“We live in a society that’s constantly spinning, looking for the new and the next,” state Alexia Niedzielski and Elizabeth von Guttman. “This constant flow of information can be quite dizzying for everyone involved. With that in mind, we took our collaboration with H&M on the Conscious Exclusive Collection as an opportunity to explore the choices we make in our daily lives, and the impact they have on the environment.”
And it’s been quite the journey. “I’ve learnt so much for the cast of characters we’ve put together,” says Elizabeth. “From Lewis Perkins of Cradle to Cradle, I felt a real optimism for a future where we don’t have to produce less, just differently. Sustainability is a science, and with these innovations in techniques and materials, you can really excite designers, brands and customers. Dianna Cohen has also inspired me to try to find alternatives to plastic. With Graham Hill, I was so inspired by LifeEdited, and his message to minimise everything. We live with so much excess — and initially you think it’s a big luxury — but really, it’s a burden.”
“It’s important to understand that it’s not only the responsibility of brands, businesses and the higher decision makers,” Alexia continues. “But that we are also key decision makers that can bring about change.” For Elizabeth, Ever Conscious was an opportunity to take stock of some of the decisions she makes in her daily life. “I’m definitely not perfect, and now I know I can do so much more. But what’s important is not to give up, or to point fingers at others. Instead, we have so many tools at our disposal to make ourselves much more educated consumers — if you are not sure about a product, you can investigate it online.”
“This is the great thing about the Internet. It can help inform our decisions and to communicate them to others,” Alexia adds, and Elizabeth elaborates. “We can create a collective consciousness around these issues, and the more people vote with their purchases, the more they will be able to dictate the market, and those brands who are conducting their business in a transparent and ethical way will grow.” And, as we’ve seen with Claire Nouvian’s online petitions against the deep sea bottom trawling trade and Dianna Cohen’s viral anti-plastic campaigns, the Internet allows us to be both proactive and reactive — assembled together on social networks, the actions of individuals have the potential to bring about a critical mass on these issues, and affect changes on an international scale.
“We all love Instagram. It’s a creative tool that offers us an intimate glimpse into the lives of others. And with it, whether it’s our appearance, our lifestyle or our actions, everyone tries to present the best version of themselves online,” says Alexia. “This version of ourselves should also demonstrate a commitment to the environment.” It could be something as simple as “capturing yourself in the act of recycling something, mending your favourite top, or picking up litter from a beach when you’re on vacation,” Elizabeth says. As ultimately, the future is in your hands. Our message is to be the change you want to see in the world — present yourself to others in the best light possible.