Chad Hamre is one our favorite people and partners committed to moving fashion forward. A pioneer of the sustainable goods movement, Chad started Ethical Ocean, a website dedicated to providing ethical lifestyle products. In 2013, something exciting happened: Ethical Ocean joined forces with Modavanti taking the conscious consumer movement to the next level. Since then Chad has had some major life changes - moving to San Francisco from Toronto to become the Director of Innovation at Meltwater Labs. We recently sat down with Chad to talk shop, get a few style tips and learn more about his big mission in Africa.
First things first, how did you discover your passion for sustainability?
CH: As uninspiring as it may be, I simply got bored. I got bored of the classical definition of success. I got bored of jobs that didn't matter. I got bored of consuming way too much. I got bored of living in a bubble. And when I started challenging these things, and trying to integrate principles of sustainability, fairness, and love into my life, it all got exciting and I couldn't look back.
What is the best part of living in San Francisco?
CH: Before living in San Francisco, I asserted that all cities were roughly created equally, that happiness in a place was more a function of having a community and a purpose. Two weeks after moving to San Francisco though, I completely abandoned my mantra. I love it. Surfing in February before work, hiking in Yosemite on the weekends, attending a cool lecture about design on a weeknight, and being surrounded by people who will change the world are all really energizing. Not all is perfect though, the city is much less diverse than I'd like and like many cities in America, SF is struggling with income inequality.
What is your vision for yourself and your work in five years?
CH: I hope to start an Africa-focused social business. Why Africa? Because 10 of the 10 lowest ranked countries by the UN Human Development Index (map below) are in Africa. When I say Africa-focused, I mean : A) I'd like my co-founders and team to be primarily from Africa and B) I'd like our product or service to primarily serve African markets. To learn more about the HDI, click here: http://hdr.undp.org/en/countries
What aspect of sustainability are you most passionate about?
CH: Fair labor standards, but this is a bit of a trick answer. I care deeply about animal rights and environmental protection, but I find these aspect of sustainability relatively easy to satisfy day-to-day. I've only consumed cruelty-free vegan products for almost 3 years, and I do a pretty good job of staying away from environmentally destructive ingredients. For me, these are non-negotiable and relatively straight forward. Fair labor practices, on the other hand, are hard. They enter into a murky subjective world that can be hard to understand and ensure. For this reason, whenever I come across a company or service that goes the extra mile to prove to me that they treat people with respect and fairness, I get really excited.