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AN HONEST AMERICAN GIRL.

LEENA OIJALA IS AN INDEPENDENT FREELANCE WRITER AND AFICIONADA OF PLANTS AND HANDCRAFTS. SHE STUDIED FASHION HISTORY AND THEORY AT CENTRAL SAINT MARTINS IN LONDON AND NOW LIVES ON AN ORGANIC FARM IN THE NORTHWESTERN USA. BETWEEN TENDING CAYENNE PLANTS AND CHOPPING FIREWOOD, SHE CONTRIBUTES HER VIEWS ON SUSTAINABILITY AND DESIGN TO SOURCE4STYLE, THE GREEN STYLIST AND MOOT MAGAZINE. READ MY INTERVIEW WITH LEENA OIJALA HERE BELOW.

By Bruno Pieters
 

BP: WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT FASHION?
LO: I gravitate towards aesthetically pleasing visual and sensory experiences, and my appreciation for the art of dressing and the craft of creating clothing stems from this. Fashion represents the manifestation of visual and sensory experiences that can be shared on our mutual vessel, the human body. I find the social effects of fashion fascinating and believe them to reflect the subconscious feelings of our society.

BP: WHAT IS YOUR OPINION ON THE FASHION INDUSTRY TODAY?
LO: The fashion industry today has an illness, reflecting how we as a society have an illness. Our fever for consumerist and materialistic obsession must break for us to cure ourselves and create systems where we synchronize with our environment instead of trying to control it. I believe the fashion industry can play a significant part in this, seeing as it affects everyone.

BP: WHEN AND WHERE DID YOU FIRST HEAR OR READ ABOUT HONEST BY?
LO: Through a link posted on Source4Style's Facebook page.

BP: WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT THE HONEST BY CONCEPT?
LO: Information sharing is the key for creating connections between people and their environments. Honest by shares the information we all need to know in order to understand the systems fashion relies on, and connect to those systems. The journey of Honest by garments is easily accessible through shared information on the make-up of each garment, so consumers can begin to understand how they can meet their environments in mutually creative and responsible ways. Garments that allow us to take into account the full cycle and impact of their existence create the possibility for them to become positive nutrients for the environment, rather than destructive waste.

BP: DID YOU KNOW THE WORK OF BRUNO PIETERS BEFORE YOU HEARD OF HONEST BY?
LO: Yes. After studying the work of the Antwerp seven, I became interested in other designers from Antwerp's Royal Academy. Bruno's designs have always been revered for their tailoring, but I have been particularly intrigued by his attention to silhouettes and his use of color and texture. Flattering, yet simple clothing has always caught my eye, and a lot of Bruno's designs meet my interpretation of those qualities.

BP: WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THE ORGANIC SILK CHIFFON DRESS FROM THE HONEST BY BRUNO PIETERS COLLECTION?
LO: The dress is versatile, can be worn during any season and for different occasions, and black is my favorite color (or lack of color).

BP: WHAT IS LUXURY TO YOU?
LO: The experience of pristine, untarnished nature. Nothing compares to swimming in a clean, freshwater lake or walking through a 1,000 year old forest.

BP: DO YOU STILL BUY FROM BRANDS THAT AREN'T SUSTAINABLE?
LO: In the case of fashion, not directly, but I do buy brands that would not be considered sustainable from second-hand shops.

BP: WHEN DID YOU START BEING CONCERNED ABOUT OUR ENVIRONMENT?
LO: I have always had respect for the natural world as I was raised by parents that appreciate the beauty of our environment and made sure to expose me to direct interfaces with it. A genuine, personal concern for the impact our society has on natural cycles flourished about 4 years ago and has only escalated my desire to understand it ever since.

BP: HOW GREEN ARE YOU?
LO: My lifestyle can be considered very green because a lot of what my household consumes is produced onsite, by us, and any 'waste' is fed back into the system to produce more of what we consume. I do not believe that everyone needs to choose rural living, as I know that it would not be a realistic solution for a large percentage of the world's population. Technology is amazing and I see it as one of the most important tools in creating systems that work for everyone and everything. However, an understanding of the natural world is integral in order for us to utilize technology in a way that respects our environment.

BP: HOW IS LIVING IN THE COUNTRY-SIDE DIFFERENT FROM LIVING IN THE CITY?
LO: It is much quieter and it involves much more manual labor and attention to the overall processes that we rely on for survival. It is a lot more comfortable for me, although I love visiting and exploring cities.

BP: WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT IT?
LO: It is extremely stimulating to the senses, allows me to grow and preserve my own food (which could be done in the city) and gives me the opportunity to utilize my handcrafting skills with natural materials.

BP: WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED ABOUT LIFE SO FAR?
LO: That I have complete control of my life, and thus what I want will manifest itself for me in one way or another.

BP: WHAT IS HAPPINESS TO YOU?
LO: Sharing experiences, creating connections, and listening to myself.

BP: WHAT ARE YOUR DREAMS TODAY?
LO: I dream of mutual respect between people and the environment, and that the people of this world can change their ways as they become motivated by their abilities and potential to stop destruction.

BP: WHAT IS LOVE TO YOU?
LO: Desiring only what is best for whoever or whatever I love.

BP: WHAT IS YOUR PHILOSOPHY TODAY?
LO: Listen with all of your senses and never stop dancing. 

BP: THANK YOU FOR THIS INTERVIEW.