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Goodness

Posted on 10 October 2017

I'm often asked about the inspiration behind my business and my reasons for starting it and I always seem to circulate around this idea of being 'good' without directly saying it. The more common words I would use are along the lines of ethics, fairness and social justice but this morning in my quiet time I read a definition of 'goodness' that made me personally want to be 'good' and the more I thought about it, the more it nailed why I started Theo. It said: 'goodness: in a man is not a mere passive quality, but the deliberate preference of right and wrong, the firm and persistent resistance of all moral evil, and the choosing and following of all moral good." (Easton Bible Dictionary). This is exactly why I started this business! I thought I would share a little more background of my personal journey and how this little definition aptly describes a big turning point in my life so far.

Through most of high school I wanted to be a physiotherapist. I loved sport and that was the beginning and end of my reasoning (which I can now recognise as the makings of disastrous decision-making, haha)! Long story short, I studied physio for two and a half years before dropping out. (I learnt enough to know that my lack of stretching, predisposition to tight muscle groups and bad sewing habits have led to my current sciatica situation but not enough to know how to treat them. What a waste!) I spent a few months flicking through the university course guide trying to decide if I wanted to be a teacher or an industrial designer and low and behold, I fell into fashion!

I had sewn clothing through high school (read: dress-up costumes and ripping off designer dresses I couldn't afford - these were pre-conscious-fashion days, don't judge me!) but never considered it a career so I honestly don't know what I was thinking through the entire application process! Before I knew it I was enrolled at RMIT and fast forward through 2 years of study, 1 year of work/travel and another 2 years of part-time study and I have a piece of paper (somewhere...) declaring that I am fashion designer! I definitely enjoyed the course, particularly the technical skills I learned in pattern-making and sewing garments as well as the business side of managing production but I had (and still have) zero interest in being the 'next big designer'. It wasn't until I watched the documentary 'China Blue' as part of a sustainability subject that things clicked into place and that was (ironically) the moment I decided I didn't want to work in fashion!

(My besties and I circa 2007 in the sailor costumes I made for year 12 muck up day! I dug deep into the old Facebook archives for this one and I would have posted more but they were way too painful to look at! )

Fashion is an incredibly creative space that I respect as an art form. What I have little respect for is what fashion has become: cheap, imitation clothing making modern-day slaves poorer and corporate beneficiaries wealthier. Coming back to the definition of 'goodness', this is where it all began for me. After watching 'China Blue' (a behind the scenes look into Chinese garment worker's lives enslaved in sweat-shop conditions), I decided I couldn't be part of it and (perhaps due to my somewhat stubborn nature) decided I had to do something about it! I'm not a naive or illogical person, surprisingly! If anything I'm overly logical and so deeply convicted that I simply cannot fathom being aware of something as unjust as a human trapped in slavery and not doing something about it. Allow me to paint perhaps a more familiar picture to illustrate what I mean.

I catch public transport to work and I will undoubtedly see a homeless person or a person asking for change at some point through my commute. When I see that person I feel terrible for them! It would be illogical to not feel bad for them, right? So really, it's completely logical to feel bad when you see something bad happening. But here's the reality: we stop feeling bad. We see so much hurt, so many 'bad things' happening that we become immune to feeling bad! Somehow it's become more logical to ignore a person in need than to care for them. Somehow it's become more logical to make bigger profits each quarter than to fix holes in a supply chain where humans are in slavery. Things just got deep, hey!

It is never my intention to point fingers and rain down guilt so let's lighten things up. Like I said, I'm not so naive to think my own actions or even ethical fashion on it's own will change the world but in many instances I have been congratulated for doing what I do. When this happens my earnest response is that if someone as incredibly ordinary as myself could do something 'good'- perhaps influence another person's thought or action to inspire a positive change no matter how small - it's just evidence that absolutely anyone could! I want to continually choose to be 'good' in the big things and the little things (because the little things make up the big things, don't they?) and I don't want to turn a blind eye, be ignorant or feel indifferent - I want to choose to be and do good. To throw a lil' empowering cliché in here, 'Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has' (Margaret Mead). We see and hear about terrible things happening in the world each day, and you have the capacity to be that one person who makes things just that little bit better!

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. Margaret Mead
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/margaretme100502.html
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. Margaret Mead
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/margaretme100502.html
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. Margaret Mead
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/margaretme100502.html

'Goodness: in a man is not a mere passive quality, but the deliberate preference of right and wrong, the firm and persistent resistance of all moral evil, and the choosing and following of all moral good.' Hey friend, let's wrap up this post - let's choose goodness (and stay away from photos circa 2007).

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2 comments

  • Esther: October 15, 2017

    Thanks, Joss! Glad to have challenged you!

  • Joss: October 10, 2017

    Really enjoyed reading this. So humbled, challenged and inspired by your ’stubbornness’’
    Love this part: "somehow it’s become more logical to ignore a person in need than to care for them’
    Its crazy how true that often proves to be. What you’re doing is awesome!

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