OCEANA SAWYER, CEO & ACTIVIST
FIELD: FASHIOn,ENVIRONMENTALISM ZODIAC: CANCER
A. | How do you define yourself?
How does anyone answer this question regarding self-definition? I always wanted to be one of those people who knew exactly what they wanted to be from childhood and then preceded through life with a rare focus.
Today, I’m a sensual explorer, writer, a social and environmental activist, a budding entrepreneur, and a responsible hedonist . I also hope I’m a great friend, a fun and effective team member, and a charming and true wife and lover.
That’s today. Ask me again tomorrow.
Not that I’m so changeable, but I’m attention drifts to other aspects of myself depending on what pleases me or is required to be true and to contribute in any given situation.
A. | What is your work routine? What does your job entail?
When I worked on Fashion Revolution, my goal was to create enough online infrastructure that we could spread the word nationally. Another goal was to have enough on-the-ground events that there could be a sense of relevant involvement by people who wanted to do something on the actual day. Coordinating the effort nationally by engaging key-influencers across the country was the mostchallenging and the most rewarding part of the position.
As a freelance ecofashion writer, I traveled the world looking for the important stories.
Now that I am running my own e-commerce store from my website at Oceana’s Canvas, it feels wonderful to be using all the knowledge and contacts I made to engage consumers in a conversation about conscious shopping.
A. | What do you do outside our your work routine?
My husband, George and I like to go walk on local beaches, roam around San Francisco museums, and ride our tandem bicycle on the beautiful trails in the Bay Area. Also, we live in an intentional community, which is better than any reality show because you actually know the people involved in the latest episode. Finally, we are beverage enthusiast and we throw the best parties.
A. | How did you become interested in your field?
I was always interested in style and clothing. From since I can remember it has thrilled me to see someone put together well whether conventionally or with originality. Providing the people with whom you come in contact with a bit of eye-candy is a gift you give the world in my opinion.
I started writing about ethical fashion a few years ago when I discovered that a favorite brand used fur in its collection. I don’t believe clothing or fashion should be cruel in anyway. That is where my responsibly hedonistic ethos comes to bear.
A. | What are you most proud of thus far?
That I and a small group of dedicated people successfully launched a solid national campaign for Fashion Revolution Day in the US the first year of the movement.
I’m also proud when people tell me that something on my blog made them think differently about how they shopped for clothing.
A. | What is "success?"
Success is where all the participants are having a good time, profiting, and adding something good to the planet and it’s people.
A. | What are the biggest challenges you overcome?
Learning about the fashion industry while simultaneously reporting on it. So many people were generous enough to support me both financially and in terms of knowledge sharing. I’ll always be grateful to them.
A. | Where do you feel at home?
I literally feel most at home, at home in the community where I live. There are over 40 people who see me for who I actually am and still love and/or care about me. It’s a true pleasure.
I also feel at home on or near the water, and cuddled up with the love of my life anywhere.
Finally I feel at home in my own skin. As I mature, I’m more and more proud and happy to be who I am and I’m often blown away by how rich my life is.
A. | Did you ever change careers? If so, why? When?
I’ve had nine lives! 1. Secondary English teacher, 2. clothing retail sales manager, 3. color consultant, 4. Interpretive park ranger, 5. Human resource manager/leadership trainer, 6. Psychotherapist, 7. College instructor, 8. Pet psychic, 9. Ecofashion writer/activist/entrepreneur
A. | What's your vision for the future of your work?
I would love for everyone who cares enough to shop at Whole Foods will care enough to shop for ethically made clothing and home goods.
A. | What makes a good team?
A. | What do you think are the most important traits in your industry?
Authenticity, originality, passion, kindness, thoughtfulness,
A. | What would you recommend to yourself 10 years ago?
Oh darling, relax. It’s all going to turn out. Have fun. Be yourself and tell the truth. Laugh and dance to your heart’s conent. Fuck ‘em if they can’t take a joke.
A. | How does oppression and privilege influence people’s success in the fashion industry?
I would like to think that people who play fair win in the economic game of fashion, but I know that isn’t true. Yet I can see that reality dawning in the number of ethical retailers that exist and the way that major retailers are chaning their narrative regarding sourcing and transparency.
A. | What is fashion? How does fashion play a role in your life?
Fashion is instinctive and sensual. Learn to love what you wear. It should feel like eating chocolate without the calories. This is my favorite message from Alber Elbaz.
FAVORITE COLOR: persimmon. It looks fabulous on me and reminds me of my favorite season - autumn
EDUCATION: Degree in Political science, BA in organizational development, Masters of science in both counseling psychology and recovery of indigenous mind and post graduate/doctoral