Introducing Antonia Da Cruz, travel and fitness maven and VP of Brands & Advocates for Kindred Hong Kong. Antonia embraced her passion for health and fitness as former manager of Guava Pass, a premium membership platform granting users access to fitness studios and gyms across Hong Kong, and now she is championing ethical consumerism working with Kindred Hong Kong, an online marketplace that gives consumers access to a vast array of global brands, and enables them to do good by giving back with their daily purchases.
Find out more about Antonia’s top tips for living a more eco-friendly life, her sustainable travel habits and what she likes to wear when she travels.
"What I love about the Calabash Dress is that it's so versatile and suitable for any occasion!" - Antonia Da Cruz
What is a typical day like for you and how do your clothing choices work for you?
I'm the VP of Brands & Advocates for Kindred Hong Kong, a relatively new start up that's headquartered in the UK and founded by one of the co-founders of Quintessentially, Aaron Simpson. We launched our app at the start of October last year (click here to download and check it out!).
We want to be able to support local businesses and sustainable brands, and be the first port of call for when consumers want to shop as they can a) get a deal on their favourite brands b) can earn a commission if they wish to be an advocate for a brand, and c) give back to the community as a % of sales always goes back to a charity of their choosing. 1% may sound small but if everyone does it, it becomes much more meaningful.
So my day typically involves a lot of meetings and calls to brands, influencers, charities and talent agencies spreading the word about the Kindred mission. Basically anybody and everybody can use Kindred!
At lunchtime, I like to squeeze in a yoga session if possible to break up the day, so I usually keep some workout clothes in my desk. If I have to attend an event, I'll change into something smarter and more presentable. I would describe my style as casual, simple and sporty by day, and dressed up and girly in the evenings for dinners, events and special occasions.
How have you made your clothing choices and lifestyle more sustainable?
I don’t shop as much as I used to. When I was younger I was definitely swept up in that fast fashion world. These days I rarely ever buy heels and handbags (but gifts I accept, only human!) and I’m still wearing clothes I had in my early 20s. Some of my tees have holes in them but it doesn't bother me that much as I think it adds character to them! I also hardly ever wear jeans anymore, especially thanks to the Redress ads I saw in the MTR - 3,000 litres of water to make one pair of jeans is just insane! And they're not even that comfortable.
Generally speaking though, I have become much more aware about what I buy when I realised I still had lots of new clothes with their tags still on. In the last five or so years I have either been donating my clothing, or reselling on secondhand hand platforms like StyleTribute when I lived in Singapore and now, HULA in Hong Kong.
I have also been encouraging my family to do the same and clean out their wardrobes. A local charity called Impact HK is opening a second hand clothing store for the homeless at the end of January, so if you live in Hong Kong and are reading this - please donate your unwanted items!
"The fabrics are soft and flowy which makes the Islington Dress very comfortable." - Antonia Da Cruz
What do you like to wear when you travel?
Sweatpants and hoodies especially on long haul flights - I really just need to be comfortable. Once I arrive it's a different story and depending on the destination I'll adapt accordingly to climate and activities. I travel as light as I possibly can (on weekend trips I refuse to check in and only bring a carry on) so I have to bring items that match and complement my other outfits.
How have you made traveling more sustainable?
I try to support eco-friendly destinations or eco-tourism. Some places I visited last year, for example, included Siargao which banned single-use plastics in 2018, and Wonderfruit, an arts, music and lifestyle festival that champions sustainability and social responsibility. I try to book eco-conscious accommodation and as such, I am a huge fan of hotel chains like Six Senses. They grow their own produce so it's farm to table, they're energy-efficient powered by solar, and their sustainability fund supports the local community through education, healthcare, public infrastructure, clean water and so on.
During my stay, I make sure to reuse my towels and not change my sheets. You just don't need fresh sheets daily. I enjoy diving so I use Sun Bum sunscreen which is safe for reefs. I definitely do not want to contribute to coral bleaching! And I don't join in activities that negatively impact the environment or are cruel to animals. I also try to use more local transportation (I take the MTR daily to work) especially when I'm in a new city - I walk a LOT. It's the best way to discover something cool that you might have otherwise missed!
"It takes minimal effort to feel instantaneously glamourous in the Islington Dress as you don't have to think too hard about what pieces match! That's a huge plus for me." - Antonia Da Cruz.
What are your top tips for people keen to embrace a more sustainable lifestyle?
Contribute to a carbon offsetting company that will help plant trees, or donate to energy saving projects. Have reusable containers at work and educate your co-workers/friends about it. Go paperless. Make recycling a habit and know what can/cannot be recycled. Don't order takeaway if you can just walk downstairs and have a meal. Don't buy produce with lots of packaging. Support businesses that use biodegradable alternatives.
Conserve water. Don't leave the tap running when you brush your teeth or take super long showers. Use soap bars instead of buying shower gel in plastic bottles, and if you can take it one step further, opt for the shampoo and conditioner bars too. Reduce the frequency of your washing loads, and make sure you do a full load. Air dry instead of tumble dry. Turn off your lights when you're not in the room, and unplug devices or turn off the master switch when you're out of town. Shop less - do you really need to buy that? Or shop ethical. Take more public transport. Eat more plant based foods. The list is endless! If in doubt I always try to follow the five R's: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle.