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5 Apr

Climate Change Can Be Complex, ‘The Weird and Wild’

The long run could possibly be brighter, but young climate activists aren’t forfeiting hope.

In a special Earth Month series, each week WWD will profile the Gen Z talents searching for to demystify climate change, refashion influence and mobilize the masses. With the planet only 0.4 degrees shy of the urgent stop point of 1.5-degrees Celsius warming outlined within the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement, advocates are proclaiming that there’s little time to spare.

First within the series is Woo Qiyun, the science communicator behind “The Weird and Wild,” who’s attempting to demystify climate change (to an audience of 15,000 on Instagram) via easy yet high-octane graphics while spotlighting underrepresented Southeast Asian influence at the worldwide deal-making table.

WWD: How do you define your climate work in your personal terms?

Woo Qiyun: A lot of my climate work is rooted in creativity and fun; I desired to create impact in a way that felt welcoming, daring and colourful. Illustrating and sharing that work on Instagram has allowed me to do this, and allowed me to satisfy so many like-minded people. Based in Southeast Asia, I need to have the ability to highlight the problems, solutions, science and perspectives that don’t get featured a lot on major news channels. Sticking true to that, I’m grateful to have been capable of push out content that I enjoy making and consuming, and to listen to that folks resonate with what I’ve been doing is humbling and satisfying. I’ve received an immense amount of support and I’m so deeply grateful for all that. I’d say I’m still exploring my style and what “in my very own terms” means.

WWD: Where have you ever helped motivate the most important push or change in fashion? What about more broadly?

W.Q.: I’m unsure if I’ve motivated a giant push but I’m hoping to make use of my platform and my work on “The Weird and Wild” to do two things — demystify sustainable fashion and normalize higher ways to relate to fashion. I feel a lot of sustainable fashion comes with jargon and in addition marketing-speak that’s more trendy than scientifically rooted. I feel with the ability to break that down, understand what goes behind these labels, allow us to know what is occurring with brands pushing out sustainable lines. My hope is that literacy helps us be higher consumers.

In 2018, I made a really conscious decision to stop buying latest as best as I can — which was really hard for the shopaholic that I used to be. Ever since then I’ve been shopping secondhand, renting, upcycling and really benefiting from my closet. That has radically modified the way in which I have a look at clothes and in addition eat it, and hope that my audience can see that such a way of life is desirable and we don’t should chase trends to feel like our greatest selves.

WWD: What’s the longer term you’re imagining, and the way can we get there? What role does each party play, and why should the style industry listen?

W.Q.: I’m imagining a future where we now have a healthy relationship with fashion. Where the industry doesn’t prey on our insecurities and wish to slot in, but an art form that creates things that we would like to wear endlessly and ever because we love what it means to us and, in fact, the planet. There’s a lot that each player within the industry can do, be it designers creating outfits that we love that can stand the test of time, to provide chain managers who can define the terms during which these clothes are made. The style industry must listen since it affects the industry’s longevity.

Southeast Asia is home to a lot of the style supply chain, and in addition a lot wealthy biodiversity — and yet also the house of a lot of the negative impacts of fashion, be it on the environment or the people making our clothes. I imagine a future where we stop exploiting what we now have. There’s no fashion on a dead planet.

WWD: How are you coping with any newfound highlight your platform has afforded? What about any criticisms?

W.Q.: It’s been a continuing work in progress and I’ve been battling the pressure of getting to post more to “work with” the algorithm that has afforded me the eye and highlight to say things that I feel are necessary. I’m also learning to balance having to do paid work — that sustains my free content — in ways in which speak to my values without feeling like I’m “selling out.” I’m also mindful that this platform is tied so closely to my identity, that I even have to learn to create a healthy relationship with performance metrics, opinions or criticisms.

WWD: Who’s your dream brand collaborator and what advice do you’ve got for forging meaningful partnerships today?

W.Q.: Patagonia — for just a few reasons. It isn’t just that the brand advocates for environmental justice causes, but in addition the actual fact additionally they dedicate a good amount of resources to platform and uplift the local communities they’re in in addition to the creative community. I used to be in Atlanta some months ago and it was awesome to see them have fun a neighborhood muralist that they invited to actually make their store pop. I feel such collaborations and give attention to constructing ecosystems is commonly so rare for giant brands with so many physical and financial resources at their disposal. I need to see so rather more of those meaningful collaborations that might help push environmental literacy in Singapore and Southeast Asia.

Meaningful partnerships seem like mutual respect and understanding. Once I work with brands, I appreciate open and honest communication on what they need to realize, and the way I fit into the image. One of the best sorts of partnerships allow for some flexibility to push boundaries while at the identical time achieving the identical objectives. I’m manifesting more creative collaborations that can allow us to push for change.

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