Celebrating The Pioneers, Phillip Lim and Craig Jacobs

Last week I told you gals about Kiehl’s Pioneers By Nature, a global campaign that aims to raise $150 000 to give towards organisations that support nature and children.

Today I wanted to share the interviews with two of my favourite pioneers that are part of the Kiehl’s Pioneers by Nature programme.

Of course, being a fashion girl, I’m always inspired by the stories of fashion designers. Not only becuase I love fashion, but my mom is a fashion designer and I know that as much as it looks like a job filled with glitz and glam, it’s extremely hard work, and a very difficult industry to break into and actually make it.

As you will discover from the interviews below, these two guys haven’t always had it easy, but through their drive, determination and pioneering spirit, they’ve made names for themselves in the fashion industry and beyond.

Such inspiring pioneers, it’s no wonder they were chosen by Kiehl’s as part of this wonderful, global initiative.

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My first experience with Kiehl’s was…

During my “post-mall days.” I got a real job and came across this brand called Kiehl’s. It was actually their original musk scent that I first tried, and to this day, I still use it. What struck me was that it was a different type of packaging and a different type of message.

At the time it was all about big brands and big marketing campaigns that were for the masses. But Kiehl’s felt more honest and individualized – as if your local physician was prescribing a remedy for wellness. That resonated very personally with me because I’ve always felt as an individual that I never belonged anywhere, and what I wanted was to find my way.

Why did you choose to partner with Kiehl’s?

Well, up to this moment in my life I have always believed in authenticity. For me, I only want to work with people and collaborate with brands that share the same values – values of awareness and social responsibility. Together, imagine what we can do. We could harness what we do and make it even more powerful and accessible for all.

Tell us about your story as a designer and why you started 3.1 Phillip Lim.

I’ve always loved clothes, but growing up in the suburbs of Orange County, I didn’t know what fashion was. I didn’t have many clothes at the time because we didn’t have many means. My parents were just normal people. I was a first generation immigrant, and just working to get somewhere and do things. Fast forward to my foray into fashion when I realized that I could actually create something, which provided me with that childhood dream of having the best clothes that were available to me without having the best means. I realized that it was in my power to actually create this.

At that time the market was about very expensive designers. It comes back to this idea of big brands dominating the market. This is when I was given the opportunity to create beautiful clothes – clothes without compromise, clothes with integrity, clothes that made me feel good, that made my friends feel good, that made people all around me feel good, and clothes that were accessible – clothes that weren’t behind the ivory tower of fashion. So myself and my business partner pursued this idea and 3.1 Phillip Lim was born.

What inspires you?

The everyday inspires me. I say this phrase “you’ve got to romance your reality.” And what this means for me is that every single day, I see what kind of light it is. I notice the smell of the morning and enjoy the ceremony of getting dressed – all of this affects my mood. After exiting my house, I let each moment unfold and add up. You know, it’s very inspiring because it is the reality of my own life and I make sure I romance every single day and put it into what I do.

What does the word Pioneer mean to you? What makes someone a pioneer?

What makes me think of a pioneer is someone who doesn’t just accept things for the way they are. They ask that one question, “Why not?” And not only do they ask that question, but also they pursue that answer. It’s a constant pursuit and having that kind of courage, to push forward, break ground and chart new territories is what makes a pioneer.

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What was your first experience with Kiehl’s?

I’m really a no fuss kinda guy and shy away from a complicated skin regime but as I’ve gotten older I have started seeing the effects of aging on my skin. I recently got a sample of Kiehl’s Facial Fuel in an event goodie bag and I’ve been hooked ever since.

Why did you choose to partner with Kiehl’s?

Giving back is important to me – I work with a range of different charities and philanthropic causes and admire Kiehl’s pioneering work in Charitable Giving was one of the main reasons why I am excited about this partnership. And finding out that the company also was amongst the first beauty companies to list their ingredients on their packaging means a lot.

Kiehl’s is celebrating you as a pioneer in the Fashion industry. Tell us about your story as a designer and why you started Fundudzi, Clothing with a Conscience.

When I set out to start Fundudzi ten years ago I was determined that the label was not about clothes and certainly not about fashion. At the heart of what I do is tell African stories through clothing – Fundudzi for instance, is a sacred lake for the Venda people and is the only lake in the world created by a land slide millions of years ago.

Our conscience also carries across in how we reduce waste, incorporate as much local fabrics in each line – and where-ever possible, how we try to use as much eco friendly fabrics the creation of a garment as well. In a nutshell, all I want to do is help change the way the rest of the world looks at Africa by creating pieces which reflect our unique way of life.

What inspires you?

Nature – watching the seasons change, seeing how animals and the planet adapts to changing circumstances is inspiring. Books, architecture, art. They all provoke me to thing about things in a different way. But more than anything, the rich tapestry of life and our cultures in Africa is my main source of inspiration.

What does the word Pioneer mean to you? What makes someone a pioneer?

A pioneer is someone who isn’t afraid to try something new, someone who doesn’t waiver from their vision no matter what obstacles come in their path. A pioneer, though, isn’t someone deluded or stubborn – to bring change you need to draw on the knowledge of those who have come before and be willing to adapt as the circumstances change.

Who do you identify as pioneers in your own life?

My parents, especially my mother whose words of wisdom and her determination to not allow very difficult circumstances and abuse stop her. She’s industrious, super intelligent and uses common sense to find solutions. I try to implement a lot of what she has told me in my life – and when I do wander of my path she is the one who is there to make sure I get back on track!

What is the best advice you ever received?

One of the most powerful pieces of advice I got was from Earl Suttle, a brilliant life coach, who simply said: Why Not? When I told him I was thinking of resigning from a great job to start my own business. It made me realize that if we release ourselves from our insecurities and the shackles of our ego, we can go forth and explore new paradigms and open ourselves up to new worlds and experiences.

What advice could you pass on to anyone else starting off on their own pioneering journey (not just in the fashion industry)

Don’t be afraid to dream – and especially, don’t be afraid to ask questions or for help along your way. We are all connected, and it is only through the support of others that we can make real the vision in our mind.,

This campaign is in support of Stop Hunger Now in South Africa. Tell us why this is a cause close to your heart.

With the scarcity of agricultural land and the pressure on resources, food is becoming a more and more precious commodity. Nutrition feeds ideas and gives us the energy to go out there and get things done. Knowing that I am in some small way helping spotlight how food can change people’s lives – and help Stop Hunger Now in their noble cause is an honour.

Get involved…

Be sure to join Craig Jacobs for a live Twitter Chat on the 20th October 2015 (from 12:30-13:30) using the hashtag #PioneersByNature. By taking part and chatting to Craig, you’ll also stand the chance to be chosen for the Pioneers by Nature Mentorship Programme, and a chance to be mentored by Craig Jacobs himself. He’s pick will be announced on World Kiehl’s Day, which is the 12th of November 2015!

Other local #PioneersByNature’s live Twitter chats will be held on the following dates and times:

  • Elvis Blue – 6 October at 12:30
  • Jackie Burger- 13th October at 12:30
  • Craig Jacobs – 20th October at 12.30pm
  • Prof. Mamokgethi Phakeng –27th of October at 12:30

Also on World Kiehl’s Day our local Pioneers will be packing meals to support StopHungerNow, an event that everyone is invited to come along and help pack meals! The venue is still to be confirmed, however it will be held at Sandton City, on the 12 November 2015 between 10/11 am – 1pm.

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Dimi Ingle

Dimi is the founder, editor and creative force behind StyleScoop. She curates the very best of fashion, beauty, travel, decor and lifestyle, every day, right here!

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1 Comment

  1. Mary
    September 30, 2015 / 7:37 am

    Very good to know that we do not forget to help those less fortunate than us! Good work !

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