A new and very welcome addition to our community of curators. This week we had the chance to connect with the lovely multitasker Nina Pierson. Businesswoman, entrepreneur, writer and mother, Nina inspires her many followers (and us!) with a focus on maintaining a healthy and balanced life including an obsession for sustainability. The perfect match with SCOON.
Apart from her SCOON favourites, we couldn’t resist asking her about her sustainable drive, her hopes for the future and more.
Where does your sustainable drive come from?
So I think my sustainable drive comes from my youth and my upbringing. My family and I lived in Thailand and we got familiar with the life philosophy of Buddhism. My father always taught me that we should have respect for everything that lives on this planet, even the smallest creatures. He even taught me how to save little flies and insects from the swimming pool. It was also his philosophy with his company, making mosquito nets and mosquito nets don't kill the mosquitos. So, yes, I learned from him, doing something for the world without doing harm to other creatures, or the planet.
How is all of this reflected in your daily life of running a business, a household and being a mom?
I think the best thing about making conscious and sustainable choices is that once you do it you realise that it is actually the best choice. Sometimes, creating new habits costs a lot of energy, and it can seem difficult in the first place. It asks of you to adapt or to change or to let go of older habits and that of course, in the process, can be troublesome or irritating or stupid. But as soon as you make these new, more sustainable choices, it makes you feel much better. It really gives a lot more fulfilment.
The good thing is that nowadays, sustainable choices no longer have to go hand in hand with concessions. That’s also one of the reasons behind our organic salad bar SLA (12 locations throughout the Nederlands which Nina and her husband Jop launched in 2013). I wanted to eat healthy, but I also wanted to be in an inspirational environment. I think that is so great about clean beauty and conscious fashion as well, it’s not a concession anymore. The aesthetics are getting better and better, the quality is super good, it's better for your body and on top of that, it is better for the world. Sometimes it might be more expensive though, so that may mean changing your lifestyle and habits, but I really do believe in buying less and better.
What else do you take into consideration before you decide to buy?
I also think that sustainable choices shouldn't have to be perfect. Of course, we have to do our best and we cannot say ‘oh you know I did one sustainable thing and so I am not doing the other’. I think it's a process and it is always in development. I'm definitely, definitely, definitely, definitely not one of the most sustainable people around. I mean, I still have a lot of plastic waste. Sometimes I shower too long, I take baths. I still fly every now and then. However, I do try to compensate my flights and I try to fly less. But it's a work in progress and I think it's really important to maybe stick to one thing at a time. And as soon as you get the hang of it then aspire something else. For now, for example, I'm working on a project where I’m trying to create a capsule wardrobe with the goal of buying less this year.
SCOON came to life because we felt it was hard to find one place for modern ’Brands that Care’ that don’t compromise on style and performance. Sustainability is becoming more mainstream with new sustainable brands launching every day, what do you think of this movement?
I think it's great and fantastic. It’s also one of the beliefs that we had at SLA, where we wanted to start SLA because there were vegan or vegetarian restaurants that cared for the planet and for the environment, but that looked super grey and boring and not inspirational. SLA shows that you can be healthy and cool and inspiring at the same time. And that's what we worked on with the Nicemakers – an amazing interior design company. Not only were we focusing on creating a cool and beautiful environment, but they really helped align the aesthetics with our beliefs and ideals.
Of course, on the flip side, there is this whole greenwashing element which of course is not ok. If you think about it, we're being lied to a lot of the time by brands (like when you drink coconut water, and it is just 1% coconuts and the rest is water). I think there are so many brands not telling the complete truth or twisting the truth...
On the other hand, if I would have to say one positive thing about greenwashing is that it can inspire other brands. For example, if big fast fashion brands say that they care about sustainability. Of course, it's not good if they don't, but on the other hand, if smaller brands see that this big fast fashion brand is working with sustainability, then they might feel the urge to start working on that too. So what I’m saying is that it can have a butterfly effect: even though the intention isn't 100% honest, there could be at least one positive aspect unfolding from this greenwashing trend.
With Corona putting everything on hold, people are saying that this is the time to make big changes and create a new normal, what do you hope will change in the fashion industry?
I wish that everyone feels the urgency about how important it is to make big changes and that these changes are sustainable. And that it's not only about making sustainable choices in the way we produce, what kind of materials we use and what the co2 emissions are, but it's also about making sustainable choices in the way that we build companies for the future. I really hope that fashion brands can make this change as soon as possible. I know this amazing company called Eco-age, which is founded by Livia Firth. She was also involved in the documentary The True Cost and she guides fashion brands into becoming more sustainable. My hope for the future is that more and more people start to notice what I've noticed.
I also hope we can change to wanting less instead of more. So much is being produced, while we buy and throw away too much. I'm actually now working on a capsule wardrobe, together with my friend Stephanie Broek (check her out on Instagram). She has this super tiny closet, but she's a fashion influencer. I always have a feeling that she's wearing something new but she just has like 30 pieces in total. So she's going to help me with that. I guess it’s like when you’re on vacation. You have your suitcase with your favourite clothes and you never have a problem choosing anything. But when you're home, you have a problem all the time because you just have too many options. So yes, on the one hand, we can’t be perfect, sustainable, like 100% sustainable. On the other hand, I think we really have to force ourselves into making adjustments and changes in a positive way on a daily basis, more than we feel comfortable with, because then the change will come. Because we need change fast.