Last year, when I was in Bali with the Timo Weiland design team, I connected with a friend from LA, Mark Wystrach, a serious eco warrior and founder of The People’s Movement ~ a shoe line that fights against single-use plastics. His stylish sneakers are built on soles made from up-cycled plastic bags cleaned off of those beautiful Indonesian beaches. Over a starry evening on the lawn of Deus Ex Machina, I grilled him about the work, and how he’d become an environmental defender and regular pilgrim to the island. Turned out he’s been following in footsteps first tread by jeweler John Hardy. |ABOVE| John Hardy Large Hoop Earrings, Small Round Pendant Necklace and Slider Pendant Necklace John Hardy brought Mark to Bali. He travels there several times a year now, but his inaugural trip was as accompaniment to a former girlfriend who was modeling for them. He saw how polluted the island had become, that it was choking in single-use plastics, washed ashore. He also got to see the inner workings of a company making conscious choices every day to create change.
Like so many of the designers we celebrate here, John Hardy is a sustainable luxury brand that goes beyond pretty mottos and truly makes things the right way. They use 100% reclaimed silver, and are dedicated to becoming completely carbon neutral, planting bamboo across Bali to offset emissions from their own print advertising, business travel and electricity use. Their entire Bali headquarters are even built from bamboo (and they’re beautiful)! The way John Hardy sees it, the immediately impending crises we face are forest management and water preservation. In both cases, bamboo plants help ~ offsetting carbon emissions, maintaining the water table and limiting soil erosion. |ABOVE| Large Hoop Earrings |BELOW| Slim Band Ring With Diamond Pave Their Bamboo collection represents their commitment to carbon neutrality, and a portion of its sales have always been used to fund the company’s continual bamboo plantings in Bali. This April, however, they’re extending this promise all the way to New York City, committing 20% of Bamboo collection sales on JohnHardy.com to TreesNY, an environmental nonprofit organization whose mission is to plant, preserve and protect NYC’s urban forest.
In our mass produced culture, fashion has earned its reputation for being very hard on our earth. There’s no question that our typical systems of production are unsustainable and environmentally destructive. Change will only happen as every one of us chooses to break our own habits and go out of our way to do things differently. We must remember to be stewards of the land, to leave it better than we found it. My friend Mark’s convictions are contagious; he believes so deeply in his mission. Because of our talks in Bali, my sense of obligation and conscientiousness has irreversibly deepened. I’ve not been able to use so much as a plastic stirring stick or straw ever since! It’s so cool how positivity spreads, how John Hardy’s responsible business practices inspired those of Mark Wystrach and The People’s Movement ~ which in turn trickled down to help break some of my own bad habits, both as a businesswoman and a consumer. Earth Day, which we celebrate today, is as good a time as any to readdress our responsibility, to hold ourselves accountable for even the smallest choices.|ABOVE| Slim Band Ring With Diamond Pave, Hinged Bangle, Slim Bangles and Small Round Ring With Diamond Pave A lot of companies today sell catchy slogans supporting ideas about social responsibility. Often it’s just a lot of meaningless marketing department ‘greenwashing’ that isn’t backed up by their hidden business practices. The ones who really do it from the feet up are worth celebrating and supporting. Buying from the good guys won’t change the world overnight, but it will continue to set off chain reactions across society that may eventually right our imbalanced relationship to our natural resources. Let’s stop killing ourselves for convenience and instead adopt real accountability. Allow today to be a reminder of what is truly beautiful.