At The R Collective, our “Celebrate Life” initiative aims to shine a light on the diverse stories of passion, motivation and joyful living within our sustainably like-minded community. Meet our final two ambassadors - Cultural Executive Kamila Naglik and our founder Dr. Christina Dean - to learn about their hopes for the future and what drives them forward.
Meet Kamila Naglik, Arts and Culture Executive
With a background at cultural powerhouses like London’s Tate Museum and the Royal Academy of the Arts, Kamila Naglik’s unmatched art expertise spans from the old masters to emerging contemporaries. However, for Kamila art is just the beginning. Beyond an incredible curatorial career, her other passions lay in the fields of technology, health and sustainability. Uniting an array of foundations, institutions and departments through her management work, she is a strong believer in the power of intersectional cultural change.
The way we consume and interact with culture and entertainment has seen a pretty drastic shift of late. Reflecting on these changes to all of our lifestyles, what does ‘celebrating life’ mean to you?
In the context of our ‘new normal’ / post-pandemic reality, Celebrating Life for me has meant to prioritise quality and self-care; to more intentionally appreciate simple pleasures which we took for granted, such as a nice meal out, a haircut, live music etc. For me, reflecting more on our values and recalibrating our choices accordingly accounts for a life worth living and celebrating.
How does your ethos around “Celebrating Life” translate into your clothing choices and how you manage your wardrobe?
As a matter of fact, with some extra time at home in the midst of lockdowns, I have recently gone through my wardrobe and discarded many pieces. Firstly, I am ashamed to admit that I got my sizing wrong! Secondly, there was way too much of the ‘fast fashion debris’. I have - over the years - grown to pay attention to and appreciate quality materials, preferring to opt for flattering oversized cuts. I’d describe my style as minimal, and I enjoy mixing up selected established brands with basics...and of course, fancy socks!
How can we empower women and ourselves through fashion?
Often during the lockdown, I ended up putting on my boyfriend’s clothes which would always make me feel so wonderful - amazing textures, XL size and exquisite cuts. I would like to see more of these qualities in female clothing. This combination of style, quality and comfort would certainly boost my confidence much more than alignment with the latest trends or possession of iconic brands or items.
Taking it to another level, for me, it would mean to find a trusted tailor and start to build a bespoke wardrobe. Knowing your clothing is made specially for you and in an ethical way can be very empowering.
We believe that making positive, sustainable change means rethinking the way we do things across every industry. Where do you think art and sustainability meet?
There are many ways in which the art world and art making can be more sustainable. Apart from the obvious, such as shipping artworks by sea rather than air etc., I particularly enjoy seeing artists reusing their own materials or re-appropriating existing techniques to make new pieces. For instance, I have seen cut-outs from a cardboard design for a large-scale sculpture being reused as a plate for printmaking, this way making the process itself not only more sustainable but also creative.
We understand you have an interest in technology, what do you believe the role of technology is in art for building a better future?
I believe technology is yet to play a paramount role for the arts- its impact, in my opinion, will spread across the infrastructure as well as the creative process. I would like to see the blockchain benefitting the artists directly and their bodies of works, in terms of financial incentives or recordkeeping. Equally, I am positive that more and more artists - including those so far working mainly with traditional media - will leverage new technological tools / solutions in their practice; a great example of this adoption are the recent iPad paintings by David Hockney.
Meet Dr. Christina Dean, Founder of The R Collective and Redress.
From her start as a dentist, to a career-switch into journalism, to finally discovering her passion for sustainability; our very own Dr. Christina Dean is no stranger to change. As COVID uprooted plans and turned the fashion industry on its head, we spoke with our CEO and Founder to discover how self-reflection helped her turn catastrophe into opportunity and optimism.
Emerging from the other side of such a disruptive period, what does this newfound concept of “celebrating life” look like to you?
This past year forced us to slow down and live more conscientiously and purposefully. For me “Celebrating Life” centres on the people around me- finding value in connection and appreciating the communities we build.
From spending more time with my family to reconnecting with my amazing team from a world away, I’ve realised this year has brought as many chances for personal growth as it has challenges. I’m always grateful for any opportunity to reinvigorate my motivation to try a bit harder, and emerging from this has only reminded me of the importance of being kind, patient and humble.
Being a human, in the face of today’s world, requires a lot of creativity and ingenuity. We need to grow, adapt, support and be resilient.
How does your ethos around 'Celebrating Life' translate in your clothing choices?
Fashion should be about beauty and about clothing ourselves in our aspirations and values. Witnessing first hand the resilience of our communities, seeing women lifting up other women, has really reignited my drive to do my bit in fighting for a brighter collective future. I think this is something that we’re beginning to see in a lot of people’s personal quests to reflect their own style.
Fashion is just one of many sectors that is ripe for change right now. We’ve seen clothing and textile waste rates hit the roof - but the groundswell of individuals working to create positive change has perhaps never been bigger. I’m excited about people falling in love with fashion again; learning to love it, cherish and flaunt real and true fashion.
How can we empower women and ourselves through fashion?
I believe that sustainable fashion is not just an environmental issue - it is also an opportunity to uplift and empower ourselves as women. We make up 80% of the garment industries workers, which represents enormous potential for fashion to be a force for positive change.
What we wear is so integral to our self expression, our confidence and feeling strong in our skin. Equipping people with the tools to understand their style, to consume with mindfulness and purpose, is one of the most important things we can do to give all women in the industry agency- from shoppers to workers.
You got your start in sustainability quite by accident, sparking a lifelong passion for combatting waste. What advice would you give to those wanting to take that first step toward broader change?
Deciding to embrace sustainability can seem overwhelming when you don’t know where to start, which is why it’s helpful to think of sustainability as a way of life instead of some unattainable state of being! There’s always more we can be doing, but it’s all about making small changes that mount up every day. We all have a slightly different relationship with fashion, and it is okay. Wherever you are within the fashion industry, make your bit more sustainable. Be aspirational rather than intimidated!
Where do you see the future of fashion in 5 years time?
I feel we are beginning to see genuine positive change as more and more large businesses embrace sustainable values. It’s a new generation of consumers that have really driven the demand for this, to the point that even the most traditional aspects of the industry have been forced to stand up and take note.
Of course, nothing happens overnight. I think many people get caught up in the promising new material discoveries, or fashion technologies like blockchain and 3D design modelling, but it can take 10 years for these things to really impact the market.
Whilst these innovations hold very exciting potential, the most important thing we can do for sustainable production today is work toward using the resources that we already have. It’s about old fashioned, waste management.
True innovation comes from how we approach this in new and creative ways, with resourcefulness and ingenuity.