyle decisions.

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What’s your favorite sustainability hack?

I don’t think there are really any hacks. It’s all about making choices with intention, but I got a cute compost bin and am so excited to ride my bike everywhere this summer! Also, I’m trying to get into more community volunteering opportunities, preferably outdoors somewhere.

What are a couple of sustainability-driven mantras you live by?

Something is better than nothing! Worrying about these things doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m neurotic ⁠— maybe I just care a lot about the planet and am trying to live with as much intent as I can manage!

How do initiatives like New Balance’s green leaf standard help you stay true to this mantra?

Seeing more brands incorporate recycled materials is really encouraging, but honestly, I just love that they’re ultra-comfy. I am shocked at how much my feet like them.

What aspect of thrifting do most people get wrong?

That you can’t find anything. I think it just takes a little perseverance, and enjoyment of the process helps too. I find it so meditative and peaceful.

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How has thrifting initiated a greater sense of balance in your life?

It slows me down! I don’t find vintage/thrifted things often that I love, and actually, I am really trying to cut down. I want to look at my consumption habits holistically and make sure I’m only adding things to my life that I absolutely love.

What’s the best advice you can give someone who is just starting to thrift their clothing or who wants to shop in a more environmentally-conscious way?

Keep going! Connect with local community organizations where you can keep your energy high by interacting with other people like you. And probably just keep learning stuff, as with the rest of life.

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