Deciding to take part in this year’s Blog Action Day on Climate Change was a no-brainer for us. We’ve long supported environmental issues: When you travel as much as we do, it’s impossible not to fall in love with the world—and to notice the changes in it.
Our post is an interview with Michael Torres, founder of Worldwide Maniac, a company that combines environmental and humanitarian efforts with entertainment and fashion. We had the pleasure of meeting Michael backstage at New York’s Fashion Week.
How would you describe the mission of Worldwide Maniac?
Worldwide Maniac helps restore balance in our earth and climate.
We see fashion and entertainment as yang energy. The environment and humanity is the yin. When you direct chi from the yang towards yin, it flourishes.
In our ideal world, the creative power of the yang inspires the hearts of people towards cultivating the yin at a near unconscious level. Thirty percent of Worldwide Maniac profits go directly back into environmental and humanitarian goal, helping generate new found experiences furthering the cause of consciousness. Furthermore, Worldwide Maniac is dedicated to investing not just profits, but in ensuring that these goals are a part of our complete business approach, and that they also receive a percentage of our creative energies.
For example, we’re working with Richie Rich and Pamela Anderson to produce, manufacture and distribute his line, A*Muse, which is composed of beachwear, printed tees and casual dresses, all of which are animal-friendly and organically produced. By creating a beautiful line, Richie is sharing his heart with the world. That interplay, of creating with positive intent—using recycled materials, nontoxic dyes, organic fabrics, helps restore balance and healing to the earth. (Note: The A*Muse collection was scheduled to be shown during Fashion Week Miami Beach last night. That’s Richie and Pamela below at his February 2009 show.)
Why did you start Worldwide Maniac?
We find happiness when we follow what feels good inside of us. Fashion and entertainment were never on my radar, but what feels good to me is helping humanity and our environment I previously worked for the Department of Homeland Security and realized I enjoyed helping others out by making our borders safer.
I’ve realized that fashion and entertainment are platforms to educate and help others. This is an opportunity for helping others and there can be a bigger purpose beyond the parties.
What are some of the projects WWM has worked on?
WWM has built green homes in Mexico that uses freezer panel technology. These energy-efficient homes have thick panels that snap in like a Lego block and can be built in a day for less than $20,000 requireing no electricity (use solar panels and hot water solar stills to heat water).
We are working on obtaining permits to build them in the US for those who have lost their homes due to the financial storm. Do a google on Tent Cities in America and you will get a flavor for what I’m talking about.
That’s Michael below handing over the keys for one of the freezer panel homes WWM built in Mexico.
Tell us a little bit about the future direction of WWM?
We are working with the Amalia Foundation which is focused on bringing together children from across the world in the hopes of peace and in support of the oneness movement. The kids are designing “world peace” shirts which we will introduce into a Richie Rich fashion show and eventually its own separate line.
We are also working on two feature films one of which provides a story of redemption and the other a look into 4 guys spiritual journey in the desert (a sherrif, a sniper, a spy and a haircutter named Jorge).
And as mentioned above, we intend to offer the energy efficient homes to those in need sometime in late 2010.
Now on to the fun stuff: Where is your favorite place to vacation?
That’s a tough one. Its like saying whats your favorite color or favorite ice cream. They are so good, its hard to pick. I love visiting Mexico. I truly enjoy Europe. Before the end of the year I will be spending some time in Peru a w friend of mine who is a Shawman down there. We might actually work on a documentary together.
You live in Austin, one of JSG’s top places to vacation. Got a favorite restaurant?
Uchi is my favorite for sushi. Mesa Rosa for Mexican food. And Green Mesquite for Bar-b-que. I’m still on the lookout for my favorite Italian place.
Want to know how you can help out the environment? Check out Blog Action Day ’09 Climate Change.