Lauren Trend On How Wellness Brings Balance To Her Life (And Her Wardrobe)

by: Lucy Jones | 1 year ago | Features

Lauren Trend photographed by Tasha Tylee.

Lauren Trend is a trained fashion designer who refuses to engage with fashion, at least in the traditional sense. After graduating from her Bachelor of Design and participating in VAMFF and Melbourne Fashion Festival, Trend decided the mainstream fashion industry wasn't for her. So, she redirected her creative energy into an online platform called Self Practice. The website began as a way for Trend to express every aspect of herself — intellectual, emotional, spiritual and creative — and evolved into a space for other people to explore those same themes. Part online journal, part research platform, Self Practice is an archive of all the people and things that make Trend tick. It also creates a community around this thing called 'wellness'. We caught up with Trend to talk about opting out of the trend cycle and how we can all show ourselves a little more compassion.

Lucy Jones: Who are you and what do you 'do'?
Lauren Trend: I'm Lauren Trend and I'm the founder of Self Practice — an online destination dedicated to the exploration of self and creative practice. 

What is Self Practice and how did it come about?
Self Practice is both a community and research platform that explores the intersection of wellness and design. It began as a means of acknowledging every part of me — intellectual, creative, academic, spiritual — and fast became a space for others to undertake similar paths of self-acceptance and enquiry.  

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Self care is not to be mistaken for finding excuses not to work. ‘Go easy on yourself’ is not an invitation to not work hard, if hard work is what’s deep down calling you - If you have goals and plans and business ideas you want to manifest? Sometimes the most self-care-oriented practice is locking yourself to the desk to finish the proposal, essay or email. ** Where are you using notions of self care & spirituality to bypass that which is actually being asked of you? ** Self care, at its core, are the mindful, reflective and selective acts that follow brutally honest questions such as: How am I? Who am I? What do I need? Where can I be better? How am I not showing up? What is there to learn here? Self care is not easy. It is the practice of alignment which takes constant practice in itself. The answers, your needs, will always be different. So ask yourself the above, often. • #selfpractice #dailypractice Visual via @tmhdy

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Wellness has been taken up in so many ways, how do you define it?
I think its fantastic that 'wellness' has been occupied and defined in so many ways. It's something widely celebrated within the Self Practice community. We all experience this world so differently so every person, in my opinion, should have their own definition of what wellness is to them. I personally like to define 'wellness' as the careful tending to, and equilibrium of, all parts of self: physical, intellectual, emotional, spiritual and creative. 

What are some easy steps everyone can take to show themselves more compassion?
To be compassionate towards ourselves, we must first ask how. 'What do I need?' can be the single most powerful question we can ask ourselves in any given moment. The answer will regularly change, so ask often. Compassion is the act that follows — the tending to your needs. This will look different for everyone, so rather than tell, I'll remind others to ask, to check in with themselves and ask: how can you be there for you? 

What does 'ethical fashion' mean to you?
Fashion that is considerative of, and conducive to, both human and environmental well-being. Fashion that is without harm. 

How do you incorporate these ideas into your work and life?
Having studied fashion — Bachelor of Design (honours) — my learnings of such a complex industry have unquestionably filtered into my experiences and how I choose to (or refuse to) engage with fashion. Fast fashion really fucks with me. Excuse my language but I really, really hate it. I refuse to believe that anyone who knows of the detriment the garment industry has on our earth at large does not share this mutual frustration with me. But rather than remain infuriated, I've tried to use my knowledge (powered by rage) to further inform those around me. This being said, I now rarely buy new. My wardrobe is limited. I make a lot of my own clothing. If I do purchase something, I make sure I understand the garment's origins and that I align with the companies' sourcing, making and production practices.  

Are there any other ethical practices that are important to you?
As touched on above, I think that those with this knowledge, those with an understanding of the industry’s shortfalls and detrimental effects, have a responsibility to not only share, but also to act, to improve it. Education is key. People don't know what they don't know. A widened ethical approach to fashion is impossible without the sharing of this information. Well Made Clothes is a platform leading by example here. 

Lauren Trend photographed by Tasha Tylee.

You have a background in clothing design, how would you describe your design work?
My fashion practice, for want of a better phrase, is very 'meta'. My making of fashion has long been informed and inspired by the making of fashion. Elements of 'design process' are always physically and conceptually threaded throughout my work. 

What did running your own clothing label teach you about the fashion industry?
If you don't align with the way an industry is operating entirely, you are under no pressure to participate. My 'label', in the traditionally understood sense of what that means, was over before it even began. It took taking some time out after I graduated, having participated in VAMFF and Melbourne Fashion Festival, to really understand how to participate in this industry in a way that is right for both my person and my practice. I now independently create and present one collection per year, under my research and design practice, Editioned Archive. Garments are not sold, only shown and then archived. Here, ways of experiencing fashion beyond the familiar retail model are explored. Editioned Archive explores themes of ownership and design, and looks past the commoditisation of dress, as I truly believe there needs to be more ways we, the public, can participate in fashion without the exchange of dollar. 

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This week has been tough. You’re ok to want to sleep all day, not leave your house. Feel angry, outraged, heartbroken and confused. • What fundamentally connects us all, beyond gender, race, background and socio-economic upbringing, is our innate need and want to be heard. To be understood. To be listened to. When that fundamental need & right is taken from one, ( and so fucking publicly, to boot !!) it is taken from EVERYONE. We are not naive enough to think that words on instagram will make this better. But we do think that gentle reminders to connect you back to self, & community, can. Take time for yourselves this weekend. Whether it be company or solitude - give to yourself that which you need. SP believes victims. We are hurting with you. We are here to listen to, and share, as many views and stories and explorations of self as possible. I’m sorry the collective is hurting as much as it is. Self care, today, is a political act. We will not be beat, or broken. Tolerate nothing that is not in alignment for you. Stand tall in your needs and know that as long as we are here, you are never alone. LT xo • Visual via @lesseofficial

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If you could change one thing about that industry, what would it be?
To pick only one thing is impossible. So much needs to change.

How would you describe your personal style? 
I have always loved the idea of a personal uniform and it’s only in the last six-or-so months that I've (subconsciously) started to incorporate it into my getting dressed. I wear nearly the same thing every day. It's one less choice I feel like I have to make and it's incredibly freeing. In a few words: minimal, classic, neutral, androgynous. A visual? Early 90's Prada meets Ann D, spring '97. 

Do you think that social and environmental responsibility have an important role to play in the Wellness movement? 
Absolutely. I think that this responsibility is not exclusive to any movement or secular industry. It is something to be considered within every context, every corporation, every community.

Do you think community is an important aspect of self-care?
It's remarkably important. To explore ones self is such a deeply personal experience. It will always be unique to the individual. But I am I am most interested in the exploration of self as a conduit for connection. This is why the Self Practice community has fast become such a powerful online space — the individual is collectively celebrated, and supported.  

What impact has the creative community in Melbourne had on you and your work?
I've been so fortunate to have the support of both my local and wider community through so much persona growth and transition. To find myself now, exactly where I'm meant to be. Whether here in Melbourne, or across the other side of the world my support network is ever-expanding and I'm so grateful. This has been such a positive part of creating an online platform. The connectivity and ongoing conversation with this community is why I wake up and work hard on building a business that is rooted in creativity and collaboration: for us all. 

What is one thing you'd like to see humans achieve in your lifetime?

What's your life motto?
Lean in. Let go.  

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