I can tell when someone is wondering about me, I mean you can’t exactly hide using a wheelchair, people who know me, know me. It’s different though, when I meet new people, it is understandable that they might be uncomfortable, unsure. After all these years I can tell, when that is occurring, it happened just the other week. Usually I brush it off, but this time, the incident stuck in my head. This person was my age, he was every part my equal, I thought he believed the same things I did and yet, he seemed to have an issue with how I get around. Because that is all a wheelchair is, how you get around. Just as a disability, is a set of circumstances. That must be utilised, adapted too. Not indicative of limits.
After I had this exchange, the first person I thought of was Andrew Van Asselt, despite never meeting him face to face, or knowing his favourite colour, for some reason I knew he’d say something that put it into perspective, because he screams authenticity. I never told him about this incident, I just ended up thinking about him, because from everything that I have seen, heard, known about this wonderful human, I knew he was authentic and I knew he did not apologise for it. At a time when I needed a model of that, there he was. “I became authentic when I found out my true self and what I was born to do and that is [my company] Ethics”
I want to tell you Andrew Van Asselt ’s story. Because as human beings, we have little control, the weather changes, the sun rises. But we, we have control over who we are, what we choose to believe and say and those choices, begin to be made when we see authenticity in vivid instead of easy erase. I realised, that people will sometimes be uncomfortable, but all I can do, is be myself, Because when it comes down to it. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Never apologise for it.
Without even knowing it Andrew taught me that. Through himself and his platforms. He has so much to teach you, so much good to do. Here is just a little of his Story of Style in Progress. It is one of faith, it is one of goodness and it is one that you need to hear. As humans our beliefs may be different, our choices varied, but the pursuit to be authentic is one we all uptake, however we define it and that pursuit is strengthened by hearing stories, by seeing authenticity in action. For Andrew that means “being authentic [I believe] starts with knowing God and knowing how he created you” I am aware that not all people, carry this kind of faith, this same belief and that is your choice and deserves respect, however so too does this story, because it is one you will hear at some point in your life, Andrew Van Asselt is a name that will be written in vivid, not easy erase. Why not, know his story now.
“Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.” Isaiah 58:12
I love the idea, that people are built to restore, I mean we come into this world and so much has been built, so much done for us and we are thought of as the generation that is suppose to do more. But how about restore. As young people, we can do new exciting things, but we can also restore, wether it be rescuing the exploited, fighting for the broken, charging the corrupt we can raise up from these foundations and restore. That is what the platform of Eth-ics and Andrew Van Asselt does, in everything it fights against what is commonly done, to bring about more of what once was and will be that is designs made ethically and consciously, to empower both the maker and the wearer. “Eth-ics is an online store and publication that features socially conscious brands and ethical fashion from around the world in one platform. We only carry [what we believe to be] the best brands that are the best quality, we want brands that help people.”
Brands such as Future Glory, who make beautiful bags, in aid of combatting human trafficking or The Great Beyond that makes 100% organic bamboo products. As well as Andrews own streetwear brand Coalition for Justice, that aims to also fight Trafficking. For Eth-ics it is as much about the story behind the brand as it is about the style. Eth-ics is aiming to become a publication, “we are working on building our online magazine, we want to be the place where people can find the best fashion and brands that are doing good”.
Everything Van Asselt does, with his beautiful platform aims to restore fashion from a culture of mass market to one of empowerment and individuality. But he also builds from the ruins, something new, something wonderful “what makes us different is that we really focus on the fashion side, we have a young feel we want [to empower] young adults in our fashion”
Eth–ics as it builds from ruins and restores foundations will also build bridges to unify all people involved in the ethical and socially conscious movement, that is their biggest aim for the online publication “[I came up with the idea for an online publication because] I’ve never seen a magazine that was highlighting an ethically or socially conscious voice from a perspective like my own, When I looked around at societies ethical voice, I saw it [active] for hippies and mums not that there is anything wrong with that voice, but I thought what about people like me who love good [conscious and ethical] fashion but also have a bit of an edge.
The publication of Eth-ics aims to bring back edge to the ethical, “we want [this publication] to be a place where we can highlight up and coming brands and help shape [a youth driven ethical] movement. I want this publication, to be a place where doing good is seen as sexy, hot” his publication is the new voice, the sexy voice, that will show youth that goodness is as good as it gets. As much as it is a new voice, a new publication fresh and trending, the publication of Eth-ics will also work to restore, to show people what the world has been missing, in our mass market haze.
“The biggest challenge for me [as a young person] was not knowing my value and not caring [to find it] the church pushed me to become my best” But now, Andrew as an adult is creating this publication and created his platform, to show the value of others and further every individuals quest to find their value. Just as ethical will be done with an edge, just as goodness will be seen as sexy through this publication. So too, every person will see that they are ornately good, they are sexy in their own way and that is valued.
Van Asselt is not just shaping a movement, he is also shaping a generation. He started his companies at 25, meant to be a young person that shapes, meant to be a human who lives in faith and goodness, he models to all of us what it means to find and follow your passion. As young people we do not always know what our passion is, just as Van Asselt never knew he’d be a designer, but it is in supporting endeavours like the Eth-ics publication we are able to further our quest toward passion, the more people we have doing good in this world, young, old, sexy, soccer mum whoever uses their voice to add goodness, furthers us to build from age old foundations something new and restore the broken.
It is time we knew that “yes [some] ethical or conscious fashion is expensive but there are so many brands that are amazing [well priced] and good fashion” it is only through exposure, accessibility and support that this ideal will be universal. You can make it these things, by talking about it, by supporting Andrew’s endeavours and other amazing campaigns, good is good, no matter how it is done or who by, because in van Asselt ’s words “each person is different and [we] need to be sensitive to that, it comes down to being authentic” never be afraid to do your good, but do it in conjunction with supporting others pursuits. It is an honour to support the good that Andrew Van Asselt is doing, it is an honour to know him even a little, it is an honour beyond honours to tell you his story, one in progress but so beautiful it makes me believe in restoring, believe in building, believing in being, apart of the movement. Being authentic. “[something I’d like to tell people is] jump in faith God will catch you, weigh up the risk verses the reward because your past does not tell you what your future will be, learn do not dwell on the past”. Know that you have the capability to be apart of the movement, whatever you choose, being authentic, being yourself is the first step in this.
Eth-ics is an example of the amazing things that happen, when you take the leap. Andrew the leader of what he dreams to be “[Eth-ics] the biggest socially conscious magazine and online platform, with stories from around the world, that change the world and empower people in that change” I have no doubt, his dreams are vivid realities drawn out of faith and the product of passion. Because #STYLETELLSTHESTORY “that means that your style tells your story, reflects your person. What you wear tells your story, but also when you buy from Eth-ics you are telling the story of our brands, you are empowering South American women, fighting for African children and you can share their story when you wear our brands”
This was Andrew Van Asselt ’s story, so let me ask you, what’s yours? Don’t be afraid to write it.