Top eco-influencer and SOL Organics ambassador Jennifer Nini of Eco Warrior Princess endeavors to bring you the latest in green intelligence—everything from sustainable fashion, conscious business, green politics, eco beauty, wellness and green technology. Originally from Manila in the Philippines, her family moved to Melbourne when she was two. Along with her business partner and financé Ben, the eco-warrior lives in rural Australia (Queensland to be exact), and co-owns a certified organic farm. Whether you’re interested in ethical fashion, zero waste living or learning more about being a conscious consumer, Jen and her team promise to deliver content that matters.
I was raised in a socially conscious and politically active household. On a mission to start a fashion business, I travelled to China in 2008 to check out some garment factories. What I saw shocked me: unhappy workers, long work hours, sad piles of garments on the floor, breaches in quality assurance, and the list goes on. I returned to Australia transformed and determined to vote with my dollars. I have always kept a journal and was a closet writer; my then-boyfriend now-fiancé Ben encouraged me to start a blog. He felt strongly that the world needed to hear my point of view on these topics. Family and friends also started to encourage me and I saw it as a sign.
After starting this blog with the purpose of sharing my political, environmental and personal views, unexpected life events propelled my partner and I to move from the city to a regional community. Having lived in one of Australia’s largest cities my whole life, the move to a rural setting was a big adjustment. However, it was and still is a defining moment in my life. The change taught me to live off the grid and become self-sufficient. We grew our own organic vegetables, had rain water tanks and a nearby creek that provided much of our water needs and on the whole, I learned to live simply and reduce purchasing things that I didn’t need. Of course, as a woman and one who also studied Fashion Business, I love fashion, but I didn’t want to compromise my values and beliefs in the pursuit of style. Eco Warrior Princess is a platform that allows me to promote and celebrate green fashion but more importantly, a green lifestyle.
That my voice matters. Although Eco Warrior Princess is now a media brand, I originally launched it as a personal blog. It felt very lonely writing about ethical fashion and sustainable living. In those early years, it really was just my family and friends who were reading Eco Warrior Princess. But now I know I wasn’t alone and there are people who feel just as strongly as I do about improving the state of our world.
Living a sustainable lifestyle is not just about buying ‘eco.’ It’s about thinking ‘green’ in every aspect of your life—from how much you consume; how much energy you use; what you do with your waste; what types of food you eat; the activities you participate in and the govern-ment policies you support.
When it comes to my home, I much prefer minimalistic styling and neutral hues with plants as the central feature (although I haven’t been able to achieve this yet because decorating is not a priority with the businesses and building works at the farm). Scandinavian and Japanese minimalism make my heart sing. This leaning towards minimalism is likely the outcome of living with parents who were raised in a time of scarcity; where parting with something was frowned upon and hoarding stuff in case it would become useful one day was normal. When you grow up in a developing country, material possessions do signify a certain level of success and I don’t blame them at all for accumulating so much stuff. However growing up in a household that I felt was cluttered drove me to style my home in the opposite fashion. Plus I don’t enjoy cleaning and less stuff means more time doing things I enjoy!
First, do I need it? Then I ask myself: Can I find it second hand within the time frame allowed? If so, I’ll start searching. If I need the item immediately and I know I’ll have to buy it new, before I purchase I do research to answer the following questions: What’s it made from (sustainable materials)? Was it ethically made? Who made it? Is it built to last?
I don’t have any bedside tables, haha! We purchased our 100-year-old Queenslander home partially furnished to make the move from interstate easier so it still has country shabby chic furniture in it. I have slowly taken some items out to be replaced but I haven’t gotten to that point yet of finding Scandi furniture for our room. The clunky bedside tables were the first to go! However I do have an old wicker chair I use as a bed side table and on it is a blue and white cotton decorative pillow I bought from a local store (I wanted to support the owners, whom I know), a thrifted soft pink and blue scarf and the following books borrowed from the library: “Just Cool It” by David Suzuki and Ian Hannington, “Chasing Slow” by Erin Loechner and “The Power of Conscious Choice” by Angela Lockwood.
Food of any sort is not allowed in the room (this goes back to me having to clean and tidy lol!) Unfortunately our beautiful dog Dusty is also prohibited because we live on a farm and I can’t handle dirt and mud in my area of zen. And absolutely no television.
Now since recently changing over to SOL Organic bed sheets, I have been gushing about its luxuriousness almost every night. My partner Ben has been gushing about the sheets too. This is odd for the both of us since we’ve been on our sustainability journey for quite a while and already own (and have spent many nights on) several sustainable bedding sets. But the superior quality of SOL’s bedding seems to blow all other sheets in our linen cupboard out of the water! Now that I’ve had the pleasure of sleeping in them, there’s no way that I’ll ever be able to sleep without them. It’s like getting a daily pampering session before falling asleep! The added bonus is that the gorgeous organic sheets seem to transform my simple bedroom to a stylish boutique hotel room!
I always have a glass of water before bed. I read the New York Times (I have a digital subscrip-tion) on my iPad or phone for about half an hour. Afterwards, and more often than not, I have a podcast playing. Given how much I’ve got to juggle between EWP, my copywriting business The Social Copywriter and the farm, I find I fall asleep quicker when I’m listening to podcasts like Good Life Project or The Minimalists.
Drink chamomile tea to help you relax. Invest in quality pillows and bed sheets for superior comfort. Wear loose breathable clothing (or don’t wear any, that’s what I do!). Put your mobile phone on to the ‘Airplane Mode’ setting so you don’t get woken up through the night. It also helps cut off the amount of electromagnetic radiation (EMR) that is emitted through your phone so you’re not absorbing harmful EMR while you sleep.
I start with a glass of water, or if it’s cold, hot water with lemon. Afterwards, soy coffee and I tend to sit on our wrap-around deck that overlooks our huge front lawn and a red cedar tree, and just listen to nature’s orchestra (birds, frogs and insects). I give my fur babies Coco (cat) and Dusty (dog) pats and hugs. If I feel like it, I’ll do some yoga stretches. And then I get stuck into it*.
*Austrailian slang, meaning, “To begin doing something at once and with energy and/or enthusiasm.”
Get to know yourself and your style first and get familiar with what’s in your closet. Don’t worry about what other people are wearing. Give up trends and go for pieces that are trans-seasonal that you love, that are the best quality you can afford and you’ll get more than 30 wears from. Now it should be said, that often when people are making the transition to sus-tainable living they focus on ‘buying better’ and start to shop eco-friendly fashion. But the truth is, the most sustainable action one can take is not to buy anything at all and is why I encourage people to get familiar with what’s in their closets before they even add to it. Once you’re familiar with your closet and you realize you’re missing a few items and need to ‘top’ it up and add to it, that’s where I recommend searching for the item second hand on eBay, Gumtree (the Australian equivalent to Craigslit, but much better designed!), etc. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, then start doing research online. You can also do a search on Eco Warrior Princess as we have covered sustainable fashion extensively and can point you in the right direction.
Vivienne Westwood said it best: “Buy Less, Choose Well and Make it Last.” This is a good motto to live by.
As stewards of the Earth, we humans have a responsibility to look after it as well as each other. Making a difference through fashion is just the beginning. I encourage people to find their own ways to create positive change and contribute to making this world a better, kinder and happier place.
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