Jamie Ortega of Sumzine

When the first issue of Sumzine hit the scene earlier this year, I was blown away by its look. Or rather, looks. The fashion editorial ran the gamut from uptown pretty, to masculine Brooklyn twee, to edgy downtown rocker-chic, to gentleman and even Sunset Park-ish hip-hop. What was notably missing was the California-granola-mom look that has come to caricatur-ize the slow fashion scene. Instead, it’s everything a New Yorker could want in their fashion magazine, including the ethics.

You get the sense, reading through Sumzine, of heading down a hallway into the back room of NYC fashion and art. The editorial is honest about the process of bootstrapping the fashion mag. The subjects are unexpected but oh so cool.

Sumzine is five days away from closing out its Kickstarter campaign for the second issue, which makes this the perfect time to find out more about the lady who has made it all happen, Jamie Ortega. Read on to find out her favorite places to eat, vintage shop, and how she deals with the underside of being a stylist. (Then go contribute to her Kickstarter and get your own copy!)

What’s your favorite NYC restaurant?

I’m not the best person to ask this question for a number of reasons (ie. always light on cash, been vegetarian for 15 years, and never been a foodie). BUT! It’s a tie between Bliss Cafe (on N. 7th/Bedford) and Souen (in the village). They have similar menus, but Souen is just a touch more fresh, in my opinion. Or the Fat Radish in Chinatown. Yummm, nothing better than fresh veggie options!

Your fave bar?

Nights and Weekends in Greenpoint, no contest. This is the well-known sister bar to Five Leaves. There are always good tunes and healthy pours, plus it’s right in the middle of the ‘Bermuda Triangle.’ A friend of mine nicknamed the spot between Greenpoint and Williamsburg because it’s where you bounce between Five Leaves, Manhattan Inn, and No Name Bar. There are a few others popping up that are really good, too (read: Park Luncheonette, Torst), but I stick to Nights and Weekends and No Name for the most part. However, I did just find out that they pour really healthy glasses of wine at Sapporo Haru (also in the triangle) for just $4. Now I’ll shut up because I’m sounding like a lush… I just love a deal, OK?

Describe your perfect Sunday.

A perfect summer Sunday would be grabbing an early coffee at Troost and drinking it in Transmitter Park while waking up to the waves of the water. Then, after a major trip to the bodega for essentials, a nice bike ride to Fort Tilden beach. To close off the day, a glass of rosé at Ramona in Greenpoint before heading to bed to read or watch a movie.

You can only see one musical artist perform this year–who do you choose?

This is a bittersweet question because I just sold my ticket to FYF in LA. I was going to see Slowdive AND Murder City Devils! But if we are talking fantasyland scenario, I’d like to see Skepta in small, smokey London basement. Will this happen now? Can I sing the JME part on ‘That’s Not Me?’

What’s your favorite place to shop in the city?

Consistently, it’s [the vintage store] Stella Dallas in Williamsburg. They always have what you want/need, and being that I shop for utility and not so much for leisure, this place does the trick. Last time I went here, I was looking for overalls and I walked away with some in perfect condition that are vintage Gap. I think I’ve worn them every weekend (at least) since then.

Your favorite NYC-made brand?

I know bicoastal brand Reformation doesn’t count since their factory is in LA, but I just want to get that out there first. They the shit! As far as NY-made goes, I will say Patrick Ervell, 100%. Not a lot for the ladies, but everything is beautifully made and is created to live a long life in your closet.

You have three days free to get the heck out of the city. Where do you go?

Kingston, Jamaica. I’ve never been and it’s one of the musical utopias that I’ve built up in my mind (used to be way into ska) like Olympia, Chicago, Baltimore, Ibizia, etc.. Beach, music, and a total change of pace from NYC, I will take all of that.

Do you vintage shop? Where do you go?

I think I only vintage shop or investment/sample sale shop, so yes! As I mentioned earlier, I’m a Stella Dallas loyalist, but I’m also extremely lucky to live next to one of the best Salvation Army’s in the city in Greenpoint. It pays off to browse there daily, or whenever I have time. Also, The Thing is always solid and has tons of random oddities. I lived in Greenpoint for a year before I realized there was an entire record shop in the basement. I noticed DJ Harvey was always in the hood and then I figured it out.

What’s your biggest, unsustainable bad habit?

Ugh, do I have to tell? I drink A LOT of coffee. Coffee eats up a lot of water in its production, but I think this is a pretty ubiquitous habit. So, I will give you a second one as well. Working as a stylist, sometimes I need basics to supplement showroom pulls. More often than not, these come from fast fashion chain retailers because of the convenience factor. I usually return the item, keep it for future shoots, resell it, or donate these pieces. It hurts my heart a bit, but I do my best to avoid this nasty little habit.

How has living sustainably change your life for the better?

Creating less waste for the planet and being conscious is obvi, but it has also saved me a lot of money and stress over the years. For instance, not eating meat shaves off a good $5 each time I go out to eat—I also get my food quicker. Since I buy for needs over impulse, I have saved money from shopping habits I see other people maintain. Knowing how the fashion industry works, and how the lifespan of a product starts way before it appears on the shelf has given me a bit more a connection with the objects in my life.

Do you ever lecture your friends on their non-green choices?

You catch the most flies with honey, not vinegar! I am always open to discussing sustainability but it is not on my agenda in an evangelistic sort of way. I believe that most people are quite educated and that there is a lot of information out there that there is no need for the constant rant. It’s better to lead the way than beat others down.

What do you find most challenging about living sustainably?

Living in NYC! Even though I work for myself and frequently work from home, the constant movement around the city causes a lot of waste. Whether it’s a creative meeting where I get an iced coffee in a cup that goes straight to the landfill, or a bottle of water I buy on the go to a photo shoot—all those little things add up and contribute to this city’s enormous amount of waste. I used to have anxiety (probably stemming from my religious upbringing) about it, but I’ve come to accept the inevitability of those little things.

When it’s yellow, do you let it mellow?

I definitely observed this in one of my apartments when living in San Francisco, but since then I’ve been into flushing. I am quite conservative with the flushes when I can be (TMI?), and definitely ration out showers .