Eco Fashion for education! Tess and her Love Stories
Imagine you buy new clothes, nobody gets harmed and you make not only yourself, but a lot of people happy with that. It is possible. With the earth friendly Love Stories Market in Ubud. Tess from New York left wall street and now runs this shop that sells eco and fair fashion in order to support education.
And yeah we know: The textile industry is one of the most dirtiest businesses in the world. People and nature get exploited. But still although we know the dirty reality, it is hard to stay away from buying a new nice dress, a funny shirt whatever. Our ignorance “protects” us from having a bad conscience. Craving for cheap clothes in the „dress for the moment style“ is stronger than facing the suffering that it behind the fancy new sneakers for the next party.
I always loved fashion. It is hard for me not to look at it and not to buy something. I know that many people are same. But many of us from middle-class to the rich people of course have the choice what to buy. I constantly get triggered by colours, shapes, structures, designs and lately when I saw the new collection of a big global chain I wanted to have half of it now. As this collection is copied from clothes from 20 years ago, I calmed down and instead of consuming this new stuff, that was mostly produced in sweatshops under slavery conditions, I checked vintage shops. I tell you it is all already there. You get beautiful unique pieces. In shops in your city or online. On top you are not running around with a coat that every third person will be also wearing this season. Same with Tess and her Lovestories Market in Ubud. They do special unique fashion. She has upcycled clothes and new fair and eco fashion. I ran into her place, because of an extravagant violet dress that was hanging in the shop window. As I bought it, I did not have to have such a bad conscience.
Tess told me that the profit goes into two preschools in Bali that she is supporting or better said the preschool are the reason why she opened the shop: With the money, underprivileged children get the eduction they deserve. Fashion for education! I spoke with Tess about it:
Yvi: Tess, what brought you from New York to Ubud?
Tess: My need, my wish and my dream to do community service. I wanted to take a break from my job at wall street and thought I will give it a shot for a year, but it has been two years and I am still here.
Yvi: Wow: From Wall Street to fair fashion…
Tess: I am doing fair and eco fashion combining sustainable fashion and giving back the community.
Yvi: When did this start?
Tess: First when I came here I was volunteering at a school, and after I saw that there is so much need in the school, founded by a very strong woman, who is a revolutionary in the preschool education, that we could help her more if we have more funding. So instead of me just giving my money and my friends money into the school, we thought we open a shop to gather with women who believe in fair &eco fashion as well that we would be able to raise fund by donating the profit to the school.
Yvi: I just bought a beautiful violet dress, the profit goes into the preschool give me details.
Tess: When you buy: so the price, minus salary, minus operational cost, production cost equals profit. And that profit goes into the school.
Yvi: How do you bring such a dress to life?
Tess: I come from New York, so fashion is natural for me, but I also wanted a change, fashion to be earth friendly that I can look beautiful without harming the environment and without harming the people who make it. And it is possible. I designed the dress. The way we design your dress is simply just looking at this beautiful handwoven plant dyed organic cotton and we thought: “How can we make this look so beautiful on someone without destroying the pieces of that beautiful fabric?” We work with two workshops in Gianyar, a little bit outside Ubud, they follow sustainable practices and the one shop that does natural dying was the one who made your dress. They have handweavers on the spot, doing all this and they also have natural dyers, these are men, the weavers are women, and they do everything in that one workshop by hand.
Yvi: I bought the dress and I saw was only 1 of it, are there more?
Tess: We like to make one of a kind. It is special – apart from the fact that our pieces are handwoven, no nothing really looks alike, because if you use chemicals and machines, they of course will lookalike, but with what we have we use hands and the hands cannot duplicate. So your dress is very special and we like that everything you buy in the shop is very special.
Yvi: You also make pieces from pure silk.
Tess: Yes. Because it is the most luxurious and we love handpainting them. And when we create the art for the hand painting, there is a meaning in every art. All our silk designs are made out of nature and out of what we see in Bali.
Yvi: You also have a nice selling concept outside Bali
Tess: We do pajmaparties. I go twice a year to America and I hold pajamaparties with women who have money and I thought maybe they will never buy. Because why would they buy if they can afford the designerclothes, but surprisingly they notice that we make sustainable fabric very sexy.
Yvi: How do you live – you get also a little bit of money from all that?
Tess: No I don’t – I am living from my savings at the moment. I actually give more then my own savings.
Yvi: Thank you so much, all the best!
Tess: Thank you too for spreading the message.
You find Love Stories Market in Ubud opposite of Paradiso and a brand-new shop in Canggu. Check their Facebook for exact details.