It's getting Greener every year!!

green is the new black conscious festival

G'day WYLDones!!!

Sorry it has been a while... But we have been busy playing in our lil' Joo Chiat shop - jushing it up for you and filling it with some yummy new stuff!!! 

But I am here ( a tad late.. ) to let you know that YASS our favourite annual Conscious Festival is back this weekend and it is more green than ever! With Stephanie Dickson at the helm of the Green is the New Black Festival Ship which she has steered for 4.5 years now with 8 festivals and 37 Wedge events under her belt - I assure you, she will not disappoint - we are geared up and ready to attend this years' green fiesta which will be held for the first time outdoors at South Beach Singapore. 

Photo by Kb

When people mention the words entrepreneur or change maker - there is always one person that jumps to the forefront of my mind who I believe epitomises these two terms. I was lucky enough to have a long overdue catch-up with Stephanie Dickson recently at the swanky - super swish members club - Straits Clan to get the low down on this year's Festival and have some burning questions answered that relate to the Fashion Industry itself and a topic that we will be exploring in more depth that is ~ Self-Care. 

Photos of The Straits Clan by Kb

I am a very firm believer that we do certain jobs, enter into specific career commitments and experience highly challenging job roles because they are all important stepping stones in our journey even if we don't acknowledge this at the time. Stephanie is a testament to my theory with her extensive experience running  Fashion Events and seeing a need to bring more light to how we can live more consciously, not just with the way we consume fashion but as a whole. 

I have always been impressed with her tenacity and as a friend and fellow entrepreneur I am fascinated by her journey and how she keeps it real, manages to keep focused and continue to spread the conscious living message. 

I asked Stephanie a few questions that I personally wanted to know, as being a retailer we sometimes overlook processes and I absolutely do want WYLD to move into more sustainable practices to help reduce waste and get into new habits of thinking about more conscious business practices.  

Since the last time I spoke to Stephanie in depth about her event, she has  expanded the Green is the New Black Festival to Hong Kong!!

KB: So since we last interviewed you which was back in 2017 ... you have done 2 GITNB Festivals in Hong Kong? I am keen to know what the difference between the two locations are if any? 

Stephanie: So the main format is actually the same, we have our 3 Main Components which are: (Please click on each one to find our more for this weekend's event) 

1. The Village

2. The Talks 

3. The Workshops 

And of course the ethos of "conscious living" remains the same, however the main difference between the two cities is the actual vibe of the community - it is very different. There's a much more hipper - alternative vibe going on among the crowd - they tend to stay for longer and party a bit more. So we have to localise the event and curate the talks to fit the vibe of the community. Also what is unique to the Hong Kong Event is we have a Mini Film Festival. 

KB: So any other region on the radar? 

Stephanie: We will be expanding to Europe - London or Paris - we haven't decided yet. 

KB: With this next question I feel like as if there are many small businesses, companies as well as individuals in Fashion Companies out there that would like to start but don't know where to.... Can you help shed some light on how small Fashion businesses, companies or individuals can be more conscious, make changes and start conversations? 

Stephanie: Yes, such a great question! We work closely with SME's, social enterprises, events, offices and companies. I usually tend to tell people the very first place to 'Start is in the Office' or in the way that the team runs operationally depending on the size of the company.

I'd suggest for a large company if there isn't one already - Start a "Green Group" or join a "Green committee"  they usually meet once a month to look at the office practices and operations of the company and decipher what are the sustainability elements that could be implemented. Starting or joining one of these groups would typically mean you'd do this outside of your normal day and would usually require some level of management support. So if you're passionate about making these changes then this would be a great place to start. 

They would implement changes such as:

    • setting aircon temperatures 23-25 which will have a huge impact
    • making sure an energy saving is turned on for computers not in use
    • only serving vegetarian at catered events
    • making sure there is no single use plastic in the office ( taking away single use cups - and replacing with reusables )
    • ensuring that catering companies also use reusable plates, cutlery and cups
    • off setting carbon for company flights by planting trees, using a carbon calculator you can see how many trees you need to plant - it just starts from $1 per tree. Our company does this, we use a company called Eco Matcher  the trees we plant are $4 each. This can be great for CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) if flights are neutral. 
KB: So for Fashion Brands what can they look at changing? 

 

Stephanie: Well they can start to look at their whole supply chain. They can start asking questions. A lot of companies do not even know where their fabrics are from or how they are made and by whom. They can also be unaware of where their factories are located and could start looking into how much water is being used during the manufacturing processes.  As I mentioned above - they too could look at the carbon footprint they are making from the flights of their shipments and they could look at off-setting them by also planting trees. 

Understanding the supply chain for any fashion business is crucial if you want to make pro-active changes to your business. It is equally important to ASK questions with suppliers on how the materials are made so they can look into more sustainable options. The idea behind this is knowledge = power. When you ask questions and you understand more fully the supply chain - you can then make more educated decisions. But the most important thing is to try and REDUCE the IMPACT ~ by investing time into more eco friendly practices e.g sourcing and using fabrics that are organic or made sustainably such as tencel or bamboo. Looking into what dyes are being used in the factory and where the waste water is headed ~ isn it into a strea where the chemicals maybe affecting habitants in the community? 

 

KB: Stephanie urges brands, companies and individuals to all keep asking questions. If she herself sees a product she likes and messages the brand directly and asks where and how it is made - if she's not cool with the answer this will deter her from purchasing. 

So have their been any major challenges with this year's event? 
Stephanie: It’s outdoors this year (in a covered space) but this has opened a whole pandoras box full of a new set of challenges for the team but nothing we’ve not been able to overcome. There has been a lot of licensing issues that came with having the event outdoors but we are super excited to be at South Beach. 
Our theme for this year's Singapore Event is CLIMATE CHANGE IS REAL- so we are always to trying to push ourselves outside of the boundary to see how much more sustainable our own events can be e.g we have gone completely Vegan this year, we are carbon neutral and are zero waste. 
I also have an amazing team who are able to combat any human issues and we're able to resolve with kindness and compassion. 

 

KB: So lastly, you are building this conscious and sustainable behemoth that is touching the likes of SME's, Large Corporations and individuals alike within Asia and soon to be parts of Europe. I know this has been an incredible journey for you!! 

So my last question is what are the top things you do personally to combat stress / anxiety and/or basically any rituals you do to take care of yourself so that you can put together these amazing events! 
Stephanie: Well this has been dependant on the part of my journey I was at. Like anything - your well being and the consciousness you have is a journey and you have to start with some kind of foundation BUT you have to start. 
 
When I started I did :
1. Journalling, which was very powerful to get my thoughts our of my head and onto paper. 
2. Mirror Work so telling myself into the mirror that I loved myself, which was very hard a first but was a game changer. 
3. I know do a lot of Kundalini Yoga which helps because is about working inward. it is very reflective and I sweat which is great and is so powerful on many levels as I've always struggled to meditate but this puts me into a very mediative state - it's like I am meditating through movement. 
4. I  am also about to start CBT ( Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) which can really help to manage my stress and understand why I am reacting certain ways and which also give me the tools to cope.
Prioritising my health was something I did not do in the the first 3 .5years of building my company and as a result my body slowed down and I got very ill. So now am conscious to STOP,  REST and now I PLAY. I  have my music blaring and dance in my house, have fun with friends and I enjoy connecting with childlike play ~ this has been game changing this year. 
 
So well that wraps us up. Thank you for your time and I am thrilled to be attending this weekend! I know some of our wonderful brands from theWYLDshop will be exhibiting ~ Gaya with her Just Gaya's earrings,  Frankitas Bags and Fugeelah earrings as well as Radikah from Left Hand Designs. See below for the schedule! 
 
STEPHANIE - You are an ECO ROCKSTAR and I look forward to chatting with you about many more Festivals to come!!!  

 

WYLDones ~ we love having you in store as always - you bring me so much joy! I am proud of all of you and I hope that you are building the confidence to dream, Live WYLD and free and be who YOU want to be!!! My new mission is to share in abundance information and knowledge so that you can live more happy & beautiful lives. I hope you find parts of this interesting - I would love to know more about what you'd like to hear or see on our blog too!!! 

Have a beautiful weekend!!! 
always with love Kb xxx

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