As a pre-teen, Brazilian-native Walleska Tepping found herself inspired by one her mother’s motto's of “nothing wasted, just transformed.” Given the social economic standards of her family, it was more affordable to have her clothes made, than to buy them from a store. Walleska gathered up some fabric bolts, buttons; and her favorite fashion magazines, and went straight to co-create her first pieces with the local seamstress. For Walleska, this was the first of many resourceful endeavors, and the start of her inspirational journey as an artist and an ecologically minded entrepreneur. Her adventure would have many twists — some in response to the universe's blessings and others guided by her passion for people and planet — before founding her very own eco-minded fashion line, Walleska Ecochicc.
From Brazil, her journey took her all around Southern California before making San Francisco her home for the next 7 years. As a new immigrant, Walleska had to learn 2 languages simultaneously, as she worked on many odd jobs. There, Walleska created three-dimensional sculptures from body casts and co-founded the Brazilian cultural movement with 16 other artists in 1993.
Guided by her free spirit, Walleska made the jump to Hawaii in 1996, where she owned a clothing boutique, worked as a modeling instructor; and studied the Hatha, Iyengar, Kripalu, and Ashtanga yoga traditions. Walleska became certified as a Kripalu yoga instructor and created Honolulu's first two hotel based yoga programs in Waikiki. She volunteered for years as the host of the first local vegetarian television show, Tasty and Meatless, before moving to Dallas to work in the fashion industry.
Later, during a spiritual trip to Brazil, Walleska discovered how to meld her social consciousness and artistic creativity in ways that changed lives. She met a group of women who merged traditional crafting techniques with recycled and sustainable materials. Instantly, she felt inspired and transformed. That first meeting lasted three hours. It ended with Walleska co-creating an accessory line made from soda pull-tabs right there on the spot. She found herself driven by her desire to share her vision and the heartfelt urge to improve the community's socio-economic status.
Walleska likes to emphasize the community upon which all knowingly and unknowingly participates. From those donating their soda cans to those collecting garbage on the streets, cleaning each individual tab, from the hands of the Brazilian and American artisans to the boutique to the final consumer, the Ecochicc process has become a means to satisfy a creative and globally driven process- simultaneously; creating a system upon which all involved are supportive of one another.
In 2007, Walleska Ecochicc was born. Walleska continues to lead production of her Earth-friendly pieces from the company’s headquarters in Dallas, Texas. She frequently returns to Brazil to work with new mediums and updated designs inspired by the fast moving fashion trends and feedback from her consumers.
“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” - Mahatma Gandhi