Joss Bacalla, founder of Seek Minimal | photo credit: Olivia Lopez
At the beginning of the year, in my letter from the editor, I was writing about some of the changes I have made in my lifestyle in recent years and it was incredible to receive your feedback and realise how many other people are doing the same thing. How many of you have set on the same path of living mindfully, of being authentic, of finding your voice in doing what you are passionate about, of defining success on your own terms, of embracing self expression and style with purpose over fast fashion and trends.
It’s been a long time since I last read a glossy magazine or the established fashion, beauty and lifestyle press. At the moment, I doubt I will ever do it again. Not when a serious alternative exists. An alternative that is breaking standards, that’s open-hearted, forward thinking and dedicated to give us a better choice. Seek Minimal gathers creatives, inspiring people, passionate entrepreneurs who tell their stories. It’s one of those galvanizing experiences that will motivate you to live well, to take better care of yourself and the others around you, to eat wiser and better, to choose quality over quantity, to appreciate craftsmanship and the hand-made, to prefer the confidence and clarity offered by timeless, classic styles, to be responsible for your actions. It’s a supportive community of people with the same vision who believe that sustainability and simplicity are the new luxury, who believe that we can do better for our own good and for the good of everyone around us and of this beautiful planet we live on.
I have recently talked to the founder of Seek Minimal, Joss Bacalla, about her brand and her style as a way of living. It’s the kind of style story that is inspiring and inspirational. Because it’s her personal style, she is not advocating it for anyone. It just is what it is. Authentic, purposeful, open-minded. But you know what is another wonderful thing about Joss? That she doesn’t disconsider anyone who is not (just yet) as thoughtful about sustainability as she is, that she encourages everyone who wants to make a difference to take it one step at the time. Through Seek Minimal however, she is consistent about asking of everyone to try harder. This is what we need to remind ourselves every day. To be the best version of ourselves, and that means living with intention, with style, with conviction, with enthusiasm. To be present.
”I try to honor the feeling of
feeling good about any choice I make.”
Seek Minimal is committed to people who want to make a difference. It inspires smarter choices. It gives an alternative and raises the question “Why not try harder?” I see Seek Minimal as a serious alternative to the established fashion, beauty and lifestyle press. What led you to creating Seek Minimal? What’s your biggest aspiration as a brand?
Knowing you see Seek Minimal as a serious alternative to the established fashion, beauty, and lifestyle press is one of my aspirations. I started this endeavour as a way to educate other people, and myself, about sustainable luxury. I would find myself jumping from Instagram account to Instagram account, and reading the ‘about’ section on these brands websites, and I thought “what if there was one place where you could learn about these ethical brands and the people behind them?”.
My biggest aspiration is for Seek Minimal to be a community for powerful men and women who want to change the world. We all want to make a difference and don’t know how; using our purchasing powers is always a way to start. I would love Seek Minimal to continue interviewing business owners and creators, hold conferences where people can ask these people advice and questions, and eventually be able to purchase ethical products online.
We live in a hectic world and more and more people are trying to go back to basics, to find a balance, to live mindfully. Seek Minimal seems to carry this message of living simply, of living life as a conscious choice. What does beautiful living mean to you personally?
I’ve only recently welcomed the mantra of ‘self-care’ into my life, but I find myself constantly going back to it. Self-care not only meaning eating healthy, exercising, and getting enough sleep, but looking at the kind of person you are, and if you’re happy with it. It’s also about enjoying the world around you. Travel and explore the world, go outside and take a deep breath after it rains, give all your love to the people around you, find a hobby that is therapeutic, take the time to enjoy your hot cup of morning coffee, and make your dreams happen. Living mindfully with purpose is living beautifully.
Joss Bacalla photographed by Olivia Lopez
Someone once told me that you have to care enough about style to have any. I believe that, just as I believe that it’s important to put some thought into the way you dress each morning, but not in the sense that you have to put on your high heels and your most polished look, but rather that you have to be true to yourself, which is something your clothes can reflect. What does style mean to you?
My style has always been an extension of myself. My mood, my feelings, and who I am speaks through my style. It’s an art of expression. Women who have style care about how people see them, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Describe your style in three words:
Minimal, Feminine, Comfortable.
You feel your best dressed in:
Anything that makes me feel comfortable in my own skin.
Do you apply a socially conscious philosophy to all aspects of your lifestyle (personal style, beauty regimen, homeware, food, etc.)? How do you live life as a conscious choice?
I try to honor the feeling of feeling good about any choice I make. I try my best to always make an ethical choice when purchasing clothes. I want to feel beautiful being as natural as possible, which means being conscious of what I’m putting into my body, and what I’m putting on my skin. My home reflects a very minimal lifestyle – it’s my happy place, so to feel peace and calm within my walls is something I’m always striving for.
Where do you shop mindfully?
So many incredible places. A few would be AWAVEAWAKE, Kara Thoms, Gracemade, Hey Moon Designs, Mohinders, Power of My People, and Ode to Odd.
How does your place of living influence your style, and how does it inspire you creatively?
Mentally, I’m always learning about new sustainable and minimalistic brands – so that alone influences my style. With starting Seek Minimal, I’ve become so exposed to incredible people who have started their own passion projects which always keeps me on my toes and thinking about what I can do next.
In a physical sense, I’m in Los Angeles, so I’m very fortunate to have a lot of sustainable brands around me and people who share the same ethos. Meeting with creative women and praising each other on our accomplishements has become the norm, which I’m incredibly grateful for. My style and creativity has continued to blossom and I am constantly learning.
Los Angeles is so alive with creativity, collaboration and support. So much seems to be happening in Los Angeles, and in California in general, at the moment in the artistic field (maybe more so than ever before), sustainable fashion included. Why do you think is that?
There are so many people who live in Los Angeles who aren’t actually from Los Angeles. It’s a lot of people moving to the city who want to make a change and make a name for themselves. It’s competitive, but also supportive because everyone knows what it’s like. Creative people from all over the world move to Los Angeles, so of course the creativity, collaboration and artistry is flourishing. It’s incredible.
What is the one thing you would miss the most if you lived anywhere else than Los Angeles?
The weather. Hands down.
”I wish people appreciated more: love, the earth, each other.”
Joss Bacalla photographed by Olivia Lopez
Who and what inspires you?
Everyone I meet inspires me! Truly. The process of meeting so many powerful and unique people for Seek Minimal has been transformational. Women specifically who empower other women and build something from nothing continue to infinitely inspire me.
The textile industry and its products have shaped the contemporary world more than anything else. The disposal of textile waste is one of the biggest preoccupations we have at the moment. How do you see the future of fashion? As the founder of a brand that seeks to bring a stylish and meaningful alternative to conventional fashion, do you think there is a significatly increased interest in the locally-made, in craftsmanship and sustainable shopping or do you think it will take mass action to curb our addiction to mass-produced, cheap products?
The fashion industry is a beautiful thing. The art of expression, the passion, and the creativity. However, the sad thing is unless you’re actually in it, you don’t realize that the environmental impact is massive. Textile waste is towering over us and it is still engrained in people’s minds’ that clothing is disposable.
Not going to name names, but huge brands that do come out with new styles weekly, who are responsible for a large percentage of textile waste, have the opportunity to educate their consumers. They’re the ones that the majority are listening to. They’re the ones that have created an idealogy that you’re not enough unless you have the newest item of the week. Some have stated to carry conscious lines which I think is a step in the right direction. If more brands did this and started exposing the idea of sustainable luxury it wouldn’t seem like such a daunting idea to a consumer.
The positive side is that there are more people using their voices and social media, like myself, fighting this cause. There are also a considerable amount of ethical companies flourishing which is heartening to see and consignment stores and thrifting are becoming more of a trend. With these combined efforts I believe there will be a shift.
Yes, these companies exist, they do their part, and we must do ours. What do you think is the first thing every individual should do in order to address this issue, any tip that may help someone else just starting out on their sustainable journey?
People are skeptical of spending $200 on a dress, when they can buy four for just as much. I get it. I was the same way. The idea of spending that much money on one item of cothing is definitley discouraging… Not going shopping as often is also a hard shift for people.
To make the change overnight is impossible, even I still succumb to fast fashion. My advice is to simply start thinking about the impact you’re making when you purchase a piece. Is this an impulse buy? How often will you actually wear it? Is the quality good? Being conscious of your purchase can really make a difference.
Another thing I want to stress is that as a society, we too easily give into trends. That’s exactly what you’re putting your money towards – a trend. You’ll notice that, with sustainable brands, almost all of their pieces are timeless. There’s longevity, the quality is better, and you’re supporting people who actually want to be making these pieces.
In this time and age, what do you wish people appreciated more?
Love, the earth, each other.
What makes you happy at the end of the day?
My relationships, my health, and doing what I love.