The story behind tommie magazine, 'the destination for creative women with a conscience'.

For all the creative women with a conscience..

I think some of the best progress, change and innovation comes from a lack of opportunity. There’s something about not having access to resources that forces you to really think about how you fit into this world and what it is you want to contribute. Sometimes it’s through this scarcity where we actually create the greatest value; we’re forced to look inward to really develop our moral compass and be the best person we can be. It's really humbling to know that the only thing we should be striving for in this life is self-acceptance and love, because material possessions ultimately don’t help us in arriving to our truth. Fine-tuning these things actually doesn’t cost anything, but without them, it could cost us the world. This is the best investment you will ever make, both for yourself and Mother Nature.

As someone who grew up with limited resources, the above really rings true for me. It’s through growing up this way that I feel compelled to do the work I do as an advocate for second hand style, a social activist who just wants the world to be a better place and a woman who wants to give those in more vulnerable circumstances a voice to be heard. Some often challenge the idea whether a life of fashion and substance can co-exist. And this is how ‘the destination for creative women with a conscience’ was born; out of sheer necessity to showcase how this is being executed daily by female change-makers, all across the world!

Like a lot of the women who I have connected with for this project, I have always chosen the unconventional path, gone against the grain and challenged the status quo. Not in a rebellious aggressive way, but as a curious citizen of the world, who constantly wants to do better and is dedicated to exploring other ways of life. I decided from early on that I’d be in charge of my own life, that anything I wanted was possible and was always hopeful for a better and bright future. Call me idealistic and romantic, but it's true – I really do believe you can pave the way and create that path. I believe in taking initiative, being of service and contributing to help a larger cause, and so, this how I decided I’d no longer wait around for an opportunity that hadn’t presented itself. Why wait around to be the best you, you can be, when you can decide to do that right this minute. And this is why tommie was created, because I didn’t want to wait anymore. I didn’t want to wait for change that didn’t really seem like it was coming. So as the famous quote suggests;

"Be the Change you wish to see in the world".

I no longer wanted to wait for minorities and ethnically diverse women to be featured in editorials, I didn’t want to wait to see [if] second hand clothing would ever be accepted into mainstream media, I didn’t want to wait any longer to show people that you can be a woman who loves style as well as an advocate for important issues, too. There was a whole world of 'creative women with a conscience’ out there that weren’t being represented and I knew I had to take things into my own hands.

As an eco-stylist, I know this probably isn’t the most natural path, but  this is my journey and how I've gotten here. Style without substance has never been of interest to me, so it only seemed natural to show the world that not only can the two coincide, but actually, is a necessary direction for the future of fashion.

The fashion industry is the second largest polluter in the world to oil so we have a responsibility to change how we interpret, consume and communicate fashion in media and every day life. As someone who has always been a lover of vintage and thrifted clothing, this presented a problem when working in the mainstream fast, fashion industry because there was never an opportunity to showcase (in media) how good you could look in preloved clothes. Working with clothes that were made by women exposed to unfair work practices, that were made out of cheap fabrics and were designed to have a short life cycle and were then - in the western world - being styled, advertised, merchandised and basically shoved down out throats - for lack of a better word - made me frustrated. Then, to make matters worse, we had the stereotypes of the beauty industry to contend with where we were being sold these fast fashion clothes through the guise of the 'white, tall and blonde' woman being one of the only representations of beauty. My issue with this, was not that this woman was being represented, but that all the other women out there were not being represented.

And so, because of this injustice tommie magazine was born. I wanted to create this multidisciplinary platform to showcase, embrace and uplift women out there who were leading innovators in their field by thinking outside the box, challenging the way we do things - both in fashion and life in general - and were courageous enough to go against the grain at a time in society where we tend to all want to be the same. I also wanted to showcase how great second hand, vintage and preloved clothing actually is! I've always been an avid shopper, but not for fast fashion, for pieces that have stood the test of time, have lived through decades past and tell a story. It's ultimate magic for me knowing that a garment has more history than me! With a special love for vintage and magazines, my dream has always been to tell stories through editorials with vintage clothing. But this was never a possibility, as it didn't exist. Media publications rejected this form of story telling because there was nothing to monetise. So, when an opportunity doesn't exist, you need to create it yourself, right? And this is how the idea for conscious fashion editorials evolved.

We are one of the first online magazines to exclusively feature second hand clothing in our editorials. This segment of the magazine is for the vintage lovers out there, the thrifters, the op shop connoisseurs, the eco-stylists - who like myself - have been looking for a platform that aligns with their values, beliefs and principles. It's for the women who want to be creative and see creativity for the sake of art and storytelling, without a product being sold to them. We can't wait to show you what real fashion is, and that to us is style. We will also feature ethical and sustainable fashion in out editorials to provide a platform for eco brands and designers, and educate you on how best to shop consciously.

To prove to you that second hand clothing and style are synonymous, we've even started our very own tommie shop. As an eco stylist, I've often heard that one of the reasons people don't shop second hand is because they are time poor and don't want to sift through racks of clothing - lucky for you, we've done all the hard work - by curating this online store with quality, second hand pieces. By supporting second hand clothing you're investing in a circular fashion economy, one of the most sustainable ways to shop and are saving quality items from becoming landfill. This is a huge stance for the environment and the fashion industry. 

And so, this is just a snippet of how the tommie platform came to be and what we have in store. We hope you will join us on our journey as we can only add value and make change happen when we work together. 

We are ambitious, dedicated and have a hunger to learn more, do better and lead the way the best we can. This platform is to challenge the way we do things, think critically, and that through conscious connection we can build on ideas and innovation. Through the art of story telling we hope to educate you on social issues and world events, with a particular focus on ethical and sustainable fashion.

Ultimately we want to challenge traditional ideas of media, the stereotypes attached to fashion and give 'creative women with a conscience', a voice. We hope through our multi-disciplinary platform you will learn, question, grow, feel empowered and embraced. 

We want to build a community for women that is safe, inclusive and offers diversity and equality.

This is for the dreamers, the story-tellers, the activists, the fighters, the humanitarians, the creatives, the artists' and the 'creative women with a conscience'

The future is in our hands!

Change starts with you, you change-maker!




natalie shehata

eco stylist, founder and second hand shopping ambassador