IN CONVERSATION WITH KIMI, PHOTOGRAPHER AND SUSTAINABILITY ADVOCATE

In a conversation for Flowe Journal, we ask photographer and sustainability advocate Kimi Juan about her creative journey, style evolution, the importance of mindful living, and more.
Being in the travel and fashion industry might seem contradictory to sustainable living, but Kimi Juan is proof that you can live mindfully while using your platform and art for good. 


With a distinct eye for capturing sceneries combined with her signature minimalist style, Kimi has made a name for herself as a travel photographer and content creator. However, Kimi’s ethos as a creative goes beyond producing picturesque shots. 


Recently, this multi-hyphenate has found a new joy in empowering conscious brands through her craft, and using her voice to spread awareness about sustainability and slow fashion. 


In a conversation for Flowe Journal, we ask Kimi about her creative journey, style evolution, the importance of mindful living, and more.

HI, KIMI. COULD YOU TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF AND WHAT YOU CURRENTLY DO?


I’m a photographer and creative based in Manila. My photography currently revolves around content creation for conscious brands.


YOU STARTED OUT AS A FASHION AND PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHER, BEFORE MAKING A NAME FOR YOURSELF IN TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY. CAN YOU WALK US THROUGH YOUR CREATIVE BACKGROUND?


I started out as a biology student in hopes to become a veterinarian. But in my first year of college, I found myself spending more time on my photography hobby. I left that course and pursued a degree in Photography. I can definitely say I’ve tried it all, from fashion photography to journalism, but found joy in traveling. When the pandemic hit, I’ve found a new love in helping empower conscious brands through photography that reflects their ethos. I currently work closely with different fashion and beauty brands that I resonate with.


HOW DID YOUR CAREER AS A PHOTOGRAPHER LEAD YOU TO YOUR SUSTAINABILITY JOURNEY?


In one of my travels, I remember having some sort of epiphany while editing my photos. I would spend hours using my clone tool on Photoshop to make every destination look picture-perfect. I would erase the garbage at the beach to make a specific location seem untouched and then I realized that the very thing that I was removing from a photograph were also the things that were part of my everyday life. Basically, I was contributing to the demise of nature and I knew this had to change.


TELL US ABOUT YOUR PHILOSOPHY AROUND SUSTAINABLE LIVING. HOW DO YOU PRACTICE IT WHILE TRAVELING, AS WELL AS IN YOUR EVERYDAY LIFE?

Less is more. I think sustainability goes beyond plastic, and it's definitely its own world. Personally, I try to own less and use only the essentials. Every time I want to own something, I ask myself many questions about its longevity. How long will I be using this? Can I upcycle this in the future? Can I hold myself accountable for the choices I am about to make?


Recently, It's definitely been harder now that I have a daughter, but we love upcycling cardboard boxes, tissue rolls, and paper bags into fun things like doll houses and other projects.

AS A SLOW FASHION ADVOCATE, HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE? AND HOW HAS IT EVOLVED THROUGHOUT THE YEARS?


I’ve definitely come a long way. My wardrobe consists only of things that make me feel confident. I try to stray from trends and only keep classic pieces I feel good in. Every new piece I welcome in my wardrobe is something I see myself wearing for many years.



FOR MANY PEOPLE, THE IDEA OF SUSTAINABILITY CAN BE DAUNTING AND OVERWHELMING. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE WHO IS JUST GETTING STARTED IN THEIR MINDFUL LIVING JOURNEY?


Start small and focus on only one aspect in your life. Don't rush, and really look at what works for you. Sustainability is a slow and steady journey and everyone’s experience is different.


ON SOCIAL MEDIA, YOU’RE VOCAL ABOUT SUPPORTING ISSUES RELATED TO CLIMATE — FROM ADVOCATING FOR SLOW FASHION, TO PLASTIC WASTE AWARENESS AND ZERO-WASTE LIVING. HOW DOES SUSTAINABILITY INFLUENCE YOUR CRAFT AS A CONTENT CREATOR AND PHOTOGRAPHER?

At first it was tough. I’ve lost many opportunities as a content creator because I made a vow to only work with brands I resonate with, but now it's one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I love working with brands that share the same ethos as I do and I'm able to really express my creativity while feeling good about empowering small businesses. At the same time, I’m able to connect with like-minded individuals around the world and have thoughtful and meaningful conversations around sustainability, while learning more from others.

WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY IN YOUR LIFE LOOK LIKE? DO YOU HAVE CERTAIN RITUALS YOU ENJOY?


My day revolves around taking care of my daughter. I love spending the day with her and teaching her. At the end of the day, I really value the time I get to myself doing my skincare routine and stretching.


WHAT MAKES YOU FEEL ALIVE?

A good night's sleep. A kiss from my daughter, Olivia.



Kimi Juan uses the Flowe Multi-Purpose Performance Towel in Floral, Earth. Explore more of Kimi’s work on @kimijuan.