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Karen Housel, Recycled Fashion Designer and Environmental Scientist

Name: Karen HouselKaren Housel

Occupation: Thrifter, Upcycler, and Environmental Scientist for the Environmental Protection Agency.

Place of Residence: Los Angeles, California

Background and Personal History: As an avid thrift shopper, Karen finds value in things that currently exist in the world. With an environmentally and financially sustainable mindset, she has found ways to upcycle secondhand items by using her imagination to revamp tired items into useful, sustainable pieces.

Karen works full-time as an Environmental Scientist for the Department of Toxic Substances Control where she makes sure facilities abide to laws set by the EPA.  As a former writer for sustainability newsletters, she has interviewed more than 20 researchers and Nobel Prize laureates at her alma mater, UC Santa Barbara, on how to solve critical environmental issues.

In her free time, Karen enjoys joining the occasional beach cleanup, finding vintage pieces at flea market sales, practicing yoga, and hiking around Los Angeles.

Current Projects: Karen is working to grow her website, to inspire people to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle. Primarily focused on fashion, she is working on future posts incorporating the value of secondhand shopping and the impact we can make by adopting slow, ethical, and sustainable fashion.

Additionally, she hopes to form interdisciplinary relationships in Los Angeles and beyond to continue to share ideas and encourage one another to live sustainably.

Other Fun Facts: Karen is working on adopting a more minimalist lifestyle and buying only secondhand. She spent a summer in Italy as a sustainable beekeeper on an organic farm under WWOOF (Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms). She planted plantain and coffee bean trees as a reforestation project for an indigenous tribe in Panama under the Global Environmental Brigades. She previously worked as a marine researcher to investigate the effects an invasive Asian kelp species has on coastal ecosystems in Santa Barbara.

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