In June of this year the team here at WeAreNativ ran our inaugural Earth Girls event in Bali, a sharing circle talk, the subject - strong women and the future of sustainable fashion. We began the morning with a heart opening Jam-Bali Reggae yoga session led by our hero and mentor Nadine McNeil AKA Universal Empress. After a feed of delicious gluten free treats provided by the talented guys at Made’s Banana Flour we settled down with the group and our fellow speakers to share our energy, thoughts and ideas.
Nadine McNeil, teacher at Bali’s famous studio Yoga Barn, empowerment coach, strength goddess and spiritual mentor, seamlessly shifted gears from yoga teacher to esteemed speaker.
We were joined by Gaile Yuknite, co-founder of the most beautiful online platform for sustainable and ethical products, Ever Wonder Store. Gaile lives and breaths sustainability and brought with her a wealth of knowledge and understanding from this realm.
Hanalei Swan joined the panel at the last minute as a surprise speaker. Leading the fearsome next generation of Earth Warriors at the age of 12, Hanalei is founder of her very own sustainable fashion brand and is an advocate of many other brands on the sustainable and ethical journey.
And finally, I stepped up to moderate the talk. I am Rosey Hocknell, founder of WeAreNativ, a sustainable, ethical and conscious swimwear label. WeAreNativ is a vehicle for us to make a difference. Our Earth Girls event series is born from a passion for bringing people together through our love of the planet, to help spread awareness, leading to positive change.
With such a strong panel and engaged group, there was a sense of purpose and passion in the room as we began by discussing the power of female healing energy and how this is positively affecting fashion’s environmental footprint. Is this because we as women have an innate desire to nurture Mother Earth at a time when she so desperately needs our help? And with fashion being the planet’s second biggest polluter, does it not make sense that this is often our chosen medium to set a good example, make a difference, and inspire change? Not only are women coming to the forefront of sustainable fashion, they are also coming together behind the scenes to support one another, and therein lies the real strength and power for change.
There is an undeniable connection between how we feel and our consumer habits. If we were all perfectly happy with our bodies, the bottom would fall out of the fast fashion and beauty industries quicker than a melting ice cap. It stands to reason that if we come together to discuss our hearts, bodies and minds, no doubt one of the ideas to emerge will be the understanding that we are in fact beautiful, not despite our quirks and flaws, but because of them. We will experience the revelation as a collective, which means there is no more pretending. You can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube. Just the revelation itself is a sign of change, once you come to terms with the truth, you won’t be able to bring yourself to purchase something made of slave labour and harmful fabrics, because you don’t need it.
How can we influence the collective psychology to foster a new mindset for ethical and sustainable behaviours, habits and choices? How can we move away from disposable thinking and consumerism? Mindless fashion purchases lead to 3 out of 5 items ending up in landfill within 12 months. It’s obscene, it makes no sense. We are not only causing environmental devastation, we are also damaging ourselves with this unconscious behaviour.
Human beings are emotionally hungry, we are trying to fill the void with things. Things only do the job for a short while however, and then it’s off to the shops again. But mindful consumerism is on the rise, there’s a huge (no pun intended) minimalist movement happening. We had an inspiring Earth Girl with us at the event, Nati, who spent one whole year on a fashion fast. It may seem pretty extreme and is certainly very impressive, but she managed to make it through a whole year and she felt more wholesome and happy as a result. Win win.
Once you choose a more mindful, conscious way of living, you begin a journey of transformation. Initially it feels traumatic to lift the veil and see the truth of the devastation caused by our habits as a consumer, part of the process is making peace with this. You can then begin to value every positive action you take, no matter how small it may seem. It’s more about adopting a positively infectious mindset than it is about measuring the size of our efforts. Perhaps you will inspire 10 people and those 10 will go on to inspire a further 10 people and so on. All great and wonderful achievements on this planet started with one small step, and I believe the seedling of this movement is hope.
We are the change agents of this time, and this is arguably the most important age in human history. We hold the future of the human race and countless other species in our hands. Our decisions as a collective, even the very small ones, have a huge impact on the world around us. It is a terrifying time to be alive, but it is also an exciting time because there is immense positive change afoot. Love and togetherness are on the rise, which will heal not only the planet, it will heal us too.
To create such a powerful community through this event has filled my heart with love and hope. That we are stronger together is in no doubt, we can do more good as a tribe. This gathering is a testament to that, it was a turning point in our journey not only as a brand, but as a handful of people trying to make a difference, and by doing so, a handful sprouting a community and that community promising to become a movement.
Much humble thanks to everyone who joined us, to our wonderful speakers for their wisdom and insight, to our Earth Girls for being so engaged and sharing their amazing stories with the group. Special thanks to our contributors, it was an honor to collaborate with such noble and inspirational brands:
Mades Banana Flour - these guys really stepped up and stole the show with their mouth watering gluten free pancakes, waffles and deliciously decadent cakes, all made from banana flour which is a prebiotic and full of healthy vitamins. You can find them at 41 Batu Bolong, Canggu, Bali, and they will soon open a bakery in London - counting down the days!
Bam-Oko are providing beautiful reusable bamboo straws to help fight plastic waste in our oceans, harming sea life and our ecosystem. These straws are affordable, lightweight and easy to clean - such a lovely addition to our gift bags for our Earth Girls to take away with them.
Maria Curau are pioneers of non toxic and natural nail products. Their nail spa is the lap of zen luxury, located in a quiet area near Canggu, Bali and surrounded by gorgeous green rice paddies. They provided a generous discount card for our girls to experience a healthy nail treatment.
Mosaic Kombucha kept us hydrated and our taste buds tantalised with their delicious kombucha brew - it gave me a well needed boost after our yoga session and was the perfect fuel for the talk. So yummy and not full of sugar like all the other brands out there.
And finally, I must say a very big thank you to my WeAreNativ girl crew. Holly Hilden (AKA the Wicked Witch of WAN!) and Tash Keville, I couldn’t have done it without you girls. Thank you for your continued love and support, and for inspiring the Earth Girls movement.
Stay tuned, we will have another Earth Girls event happening soon in London and just maybe a festival in 2020!