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Green Is The New Black

IRIS: Your Escape, Hong Kong’s Largest Health & Wellness Festival

IRIS: Your Escape is an all-day Yoga and Wellness Festival happening on the 3rd & 4th March weekend in Hong Kong.

IRIS creates a community that is accessible and open to everyone regardless of age, gender and race. With the goal of creating a collective consciousness that encourages people to connect with others on a deeper level through yoga, meditation, music, arts, health and wellness education, they inspire individuals to become a better version of themselves.

We chatted with the founder, Gianni Melwani to get the scoop on the festival. With a degree in psychology, growing up playing soccer, having an affinity for art, and currently entrepreneurship, it comes as little surprise that Gianni is always challenging himself to diversify and engage in new endeavours. Gianni is the Co-Founder and Director of Hybrid Group, an industry-leading events and creative solutions company that brought Spartan Race (The World’s #1 Obstacle Race) to Hong Kong.

A passionate yogi, Gianni began practising yoga in 2014.  By experiencing the benefits of yoga both on and off the mat, he wanted to share the true values of yoga, health, wellness and fitness with the masses, leading to the creation of IRIS: Your Escape,Hong Kong’s Largest Health & Wellness Festival!

Living in a fast paces city like Hong Kong, it is always nice to occasionally getaway and recharge your batteries. IRIS offers a way to do that by connecting with like-minded people and exploring new available crafts and activities. 
                                                                             – Gianni Melwani, Founder of IRIS: Your Escape

GITNB: Tell us Gianni, What exactly is IRIS and how did you come up with the idea?
Gianni Melwani: Your Escape is a platform that connects teachers, brands and participants together via health, wellness, fitness and lifestyle practices. The IRIS is the part of the eye that controls the contraction and expansion of the pupil. We wanted to open peoples eyes to a unique experience unseen before in Hong Kong. As an avid yogi, the idea began because we simply wanted to share the practice of Yoga in it’s entirety to the masses. From there we educated ourselves in the wellness world and expanded the portfolio of available activities to what it is today.

GITNB: How has it evolved since the first edition?
GM: The first edition was a small yoga-only gathering on the beach with less than 100 people to test out the proof of concept. It has since turned in to Hong Kong’s largest health and wellness festival which features 7 key zones (Yoga MainStage, Zen Garden, Fit District, Silent Disco, The Playground, Talent Theatre, Marketplace), a carefully curated line-up consisting of 80+ teachers and many more new exciting partnerships. For example, for our next edition Nike, Calzedonia and LUSH will all have fun, interactive activations at the festival.

GITNB: Why do you think people need to “escape” from their lives?
GM: We don’t think people NEED to escape from their lives. That being said, living in a fast paced city like Hong Kong, it is always nice to occasionally get away and recharge your batteries. IRIS offers a way to do that by connecting with like-minded people and exploring new available crafts and activities.

GITNB: Why do you think it’s important for people to invest in their wellness?

GM: Over the past 5-10 years, there has been a huge rise in consciousness about investing in personal wellness. The millennial generation especially have redefined the wellness trend to be a must-have in their lives. It is important because people are making the effort to experience the benefits of these practices themselves. From there, a ripple effect is formed, creating confidence and clarity in peoples lives. Having a consistent, dedicated health, wellness fitness or lifestyle practice is an added-value filter that when placed on your own life, will enhance all the other aspects of it.

GITNB: Are there any green or sustainable aspects with the Brands involved in the event?

GM: Yes, this year we’ve partnered with Urban Spring and Blue Water, which provide safe filtered drinking water for attendees and water bottles for on-site rental, saving around 6,000 plastic bottles and advocating waste reduction. To reduce our carbon footprint, we have also collaborated with EcoMatcher, a SMART tree planting agent that works with global farmers to plant traceable trees. For every extra donation of HK$20 made, an attendee will adopt a tree through EcoMatcher, with access to data about the exact location and species of the adopted tree.

GITNB: What is going to be happening this year, why should everyone go?

GM: This year we have increased our venue size and production to enhance user experience. Our Marketplace will host 60+ vendors with brands from all kinds of industries such as clothing, apparel, studios, chiropractors, wellness technology, delicious F&B and so much more. The line-up has new never-before-seen classes and teachers coupled with our favourite experienced veterans. The event is free entry for children under 12 this year, so we encourage families to make a fun day out together. Our sponsors and partners have created interactive activations such as virtual reality stations, DIY workshops, new product testing, freebies, giveaways and prizes. The festival is going to be an eclectic mix of joy and personalities coming together to share their personal trades. If anyone is remotely interested in anything health and wellness related, this is the place to be on 3rd & 4th March weekend.

Find out more about what’s going down in at IRIS:Your Escape this weekend and get your tickets

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Stephanie is the founder of Green Is The New Black. She is a marketer, event organiser and avid connector of conscious individuals and brands. She loves bringing people together to connect, find inspiration, gain knowledge and be able to take action to create a better life.

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