Welcome fellow Earth Warrior,
My name Is Katrina Hillyer and here is the story of how Earth Warrior came to be.
Growing up on an acreage outside of Edmonton, I was surrounded by the natural beauty this Earth had to offer. I was always encouraged to spend countless hours outdoors. This gave me my own special bond with the trees, flowers and many other living creatures I had encountered. My Father and Grandparents were also huge influences on my respect for nature. Every spring was tree planting season with my father. Every time we were given trees, or found trees in the ditches we would find them a new home. Majority of these trees were planted in our own backyard. I lost count of how many trees were planted, but I'm sure by now it's in the thousands. My Father also worked at a humble little garden center, Apache Seeds Ltd. He was there so often that we would go to visit lots as children. Walking through their greenhouse every spring/summer I would be in awe. So many beautiful plants. And every mothers day was spent there picking out flowers with my Grandmothers.
My Grandparents were always working in their gardens or exploring this Earth. Every time I went to visit my Grandma Hillyer, she would take me for a walk around her yard and discuss how all of her plants were doing, she talked to them as if they were all her children. As I grew I came to understand that she was teaching us to take time away from our busy lives and stop and enjoy the roses, no pun intended. She taught me about composting and not wasting anything. Everything had a purpose or could be used again and again. No need to get something new when you had something perfectly functional. I used to think she was just being frugal. But in reality she was teaching us ways to live without being wasteful.
My Grandma Tokarek gave me a whole different skill set. As a child, when I was asked what I wanted to be, I would always answer "a fashion designer", from as young as 5 years old. I loved watching my grandma sew and make clothing, as she seemed to have been always in the middle of sewing up some sort of outfit every time I went over. I was very curious of fashion. Grandma would spend many hours teaching me how to paint and draw, which allowed for me to take my designs from my head and put them on paper. Once I was old enough, She started teaching me how to sew. I remember being very frustrated and bored at first because I didn't want to just sew the basics, I wanted to actually learn how to make something "cool". Over the years I continued with my dream of becoming a fashion designer. I saved every penny I had so I could afford to go to a Fashion Design School, Marvel College. I got my degree, and then had my first apprenticeship with Tressa of Sessa Wearables, I worked with her in her beautiful studio and having a studio like hers was my next dream. It took years before this would be possible, as I had taken some time off after my apprenticeship. At the time I needed to experience some different life experiences before continuing down a path with fashion.
In 2013, I formed Dixie Clothing. It is a 100% up-cycled clothing line. It wasn't my initial goal to create an up-cycled clothing line. I had these dreams that were big and just were not environmentally sustainable. The whole of the fashion industry is not sustainable. In my core I knew I could not proceed with my original dreams, and adapted them in a way that I could do what I loved and still make a difference on this planet. I started to up-cycle unwanted textiles and "textile waste", and this snowballed into creating a zero waste studio.
Running a zero waste studio caused a domino affect into my personal life. Though I always composted and recycled, I knew there was more I could do to reduce waste. Recycling just isn't the answer to all of our waste problems. With my skill set I knew I could make my own zero waste items. The first Item I started making were denim grocery/tote bags from re-purposed jeans. I wanted something that would be durable, functional, and easy to clean. I would sell them alongside my Dixie Clothing line, and had much wonderful response to them. I wrote out a list of other zero waste items I wanted to make for myself when I could spare some time. It wasn't until my Brother requested the re-usable produce bags that those became part of production. My first sets were made for him and myself from re-purposed textiles (and still are). He encouraged me to bring them to markets. I had felt silly bringing them alongside my clothing line, but my customers didn't seem to mind. In fact, the re-usable produce bags went over very well.
(The first set of produce bags made for my Brother.)
Earth Warrior was starting to form before I even had a name for it. The build up and demand for zero waste lifestyle products were continuing to grow. In the summer of 2018 I started jotting out idea's for what to call the company. I wrote out who my customers are, my inspiration, and my goals with my future company. I hung my ideas up in front of my sewing machine and While I was cutting out fabrics I looked over to my list and it just dawned on me. "Earth Warrior". It was the pair of words right dab in the middle of the page. The words I used to describe my tribe. To me, Earth Warrior's come in all forms. From environmentalists, to human right's activists, to everyday people making a positive change in their everyday lives. It is people like you that inspire me to continue down this path.
Earth Warrior is not just a brand it is a lifestyle that brings a tribe together to create positive change in the world. And I hope you will join us in creating the positive changes in the world.
❤ Katrina ❤
P.S Deep down I will always be a Fashion Designer and Dixie Clothing is still a fully operating zero waste clothing studio. It will forever be my creative outlet for all the fun designs in my head.