Jessica Jesse: Bringing Mindfulness to the Fashion Industry

Artists21_JessicaJesse_2014211_133441799.jpgSix years ago, Jessica Jesse saw her son experience an improper hospital treatment for a medical condition. When the crisis was over and he returned home, the healing began. Frustrated with drugs, Jesse started looking into ways to leave the pharmaceuticals behind and pursue a more holistic way of doing things via a combination of nutrition and contemplative practices (meditation, prayer, mindfulness). Stability and health returned...to both of their lives. They found such power in this approach that Jesse wanted to share it with the world.

Coupling this healing experience with her affinity for vintage jewelry led Jesse to create the jewelry company BuDhaGirl, through which she is challenging many standard concepts of beauty...and to a good extent redefining the word glamour away from “Hollywood” and high-fashion references and back to its original more-profound meaning of magical beauty and enchantment.  

But jewelry that fosters mindfulnessAnd scarves and accessories that do so, too? Read on.

She feels this is the first fashion jewelry company to use daily rituals to bring mindfulness into actions people are already familiar with. Through a series of Reminders™—and her jewelry—Jesse combines fashion and contemplative practices to allow people to live their lives with what they call “Mindful Glamour.” She says,

Fashion has truly been left behind when it comes to mindfulness. Mostly I think it is the idea that beauty must look a certain way. Dictating what is in or out…this is passé and ridiculous. Fashion must celebrate individuality, must promote education by asking the question…what does this “item” bring to my life? Not every purchase will have a connection, although it should. People should understand why they are accumulating things, and what do things really bring to your life? That’s what we are trying to convey at BuDhaGirl…do things with intent and presence.

The most beautiful contemplative practices are full of glamour. I don’t think that glamour should be defined as superfluous or vain. Just walk into a cathedral, or a Shinto monastery, or a Hindu temple…there’s glamour all around. Glamour is a tribute to beauty.

BuDhaGirl wants to highlight the beauty that is within us. Our jewelry and other beautiful objects are touchstones to encourage reflection. The reality is that we all represent part of who we are by choosing how we look, how we dress…we ask…Why not do so mindfully?”

The global fashion industry is huge, and Jessica, a revolutionary and a Wellness Warrior, wants to use that influence to bring people to a better sense of wellbeing.

To her, “wellness” means being whole—full of joy wisdom, health and wealth. While many people focus on the physical aspect of wellness, Jesse focuses on the inner processes that can help us achieve this state.  She tells us that she has understood the power of prayer and quieting the mind from a very young age. There’s an incessant inner dialogue which seeks to distract us from being present, and for Jesse, achieving wellness hinges on calming the mind. It’s something that she believes is attainable for everyone, now more so than ever before:   

Being ‘well’ is no longer a ‘thing” practiced by gurus, swamis, yogis, alternative/new-age thinkers. Wellness is now becoming a mainstream conversation. This can and will affect major changes in policy and how we live our lives.

Wellness begins at home. We need to educate our children from day one to be responsible, mindful people. We must teach compassion, gratitude and forgiveness. Health might be a word that people automatically want to relate to wellness…but it is not only health in a medical sense. It is physical, spiritual, emotional.  It is an all encompassing shift that needs to happen.”

We can see these values enacted through the way Jesse operates BuDhaGirl. They work primarily with small artisans, ensuring that people are fairly paid for their handcrafted work. They support multiple charities in the spirit of dana, a sanskrit word pertaining to cultivating generosity. They work with a board of scientists to ensure that they stay current with research on meditation and other contemplative practices, and  their website offers guided meditations for those who are interested. Jesse feels that it is important for every aspect of her business to reflect her values. The messaging, she feels, is an important aspect of changing the world.

Language shapes behavior. If we continue with negativity, sarcasm, and sticking to the status quo that people cannot change, then these issues will undermine wellness.  It starts with the individual. If only each and every one of us understood that we can affect change by how WE approach things.

Mindfulness, wellness and the environment are one and the same. We are part of everything. This is not a new concept. However somewhere we lost the truth of this concept and decided that we could do things that eventually proved to be unsustainable in the name of ‘progress’. Well, we must back pedal now. It is never too late.

BuDhaGirl recently joined Wellness Warrior as a Sustaining Member in an effort to give even more back to the world. The revolutionary spirit of Jesse and her company resonate well with our mission, and her words inspire us:  

Wellness Warrior is out in front of the wellness movement. With your direction you are encouraging companies and individuals to begin a dialogue that can only lead to great progress. You are promoting inner wellness, you are pointing out the benefits of living with consciousness. In my opinion, living with conscience and presence is the greatest joy in life.”

Read all stories by Damon Cory-Watson


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