After quitting her corporate job of 8 years in the fashion world, founder Christina Gill set off on her free spirit journey to travel the REAL world. Opening up her eyes to different cultures, meeting amazing interesting people, hearing their stories, developing an absolute love of nature and realising that it really doesn’t matter if you don’t “stick to the plan”.
Infected by this free spirit and knowing that she would never look at life in the same way again, she is following her dream to inspire others… to do what makes their soul happy… to feel good… to be free spirits!”
Global Surf Sounds chatted to Christina about how she came up with the idea of Free Spirit and where she hopes to take it.
“I wanted to be a fashion designer since I was 8 years old. I would spend hours drawing crazy outfits. I followed this dream through school, college & university and found myself working for some of the UK’s largest fashion retailers.
It was a work hard play hard life and I loved it. But as all good things come to an end, after 8 years I realised I wanted more. I relished a new challenge. I had (and still have!) an absolute passion to travel and I’d been so focused on my career that I had never just let myself wander! So I did! I quit my job, saved just enough to spend 6 months in Asia… exploring new cultures, meeting amazing people, eating delicious new foods and not knowing where each day would take me.
Then I ended up in Australia! Completely by accident as I was actually on my way to South America, but I just needed to make a bit more cash to travel with. I was reluctant to get a “real job” as I decided I was having a “year off” from fashion. But after an abysmal trial as a barrista (before I realised how good a flat white can be!) I decided it made sense to get paid to do what I do best…just for a month for a boost of income for the rest of my adventures! And I landed myself another fashion job…
Somehow…that was 4 years ago now!…Don’t ask me what happened! All I know is that I moved to Manly, made some awesome friends, learned to surf (still learning!)…started to practice yoga…and that was it I was hooked on this laidback, beach, healthy lifestyle… So as soon as I got my permanent residency, I did what most of us do, quit the job (again! Bit of a pattern here!)…I trained to become a yoga teacher and also combining my new found passions with my skills I launched my own T-shirt brand. Free Spirit was born. I couldn’t really name it anything else could I?
I constantly draw inspiration from my surroundings. The beach & the ocean, and an quote here and there…anything that makes me smile. 🙂
I discovered the “One Wave is All it Takes” community a few months ago when we saw a group of people going surfing dressed in crazy fluro outfits one sunny Friday morning on Manly beach. I since then realised that Fluro Fridays have been going for 2 years, originating in Bondi and now spreading to more than 50 beaches worldwide, to raise awareness for anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses.
The guys at One Wave are doing an amazing job, not only raising awareness but helping to reduce a stigma by getting people to talk openly, starting conversations and letting people know that “it’s ok not be ok.” That’s what Fluro Fridays are for. Mental illness doesn’t discriminate and neither should we, and scarily it affects 1 in 5 of us at some point in our lives.
One Wave have also helped thousands of people get into the water through their Surf program which helps combat mental illnesses through learning how to surf. When you’re in the water, whether you’re feeling the rush of adrenaline when you catch a wave, or getting crashed by one… making new friends, feeling the support of others and being a part of nature, it all helps bit by bit.
After a recent charity event where we met with a very brave soul who had just completed the program, and hearing how it had changed her life, we just knew we had to get involved.
Fluro Friday Surfs already take place every Friday in Bondi, Manly and other beaches up and down the coast of Australia, so to enhance this FREE SPIRIT are hosting a FLURO FRIDAY YOGA on the first Friday of every month, 6:30am. Everyone is invited to come along and bring friends/mums/dads/kids/dogs etc, even if you haven’t done yoga before, please come and support this amazing cause!
Free Spirit donate $2 from every T-shirt sold online to help fund more One Wave surf programs and we also have an exclusive range of One Wave/Free Spirit Surf Tees coming soon where all profits will go to this amazing cause! That means one person suffering from mental illness will receive one hour’s surf lesson for every t-shirt sold! Click here to see the range!
For more information on how One Wave are making a huge difference to people’s lives please visit their website at: