I published my first blog post in November of 2011 and back then I wrote about my travels through the United States, as well as my interests in food and fashion. Not sure if I was this nervous about publishing something as I am tonight, 10pm on a Monday in April of 2018, but seven years have passed and throughout this journey, the intention of sharing solely my adventures, the cities and places I have visited, changed into something bigger, something more meaningful.
Before I was encouraged by my host mother (of the family that I was living with in my gap year in the U.S.) to start running, I very much enjoyed my life of spending and of consuming. I was a shopping addict and on top of that, growing up in a country where the drinking age is at 16, my previous party lifestyle came to a stark halt when I moved here at 18. By being with this family for a full year, I had a lot of time for myself, removed from home... and after watching this woman, doctor, mother of 3, come from work every day and change into her running clothes to spend an hour by herself, she came up to me one morning and said: why don't you try running? It took a couple weeks until I finally laced up my sneakers, but I remember that those first 20 minutes didn't feel as bad as I thought it would be. Step by step, day in and day out, I slowly fell in love with moving my body - more importantly I fell in love with myself. It gave me strength and confidence and while I had the space to sit with myself, to be with myself, to run, to study, to go inside, I also found yoga and re-explored meditation. The more I read, the more I studied, it became more and more clear to me that we are all connected, that my actions do have an impact and that my individual choices can make a difference. A friend pointed it out when I came back home from my gap year: your life turned from gold to green.
I became more conscious, started caring more about our planet, and already while in the U.S. used writing for newspapers and on my own platform to share ways on how to live a more greener, healthier, more conscious and connected life. I came back home, and while I didn’t take the leap to study nutrition or environmental science, I filled my time with holistic health and continued my practice. And within the past years, as you go through the life's ups and downs, I have met incredibly talented, strong and wise women of various backgrounds that I started to tell their stories - I found it fascinating that I wanted to learn from them. More importantly, I wanted to share their knowledge as well. As it was empowering to hear these stories.
GOLDTOGREEN has always been a way of living. A process of finding balance in the every day. What once started out as a diary slowly but surely evolved into a magazine showing my passions in fitness, style and nutrition. To me, GOLDTOGREEN is where I find space to not only express myself but also am able to highlight the stories of other intelligent, loving and modern women at the intersection of health and wellbeing. With this platform, I want to continue serving, seeing it as a resource and sharing what I am learning as I go.
Thus, it was about time to use what I've learned and continue to create. Together with my illustrator and artist friend Arthaya Nootecharas, we worked on this design and she came up with this playful but straight forward font and what was only a bamboo tattoo on my arm, also illustrated by her, is now on the chest of all of these garments. Back when I asked her about illustrating the bamboo plant for me, I thought about how both colors, gold and green, are manifested inside this plant, but I also always liked the idea of golden seeds changing and growing into green leaves.
Recently, I also found this quote on 17.21women (a platform highlighting asian-pacific islander women) which I found very beautiful: "Bamboo is a very special plant in Japan and also for me. I like the movement. They can bend over and become wild, but when they are not moving they really become silent and still. There is an ancient feeling and also a spiritual feeling. Also, the bamboo blossoms every 60 or 120 years and when the blossoms start, young or old, every tree begins to blossom and then they all die together. It’s like self-sacrifice in the trees and that is a nice, strong life feeling.” - Kei Takei, Japanese American Dancer and Choreographer
After some research regarding the right production company, I found everybody.world - a women owned business situated in Los Angeles where they developed a way to recycle trash into cotton! I was intrigued, loved their story and wanted to learn more. Thus, I asked them a few questions and one of the women behind the team, Ariel Katz, was so kind enough to share how they work:
What was the inspiration to start everybody world?
EVERYBODY.WORLD is inspired by Workers, Ecology, Ideas. To us, that means championing fair wages and eco-friendly production, and collaborating with creative minds to make enjoyable clothing.
What makes it so unique?
EVERYBODY.WORLD teamed up with the largest yarn manufacturer in the United States to develop an entirely new fabric from their cotton waste, or, trash. Pushing boundaries via textile sustainability and eliminating waste from the manufacturing cycle are at the core of the brand’s ethical and ecological approach!
From our Trash Tee, made from 100% recycled cotton (the first in the world!) to our Contributor Collection, designed by non-designers (aka everyday extraordinary people), EVERYBODY.WORLD is leading with creativity and reinventing what a fashion company can be.
How about the dying process?
Our dyes are pigment based. We dye in small batches and because we manufacture in CA, the water is cleaned and treated so that it can go back into the ecosystem with no harmful impact.
I saw that you have a team of strong women working together at everybody.world, was it a conscious decision to only work with women?
We do have a core team of wonderfully strong women, but we also have some exceptional men on the team, too! EVERYBODY.WORLD is a very collaborative brand, and while we are more or less female, we're always down to work alongside anyone who has a good idea.
Do you have any tips on how to be more eco-friendly? Maybe 3 easy ways to incorporate more sustainability into everyday life?
I'm going to stick to the three R's: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
So, after learning all of this and more about everybody.world, I felt strongly about working with them as I love investing in women owned businesses as well as eco-friendly productions. It just made the most sense. If I create 'more' product to fill this world with, I'd rather have it be recycled cotton!
What a full-on learning process! Where you 'literally' just have to do it and while I haven't set up an official online shop yet, feel free to reach out directly via Instagram, phone or email to purchase one of these limited long sleeve tees. The proceeds will help keep GOLDTOGREEN, this magazine alive, but part of the proceeds are also going towards @girlsgottarun.
My heart is full of gratitude and I thank every single friend, sister, stranger I have crossed paths with, the amazing people who made this love project come to life. I wouldn't be here without you! As always, thank you for the massive support, the encouragement, your presence and your guidance is appreciated. Please keep on shining - I hope this garment can give you some life energy as you continue creating and expressing in your ways.
Love always, Huyen
- minimize chemicals on your skin by using light or no colors + maximize life energy. one of a kind 100% recycled cotton made out of trash. made in los angeles = minimizes carbon footprint + maximizes sustainability = connect to mother earth.
- no shipping, only hand to hand trade including handwritten love note on eco friendly paper from Nepal.
- invest in and empower women of color artists and women owned businesses, fair pay wages, eco friendly + ethical production. give back: part of the proceeds towards girls’ education and athletic scholarships @girlsgottarun
- shot and shown by women of color.