“I want to leave the Earth a better place than when I arrived,” says model-turned-environmentalist Courtney Arndt. To do so, the O‘ahu-born eco-preneur is making a positive impact through her brand and blog, CocoSirens. When she couldn’t find fashions that made her feel sexy and aligned with her values, Arndt took it upon herself to create a conscious clothing line that’s both sleek and chic. “I researched many natural materials that ancient civilizations used—I wanted to go back to our roots, back to simplicity,” she says. CocoSirens can be found online; in select boutiques; and at Six Senses Bali, a luxury resort that has implemented a series of sustainability initiatives and strives to raise awareness on being environmentally responsible (and supposedly opening in Hawai‘i come 2020). What’s more, Arndt also runs Siren’s Women Program, where she coaches and inspires women across the world to find true love, passion and purpose. “Ultimately, I want to bring as much awareness and create a positive change to us and the world we live in.”
It was a bold move—to use public art to tell stories while beautifying communities. But Jasper Wong, an artist and innovator himself, knew that in Hawai‘i, he had the ultimate canvas. So he founded POW! WOW!, the epic street-art extravaganza that welcomes local and international artists to paint the town—the abandoned building, the derelict parking garage—in vibrant murals featuring narratives from comical to those with strong social undertones. Set to return this February, POW! WOW! may be a homegrown event, seeded in part by Hawai‘i’s rich storytelling tradition, but it’s gone global, hosting satellite events as far as South Korea and Japan, with more planned in the future. Fittingly, the expressive and always colorful project has a broad, ambitious mission: “We hope this will help build bridges between people and create a worldwide collective of like-minded individuals,” says Wong.
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