The clad bricked walls humbly surrender to the small vines ambitious reaching for a higher perspective. Emerald tear shaped foliage, small and unassuming; encourage the growth of a new consciousness for consumerism inside the walls it embraces. Nepal. It reveals itself with a tender chaos and an enduring compassion unparalleled by the wake of our evolving globe.
I observe, as the age old wisdom of capable, knowing hands; measure, cut and transmute ideas into actuality. Metres of material approached with deep trust in their skills, with a flare of spaciousness where the collaboration of new designs and creative voices come to play in the subtle workings of stitches, cuts and styles.
The Nepali peoples have a lineage of tailor made traditions, a history where garments are made to size, styled to the individual; evolving tradition with the times. Clothing that fits your unique body, is a lost art and undervalued necessity in this age.
It is such a pleasure to bear witness to the conscious and perceptive artistry that echos through the garments; as the outside nature reminds me that every piece has come from small and unassuming little seeds. Grown by the wild and nurturing elements, harvested by diligent and devoting hands. Separated and interwoven like a tiny tapestry of threads, star-crossed between one another with small and subtle spaces to let the air dance through. Fabrics represent a seasonal story expressed by the textures and subtle differences, grown by the changing energies of the earth and the skies.
Dyes are collected from roots, and fruits and minerals; set by the sun and washed by the waters of the rain, the rivers, the seas. All comes and all returns.
This is the simple truth that wanders in my mind as I reflect on the billions of products of our past that have been made and unmade by the hands of time. But now, it is the trillions of products of our present that have no means by which to be unmade and certainly not enough time to do so; we have chosen a collective lifestyle of little value that is leading us to no life at all. Which leads to me ask,
What happened to culture?
No matter the cultural differences of our ancient past, there was always a common thread, intertwining roots that kept the preservation of land and culture as the priority for the next generations of children. Cultures who taught simple tools of life like ‘clean up after yourself’, ‘only take what you need’, ‘be kind’.
If we look at only one culture, the Native Americans valued the importance of caring the decisions of the present to cater for seven generations into the future. It was even codified into the Iroquois Great Law of Peace. Or if we look at the Indigenous Australians, every person belonged to a totem; a role to protect one specific part of country; whether rock, mineral or animal.
Too much of the fashion industry takes and gives nothing in return, we leave our waters toxic and our land arid and damaged. Like food, clothing is a way of life. We tell stories of traditions, of change, of how we are the same and how we are different. We belong deeply, to our earth; and yet we walk in our forgetfulness. We forget who we are. And so we stumble upon our paths, we damage where we would heal, we accept what we should rebel; we separate where we should come together.
Often I am deeply challenged by the industry I am in. And often I ask myself, why are we doing this? Why am I in an industry that is stricken with and perpetuates so much dis-ease? That, for the most part, exploits and disempowers and feeds off the wounds that they created in us. Fashion is not the problem, it is the way that it is represented. Body shame is one of our greatest commonalities; to feel uncomfortable in our own skins is one powerful way to convince us we are unloveable as we uniquely are. This way, we fill our media made holes with toxic clothes, toxic makeup, toxic implants because we have lost ourselves; we have forgotten True Beauty.
It is by no means an easy path to separate the truth from the lies, to live in the world but not of the world. To be aware of the incessant and unrelenting distractions and actively make the effort to slow down, to simplify, to connect, to know ourselves. That is why we have created a Temple, to represent a voice of truth in an industry filled with lies. To remind us all, that we are powerful, beautiful and loveable beyond measure.
We may be a small fish trying to clean the seas we're swimming in; where the ocean is so vast and the sharks so hungry and all consuming. But I have learned to loosen my hold on perfectionism and work within our limitations, whilst always pushing them to give a little more, to expand a little wider. Moreover,
I have chosen to accept the frightening reality of our natural worlds decline and from that place I choose to expect miracles. Accepting the truth empowers us to change it.
We are living in an unhealed culture, and sometimes the ambitions of own journeys of sustainable living are smacked down by devastating realities that make our efforts seem small and in insignificant. But there is so much more going on than saving plastic straws, and riding our bicycles. We are cultivating a revolution in our collective consciousness; and where our efforts seem small they are in actuality all powerful and far reaching.
It is easy to become disheartened, it is courageous to keep the faith.
I find solace in the plant that took our lives upon its own trajectory; with its power and potential slowly revealing itself to the world like a rare flower.
I have felt so many threads of hemp between my fingers, some incredibly soft, others harsh and coarse; and the difference is always a matter of time, of how much it has been worn, of how often water has softened its edges. Like us... we need to give ourselves time.
Slowing down holds so many gifts. Where we are distracted we become observant, where we are unsettled we become still; we become aware. And layers upon layers of inspirations, ideas and awakenings unveil the many faceted beauty of our human story with unremarkable and imperishable truths:
That is why we believe above all else that, to ‘know thyself’ is the most courageous, truthful, powerful and rebellious pursuit of them all. It is the only authentic and sustainable way to break the patterns, to shift the culture and to inspire connection from which all great change is born.