Sharing is always in season

Celebrating the holidays with fashion models Tianna St. Louis and Jay Jay Bol

“The holidays encourage us to share what we have. It also reminds us of how lucky many of us are, and we become more charitable.”

“The holidays scream giving back as much as I can. You do good, you feel good.”

These are the words of Jay Jay Bol and Tianna St. Louis, two of the models in this year’s H&M holiday campaign. While everyone celebrates the holidays differently, the importance of shar- ing is universal — and this year’s campaign aims to spotlight how sharing can bring us all clos- er together.

For both Jay Jay and Tianna, sharing is innately connected to the holiday season.

“Giving back to the community brings a sense of cheer and kindness,” says Tianna. “Helping those who aren’t as fortunate can lift spirits.”

“It can be in different ways, helping out at the local soup kitchen or making a donation. It is su- per important,” adds Jay Jay.

The campaign also highlights how we can share and find inspiration in the people and places around us. Both Jay Jay and Tianna say this is second nature to them. Jay Jay, who grew up with seven siblings, says sharing was something that was ingrained in her from an early age.

“We used to get shared gifts and our mother used to dress us up in matching outfits, so it was part of the whole experience for me growing up,” she explains. “I remember one year an auntie gave us a pile of makeup and we played with it for hours, my sisters and I. We still do our make- up collectively if we are together and are going out somewhere.”

Tianna grew up sharing fashion inspiration with her mother. “My mom runs her own inde- pendent modelling and fashion agency, so we discuss a lot together what would work for the next issue. We have different senses of style so that helps lend different perspectives — I have more of a street and preppy style, she has more of a modern and conservative one.”

That sharing mentality has only grown stronger as the two models continue to develop their own style identities. Both of them take inspiration from what they see around them, whether it’s through social media or the cities they live in.

“I think it’s the most important way we can share fashion, to find inspiration in others,” says Jay Jay, who is based in London, UK. “I look at the past. I also love looking at what goes on in the high fashion world and how I can achieve it on my own budget.

“Stealing ideas has a lot of stigma to it, but I think it’s important. I steal ideas from media and music, from friends and people I see around me. I don’t think any one piece looks the same on a different person, so it’s always different anyway.”

Tianna, who lives in New York, US, says the city itself inspires her style the most. “I feel like you can wear anything and not be judged, and you get compliments everywhere you go. There’s a sense of freedom in terms of what you wear, and I love that New York has a culture that high- ly supports buying secondhand as well.”

Sharing what we have — be it clothes, style or inspiration — is a key part of closing the loop in fashion and helping the entire industry become more sustainable. By wearing, caring and re- cycling the clothes we love, we can make them last longer and take an important step towards everyday circularity.

But building sustainable habits can take many forms, and it’s important to think about what works for you individually as well. Tianna, for instance, has been focusing on how she can practice sustainability outside of fashion. She says New York has inspired her to live a more sustainable life overall: “I walk everywhere, I bike, I use a lot of reusable bags. And living smaller as well has really helped — I only keep what I really need.”

And for Jay Jay, being mindful and attentive has become a core part of her shopping habits. “I don’t want a landfill with my name on it,” she says. “I am definitely more conscious of how I shop now,” she says. “I look more for recycled and reclaimed fabrics and materials. And second- hand. I can still get all the excitement, but without the guilt.

“I do the same with makeup. I look for brands that recycle and where I can bring back contain- ers. I also give more to charity than before. Earlier I would have just thrown out many of the things I don’t like or use. Now I pass it on.”

Read more about the “Sharing is always in season” campaign here.

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