A note to self

A note to self

As is for many, the first few weeks of the new year seem like the ideal time for some reflection. Gathering my thoughts for the year ahead, I'm thinking about my intentions (both personally and professionally) and acknowledging the changes necessary in my thoughts and daily practices in order to be able to achieve my goals as we journey around the Sun once again.

Despite another setback in this ongoing pandemic and another week of virtual learning (and the chaos that comes with it), hope is a constant.  

The launch of Bella Mews last summer gave me a great sense of accomplishment. More than just a business, it is a creative outlet that allows me to express myself and give me the opportunity to continue learning from and meeting incredibly talented and passionate individuals. There are a number of generous people that I am sincerely grateful for whose support and guidance has helped me navigate the labyrinth of launching Bella Mews. Of course very well aware of the challenges of starting a business, I also faced additional obstacles in choosing to focus on upcycled materials and small batch production. But, with a fair amount of perseverance and some luck, things have managed to work themselves out and the result has been a rewarding one. I am excited and hopeful for what's to come in the year ahead.  

In looking ahead, we sometimes look back to where we beganFor myself, this serves as a reminder as to why I've chosen to embark on this journey. The time Bella Mews was conceived was also a time of substantial beginnings for me. I was newly married and just moved to London from Hong Kong and had given birth to my first child. I was overjoyed with love and eager to explore new things. I was fortunate in being able to take a career break to stay home with my daughter, but was also using that time to reflect and consider what it was that I wanted in terms of a career in creative. I knew for certain that whatever path I chose would have to be one that my daughter would grow to admire and respect. This thought would go on to be a guiding factor in creating Bella Mews. 

During this time music and podcasts had become my companions. I had listened to a podcast that spoke of the collapse of Rana Plaza which had occurred about a year prior and the ongoing issues that garment workers continued to struggle with. This sparked a path of researching and learning, which led me to a number of articles and documentaries: The True Cost by Andrew Morgan which put a spotlight on the harsh reality of the humans behind the clothes we wear and the impact of the fashion industry on our environment. I discovered the impactful voices of leaders in this subject - Christina Dean of Redress, Livia Firth of Eco-Age and Clare Press of Wardrobe Crisis (all of whom have gone on to provide me with an abundance of knowledge through their work). My view of fashion was now altered and I had become very aware of what 'fast fashion' actually implied. It was important to me to become a more conscious consumer and with that meant buying less, mending and discovering what are known in the UK as ‘charity shops’. 

(A side note into charity shops: The FARA shops have locations that are dedicated to children's clothing, books and toys. (Balham Kids & Clapham Kids were my go-to spots). I found beautiful vintage toys, hand knit sweaters and an abundance of Peppa Pig books. The shops also gave me a glimpse into a circular economy as I was able to purchase pre-loved items for my daughters and once they’d grown out of their clothing and books, I could donate the well-cared for items back to the shop - allowing them to have continued use with another family.) 

With this new found knowledge, Bella Mews began to form. It is the result of my love of Indian textiles and the desire to create responsibly and take part in the circular economy. There is an abundance of beautiful saris that are discarded on a daily basis once having served their original purpose. They are not trashed; but collected and sold or traded to those who can find new use for them. Upcycling is not a new phenomenon in India or throughout much of South Asia. It has been going on for centuries. My decision to repurpose saris is perhaps just a timely matter of us needing to make more eco-responsible decisions. Landfills are overflowing, fast fashion has created a mentality of buy more - trash more, the wellbeing of the people who are making these products is compromised and our environment is suffering. 

BUT as mentioned, I am filled with a sense of hope as there are a number of brands - big and small, who are embracing responsible fashion practices through upcycling, recycling, finding eco-friendly alternatives in production and packing and creating safer work environments and offering fair wages to the workers. Hope is undeniable. And with continued awareness and change, we can do better for the people and planet. So, as I look to the year ahead I will work to continue to stay true in this creative path - responsibly and with integrity. 

To a 2022 filled with more color, more joy and less waste.

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