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Green Is The New Black

ICYMI: Top Moments from The Conscious Festival

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And just like that, the most anticipated event of the year has wrapped! From Paris to London to Singapore, The Conscious Festival brought together open hearts and minds to spend the weekend together sharing perspectives on conscious living, unlearning and relearning.  

Singapore kicked things off on Friday in City Developments Limited (CDL) with London joining us from The Mills Fabrica and Paris tuning in from La Caserne. A chic and trendy outdoor space, La Caserne is Europe’s largest sustainable fashion accelerator. The perfect spot for curious and conscious folks to soak up the last of the summer sunshine to a backdrop of chill-out beats, art installations, organic wine and good energy.

The Talks

With 4700+ physical attendees in Paris, this year’s festival was officially the biggest Conscious Festival since its creation in 2015 in Singapore! It was also our first hybrid event bringing a further 1,000 attendees together online.

The event brought an exciting range of inspiring speakers together both in-person and virtually. 160 speakers joined us in total. Topics ranged from Collective Intelligence, Wellness & Spirituality, Sustainability & Regeneration, Planet & Biodiversity, and Fashion & Beauty. We asked questions like “Can fashion truly ever be sustainable?”, “What is to be a human in 2021?” and “How can we Apply Indigenous Wisdom and know-hows to build Regenerative Systems?”

Though the discussions covered a broad range of subjects, a few common threads emerged. The need to re-examine our relationship with the things we buy was a strong theme. The need to acknowledge our privileges and the role that European colonialism has played in creating the unfair systems we currently operate in came through in several of the panel discussions. The profound ways in which we can heal when we embrace accountability, for ourselves and each other came through in so many ways throughout the weekend.

Wellness breaks punctuated the panel sessions where moderators invited delegates to close their eyes, take a deep breath and check-in with their hearts and bodies between some heavy topics.

Some of our most memorable takeaways from talks:

On accessibility

“Concerns of affordability often outweigh the concerns of sustainability.There are still gaps we need to fill including socioeconomic, education and providing equal opportunities for all. It’s a change we need to make as a collective.” – Kae Hana, a lecturer at MDIS School of Fashion Design Singapore

On spotting greenwashing

“Greenwashing has many faces. In fact, the “6 Sins” of Greenwashing include: Vagueness, Lesser Evils, Irrelevance Hidden Trade-offs, No-proof and Fibbing. (Source: A Study of Environmental Claims in North American Consumer Markets) Complex issues like sustainability is an intersectional problem manifested from late-stage capitalism. The only solution is through education and consuming less, period.” – Xingyun Shen, The Country Coordinator of Fashion Revolution Singapore

On changing our relationship with the things we buy

“We need to be more aware of the value of our garments, the materials, the craftsmanship, how long it takes to create the garment “ – Celine Dassonville, Ethiwork

On innovation

“Fabrics is a space where we can make changes. Using plants like banana for example or plant-based leather from mushroom or cactus” – Lisa Von Teng, Fashion Designer

On what will really move the needle

“We’ve seen the evidence. Science + political will + making change the norm is the winning formula for making change happen” – Garrette Clark, United Nations Environment Programme

Change is not passive. A lot of people think things will just get better but actually, change happens because people are out there doing the work and being a catalyst for change.” Tori Tsui, Climate Justice activist and Mental Health advocate

On Capitalism

“The system wants activists to burn out they don’t want us to succeed. Normalise taking breaks, and joy
Easy to believe there is no beauty in the world but when you slow down and focus on joy, you can see there is beauty everywhere” – Tori Tsui, Climate Justice activist and Mental Health advocate

On Spirituality

“Consciousness is missing from conversations in the business world” – Celine Dassonville, Ethiwork

“Humans are, relatively speaking, weak animals. We have always relied on technology to enhance our lives but technology is solutions-driven and will always be solving the problems of the dominant group. We must also focus on creating a new value system, and this can only be done a through a heart-centred approach.” – Laurent Bibard, ESSEC

On Indigenous Wisdom

“Indigenous cultures can help us to reconnect with the earth in profound ways – to become more in sync with the moon, the seasons.” – Tabita Rezaire

“We tend to forget that the first people to be impacted are Indigenous because their lands are being destroyed
In Gabon, there is a big exodus from the forest because of deforestation and people can’t keep their semi-nomadic lifestyle going. To preserve their knowledge and wisdom, we need to advocate for them.” – Adama Anotho, Photographer and Art Director

The Marketplace

The marketplace was buzzing with over 30 conscious brands and creators showcasing the best in sustainable fashion innovation. Our vendors had everything from upcycled designer wear, sustainable lingerie, fair trade jewellery – everything you need for that luxury feel but with minimal impact on the planet.

MUD Jeans taught us that a staggering 8,000 litres of water used to make 1 pair of jeans, making it one of the most unsustainable garments. MUD jeans use 93% less water used to produce and is a complete circular brand, easy to recycle jeans.

We heard from sustainable menstrual underwear brand, Pantys, that we throw away 1 trillion products every year, with menstrual products like pads and tampons amongst the top 10. Their menstrual underwear looks like normal underwear and is a fantastic alternative to disposable products. With Pantys, you can feel good while on your period, avoid single-use products and look great too.

Scéona was one of our fine jewellery brands on offer. They use recycled gold and cultured lab diamonds from India to create their beautiful jewellery.

Throughout the afternoons, artists delighted shoppers with stunning interactive performances. On Saturday afternoon, while the sun was high in the sky, the courtyard was packed and Casa 93 captivated the crowd with a performance art piece that made full use of every inch of the space from the courtyard to the stairways and balcony. Gabe Stone Shayer was up next, dancing a joyful ballet solo. A truly unforgettable moment for all who witnessed it.

In addition to some retail therapy, the festival offered an array of workshops to start that inner and collective healing. The power of yoga, pilates, ecstatic dance, breathwork and sound healing brought everyone together in the spirit of self, and community, care. The backbone of any social justice movement.

Workshops

As well as lively panel discussions, delegates could choose from a smorgasbord of interactive workshops like upcycling and mending, to try out some new little green steps they can incorporate into their lives.

Back Market taught us how to do some basic repairs on phones and laptops. Made in Sunday jeans repair to jeans repair and creative sewing skills. Imagine all the money, and waste, we can save by simply learning how to do more DIY at home.

Sustainability is not just for fashion – grooming has also gotten the memo that it’s time to make better choices for the planet. On the spot manicures were available from sustainable brand Manicurist and hairstyling and tips by Sire Doré.

Music and Art

Last but not least, we made space for joy! With each sunset came a line-up of incredible musicians and performances to lift our spirits as we raised our consciousness. What’s better than learning the fundamentals of voguing and waacking from the best in the business? Doing it with a crowd of like-minded conscious souls!

On Friday, Snake Ninja brought us to the ballroom with a vogueing class. On Saturday, O’Soul added wacking to our dance vocabulary. The vivacious duo led a soul train giving every wannabe dancer a chance to show off their new moves and grooves.

Big shout out to the incredible sponsors and event partners for making the weekend possible:

La Caserne, Kering, AIGLE, Back Market, Pixelis, Ethiwork, Arianee, We Turn, Chargeurs PCC

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Leanne has worked and volunteered in the NGO sector in Asia and the UK for almost a decade. She is a proud and passionate fundraiser who is motivated by connecting people to causes that they care about and giving them the opportunity to make a real difference. Since growing up on the West Coast of Ireland, she has always been a lover of nature, especially the ocean. Her journey towards living more sustainably and consciously started slowly through an interest in minimalism, plant-based diet, yoga and the zero-waste movement. She has attempted all of them with varying degrees of success! Seeing the Extinction Rebellion April actions in London this year was the biggest wake-up call to learn the truth about the scale of the climate crisis and Leanne now considers herself a bone fide, but imperfect, environmentalist keen to share the infinite benefits of slowing down and living more mindfully with anyone who will listen!

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