Jena Bautmans Founder of Jenah St.


Interview

"Pleasure, aesthetics and consciousness should - and can - always go hand in hand."


with Jena Bautmans

FOUNDER

WHO ARE YOU JENA, AND WHAT LED TO THE CREATION OF JENAH ST. ?

Having always desired to grasp as many colorful experiences as possible, willing to live life fully, explore, learn, breathe to the fullest, I found that what matters most is to seek for harmony. Vast program which starts within yourself and then, the way you interact with the world and what you create. Jenah St.’s vision reflects that: a world where companies live in harmony with their environment and all living beings within it. 

Other than that, I love hiking, surfing, going to the cinema, drinking Negronis, reading and gardening! 

What led to the start of Jenah St. is a succession of puzzle pieces starting with a strong attraction for fashion since I was a kid, as a medium for expression and creativity. 

"I found that what matters most is to seek for harmony."

Mediterranean Sea, shot during a production trip to Italy 

At the end of my studies, a choice was laid down in front of me: accept a stable job offer in Paris, or pack my bags for an internship in Bangladesh. Filled with an urge to spice things up, I moved to Dhaka where my life took another turn. I then continued my way to Yangon, Myanmar and to Karachi, Pakistan for a total of 2 years. 

 The path and search for what truly matters to me, led to the creation of Jenah St. "Jenah" which means "paradise" in Arabic, the goal being to lead a company with values of peace, respect, and again, with harmony. 

"Living in a place where the land and the people are dramatically impacted by heavy industries, like fashion, and experiencing it changed the way I look at the world."

HOW DID YOUR EXPERIENCE CHANGE THE WAY YOU SEE THE WORLD ?

Moving to Dhaka, Bangladesh opened my eyes to a universe which had always seemed far away from the western bubble I grew up in. I’m immensely thankful for that wake up call. 

Living in a place where the land and the people are dramatically impacted by heavy industries like fashion, and experiencing it changed the way I look at the world. I measured the emergency. It changed my habits, my relationship to the environment. 

I crossed a river which was as black as oil - completely dead - yet with dozens of cargo boats cruising on it, and next to them, individuals struggling to cross it on tiny fortune boats; I saw people living on mountains of trash and kids cleaning themselves in blue rivers down their shelter (blue rivers are caused by chemicals coming out of leather tanneries). 

I saw that this isn’t some kind of alarmist faraway tale, but the daily life of millions of people; that this is the way we treat the Earth, and it’s inhabitants, humans and animals alike. 

"Today more than ever, fashion cannot be about consuming excessively and compulsively, like it was the case a decade ago."

Monsoon sky before the storm, shot in Myanmar 

WHY DID YOU DECIDED TO CREATE A SUSTAINABLE BRAND AND TO GO FOR ANIMAL-FREE COLLECTIONS ? 

Fashion should be more than a medium to express oneself. What do I stand for or support by wearing the piece I wear? Pleasure, aesthetics and consciousness should - and can - always go hand in hand. 

Today more than ever, fashion cannot be about consuming excessively and compulsively, like it was the case a decade ago. A piece that one will use on a daily basis should be both a beautiful and functional object in order to facilitate a “consume less, consume better” mindset.  

After seeing tanneries from the inside and what it actually means to process animal-skin, I started my research and the development of the first vegan collection with an atelier based in Tuscany, Italy. That was the beginning of Jenah St. 

I strongly believe that life is sacred, regardless of the species we talk about; and getting animals out of our consumption habits as repeatedly proven to be better for the planet to limit pollution (greenhouse gasses, land use, eutrophication), water scarcity and therefore protect biodiversity. 

WHY DID YOU START JENAH St. IN BERLIN AND NOT IN FRANCE WHERE YOU COME FROM?

After Pakistan, I simply followed my heart to Berlin ;) The rest followed. 


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