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This Canadian Producer Reveals How You Can Do Good & Get Creative No Matter What Your Job Is

She's currently the artistic director for the Cashmere Collection.

Contributive writer
This Canadian Producer Reveals How You Can Do Good & Get Creative No Matter What Your Job Is

As fulfilling as it can be to follow your passions or contribute to a good cause, your nine-to-five job can’t always check that box for you. Plus, finding the inspiration (or motivation) to carve out free time can be tedious. Even so, answering your heart’s calling is always worth the effort.

Whether it’s growing a basil plant in a community garden or buying brands that support a good cause, there are so many ways, big and small, to get yourself out there.

For some guidance and inspiration on how to feel more fulfilled in life, Narcity spoke with a Canadian authority on all things creative and philanthropic, Erika Larva.

As the artistic director of the Cashmere Collection fashion show — a fund-and-awareness-raiser for the breast cancer cause where all the dresses are made entirely out of Cashmere Bathroom Tissue — Erika’s here to give you some tips on how to lead a creatively fulfilling life.

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

Courtesy of Cashmere

Follow Your Inner Child

Think back to what you really loved to do when you were younger, and you might stumble into something great — Erika’s a perfect example of this.

Since her youth, she’s been excited by the fashion industry. “It served my vivid imagination, transporting me into a beautiful creative world," Larva told Narcity.

Though she had always felt “mesmerized and inspired” by the beauty magazines she flipped through at a young age, she never fully considered a career in the fashion industry.

That is, not until she was approached by a customer – a top fashion producer at the time – at the grocery store she worked at and was asked to model in a show. That's where everything began to fall into place.

Larva went from makeup assistant to production assistant before branching off into her current position as producer and artistic director of the Cashmere Collection, one of the longest-running Corporate Social Responsibility programs in the world. This year, the full-scale event is returning for its 19th iteration.

Courtesy of George Pimentel

Support A Cause That Resonates With You

“My advice is to get involved in your local community or find a cause that is close to your heart,” Erika said. “Get to know the organizations that give back and reach out to see how you can get involved or help in some way.”

She did just that herself with the Cashmere Collection, noting that “this show helps Canadians get involved in supporting a cause that is near and dear to the hearts of so many of us.”

Larva also spoke about how contributing to a good cause has led to a long-term sense of fulfillment. "I am just as excited now about supporting the Cashmere Collection and the Breast Cancer cause as I was the very first time I joined this dynamic team 15 years ago," she said.

If the breast cancer cause is one that resonates with you, there are some easy ways for Canadians to give back and make a difference through Cashmere Vote Couture for the Cure.

For the month of October - Breast Cancer Awareness Month - just vote for your favourite garment, and Cashmere will donate $1 for every vote, up to $15,000, to the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) and the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation (QBCF) in the winning designer’s name.

Courtesy of George Pimentel

Meet New People

For other Canadians looking to take a page out of Erika’s playbook and tap into their artistic side, give networking a shot.

"Getting together with peers and friends, creating bonds and connections, sharing ideas, supporting one another," Larva told Narcity. "Creativity often finds us in unexpected ways. I am a big believer that staying connected creates opportunities, opens doors, fuels inspiration."

Challenge Yourself & Set Parameters

Limitations usually aren’t exciting, but sometimes setting boundaries for yourself can yield unexpected results.

Take the Cashmere Collection: designers are given a theme and supply of Cashmere UltraLuxe Bathroom Tissue to create original high-fashion couture garments — and they’re absolutely stunning.

This year's theme is Celestial Awakening: A Celebration of Strength, Hope and Compassion. 12 designers from across Canada will craft one-of-a-kind couture using Cashmere Ultraluxe, the brand’s softest and most luxurious bathroom tissue product - ever.

Courtesy of George Pimentel

Larva says you can expect to see a nod to astrology through show-stopping designs using the Cashmere Ultraluxe bathroom tissue in innovative ways, such as sculpting, papier-mache and stitching.

"I am blown away by the detail and intricacy shown in each bathroom tissue design," she told Narcity. "Our incredible and talented designers create unique garments that reflect the collection’s theme and their own personal experiences."

Set yourself limits to work within and see what comes of it. “It’s so important to find what sparks your soul and excites you,” Erika said. “Try new things, change things up! We all have different needs and motivations.”

By challenging yourself, you might strike some newfound inspiration. Maybe try using charcoal instead of watercolours, or choose a random word in the dictionary and write a poem based on it.

Courtesy of George Pimentel

Feeling inspired and looking to get involved? Set a calendar reminder in the month of October to vote for your favourite design at Cashmere Vote Couture for the Cure in support of the Breast Cancer cause.

You can also purchase specially marked pink packages of Cashmere UltraLuxe Bathroom Tissue during October; 25 cents from every sale goes directly towards the Breast Cancer cause, up to a maximum of $65,000.

Lastly, show your support by simply joining the conversation online and spreading the word about the Cashmere Collection by using the hashtag #Cashmere22.

Maybe you can even get creative with your post: make a dress of your own, create a papier-mache sculpture — there are endless possibilities. You got this!

To get involved with the Cashmere Collection, check out Cashmere's website or follow them on Facebook or Instagram.

To learn more about the Cashmere Collection and vote for your favourite design, check out the Fashion with Compassion hub.

Kianni Reynolds-Lewis
Contributive writer
Kianni Reynolds-Lewis is a Staff Writer for the Studio department focused on sponsored content and is based in Edmonton, Canada.
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