Day 177 / 365

Since starting this 365-day series, I've become super involved in the online community of sustainably minded humanitarians, sharing and gathering information and support from the comfort of my sweatpants, safely behind a computer screen. But in the realm of real life, up until recently, I've remained fairly uninvolved. 

I've noticed burgeoning change within myself as I've become more mindful of my habits, actions, thoughts and product usage, which has made me more confident as a person but has also affected my interpersonal relationships. The deeper I've delved into this industry, the more alien I feel in everyday life. For the most part, I perceive that those around me have either become uninterested or uncomfortable with my slide into sustainability and with very little time for other interests, I've felt a slight sense of uncertainty and insecurity surge into my social life.

A couple of years ago I heard a quote from Jim Rohn saying "you become like the 5 people you spend the most time with," and began adjusting how I spent my time accordingly, saving my energy for those who I adore most and who adore me in return. My loved ones will always be my loved ones, even if my going green is irksome for them. But to gain the most positivity out of this experience, I need to physically be around people who don't find my doings dull. 

It was amazing how quickly my insecurities turned to confidence the moment I started to engage and I thought I'd share some places and people below which I've visited in 'real' life who have helped transform my trepidation to tenacity. 

I met Paola, owner and curator of La Manufacture Onirique in Paris at the start of my sustainability journey when Nina from Silly Boy Studios contacted me on Instagram and told me to bring my eco clutches by. I had been passively looking for somewhere to display them but was too intimidated by French fashion culture to head out on the town and be vulnerable with my creations, so a somewhat cosmic social media invite delivered something both timely and welcome. I was immediately touched by Paola's warmth and openness upon meeting her and fell for both the concept and aesthetic of her boutique. The shop is set at the foot of Montmartre, a little love shack with an ever changing 21-day cycle of beautiful eco and ethical brands which display alongside the owner Paola's beautiful creations under her brand Sencha & Bourbon. She has single-handedly created a community of conscious creatives, welcoming them with open arm to her shop for a commerce, coffee or a chat.  She holds ateliers to spread the skills the designers and artisans hold and she has monthly events gathering the community she's curated for a few glasses of wine or if you're lucky, some of her homemade rum. She's not only been a source of personal inspiration but has continued to connect me to other like minded people allowing me to grow my own circle in the consciously minded crowd.  

A few weeks back my friend Alden from Eco Cult came to Paris and invited me to join her and Sebastian Kopp (co-founder of VEJA) for lunch. Sebastian had no idea I was coming, I just kind of showed up looking like a drowned rat (from biking in the rain) and squish-squashed around his offices in my own (soaked) Veja's shoes ... like some sort of sustainable sneaker fan girl. He was warm and informative, and most of all inspiring, a supportive and altruistic patron of the cause. He took us to Paris' Centre Commercial, which is one of his other conscious creations, where you can find stylish sustainable brands in a commerce environment, beautifully designed and magnificently merchandised. A week or so later they were launching the Autumn Winter collection of the brand Suzy Winkle and I went down to see what it was all about. The evening was cosy and crawling with positive people, expanding my little circle a little more. 

The night before last, I was invited to The Good Place for an event with Positive Luxury and met some people I knew online as well as others who I didn't know of. It was the first event I had been to in which every person visiting had some part, if not a bit part, in bringing change to the world. The creator of the shop, Leona Mani, is a veteran of the industry having started her own sustainability journey before fair trade was a word we understood.  I was super inspired by her ideas and doings and we connected on the entrepreneurial side, sharing future project ideas with excitement and determination. I had been invited to the event by Alison Baker, the creator of conscious knitwear brand, Ally Bee. I originally met Alison in Paris during COP21 and had a quick (organic) beer with her the Friday before the event, it was so nice to see her beautiful creations on display and see her there as well, beaming over them. Katie George from Saiint Sisters was there too, someone I knew well online but hadn't met in real life and I was completely in awe of her perfect balance between cheekiness and grace. She and I had a cosy conversation at the event and a few more on the way home (alongside some weird public transport experiences involving people shouting and a helmet made up of bright lights). Then there was Imogen Belfield, a super kind and soulful jewellery designer who makes pieces of jewellery which are genuine works of art. I also really connected with Charney Magri, an award-winning commercial photographer, director and author who uses her talents to raise the aesthetic of the conscious community so it might compete with that of the 'other side'.  

All in all, these experiences and people brought me back to a sense of serene self I'd momentarily lost, reminding me how important it is to participate in the daily doings of your chosen tribe so you can confidently conduct a virtuous vibe.

Photos: 1 // 2, 3, 4 (me)