Natalie Shehata - eco stylist, editor + founder of tommie magazine
If you've made it this far on the website, well hello there, and thanks so much for stopping by and wanting to learn as much as possible about who we are and what we do.
I'm not so great when it comes to writing things about myself, I'd much prefer to shine a light on other women doing fab things - but alas, this is an 'about' page and I guess being the founder and all, I should tell you a little bit more about why I started this platform for 'creative women with a conscience'.
I'm a stylist by trade and have worked in the fashion + retail industry from the age of 14. I've always loved clothes, the powerful stories they tell and putting together an outfit as a form of moving art, identity and self expression. I was raised on a second hand buying culture, meaning, I frequented op shops, flea markets, garage sales, auctions and my parents perused the likes of 'The Trading Post' - yes, in paper form - for cars, furniture, appliances and pets! My upbringing was very much based around preservation of resources - we had very little growing up so being thrifty and frugal are really the only way I know how to live. I guess you could call it minimal living - it goes to show you that this zero waste culture as a way of sustainable living goes way back to our ancestors. We are now as a society unlearning bad habits and adopting their traditional ways of living.
You can read more about my story here which goes into detail a little bit more eloquently about why I chose to begin this platform. But to break it down, I was tired of waiting for change. I no longer wanted to work in the commercial fashion industry to promote brands that didn't align with my values. Why was I working so hard, for so little money - to advertise and promote brands that I didn't wear and whose core values I didn't agree with?! As some one who has always loved vintage, second hand shopping and individual style, it no longer made sense for me to keep on working in the mainstream fashion context where homogeneous fashion was being celebrated over craftsmanship and individuality. From a social perspective, this way of fashion production also made me think a lot about where were in the world and how this fast and cheap mentality filtrated every area of our lives. This idea of being 'same' and fitting in the a box meant that individuals weren't being understood or represented in media, and therefore in life. We are aren't all the same and thank goodness for that.
I was tired of women not being celebrated. I was tired of women of colour, women of varying ethnicities, multicultural backgrounds, differing socio economic status, skin texture, hair texture, body shape, sexual identity, gender identity not being recognised. I was tired of marginalised communities of women and minorities who were doing so much good in the world not being afforded a voice or opportunity to share their stories, their triumphs and their hardships.
I was tired of the fashion industry here in Australia being dominated by white women of privilege, I was tired of not seeing ALL women celebrated and represented in editorials/campaigns and I was tired of second hand fashion not being visible in magazines.
I was also tired of people assuming that if you were a woman who was interested in fashion, you were frivolous.
So this is how 'creative women with a conscience' was born to prove and celebrate women who are challenging the status quo, thinking outside the box and shaking up long standing stereotypes. The women featured on this site, who participate in our events and who collaborate and partner with us are powerful change-makers who are disrupting the way we live - not in a militant way, but with purpose, care and compassion. They strive for authenticity, truth and a more just way of life.
These are values and morals I pride myself on and the way I carry out both my personal and professional life - I wear my heart on my sleeve and I don't believe you should leave your values at home when you go into work. So I stay true to my mission statement here at tommie and at home with my loved ones. Because large scale change only happens with individual action - and we can't afford to switch on and off for our convenience. We need to be unapologetically ourselves in every arena of our lives, because if what we're fighting for isn't visible, how do we expect the world to change?
Take the opportunity in every area of your life to be a positive advocate and a curious citizen of the world.
We can all be activists and 'creative women with a conscience'.
Laura Marii - tommie resident photographer
Laura is a talented self taught, female photographer based in Sydney, Australia. She is also the founder of 'Full hearts' a boutique wedding photography business that captures real and precious moments, tells stories and has the aesthetic of a magical fairytale. Laura herself is a kind, considerate and loving individual who enjoys thrift shopping, her cat Whisky and living with a minimal foot print. You'll find her photos almost always include an element of natural lighting and are usually set amongst nature - an ode to her appreciation for the environment and its beauty. You can find Laura's personal work here, or get in touch with her here.
Nicole Wong - photographer and contributing writer
Nicole is a portrait photographer and writer who values people, stories, and gentle living. Her work is characterised by a penchant for people, movement, and light. With a strong desire to be gentle with creation, she seeks to generate work that aligns with ethical and slow living. The spirit and thoughtfulness with which she approaches her life and work translates into a perspective that is discerning, reflective, and ultimately — hopeful. Her spare time is often spent in the ocean, reading/watching things, and/or eating hot chips. Nicole’s portfolio can be found here, or you can get in touch with her here.