Who We Are
  1. Maja Zidov
    Maja Zidov
    I am in many respects like a dog (think that's why Louise likes me). Once I get hold of a bone, I don't let go. Figuratevly speaking, the bone in this case is the update of our current economic model system to reflect the better understanding of the world and our place within it. Fun fact: Could not be fooled by Santa Clause but believed (for far too long) that mermaids were real.
  2. Laurel Allison
    Laurel Allison
    I am an educator and kidswear designer with a passion for sustainable fashion. My vision is to inspire sustainable fashion choices though up-cycling activities and education. Let's up-cycle, customise and revive fashion together. Fun fact: My biggest fear is sewing through my finger. To date, I have remained safe!
  3. Yaki Wo
    Yaki Wo
    I am a human rights campaigner turned environmentalist. I feel angry seeing the human and environmental exploitations in the fashion industry today but I also feel hopeful seeing initiatives mushrooming all over the world creating change. We are part of that change! Fun fact: Hoovering is one of my hobbies - I find it strangely meditative (and I consider myself a feminist).
  4. Louise Heijnen
    Louise Heijnen
    I have always been taught from a young age never waste something that can be put to a good use. Whether that be food, resources or fashion. Reusing textiles in the fashion industry gets me particularly excited as I believe creativity often blossoms within the confines of a challenge. Fun fact: Calls all doggos puppers and cannot resist the urge to pet them!
  5. Magda Kohut
    Magda Kohut
    I am interested in solutions to waste reduction and sustainable development. It gets me very excited to be able to provide meaningful experiences of fashion and reduce textile waste with the CL team. My background is in Chemistry but I have always been involved in sustainable initiatives, one of which was studying the use of bamboo in Asian architecture! Fun fact: I'm very scared of automatic doors in lifts, I always run through very fast so that they don't close on me.
  6. Tineswari Maruthamuthu
    Tineswari Maruthamuthu
    I am an all-round creative person who's always been passionate about sustainability, upcycling and DIY. My wardrobe is 90% second-hand and upcycled. I actually taught myself how to sew and refashions opshop clothing as a hobby. Since 2005 I have worked as a professional graphic designer and illustrator and got to exhibit my paintings throughout New Zealand. Fun fact(s): Have done face painting at kids parties for six years and love growing succulents.
Our Journey
We started to reach out to the community by hosting our first two Fashion & Future Meet Ups! The idea was to explore people’s fashion consumption behaviours and brainstorm ideas of sustainable alternatives. The fun and jolly Carolynn and Jay joined us for the very first meeting and have since become our firm supporters and advisors. At our second Meet Up we met Shaleen, who would later come to us for clothing repairs and helped us organise a clothing repair pick up/ drop off service at Auckland Hospital.



Yaki, Maja and Nikita came together and talked about our frustration with fast fashion and the current economic model. We felt angry about the pollution and waste, and even more so about the modern slavery in the fashion industry - not just of the workers but also the consumers. The conversation quickly took a positive turn when we decided to do something about it. We dreamt of a diverse but harmonious world where hope overpowered despair. We wanted to empower people to be who they are and move away from the consumerist, materialistic system and mindset. But what really drove us to action was the belief that the world could use more "goodness" - we wanted to create that and to support others creating that too!
We knew that in the Netherlands there was a fashion library where people paid a monthly fee to borrow clothes and thought it would be super cool if that idea was to take root in NZ! The Conscious Layers seed was sown. 


We had another Meet Up at Carmen Jones on K Road where we met Rachel for the first time, who told us her fascinating tales of maps making. Rachel has since become an active tribe member. At this Meet Up we confirmed our name - Conscious Layers! During this time Kiran organised the screening of The True Cost documentary and offered the Conscious Layers community five passes - Simone was one of our Meet Up group members who went to the screening and was deeply moved. She would become an active Conscious Layers tribe member too and has helped us heaps with her marketing knowledge. 


Thanks to Carolynn's suggestion, we started to prepare for the month long  EcoWest Festival organised by the EcoMatters Environmental Trust. We met Madina who would be a massive help and gave our marketing and communications a big push in March and April. This was also the month when we met Natalie of Mums Garage who gave us plenty of valuable advice!



This was a very busy month! We volunteered at Auckland City Mission’s donations sorting centre and learnt first hand how clothing donations were processed. We also went to a social enterprise workshop run by Akina Foundation.
The EcoWest Festival was in full swing. Magda came on as a volunteer coordinator and thanks to an amazing team of volunteer seamstresses she signed up, we offered a month long affordable clothing repair service to the community. During the festival we hosted two sewing action nights. The second sewing action night brought to us our lovely Nora - an 80-year-old grandma who has been a sewing teacher for two decades, and Val - a nurse by day and fixer upper by night. Courtney and Charlotte also came and with the help of others used a sewing machine for the first time. We would see all of them again in subsequent activities.
March could not fly by without mentioning the first time Maja met Louise, now a Conscious Layers team member, and the first time Yaki met Noriko, founder of Kimono Kollab and later a partner for the Oversew Fashion Awards.


The busy-ness carried over to April. April 9th was our showtime at EcoDay. We sold good quality clothing donations and raised funds for us and Auckland City Mission. The ‘spot the difference’ game was educative and fun (and nope most people can’t tell the difference between new and secondhand clothes). The restyling challenge turned out to be a huge success and one of the participants, Tines, is now Conscious Layers’ super lead designer! On EcoDay we also met Nina, who would introduce us to the fabric rerolls of Zero Waste Daniel; and Ratna from the Auckland Buddhist Centre, where we would organise a clothes swap and yoga event.
At another Auckland City Mission clothes sorting working bee, Maja met Kriti of ethical fashion brand 5TKT and learnt a lot about the local fashion industry. We became more motivated to pursue our refresh projects as a consequence.
For the global Fashion Revolution week we organised a Haulternative Party + Dialogue. The evening attracted about 20 passionate sustainable fashion advocates, many already doing amazing things to change the status quo. Among these were Theresa of Seed to Self, upcycled fashion designer and sustainable fashion dialogue facilitator Laurel; and ex-fashion design students Olivia and Holly. Louise, Magda and Laurel came on board the Conscious Layers core team after the event.


We submitted three ideas for the University of Auckland Velocity’s Innovation Challenge and received two prizes. That was unexpected and extremely thrilling!



As part of the Buddhist Action Month , we presented the concept of Conscious Layers, and received such overwhelmingly positive feedback that kept us going through the crazy June and July months. We decided pretty last minute that we would be taking part in the Oversew Fashion Awards. Noriko was also thinking of entering but she did not have the team nor the people who could design and sew, so Conscious Layers and Kimono Kollab joined forces. Within 10 days, with a team of seven, using the homes of five people, we came up with a mini collection made with upcycled, vintage kimonos. We were selected as one of the finalists! We  also attended the Zero Waste Awards (still don’t know who nominated us but THANK YOU) and organised a Swap & Stretch clothes swap with yoga at the Auckland Buddhist Centre, which we now can’t wait to do again.  

Joking of course. We will update this on an ongoing basis. So stay tuned!