Tag Archives: protests

Update, Feedback Needed, and ‘One Billion Rising!’

Hey peeps! I know it’s been a little while since I last posted, so I wanted to shoot you all a quick update. I have been a bit under the weather these past few weeks so I haven’t been able to write as much as I’ve wanted to, but don’t worry (you weren’t worrying, were you?), I have been doing some mad research on the posts I will be publishing soon that are related to my Ethical Fashion series. Also, I wanted to expand this blog’s scope a bit, and so I added a Pinterest and Tumblr! The reason why I am adding these new features now is because when I started this blog, I wasn’t sure what it was going to look like. I knew I wanted to start conversations on topics that I was passionate about, but I didn’t know how in-depth these posts were going to be, or what kind of engagement readers were looking for. I have only been blogging here for four months, but I do feel strongly now that this site is most appropriate for more complex discussions of culture, fashion, gender, and media, and the feedback I have gotten from many of you is that you appreciate the time and thought I put into researching the range of topics that are covered here. And while I am all about thought-provoking, carefully researched posts, the fact is, sometimes, I just want to bust a little, you know? I mean, in any given day, I will find myself grappling with Beyonce’s feminism, why Mindy Kaling is only dating white guys on The Mindy Project, Sports Illustrated‘s racist swimsuit issue (just. when. I. thought. I. had. seen. it. all.), and more. And it’s a little frustrating to not share these ideas/rants with you. This is my main site, but these other platforms will hopefully expand the scope of this blog and allow for different kinds of engagement. It will also give me the chance to engage with everyone more often, since realistically I am only able to publish a piece on here one to two times a week, given how much time I put into researching and writing them. So to avoid any confusion about what the purpose for these various social media outlets are, here’s a breakdown:

  • Facebook: Love. my. FB. friends. We share awesome links related to the topics covered in LG, and we get into amazing discussions! I have gained so many resources and gotten some really helpful feedback from the peeps on this page, and we all try to post links that are current and relevant. Join us for Valentine’s Day as we share events related to the ‘One Billion Rising‘ events happening all around the world!
  • Twitter: A really chill place to connect, but I find the 150-word count limit to be one of the most challenging aspects of my day. I mean, you’ve read my posts, right? Still, a great place to give a quick shout-out and share links, not to mention foster the idea that Mindy Kaling and I are besties. Plus, totes excited I FINALLY know what FF (Follow Friday) is! I had no idea and until about a day ago was just like, “Umm…back at you FF!”
  • Tumblr: I’m really excited about having a Tumblr! This is where I will write quick posts that either add to the longer posts I am writing here, or are on topics that may not be related to what I am writing about at the moment, but are still relevant to what I write about generally. I will also be posting re-caps of shows (critical gfs, always critical), pictures and links of organizations and sustainable companies that I think are awesome, and even short interviews with people who inspire me.
  • Pinterest: I love that you can look at my Pinterest boards, and get a good sense of what my passions and even my values are. It’s corny, but a picture really does tell a thousand words.

Please let me know if there is anything else you would like to see me write about on Tumblr, or if you think I should add another board on Pinterest. Also, thoughts about Instagram? So many of my friends have one, but the privacy settings sketch me out. I would love to share pictures of an Eco-fashion show I will be attending in March, or a visit with an artisan from Guatemala who will be coming to the area in April. But the idea of these pictures potentially being used for advertisements without my knowledge makes me a little wary, and I guess I could always add those pictures into my posts anyway. Please let me know what you think!

Also:

  • Links: I just updated my Blogroll on the side of my blog. I would LOVE to hear of any other blogs or sites that you think I might be interested in that are related to the main topics that are covered here!
  • Giveaways: Over the next few weeks as I continue with my Ethical Fashion series, I will be featuring quite a few giveaways. Needless to say these products promote smaller organizations, non-profits, and companies that are relevant to the topics covered by the series and whose causes are ones in which I firmly believe. I know a lot of people are skeptical of the giveaways that are provided by corporate sponsors to bloggers, and the reason why I am doing so many giveaways is partly because I want to demonstrate that there are alternatives to these corporate promotions that are so prevalent in the blogosphere. I have done a lot of research on these organizations and I hope that I can help create awareness around their truly amazing missions. For example, a few weeks ago I gave away this gift basket from the amazing worker-owned, cooperative Equal Exchange, which produces organic food items from Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The gift basket benefits Congolese women who are being treated at the Panzi hospital in Bukavu, for immense trauma they have endured as a result of the civil wars in the region of Eastern Congo. The hospital is also connected to the non-profit Mamafrica, which I wrote about in a recent post! So needless to say, I put a lot of thought into these giveaways!

Oh, and Happy Valentine’s Day! Ok, keepin’ it real (since doing so 24-7 was my New Year’s Resolution), I’ve become a bit disillusioned about Valentine’s Day. It’s not even that I’m not a romantic, because seriously, one of my favorite movies ever is Love Story, no lie. It’s just that I don’t know whether love should be marketed and sold for one day a year and given to Hallmark in the form of a billion dollar check. Don’t get me wrong, I love chocolate too, but why can’t we share love, and surprise each other with chocolate, every day? Cause that would be amazing, just sayin’ (speaking of which, my next post will be on the chocolate industry, and you might be surprised by how related it is to my posts on fashion, so stay tuned).

That being said, I am really excited about the One Billion Rising event that will be happening today, in over 160 countries around the world. The event is a global campaign to fight violence against women, and was initiated by playwright Eve Ensler (of The Vagina Monologues) in response to Todd Akin’s ‘legitimate rape’ comments. Why ‘one billion?’ Because one of every three women on the planet (one billion) will be raped or beaten in her lifetime. The page that is linked allows you to search for an event that is happening in your area, which may include flash mobs, dances, yarn bombing, strikes, protests and more!  While I do think the event is a bit heteronormative (there are men out there who are victims of violence), I still think it’s a cool way to raise awareness and promote women’s empowerment and solidarity on a day that is mostly about fluff. Supporting women in the global fight to end violence?? Now THAT’S love. Happy Valentine’s Day (for real), and I heart you all for your discussions, feedback, and from many of you, the inspiring stories of the amazing work you do.

One Billion Rising Promotional Video:

Have a One Billion Rising event to share? Let me know in the comments below! And also feel free to provide feedback about my questions regarding Instagram, Tumblr, etc.

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Filed under Inspirations

Can Fashion Change the World?

“It’s quite incredible that we might save the world through fashion .” -Vivienne Westwood

In my recent post on New York Fashion week, I focused on the disconnect between the glamor and fantasy of the fashion industry with the exploitation that often hides beneath the glossy surface. I wanted to emphasize in this post, a few key players that are trying to work for more sustainable, ethical practices in the industry.

OK so first of all, what is ethical fashion girlfriends?? While I will no doubt touch on this subject many more times in my future blog posts, I really loved this definition from the ultimate in sustainable fashion information, the Ethical Fashion Forum.

” The meaning of ethical goes beyond doing no harm, representing an approach which strives to take an active role in poverty reduction, sustainable livelihood creation, minimizing and counteracting environmental concerns.”

Artisans at the Nairobi hub with Lisa Barratt, left, Jane Kabura, center, and Jeremy Brown, right, standing behind bags for Stella McCartney, Vivienne Westwood and Sass & Bide. Credit: Chloé Mukai/ITC Ethical Fashion Initiative

Obvi, that’s kind of amazing, but can it be done?  While the coverage of labor issues during fashion week was pretty paltry, The New York Times did run an incredible story on Simone Cipriani, head of the Ethical Fashion Initiative. Cipriani is connecting designers like Vivienne Westwood and Stella McCartney with Ghanian artisans,  who are working to the fair labor standards of $5 to $11 a day, making luxury items for the couture designers. Besides achieving a living wage, the work also gives many of these women employable skills that can empower them and help raise their families out of poverty.

Sustainability is still not widely understood though, and many associate the word with hippie-trippy, unattractive clothing, and well … Birkenstocks. Perhaps that’s why the awareness created by luxury brands could prove to be influential for changing the consumption patterns of the mainstream.  When Vivienne Westwood of her Ethical Fashion Collective line and Ilaria Venturini Fendi of her Carmina Campus line ask questions at New York Fashion week like ‘Was this made ethically?’ ‘Are the fabrics green?’ and ‘Were the workers treated fairly?’, this can have an incredible impact by encouraging ethical consumption but also proving that being stylish doesn’t come at a cost to others.

Martin Luther King Jr. said 45 years ago that “True revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies.” What exactly is it going to take to shift our values, to create a shared paradigm of ethical labor practices and more sustainable consumption? If it seems to be impossible, consider the resistance towards smoking reform in the mid-century, to the current situation where almost 50% of the U.S. population lives with smoking regulations in all workplaces, restaurants and bars. Yup, change can happen girlfriends, we just need to believe in it!

And a revolution seems to be happening,  and it’s not just within haute couture. Just this month activists staged flash ‘faint-ins’ at fast-fashion retailers H&M and the Gap to protest sweatshop conditions in countries like Cambodia, and workers in Cambodia are in turn striking for better pay. Check out this website, Fashioning Change, a self-described ‘do-gooder’ website that offers cute, eco-friendly alternatives to popular designer name brands. Their ‘Wear This, Not That’ feature is an easy way to compare some of your favorite clothes with more eco-conscious lines that have transparency in their supply chain. What’s more, these lines usually come at a cheaper price-tag then their brand-name comparison! Aaaand, it’s time to go shopping. 🙂

We need to fix the bloated nature of a fashion industry that creates a lot of waste with too many products that end up in landfills on one end, and too little pay for those who labor on the other. Vivienne Westwood, who is using her fashion line to promote environmentalism, has argued that fashion and anti-consumerism don’t necessarily contradict each other if people buy less, and in a more sustainable way. Check out her show from the London Paralympics in late August, where she ends her somewhat haphazard collection with a pointed cry for environmental advocacy, rolling out of a banner that reads “Climate Revolution.” A nod to her punk roots, it had me thinking, “Where is Pussy Riot??”

Have any thoughts on how we can shift our fast consumption to sustainability? Do you have any links to share, or know any peeps who are working on this cause? Please share with me, either in the comments below or via email! 🙂

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Filed under Critical Fashion