Turning Heads For The Right Reasons is a collaborative project that celebrates the beauty of traditional Balinese culture with sustainable contemporary design. If you haven’t seen it yet take a peek here.
This is not just another fashion editorial. Each image in the story represents an aspect of Balinese tradition which is represented in the movement, props and the poses of the models. Uniquely each image has been styled using clothes, accessories and props that have been lovingly handmade from carefully sourced materials, and produced so that the final product has a minimal environmental impact. It is this green fingered design ethos that has united our three brands: SAYA Designs, Make a Scene! and Feel Good. Through the creation of Turning Heads they have formed a collaborative creative community in Bali and set the stage for future collaborative projects between artists and designers.
So who are the brands that made Turning Heads possible? Whilst on set Emily chatted to the founders of Feel Good, Make A Scene! And SAYA Designs …
The happy helping pyjamas that empower women to be beautiful inside and out. These handcrafted sleepwear-to-streetwear pj’s are stylish, sustainable, feel great on your skin and most importantly, support underprivileged children get the education they deserve.
You lived in New York before venturing to Bali. What did you do there and what was it that inspired you to decide to change your life and come to Indonesia to volunteer?
I lived in New York but I worked globally as a corporate executive in financial services. I had always wanted to try community service, and just had to wait for the right moment. When the opportunity arose I got a one year commitment for volunteer work in Jakarta.
It was through many a batik class here in Bali that you discovered your love for this traditional decorative technique. How did you find the double gauze cotton from Japan and the cotton silk-sari from India?
Through doing batik workshops I discovered that I love fabrics! I worked in Japan for over 10 years, and also India for many years. Spending so much time in both countries developed my admiration of their culture for fabrics, and their love for fabrics. It’s a way of life!
You have used Feel Good to help Agnes, her school and its children. You support two pre-schools here. Are there any future plans to reach out to more schools or centres?
I would like to continue to support the schools that are in extreme poverty. There are a few things that I would like to do. Firstly to fund the school fees of the children whose families are living in extreme poverty. Secondly I would like to support and be able to fund training for the teachers so they can continuously develop their skills. Thirdly, I would like to bring more volunteers into the school so that the children and teachers get global exposure. I’m finding that even 20 minutes of time from a volunteer is creating a change in the lives of the children and teachers. We look at the map and tell them this is where the person comes from. It’s benefitting the children because they look at the hair, the green and blue eyes, and because they see it’s different they laugh, become intrigued, which strikes up a curiosity to learn more. They learn that there are prospects and life beyond Bali’s borders. The world is not just Indonesia, the world is bigger, and loving each other regardless of the colour of your eyes is a positive life lesson.
To learn more about Feel Good and the work they are doing, click here.
MAKE A SCENE! EVENT DESIGN
Make A Scene! collaborates with traditional palm leaf craftsman “Bali Kui’ to raise Bali’s skill- based culture through creating environmentally friendly scenic installations. Their portfolio includes creating works for Balinese and destination weddings, events, contemporary woven accessories for fashion shoots, and most recently, festivals!
What brought you to Bali and what inspired you to start your own events company?
I first came to Bali when I was at university, and it had just been the Eat, Pray, Love phase. I remember seeing the island in a brochure; the rice terraces, colours of the temples and offerings, it just looked like a very creative and arty, beautiful country. I have been coming back every year since, introducing my family to Bali, and coming back on my own. I really believe in the magic of Bali. Serendipity. There is magic in the air and energies at play, and there’s fate and stars aligning. It was quite by chance that one day I went for a walk with the Balinese family I was staying with in a homestay, and they took me to see their nephew who had his own company making Balinese wedding decorasi. It was the perfect union of theatre meets Bali, and from then on I just knew I had found the realm to marry my skills with my passion for Bali and all of its creativity. That was the stars aligning to show me that there was an avenue for making my passion into a way of life. I have thanked Bali ever since. If you want to do good here, and you truly believe in how beautiful this country is, it protects you and you will discover and see things that you didn’t think possible. It’s a magic island.
How long do the sculptures last, and what do you do with them after an event?
The beautiful thing is that they are decomposable, so once you have finished with them you can literally put them back into the environment as they become organic waste. There’s no footprint, it’s just a dry leaf so the material can be recycled. Shelf life for a Balinese wedding, to keep the rich green colour is about 4 days. However, for a festival probably about 10 days. As the leaves start to dry out, the colour changes from a rich green, to a mint green, to a light brown to a dark brown so the natural changing process adds a whole new beauty to the pieces natural aesthetic.
You worked at the Bali Spirit Festival earlier this year. Are festivals an avenue that Make A Scene! will pursue and do you have any exciting plans for the future?
Festivals are definitely the way to go because they are big scale events, highly theatrical, and are about Making A Scene! We delight in creating scenes and atmospheres that transport guests to another world. I’m delighted to announce that our latest collaboration is with Bestival Bali! It’s going to be really exciting bringing the traditional into a contemporary context this September, and we will learn a lot as we stretch the design process. This new body of work will be wonderful for the portfolio to show that what we do doesn’t just have to be for traditional weddings. It’s exactly what we say on the tin – traditional Bali for contemporary events!
To see more from Make A Scene!, click here.
Inspired by nature and handmade by Balinese artisans, S A Y A Designs is a brand new heart fuelled venture launching a unique collection of handcrafted and beautiful hairpins. Using root wood salvaged from old plantations, each hairpin completes an amazing cycle, as every purchase plants up to 10 endangered tree species back into the rainforests in Indonesia.
You’ve recently successfully finished your Kickstarter campaign. How does it feel to be moving on to the next stage of SAYA?
It feels great to be moving forward and onto new ventures. The Kickstarter campaign was such a roller coaster ride of emotions but it gave me such encouragement and motivation. I didn’t quite comprehend what was to come once the campaign was over, all I knew is that I had to roll with whatever came my way! There is a lot to do at the moment, setting up all the groundwork for the business to expand, what I have realised is that it’s a 24hr job starting up anything! However, having so many people believe in your ideas is a real confidence booster and it’s given me even more inspiration!
Production is well under way for those lucky customers that supported you, so they will be getting their handcrafted hairpins soon. In the meantime what is the next step for you and SAYA’S journey?
The focus right now is getting this first round of production through and making sure all our wonderful Kickstarter backers are happy! There are a few different areas that need more focus on next. Supporting our artisans and making sure they have the time, space and equipment they need in order to work efficiently is key! So I will be back to visit Bali soon in October to work on this. We will also be working on new designs and ideas for next year!
I also really want to focus on building the community element of S A Y A and continue to create really strong bonds between other eco brands and ambassadors. I feel this is so important to really get to the bottom of the environmental and sustainability conversation. Learning what innovations are happening around us, shows us what part we have to play to move things forward. That’s why ‘Turning Heads’ was so exciting for me and I look forward to many more collaborations like these!
Have you got any news or future plans that we can share with our readers?
Our website is about to launch, any minute now! So that is really exciting to to be able to have a space to connect and share everything. I am so looking forward to showing all those in S A Y A’ S inner circle this amazing article for example. All I would say to everyone, is if you want to keep in the loop with our next moves, drop your email and subscribe to our mailing list so we can be in touch soon!
Thank you Jiminy for all your hard work! It was such a pleasure to meet you in bali and love what you do!
To see more from SAYA Designs, click here.
Turning Heads sends a powerful message to designers, stylists and art directors all over the world. Design and production doesn’t have to mean exploitation and negative environmental and social impact. Everything in Turning Heads has been created by designers with a conscience. By working together we celebrate sustainable, creative design. Now it’s your turn.