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Environmentalism and Entrepreneurship—Interview With Mano Mori

Summer is my favourite season of the year because we are able to enjoy different kinds of fashion, not just casual fashion, but also swimming suits, yukata, and more!

This time, I interviewed Mano Mori, an ICU student, about fashion, the environment, and entrepreneurship!

[bf_image id="qeylcn-2ewn68-4gj3gr"] Q: First of all, can you tell me what your dream is?

Mano: My dream was to first, work as an international model and to make enough money to launch a fashion venture. My first name, Mano, means “a hand” in Spanish. In the process of “handing” over the outfits that I made to people living in developing countries, I want to learn the religion, language, and culture of those countries. By actually talking with the locals, I thought I would be able to know about the specialties of the country and to think about some ideas to utilize those in the production of my venture. This could create employment that would benefit the society in later generations.

But, I would like to emphasize that it “was” my dream.

During a development studies class that I took in my first semester at ICU, I noticed that my dream could exacerbate the wealth disparities of the countries I seek to help, because there may be people who will not be able to reach my “hand.” 

 

Q: I see. The gap between your ideal and the real situation.

Mano: Yes. But, I am positive and resilient about my dream. 

Normally, when you think about the things that you enjoy, it is at the top of the pyramid and takes up the smallest area of interest. On the other hand, the things that you do not like will be positioned at the bottom of the triangle. I also have so many other things that I am interested in.

So, my pyramid is inverted. The things that I like take up the largest area, while the things that I do not like take up the smallest space. 

Because I am interested in many things, I could decide to work on some other things, even when I faced difficulties in achieving my dream. 

Right now I’m interested in approaching the issue of ocean pollution–one of the most pressing environmental issues in the current world.

 

Q: Ocean pollution and fashion; I can clearly tell that you have a wide range of interests. Now, can you tell me what made you so interested in fashion?

Mano: Well, I was impressed by the ethical practices of Mother House—a fashion brand whose mission is to “spotlight the potential of developing countries through our products to establish an international brand.” 

Also, after returning from my study abroad in the United States, I felt that I could not enjoy fashion to its fullest for fear of having my style be judged by others. This led to my interest in fashion, and I hope to contribute to a world where everyone can wear whatever they want.

 

Q: I see. I also pay too much attention to what others say about my outfits. Is there any reason why you started to be interested in ocean pollution?

Mano: I think I have a stronger connection with the ocean compared to others because I am from Fukuoka prefecture, where the ocean is literally everywhere. And this was not technically a trigger for my interest in sea pollution, but when I went to the Goto Islands a couple of weeks ago, I was shocked to see the sea shore literally covered with litter.

 

[bf_image id="qeyl3p-ayfug0-8i07g1"] [bf_image id="qeylad-dzk8ig-8pswjp"] This experience made my motivation to work on this issue even stronger. 

 

Q: That’s so much litter, I am at a loss for words… This is something that all of us definitely need to work on. You also told me that you have a dream of starting up a business. This kind of decision is not something that people can make easily. So what made you think about being an entrepreneur?

Mano: My sister actually launched a fashion venture already!

She already had an interest in being an entrepreneur and used her interest in fashion as a way to make it come true. I am the opposite. At first I had an interest in fashion, then I thought being an entrepreneur was the best way to show it. 

 

Q: What fashion is to you?

Mano: Wow. That’s a hard question...

Fashion is “something that I need to show my gratitude for.”

Without fashion, I would not have been able to learn about the problems in developing countries and environmental issues. I also would not have met a lot of the people that I’ve met at fashion events, with my friends at ICU, and I cannot thank fashion enough for showing me that so many beautiful things exist in the world!

 

It is truly impressive how Mano is interested in so many things and is active in absorbing and expressing her knowledge. She looked lively and energetic, and I could see a sparkle in her eyes as she spoke about her dreams.

 

I could tell that Mano is definitely someone that has a YOLO (You Only Live Once) mentality and that she is going to be a future innovator. 

[bf_image id="qeyl1k-4fq000-djmcz3"] I hope for her success in the future from the bottom of my heart.

 

This week, we looked at the theme, “fashion” from different perspectives. I hope all of you enjoyed reading the articles.

Next week, we will be publishing articles about a new topic so stay tuned!

 

Risako Tsugaru

ICU Japan '23

Love dancing and eating!
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