Discover the Essence of Laguna at The Soul Project

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Think about a place that instantly captivates you -- somewhere you feel more alive than ever before. A place where nature, culture, people and spirituality feed your soul. For Summer and Don Meek, that place has always been Laguna Beach. It’s one of those places that continues to inspire creativity, passion, and meaning in their lives.

Ironically, however, even the most beautiful places in the world (like Laguna) are facing significant challenges. That’s why the Meeks launched The Soul Project, an apparel company whose mission is to conserve our soul places through art and socially conscious capitalism.

Sometimes a soul place is a destination in the world, while other times it’s something as simple as your mom’s kitchen.

Because everyone has their own interpretation of a soul place, The Soul Project works with local artists to illustrate the multifaceted meaning behind the question, “What is a soul place… to you?”

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Artists will identify their unique soul place and create a piece that encapsulates the beauty and essence of that particular location. The Soul Project will then print the artwork onto their apparel to spread awareness about environmental issues, mindfulness, and love. So far their collection captivates the soul essence of Laguna, Newport, Dana Point, Santa Barbara, Big Sur, Encinitas, and Hawaii. “Because many of our artists grew up around the ocean, a lot of our designs are ocean-minded,” says Summer.

Each piece of apparel has a give-back component that aims to preserve the spirit of its soul place through grass roots organizations that focus on child development and environmental conservation. In the past they have worked closely with local organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club, Pacific Marine Mammal Center, and Save the Mermaids.

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Using sustainable practices in their production, all of The Soul Project’s apparel is printed in-house using eco-friendly ink. One of Laguna’s newest green certified businesses, they source only GOTS certified goods, which ensures their textile products contain a minimum of 70% organic fibers and their dyes meet environmental and toxicological criteria.

Currently, The Soul Project is in a phase of growth and pivot. As the retail industry evolves in Laguna to become more customer-serving, they’re also moving into the women’s wellness space through their Soulful Parties and Creative Events (SPACE), offering a variety of workshops from watercolor and wine to chakra healing. In addition, Summer co-founded a networking group, The New Girls Network, that meets monthly to exchange ideas, experiences, and support for women entrepreneurs.

The Soul Project is a quintessential example of how one person can make a profound difference in their local community, and how its effects can travel far beyond.

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Madeline Plucinska is a yoga teacher and world traveler who calls Laguna Beach her soul place. Follow her travels on Instagram at @madeline.plucinska.

Photos by: Grant Puckett