Eden's Awakening - The Need for Fashionable, Yet Ethical Clothing

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 faced it was a horrible awakening when I ventured off to university and started to find my place in the world. Life became so much more real and to be completely honest, bloody petrifying.

At this point I realised 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 could adapt my lifestyle to be the person I wished I could be. I had to start small with daily choices and grow as an individual before I could influence others around me. Two years later I wasn’t half the person I wanted to be, but was 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 shit’ were all part of the ‘opening’ of my mind. The materialistic, fast fashion lifestyle that I had known was now irrelevant (but 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 work in. 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 start 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 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.

The first year I learnt and grew as a person. The second year I pushed boundaries and searched outside of what was taught, and what was ‘normal’ in the fashion industry. I was the first designer at the polytechnic to ever use hemp. Third 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 fashionable, ethical clothing industry. The fast fashion industry is not ethical. It is pure plastic and it’s polluting everything around us, from health to the environment. And so… Original Canvas was born. I am proud to call Original Canvas, sustainable fashion.

First published February 03, 2019