Eden's Journey

21 years old and coming to the realisation that I had been turning a blind eye to the outer world and to put it bluntly living a pretty selfish lifestyle that catered for myself and my surrounding loved ones. Being sheltered from the issues we currently faced it was a horrible awakening when I ventured off to university and started to find my place in the world. Yes you can now guess where I studied. Being the best decision I could of made, Dunedin taught me so much especially the people I surrounded myself with who taught me many things. Life became so much more real and to be completely honest, Bloody petrifying.

At this point I knew I could either keep conforming to society and the way I originally thought my life would be lived or keep learning and growing my knowledge so I can adapt my lifestyle to be the person I wish I could be. I had to start small with daily choices and grow as a human before I could influence others around me. 2 years later I wasn’t half the person I wanted to be but getting better with every new experience and person I was influenced by.

Changing my consuming behaviour, learning about actual issues our world is facing, having conversations that actually mattered and surrounding myself with people who actually gave a fuck. This materialistic lifestyle that I had known was now irrelevant, although it’s still nice to surround yourself with things that make you happy. I had learnt that the objects that made me happy were things crafted, created and natural, not fake, plastic and mass produced.

Fashion design was something that I thought I could never study or be. I doubted myself and others doubted me, “tough industry to crack into.” Which lead me to hold off on something I had enjoyed my whole life, not exactly the fashion side of it, but making something from scratch to finish. The feeling that you actually made that and used your hands to craft something. I went to one lecture after deciding to do a more realistic degree in a Bachelor of Arts and thought, in no possible way can I sit in lectures and at an office desk for the rest of my life. I cried in the lecture as this realisation sunk in and left in front of so many people and never went back. I dropped out and moved to Dunedin a week later I started a 3 year Bachelors degree in Fashion design at Otago polytechnic.

First year I learnt and grew as a person.
2nd year I pushed boundaries and searched outside of what was taught and normal in the fashion industry, I was the first designer at the polytechnic to ever use hemp.
3rd year, I invested so much time into learning the inside of the fashion industry, volunteering for designers and fashion shows, I travelled all over New Zealand investing hundreds of hours and money into what I thought would be great for the CV.

I had gone in wanting to join it but I left wanting to change it.

Hemp was the only future I could see for a sustainable fashion industry - which is not what the fashion industry is. It is pure plastic and it’s polluting everything around us, from health to the environment.

2 collections later and a degree with distinction. I was torn on what to do next, I knew I had a dream to open a hemp apparel label and make hemp accessible for New Zealanders. But everyone knows you need money to make money. So I planned something out that would help me get to my end goal eventually without doing something I hate. I decided to do a Graduate diploma in Marketing and sales as I had always enjoyed this side of my degree but had never learnt much on the topic. I looked for brands that aligned with my morals and ethics, I had written a list of designers I would be happy to work for hoping to get into marketing and learn the ropes and earn some money so I could eventually start my own.

Half way through 2018 I was doing well in my Diploma and feeling optimistic about what the future could hold when I got a DM from the Beefy Green boys who at that time were the company I brought my hemp protein from. They were looking to start an apparel brand using hemp as they were baffled at the lack of hemp that was accessible and wanted to kit themselves out and others around them, but didn’t have the experience or knowledge about clothing.

I moved home 2 weeks later.

I renovated my parents shed out the back and turned it into a fully functioning studio. I was now juggling starting a business with two guys I hardly knew (which was about to change, as we brought flights to the world hemp summit in Kathmandu) and finishing my graduate diploma. Well that didn’t work, I dropped out of my diploma about a month into planning for OGC. Every time I worked on it all I could think about was, I am doing this to get a job to get money to start my hemp business. Now I have the support to do this with out the first 2 steps. My dream was becoming a reality so fast and it was overwhelming.

6 months later we have created Original Canvas Hemp apparel and are ready to launch at Burning Horse festival come 8th of February. Looking back I was actually crazy, no money, not much idea in regards to starting a business. But I was passionate about what we were creating and so were the guys. For the first time in my life I actually saw how my future may look. I was always so up in the air, We will just see what tomorrow holds, everything will work out. A common question, “what are you going to do when you graduate?” My answer was always, ask me in a year. Now if asked “what are you doing with yourself Eden?” I can say, I have created my own business alongside Brad Lake and Brendon McIntosh, to change the world and build New Zealand’s hemp industry. Apparel is just the start of our overall dreams. Every day a new idea is formed, another reason to motivate us more. We will grow New Zealand’s hempire, and change the way people see the fashion and health industry surrounding food and disease. To educate one friend is something amazing, If you know me you know hemp is something that is very much apart of my everyday life. But for us to form a platform to educate hundreds, now I feel like I have already achieved my goal. Yet I have barely even started, To see how far OGC has come in half a year makes it bloody thrilling and I can’t wait to see what the next 6 months has to offer.

Original Canvas, Is naturally produced fibres using no pesticides or chemicals, it’s made ethically and brought offshore, imported to our local hometown of Christchurch. Where we then start the production of hand crafting our garments, each garment is unique, Made individually, not mass created for the thousands. It holds a story, doing more good for the world than bad before you have even purchased a garment. Our first collection is our basic range to allow it to fit into the everyday street wear market. We will grow our collections to suit different markets, such as woman’s wear, workwear, kids wear and working alongside businesses to offer individualised garments to suit their brief. This is just the beginning of the hemp revolution here in New Zealand, are you going to be apart of it and aspire to help change the world, or conform to what is considered acceptable but just hands down is unethical and not sustainable at all. Just because someone markets something nice, doesn’t mean it’s ok to buy it.


1 comment

  • Very well written… keep up the good work.

    Glen Wallace

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published