Changemaker: Francisca Pineda

By Kate | Changemaker
Posted Apr 19, 2017

Francisca Pineda was a typical New York designer, she loved her yoga, ate organic food, and had what she thought was a “health conscious life”. It wasn’t until a life altering event exposing her to the toxins in the very fashion products she designed that she was able to understand the consequence of her decisions as a designer. Soon after she left her “dream” job in the industry to pursue a passion for raising awareness of the issues in the industry and eventually to launch her vegan accessory brand, BHAVA.

Francisca is a graduate of Parsons School of Design with almost two decades of experience working as a fashion designer in apparel and accessories. Fully committed to ethical and environmentally conscious design, Francisca taught Ethical Fashion and Sustainable Design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. As founder of the Ethical Fashion Academy, she is committed to inspiring designers and future entrepreneurs and is frequently in demand as a speaker on ethical fashion at international industry events.

If your life had a mission statement – what would it be?
Learn how to embrace and use the challenges of life as a compass to move forward in the right direction.

If you weren’t a designer/creative director what would you be?
A lawyer because I love debating, learning , and being challenged to think from different angles

What’s one thing people wouldn’t know about you from social media?
I think people would be surprised to know that I spend a big part of my time prioritizing my health not just physically but spiritually and emotionally.
I love talking to people and going to events so I always seem happy but there are days when I look for strength in faith and that I’m always looking for clues and reminders that I am on the right path. I start my day with Kundalini yoga and study the lessons of A Course in Miracles to stay grounded and open to al the opportunities that abound if you’re in the right mindset.

What about your childhood mapped your current life path?
My mom sewed all my clothing so I would go with her to the fabric shops to look at patterns and textiles and trims, my mom said I was never happy with the designs as they were, that I needed to always tweek something and this is probably still true about me today!

What’s the one thing no one told you about, or you didn’t expect about your work?
No one tells you anything, and if they do its usually in one ear out the other, I don’t know if anyone specifically said this but I think whether you’re an entrepreneur or not we have to learn to take care of ourselves and understand that this is also a form of leading by example.

What’s wrong with the world right now?
We are all too self-absorbed, on a national and individual level.

What’s right with the world?
Any moment and place with fresh air.

Are you optimistic or pessimistic about our future?
Some days optimism is difficult, if I feel myself having a bad or tired day I try not to dwell on it and take a break in nature and then get back to my work. A pessimistic state would not be very productive for me so although I do have bad days I try to snap out of them and get on with tackling moving forward in the way that I feel I can have the most impact.

If you could only bring one to a desert island, which would you choose: music or books?
That sounds inspiring! I would bring blank sketch books, because I sing on my own all the time anyway and I would want to record the ideas that come to me during an experience like that.

Where’s your favorite place on the planet?
Anywhere by the ocean feels like home to me, I’m not very nostalgic. If you ask me about my most memorable travel experience it would be the Masai Mara in Kenya. The environment is pristine and the wildlife is unreal, there is nothing like seeing the majestic animals of Africa in their natural habitat.
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Want to learn more, listen to our interview of Francisca (on Building a Vegan Brand) on Magnifeco Radio on iTunes or on the Heritage Radio Network.

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