I was totally consumed by the fast fashion industry.
Compulsively feeling the need to always have new clothes and accessories. Shopping was one of my favourite things to do. It made me feel good that I could always afford new clothes on a budget, especially the cheap $5-10 items. This unethical pastime ensured I always had an overflowing closet of items to wear.
It wasn’t until I started to open my eyes that my perspective completely changed.
In 2014, I was feeling unfulfilled from my bank desk job. I decided to travel and live abroad, teaching English in Korea. Korea was incredible, and from there I longed for more exploration and backpacked for three months through South East Asia.
Through my travels, I often chose the road less travelled and would opt for unique, authentic, less ‘touristy’ experiences. I wanted to learn how the locals lived and get to know them in the countries I visited: Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia. This journey abroad allowed me to see the world with new eyes.
My life in Canada was completely different and I had never witnessed poverty quite like what I saw in Asia; people with little to no access to clean water. Being able to visually see how people live with minimal income, made me change my mindset big time.
We are feeling so much gratitude today! What an amazing weekend we had at @thefairtradeshow. Meeting so many like-minded people who want to support #fairtrade made us feel so GOOD about what we do! . . Buy good and FEEL GOOD when you shop with #purpose! Link in bio to view our #fairtrade collection??
I learned a thing or two about slowing down, and admired the simple life the locals lived. It felt rewarding to connect with people who were living life with so much LESS that what I was used to. And they seemed to be quite happy, which always put a smile to my face. It propelled me to analyze why I consumed so mindlessly, without taking the time to really consider the story behind the things that I bought.
Water pollution. Child labour. Toxic chemicals. Sweatshops. Overflowing landfills. Global warming. Wow. How overwhelming is the big picture of fashion?
Through this journey, I connected with artisans who were living on the island of Bali, Indonesia and hand making the most intricate and unique accessories I had ever seen. The artists, Pat and Dana, were giving back to their homeland by upcycling tire tubes that would have otherwise been in landfills and turning them into stunning fashion accessories.
So blessed to be learning from this creative genius: our partner Pat! He has been #upcycling from tire tubes for over 10 years and is incredibly passionate about reducing waste in his homeland and turning it into beautiful #art? . . We'll be back in just over a week with some new pieces! So sad we're leaving #Bali, but we're excited to be showcasing these new items at @yogaconference April 1-3! Until then, grab our collection with FREE SHIPPING for the rest of March. #madeinbali #repurpose #WearTheChange
I was blown away by their passion, artistry and desire to create. I had never before thought about the story behind tires, where they went and what happened to them. Unfortunately, tires usually end up in landfill and take many, many years to decompose. In Bali, tires create lots of waste on the tiny island, as locals and tourists simply dump them everywhere. I was so inspired by their story and innovative idea to repurpose such a wasteful and abundant material.
My curiosity and excitement gave me the opportunity to work and create some of my own pieces in their shop that afternoon. I had such a feeling of divine connection through that experience, that I knew I needed to be involved in their mission! So, in early 2015, I launched Chic Made Consciously, distributing these beautiful handmade goods in North America. Since then, I have been representing the team of six Balinese artisans and have designed two mini-collections.
Our #sustainable collection is #ethical and stylish. Grab any of our pieces (even while we're in Bali!) and get FREE SHIPPING for the entire month of Feb. CODE: FREESHIP ?? click the link in bio. #sustainablefashion #fashionwithapurpose . . . Photographer: @justlivinnnn_ Model: @shaka.lee MUA: @irinabadescumua Stylist: @styledbyerinashley
Starting this new journey excited me. I was eager to be part of something that helped preserve our planet and supported the fair trade movement, while still releasing my inner fashionista. However, the more I read, learned and understood what was going on in the fashion industry, I realized I knew very little about how it REALLY operated. The social and environmental impacts of fashion began to overwhelm me to the point where I literally felt depressed by the scale of the fashion problem.
Did you know there are incredible environmental and social impacts to make what we wear?
I had no idea that the industry was considered the second largest world polluter after oil1, and that the average Bangladesh garment worker is only paid $68 US monthly, even after the factory collapse in 2013.2 Due to this extremely low wage, often child labour becomes an issue and children are sent to work in order to cover the family’s basic necessities.3
The stats are incredibly daunting. I felt fearful of our future on this planet and at times, quite literally helpless! However, I was committed to growing Chic Made Consciously. Sharing my journey with those who followed the brand made it real and rewarding to know that others connected to my story. I realized I was slowly starting to make progress. I was happy to be offering a sustainable and ethical product, and one that was an alternative to conventional fast fashion.
Through learning, asking questions and reading, I was able to start bringing mindfulness and reflection each time I purchased something new.* I slowly started to make better and more conscious purchasing decisions that considered people who were involved in the making of what I bought. Looking at my labels and asking myself things like: How much was the worker paid? What is the environmental impact of this material? I realized that education and awareness was the seed that encouraged me to shift and change the way I consumed.
I noticed that as I changed, the people around me were curious and hungry for this new information, too. People wanted to change, but didn’t know how to take the actionable steps in order to do so.
Thus, I was inspired to create my latest project, Wear The Change Movement. This is an online conference that is comprised of over 20+ interviews with experts, entrepreneurs and leaders to bring more mindfulness to the way we consume. We cover topics in fashion, health, beauty, sustainability and wellness to learn how to be a well-rounded change-maker. My favourite part is that each speaker leaves you with actionable steps to start implementing today.
I am honoured to have Andrew Morgan, the director of The True Cost documentary as one of our guest speakers. He teaches us the true cost of clothing and how to learn the story behind the label. We also have Kate Black on How to be MagnifECO. Kelly Drennan gives us the low down on sustainable fashion. Max Goldberg informs us why organic food matters, LaRhea Pepper shares why organic cotton impacts lives. Jenise Lee gives us tips on clean beauty, and there are many more incredible speakers who share tips on cultivating inner awareness and how to align your mind, body and soul.
How can we be mindful of the world around us if we aren’t tuning in and being mindful of ourselves?
Learn how doing this will impact your consumption habits too.
And it’s FREE. Sign up at www.wearthechangemovement.com
I have learnt so much from each of these individuals and the education they will give you will be transformational. I am a firm believer that we each have incredible power as consumers to make change – it all starts with YOU.
Let’s Wear The Change together and collectively build a sustainable future!
Buy less. Reuse. Recycle. Upcycle. Slow down. Be mindful. Make change. Feel good and take action now
- https://www.ecowatch.com/fast-fashion-is-the-second-dirtiest-industry-in-the-world-next-to-big–1882083445.html ↩
- http://www.scmp.com/magazines/post-magazine/article/1970431/true-cost-your-cheap-clothes-slave-wages-bangladesh-factory ↩
- https://www.worldvision.com.au/docs/default-source/school-resources/why-does-child-labour-occur—india-case-study-worksheet.pdf?sfvrsn=2 ↩