Weekend at SXSW

Explore more into the sustainable side of SXSW

By Ana Richie


On the East Side of Austin, a cider brand was formed to source handcrafted drinks that people from all over would love. Austin Eastciders is a local brand that marries traditions as well as innovative ways to curate a delicious taste that all will enjoy. In addition, Austin Eastciders puts a heavy emphasis on sustainability by compositing some of their ingredients and actively tries to cut down the amount of waste they produce. The brand also partners with several other like minded brands such as Beyond Meat and JUST egg who are also champions of sustainable practices when it comes to creating the food products.


I sat down with Allison Aronoff, a member of the beyond meat team that Austin Eastciders collaborated with for the event as she laid out the facts behind their brand. Allison explained that in a life cycle analysis, “our plant based waters use 50% percent less emissions and 99% percent less burgers versus the tradition burger.” I was able to try their version of the Tex-Mex delicacy, Migas. The meat was delicious, savory and had me wanting seconds.

I also discovered that not only do these brands help make the world more green, they are also providing jobs to people from all over, thus assisting the local economy. While Sunday morning was an informative time to learn about the measures these brands are taking to be more sustainable, it was also great connecting with like minded individuals who are passionate about changing the world one sip at a time.

Beauty in a gender fluid world: Panel

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Dewy skin, a clear complexion and a healthy appearance is not a foreign goal to anyone. People of all walks of life want to feel confident and love the unique skin they are in. When it comes down to the beauty industry, brands have evolved over time as they have made attempts to cater to the needs of today's generation of young consumers. While the industry has traditionally been binary focused, there has been recent shifts by brands to become inclusive and embrace gender fluidity with their market products.

After the SXSW panel of “Beauty in a Gender Fluid World” ended, I had the pleasure of chatting briefly with the CEO and co-founder of Cocoon, Nita Sederholm. She created a New York-based female purchase behavior insights engine for skin that is promoting personalization with skin care products and demolishing the “one size fits all” concept of marketing to consumers. They have a consumer-facing app which sends product and behavior recommendations based on a deep analysis of the skin care routines filled out by our users.Nita said,  “They were speaking about how Gen Z demands that there aren't these two buckets and there are more expressions of inclusivity.” Nita hit the head on the nail in regards to the social reform that Generation Z has manifested in our society and this translates to their consumer behavior. In essence, people of today want to feel represented in the brands they buy from and in the magazines they read.

The question now is, how will brands respond to the demands and genuinely curate products that cater to people of all skin types, skin tones and gender orientations? Large cosmetics brand,  L’Oreal was present at the panel discussion and addressed the strides to be more inclusive. L’Oreal stated that they, “create products for people from all walks of life around the globe. To ensure that our products meet the needs of every form of beauty in every culture, our team members must be as diverse and inclusive as the world itself.” I believe this ties back to the need for representation. When the brand is comprised of diverse beings, this reflects in their products because they know first hand what their consumers want through this important connection for the producer to the consumer(s).

As our world grows and there becomes more intersectionality, our beauty industry will continue to transform into an industry that seeks to serve the masses in the most authentic and inclusive ways.

Photos by Nick Tribuno