Learn to save the earth at The Conscious Festival, a fully-vegan, carbon-neutral, zero-waste event
Working in the fashion industry between 2011 and 2015 may have been a dream come true, but Stephanie Dickson soon became disillusioned by the fact that many of its systems and practices contributed to global pollution, a problem that the industry itself is trying to rectify.
Ms Dickson quit her job and, together with her friend Paula Miquelis, started The Conscious Festival. The eco-conscious celebration brings together businesses and individuals who believe that profitability, sustainability and, just as importantly, fun can work in tandem to create a better world.
For the fifth and largest edition taking place on Nov 2 and 3, the women have attracted over 100 eco-conscious brands to participate in a fully-vegan, carbon-neutral and zero-waste event. These include F&B pop-ups with meat-free burgers and organic alcohol, jewellery brands that use only sustainably-sourced materials, and beautiful home furnishings made from bamboo.
When Ms Dickson and Ms Miquelis started their company Green Is The New Black to organise the festival, they had trouble attracting sponsorship: “We were told we were ‘too preachy’, ‘too niche’, ‘not business-friendly’, and so on. We were often turned away… But we soldiered on in the belief that there were others like us. And slowly we were able to mount the festival, grow it and widen our reach.”
The festival has expanded to Hong Kong and has plans to enter Europe. This year, UK health and wellness chain Holland & Barrett signed on as the main sponsor, as some 5,000 people are expected to show up at the two-day event taking place at South Beach – a much higher number than the 400 who visited its first event in 2015.
And while these numbers are small compared to major festivals in Singapore – Artbox Singapore, for instance, attracts more than half a million people over a period of six days – Ms Dickson believes it’s only a matter of time before the eco-logical message is heard and embraced by a wider public.
She says: “2019 has been a huge year for the planet. We've seen eco-anxiety grip the world, fires obliterate the Amazon, and climate deniers in power. But we've also seen more people fighting the good fight, and movements like #FridaysForFuture and Extinction Rebellion instill hope in humanity… I feel optimistic that our actions can help turn the situation around.”
Some festival highlights you don’t wanna miss:
The Carbon Smart certified clothing brand features smart, chic womenswear made from only sustainably-sourced materials. The designs are stylish, practical and contemporary to last through several seasons. Some pieces can even be converted – for example, a dress to a blouse – reducing the need to buy more clothes.
Flo Jewellery offers ethically-handmade high-quality jewellery. It works with family-run businesses instead of sweatshops, and it also has a collection of jewellery made by underprivileged women in Cambodian villages. The collaboration is meant to empower them with confidence and vocational skills, with all proceeds going to their basic needs.
The Hong Kong company turns superfood coconut into all manner of bars, bites, chips and spreads. Some popular products include coconut-honey-cashew bites, coconut-matcha bars and charcoal sesame coconut granola. All products are gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free and vegetarian.
Founded in Hong Kong in 2008, Bamboa Home sells homeware and lifestyle products made from sustainably grown bamboo in rural Asian communities. Its products include luxury hypoallergenic bed linen and towels, furniture, kitchenware and funky fashion accessories. The bamboo is pesticide-free and biodegradable.
The Conscious Festival runs on Nov 2 and 3 at South Beach. For more information, visit greenisthenewblack/festival
This story was first published in The Business Times. Click here to read the original story.