Fashion, News, Runway Review

#NYFW16: KLS by Kimora Lee Simmons

February 13, 2016

It’s New York Fashion Week, folks. One of our early faves has been the latest collection from entrepreneur, model, and fashion designer, Kimora Lee Simmons. I am OBSESSED with this LBD (Little Black Dress) from the collection. I like it for work AND play. You can leave the office and go right to happy hour in this one.

Kimora2-FA16

And if and LBD is a little to simple for your taste, this frock gives the same effortless chic of an LBD but does so with a color that goes both conservative but still fun, and of course the shoulder cutouts!

Kimora-FA16

I also like the cut of suit jackets and pants by Kimora Lee Simmons. This one gave me a modern Yves Saint Laurent “Le Smoking” moment …

Kimora3-FA16

And then there was her elegant outwear. It looks gorgeous!

Kimora4-FA16

– edp

Beauty, Fashion

About Town: Chicago Creatives & Entrepreneurs

February 9, 2016

Here is the first “About Town,” where we will feature fashion and beauty businesses in specific cities and neighborhoods you might check out. This post, written by contributing writer Dominique M. Davis, covers up and coming designers, chefs, entrepreneurs and a variety of creatives in the Chicago Land Area. While we are excited to share information about each of these businesses and some of their products, we are not endorsing any specific company or product listed here. Rather, we are sharing the wealth of businesses from which to choose from, and especially featuring Chicago women entrepreneurs and creatives in this post.

8TY4 Vintage 

Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 5.05.42 PM

Margarita (pictured above) is the owner of 8ty4 Vintage. A master thrifter and lover of all things vintage, she has hosted vintage trunk shows and pop-up shops in Chicago and Atlanta. Her most recent vintage pop-up, a collaboration with Cuzvins, a duo comprises of herself and her cousin Ayesha Jaco who is the owner of Shelly Jean’s  Vintage, took place in early February at the  the Bronzeville Visitor’s Center. Her mission is to help people to understand that vintage items are all about being classic, fun, and unique, not just clothes from previous decades.

Margarita also recently joined Femme Creatives, a group of like-minded individuals that aspire and inspire to create through various medias and mediums.  This collective collaboration is intended to uplift, nurture and facilitate progression amongst its members and affiliates through the love of vintage and networking.

Get Dosed!

Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 5.16.01 PM

Dose Market has become a staple in a few markets throughout the United States. As a Chicago native I’m biased so I’ll add “most notably Chicago!” Dose Market is described as a “marketplace devoted to showcasing the finest designers, chefs, makers, bakers, entrepreneurs and artists. Since 2011, to the delight of shoppers in Chicagoland and beyond, Dose has worked tirelessly to discover and develop a community, thousands strong, dedicated to excellence and delight. Celebrating the food, fashion and art of those committed to these passionate pursuits.” It takes a lot of courage and support to pursue your dreams to actualize purpose, and their work on something that brings them such passion is admirable. Some of the vendors featured in the “HoliDOSE Days” at the SOHO House ( West Loop at 113 N. Green Street in Chicago, Il) included Susie Lee of Echo Vie Products. echo vie products are 100% natural and do not contain parabens, petrochemicals, or synthetic coloring.  Each product is hand made and poured in small batches in order to assure the highest quality and peak freshness.  Currently there are two items in the echo vie skincare line:  the All Natural Lip Balm and the Organic Body Oil. You can find more of their products at www.echovie.com or follow them on instagram @echoviebysusie.

Argaman & Defiance

Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 5.18.16 PM

Entrepreneur Lydia Crespo of Argaman & Defiance (A&D) creates 100% silk scarves naturally dyed by hand in our studio located in Chicago, Illinois. We only use natural dye extracts responsibly collected from tree bark, roots, and leaves. The hand dyed process is an artfully crafted skill, making each piece uniquely beautiful. A skillfully talented young lady who has developed a craft of art making through textiles. You can find out more about her products at argamandefiance.com or follow her on instagram @argamandefiance.

Bon Macaron Chicago

Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 5.18.41 PM

Another entrepreneur featured at “HoliDOSE” is Founder/Chef, Catherine Cooper. Cooper began Bon Macaron in 2013 out of a shared kitchen called Kitchen Chicago. In June 2104, Bon Macaron was the first macaron specialty boutique to open in Illinois and provides Chicago’s premium quality macaron in over 25 signature flavors. You can find out more about her products at www.bonmacaronchicago.com or instagram @bonmacaronchicago.

If you are an entrepreneur or creative in/around Chicago, Central Illinois, Indianapolis, or St. Louis and want to be featured please email editor.glamourtunist@gmail.com.

– dmd

Fashion, News, Runway Review

Givenchy: Couture, Spring 2016

January 29, 2016

Riccardo Tisci has never truly disappointed me, but I do have my gripes about the latest haute couture presentation for the legendary fashion house. The first is that it is so few looks, and the second is that the connecting threads were so bare that it was difficult to discern the complete story. I understand that the way couture functions here is as a gesture of things we will likely see come full bloom in the upcoming ready-to-wear shows, but I still wanted just a bit more. That said, the garments are all beautiful and expertly crafted, as always. Here are the three that most slayed, and had me hollerin’ “Yaaaassss! WERRRRRK!”:

 

Givenchy2

 

Givenchy1

 

Givenchy3

– edp

Fashion, News, Runway Review

Yiqing Yin: Couture, Spring 2016

January 29, 2016

Chinese designer Yiqing Yin, a favorite among the haute couture set, presented her first collection as a full member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, this season. And the collection certainly showed us why. I can see each of the following three looks being worn on the red carpet. They certain should inspire a truly stylish celeb to venture away from the usual red carpet fare, and go with a name we don’t here often enough during awards season:

 

YiqingYin3

 

YiqingYin1

 

YiqingYin2

-edp

Fashion, News, Runway Review

Ronald van der Kemp: Couture, Spring 2016

January 29, 2016

The look book of Amsterdam-based designer Ronald van der Kemp has been among my favorite presentations thus far during Spring 2016 haute couture week. Here are three of my faves from a spectacular collection.

The strength of this presentation was especially in the superb styling of many of the looks, like this sleek and sophisticated jumper:

 

vanderKemp1

The placement of the gold buttons on this skirt are perfect. I live!

vanderKemp2

The picture below is of the back of a gown. The front was fantastic, but the back of it was absolutely ravishing!

vanderKemp3

-edp

Editor's Aesthetics, Fashion, Glamourtunist, WERK!

Capes, Clutches and Consignment: The Editor’s Closet

January 25, 2016

Almost two years ago, rapper and Harlemite Cam’ron walked the runway of a Mark McNairy fashion show wearing a gray suit, a camo fitted cap, and a fur lined tweed cape, and folks thought he had lost his mind. But he looked so damn fly anyway. This past September, actor turned Central St. Martin’s fashion design student Antonio Banderas, announced his intention to start a menswear line and to experiment with making the cape a steady thing in menswear. For many men the cape as accessory has already been a thing, but this Fall capes seem to be everywhere on runways and of course on the streets. And I am all the way here for it!

As a stylist, I am so much more daring in what I put in other people’s closets than what I am willing to risk putting in my own. These are my confessions. Forgive me Diana Vreeland, for I have sinned! And I totally just wrote that line just to show you a high-fashion, Yves Saint Laurent nun.

ysl nun

From Stefano Pilati’s Fall 2010 YSL Collection.

You’re welcome. Seriously though, I think what is true for me is true for many stylists and some fashion designers too: we are so busy pushing fashion for everyone else, we run out of gas and so we find our fierce thing we do and just keep doing it. And that’s ok, we still kill it. Michael Kors, for example, has said he started wearing his all Black jacket, shirt, pant, shoe, and aviator ensembles because he was so focused on thinking about what everyone else should be wearing he wanted to deliver himself from the pressure of having to always go through his closet to make a fierce look for himself Every. Damn Day. And what could be more instant chic and elegant than all Black everything? Uh, nothing. Here are the receipts:

Screen Shot 2016-01-24 at 7.33.13 PM

Michael Kors in his signature all Black ensemble.

You better WERK, Michael Kors! I totally feel the same way, and so people for whom I have shopped with/for or styled have reaped the benefits of my creativity in style way more than I have at times. One of the things I had been putting people onto for EVER were capes, on capes, on capes. I had been obsessed with capes in womenswear first, but didn’t really lose my mind about it until I saw it in evening wear when Gwyneth Paltrow and then Lupita Nyong’o slayed our entire Universe wearing a Tom Ford and Ralph Lauren gown with capes on awards season red carpets in 2012 and 2014, respectively.

gwyneth-lupita capes

Lupita and Gwyneth: The Cape Has Arisen

I never really saw wearing capes as being a thing for myself. Then this Christmas my bae bought me a gorgeous, black and white geometric print cape. And as someone who has a very defined sense of what I do and do not wear, I freaked the hell out. I loved it at first sight, but was like “ummm, not happening” and figured it would look gorgeous in my closet or to loan to someone else. But in her new book (which I am now reading) Shonda Rhimes says it’s our “Year of Yes” or as I call 2016, my “Year of Yaaassszzz” so I questioned why my fear was on autopilot with my fashion at the moment, and decided to at least try it on. And I did. And then I twirled, and twirled some more. And then I was born again.

dog twirl

 

And now all I do is go online in search of capes. The last time this happened I began buying all the caftans, not even to wear outside, but just to sit at my desk and wear when I write. Ya’ll pray for my finances, because the devil is all in my pocketbook!

Further making capes a thing for me has been I love them with clutches, which now means I spend my weekends also buying up all the clutches. My favorite place to do this is consignment stores. On one recent shopping trip I purchased these three clutches for about $40:

Clutch2

My consignment clutches. Which one do you like the most? Mine is the green.

I paired the green clutch with the cape I got for Christmas and wore it just last week. I have upcoming fashion plans for the other two, both with a cape of course.I also found this lovely clutch at a boutique in my neighborhood, and am thinking of how to rock it. Something tells me it’ll be worn with a cape too. This is becoming a problem, folks.

Clutch5

Is there an item in your closet or something you considered too out your fashion wheelhouse to give it a shot? Tweet me, Facebook me, or leave a comment and let me know what that item is and let’s chat about how you can make it work in 2016. I mean, if I am twirling around town wearing a cape and a clutch bag, anything can happen.

– edp

Fashion, History, News

Global Inspiration: Art, Fashion, and Spirituality (‘Fashion Conscious’: A Column)

January 21, 2016

by Dominique Michelle Davis (photo credit: Dominique Michelle Davis)

Over the holiday I had the opportunity to visit the Art Institute of Chicago Museum to view the Gates of the Lord: The Tradition of Krishna Paintings exhibit. The exhibit featured over 100 artworks from private and public collections in India and the United States. Unknown to me, this is the first major U.S. exhibition to showcase the unique visual culture of the Pushtimarg, a Hindu denomination from Western India. Founded in the 16th century by the saint and philosopher Shri Vallabhacharya (1479–1531), the Pushtimarg is a religious community dedicated to the devotion of Shrinathji, a divine image of the Hindu god Krishna as a seven-year-old child. What most captured my attention as I viewed the collection were the vibrant and rich colors of the mediums and textiles. The religious and artistic center of the sect is based in the temple town of Nathdwara (literally, “The Gates of the Lord”), near Udaipur in the state of Rajasthan, India. The paintings and pichvais (peach way).

DMD-ArtExhibit7

Within the past three years I’ve been drawn to spiritual teachings of Hinduism and Buddhism in search of meaning. This was an opportunity for me to explore and understand a part of Hinduism and learn more about what draws me to the teachings of Krishna. As I walked through the exhibition, literally going through the seasons within a Nathdwara year, I noticed the opulence of the pichvais (textile hangings, and miniature paintings). Gold, sequence, vibrant colors and detail of hand stitching captured my attention.

I was able to experience a story told through fabric, which brought me back to my original premise in a previous ‘Fashion Conscious’ column on Glamourtunist.com titled ‘Can Fashion Heal?’, of textile therapy as a therapeutic process for healing. Gates of the Lord comprises drawings, pichvais, paintings, and historic photographs borrowed from two major private collections in India, the TAPI Collection of Praful and Shilpa Shah (Surat, India) and the Amit Ambalal Collection (Ahmedabad, India). The textiles used to depict the Hindu god Krishna were not meant to be worn, they serve as a visual representation to be mindful of the teachings of Krishna and represent a depicted story of Krishna’s life. The elaborate detail that artisans use to construct the paintings and pichvais are time consuming because of the elaborate attention to detail that is needed to construct the pichvais.

DMD-ArtExhibit6

I wish I had the opportunity to interview one of the artists, but what I learned without such an opportunity was that the artistic practice in the Narthdwara community has been in existence for centuries. Currently, Parmanand Sharma, is the head artist called the mukhiya who works in traditional style of Narthdwara painting. Most artist in the Narthdwara community maintain a state of anonymity, however one artist within the community used his art to mass-produce paintings. Ghasiram Hardev Sharma was a mukhiya and also head of photography for the Shrinathji temple was a contemporary artist who has had great influence within the Narthdwara community.

DMD-ArtExhibit5

You never know how the muse will lead you in life, and where. This visit to view the Gates of Lord exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago has also inspired me to incorporate global awareness of artistic expression as a healing and therapeutic practice into my work. I was initially led to Buddhism and Hinduism following a chance discussion after attending the Puerto Rican Festival in the summer of 2012 with a close family friend. While there we came across a street vender selling various knickknacks. What caught my eye was a double-sided pendant. Each side of the medallion had different pictorials, one red and green, the other blue and red. Before purchasing the piece, I asked the merchant what it meant and she had no idea. I wore the necklace to work and was approached by a co-worker who immediately called out I was wearing the Om. I did some research and found that the other side was a depiction of Krishna, which led me to do further research about the culture of Buddhism and Hinduism.

DMD-ArtExhibit3

What initially attracted me to a religion of beauty were the visual aesthetics, the design, colors and gold. What may have been a superficial introduction has led me to find a deeper meaning for purpose. The power of beauty is real, and as superficial as that might sound, can have a much deeper purpose if you allow yourself to search for meaning in beauty. Inspiration can be found in all cultures and communities. This anecdotal story is just an example of how cultures may intersect, knowing or unknowingly, to provide a deeper understanding of life for the girl who just wanted a pretty pendant.

Film, News, Pop Culture, Television

On Janet Hubert, Black Hollywood, and Oscar Racism

January 19, 2016

by Eric Darnell Pritchard

Yesterday a friend text me a link to actress Janet Hubert’s  (affectionately known as “Aunt Viv,” the character she originated on the 90s sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” starring Will Smith) video message criticizing Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith after Pinkett Smith released a video to Facebook called “We Must Stand in Our Power.” In the video, Pinkett Smith discusses the problem of the lack of diversity within the Academy Awards, a program of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, for inviting Black celebrities to perform or present the awards though Black actors, writers, directors, and other professionals rarely receive Oscar recognition. Pinkett Smith ends the video saying Black people should boycott the Oscars and other such awards, and invest in the Black communities award shows and programs, indicating that she would not be watching the Oscars and sending a shout-out to her friend Chris Rock, who will be hosting.

Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 9.28.43 AM

The summary of Hubert’s major claims go something like this: 1) Jada Pinkett Smith could care less, she’s just a mouthpiece for her husband who is salty he didn’t get nominated for an Oscar, 2) Will Smith don’t care about other Black actors, which Hubert says is evidenced when he allegedly did not go get her and the rest of the cast the same raise he got when they were on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” together back in the day when he was asked by the cast to do so, and 3) the world has way more problems going on and boycotting the Oscars is inconsequential in comparison.

First, I take issue with Hubert reducing any woman, and in this case another Black woman, to being a mouthpiece for a man simply because she is expressing her opinion. The degree of misogyny and violence in this very premise is so disappointing because we all love Aunt Viv and expect more. It is also not true. Jada Pinkett Smith does have a record of being vocal about a number of sociopolitical issues going back many years, including comments on education, human trafficking, and rape culture. One may not always share Pinkett Smith’s perspective, but she is not one that has not had an opinion on a matter of social and political consequence and not said a word. She and Will Smith have hosted the BET Awards, and produced films and television shows featuring other Black artists. Pinkett Smith’s being vocal about social and political issues is not the thing that makes Hubert diminishing her as a mouthpiece problematic; what makes it problematic is that reducing her to a talking head is dehumanizing and disrespectful no matter what.

Even if Will Smith is just mad he didn’t get nominated or if Pinkett Smith is mad because of the same, it wouldn’t change the truth on which Pinkett Smith’s critique is based. This is what people need to focus on, not on whether or not we think the Smiths are ideal people to make the critique. The response to this clear problem is on everybody, not just them, and to say we don’t have to do anything about it because they are insincere in their critique and whining just because Will Smith didn’t get nominated is dangerous and politically naive. The stakes of this conversation as so much more than that, and it is an opportunity too raise people’s consciousness and get something accomplished regardless of whether or not you like the person speaking up. Also, Will Smith hasn’t said a word, Jada Pinkett Smith is the one calling stuff out.Those who pay attention to Black pop culture know that this is not uncommon with the Smiths, Jada Pinkett Smith tends to be the one paying attention and speaking out (no shade on Will). Why should Jada Pinkett-Smith’s critique be dismissed because of Ms. Hubert’s grievance with her husband?

By bringing up the fact that Will Smith didn’t get the entire cast a raise on “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air,” Ms. Hubert makes her critique personal while simultaneously accusing the Smiths of being selfish. I do not want to call her bitter, because she has the right to her experience and to share it as she sees fit. I do wish she’d find a way forward for her own wellness since this feud has been over twenty years old now, but it’s her life and her right to it. So let’s just accept as a thought project that Will Smith is everything Janet Hubert says he is, this would not be the time to make it about that unless you do so in a way that forwards the conversation about the racism of the Academy Awards at the same time seeing as though that conversation is actually getting some play in this moment. Ms. Hubert could have been like ‘I don’t like his ass because he didn’t give me no coins, but the Academy Awards are still racist and sexist …’ because she knows they are, clearly. She could even have aired him out for her grievances with him and challenged them to do more on the matter. But instead she let’s the fact that she wants to shame him get in her own way, and by extension everybody’s way, and ends up silencing his wife’s very valid critique of the industry’s racism and lack of diversity, the same industry Hubert herself is critical of in the same video.

The argument Hubert makes that what is happening with the Academy Awards is not important in comparison to all the other issues happening in the world, and those specifically effecting Black people, is the most problematic point. The issue with the Academy Awards is institutional/structural racism. That is a problem. No, Oscar Racism is not the same as police brutality. It is also not cisgender and transgender Black women, children and men being killed with impunity in the streets just because they are Black. It is not poverty. It is not a lot of things that are awful and need our attention, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t important. All these things are connected and part of the same system. It is a different head on a multi-headed monster that needs to have its head knocked clean off its shoulders for real systemic and social change to take place. These are facts.

Ms. Hubert saying “people have real problems” was a dog whistle to people who do not have the economic resources and social support of Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith to encourage people to turn their heads to the criticism of Pinkett Smith. This is dangerous because it puts people in the position of having to turn their heads to being vocal about a change that could be in their own best interest or the best interest of other people who are dealing with racism in the film and television industry, and by extension, to turn their heads to the psychological violence of a lack of representation in the industry and recognition for ones good work. It matters. It is basically a call to have us dismiss what Pinkett Smith says about the academy on the basis of them being rich and successful. The fact that they are rich is such a non factor in whether or to we call the Academy Awards out for their mess. That’s the issue at hand. Let’s all focus.

Jada-Pinkett-Smith-shares-video-on-Academy-Awards-Oscars

As for Jada Pinkett Smith’s video, I am here for much of what Pinkett Smith expresses. The Academy Awards have clear race bias when it comes to the history of nominations and awards. That bias is even more clear even comparing the number of Black men that have been nominated and/or won an Oscar to Black women. There are so many receipts to these facts it would be an insult to even have to debate anyone about it, but let me give you a few. Exhibit one, only one Black actress, Halle Berry has ever won the Academy Award for Best Actress. There is one White woman, Katherine Hepburn, who won that same award 4 times. Furthermore, outside of Hepburn the entire list of best actresses are White women.

denzel-halle-oscars

Exhibit two, someone recently commented that Halle Berry and Denzel Washington being awarded Best Actress and Best Actor in the same night in 2002 was proof that things have changed for the Academy Awards from the past, and I’m like, ummmm, NO! How many years have a White man and a White woman done that very thing year after year? Answer: Pretty much every year, the exceptions being the handful of times one of those two awardees had ben a person of color but the other was again White. And saying “a handful of times” is generous. Those are good odds, if you’re a White actor or actress in Hollywood. Not so good if you are a person of color, and certainly not if you’re a woman of color in Hollywood. So Pinkett Smith and everyone who is outraged by the Academy Awards is clearly right on this front.

Where I think Pinkett Smith misses the mark is the following. First, many Black artists and Black people have already had this very same call for Black people  to invest in our own awards shows, art programs, and so forth. Actress, comedian and producer Mo’Nique, who won an Academy Award for the film “Precious,” has said in interview that while she sees why the Oscar is so important to people for her winning the NAACP Image Award was her big moment. Many others have said and feel the same. So this is not a new observation or call. I am glad, however, that Pinkett Smith feels it is time for she and other A-list Black Hollywood people to do the same. May I suggest Pinkett-Smith and any Black actors who join her start by petitioning the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the Oscar Awards producer Reginald Hudlin, and Pinkett Smith’s friend Chris Rock? They could ask the three of them, not because they are Black but because it is right and they are in leadership roles within the Academy and Academy Awards, to make some hard decisions about how to address this problem today and not just show up to work and say “this is wrong”  but the show must go on, which is basically what they are saying. I mean, the fact that Boone Isaacs can only say she is disappointed with the lack of diversity (she said the same thing last year when the #OscarsSoWhite campaign emerged by the way, and ain’t a damn thing change!) and Rock makes a joke via Twitter about the Oscars being “the White BET Awards” (boy, bye!), shows the sea of sickness in which we are swimming when dealing with racism in Hollywood.

I also disagree with Pinkett Smith’s statement that the Academy has the right to honor and invite whomever they choose. If the decision they make is one that is discriminatory and reflection of deeply held structural racism as an institution, and clearly this is the case (see above receipts), then they do not have the right to continue as they have been. It has to stop. Saying that Black people need to invest in our own award shows is fine, but that doesn’t mean that the Academy gets to go about the business of not being accountable to diversity and social justice. No, ma’am. These things go hand in hand. Change has to come to the Academy Awards, and Black  Hollywood celebs who have valued it over the Image Awards and other Black created and operated honors need to do better. It’s not either or, it’s both and.

What I would have liked is to see not just Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee (who also announced a boycott of the Oscar’s via instagram) be the two who piped up individually, but to see Black Hollywood collectively come together and say “No more!” Imagine what it would do if Pinkett Smith, Lee, and other Black celebrities and allies wrote and signed an open letter detailing the decades of discriminatory practices within the Academy Awards and demanding change. Imagine what it would look like if the NAACP were to say, we will hold the Image Awards on the same day as the Oscars every year and ask all Black artists, Black people and other people of color and White allies to do the same. Their is precedent (though not nearly the same as what is happening with the Oscars, so I do not mean to draw a correlation of sameness) that offers a good model they might pursue. I was but a child when in 1991 when 1,603 Black women took out a full-page advertisement in the New York Times referred to as “African American Women In Defense of Ourselves.” The ad came in the wake of the hearing regarding Clarence Thomas’s sexual harassment of Anita Hill. During the hearing politicians, the media, and general public were responsible for so many historically inaccurate, pathologizing, and demonizing comments about Black women and Black womanhood that the petition these women made  helped put the voices of Black women in the center of their own stories in the public, and not continue to be misrepresented and talked over (as Hill had literally been talked over in the hearings and how Black women were and still are) in everyday life. This is what it means for people to come together publicly and say enough is enough.

Yes, one persons critique does matter on its own, but when you have the social and economic resources to draw support from others toward the good it should be used. Black Hollywood, and by this I mean the collective, are in this position, and I wish they would exercise it for the good of social change in the ways many Black people without the same social, political and economic resources do so everyday. I think Pinkett Smith knows as much given her request, but it can be more than what she has proposed and it can be organized and occur on a much larger scale.

What I do not think that Black Hollywood is willing to confront is that the racism of the Academy Awards depends on their silence and it has bought that silence for years for many of them with the promise of maybe they too winning an Academy Award if they play nice. At the very least it has promised them work (however meager that work is) if they keep their head down, mouth shut, and continue to play the game. I still believe that the only reason Viola Davis didn’t win an Oscar for “The Help” was because she did interviews talking about the lack of diversity in the industry during the period when everyone is campaigning for an Oscar. She risked it then and is still risking it now because it is the right thing to do, others should do the same they have nothing to lose whether they realize it or not because here is the truth: meritocracy, even in Hollywood, is a myth that does not and has never benefited Black excellence, so just doing the work ain’t gonna get you a thing. So, you might as well speak truth to power and sleep well, with or without an Oscar.

Black hollywood needs to look to their Black actor ancestors, in particular Paul Robeson, Ruby Dee, and Ossie Davis to name only a few, who made decisions to speak up for the truth of social injustice all over the world even when it cost them professionally, socially, and politically. In fact, today’s celebs do not even have to start by being an activist global citizen like Robeson and his wife Eslanda Goode Robeson, or getting thrown in jail for civil disobedience like Dee and Davis. They can start at home with their other A-list friends by saying enough is enough and doing something about it right where they stand.

 

 

 

Fashion

Fabric Science 101: Ethical Concerns and Purchasing Power (Fashion Conscious)

January 11, 2016

Fashion Conscious: A Column

by Dominique M. Davis

Lately I’ve been thinking about the usefulness of starting from the basics of fashion education in efforts to promote fashion awareness. An introduction to the science of textiles is of particular import give the ways that natural fibers versus  synthetic fibers certainly impact the price point of items. Thus, it is imperative to bear in mind some information about textiles in order to be aware of various ethical concerns in your fashion consumption, and also to most effectively navigate its terrain and the impact it has on your purchasing power.

Natural fibers, which originate from animals or plants (e.g. cotton, linen, wool, hemp, silk)  circumvent additional processes during manufacturing and production. Natural fibers are durable but may tend to cost more due to the quality fiber and the process of converting the fiber from its nature form into yarn or thread for ready-to-wear garments. With the development of the cotton gin by Eli Whitney, the production of plant-based fibers was streamlined and allowed the manufacturers to employ a “relatively” speedy turnaround to consumers.

A cotton gin machine. The term is short for "cotton engine."

A cotton gin machine. The term is short for “cotton engine.”

 

The production of plant fibers, however, also have ethical implications to consider. Cotton, for example, is considered to be the world’s most widely used fabric. As has been said of cotton, “perhaps no other natural product has influenced the destiny of humankind as has cotton. It has clothed nations, enslaved men and women, monopolized labor and given direction to entire industries” (science.org, 2015). Why is a question that we should continuously return to as a commitment to making ethical and sound financial decisions as consumers? From a scientific standpoint the answer  that readily comes to mind is the durability of the fiber. Cotton has an average life span of two to thirty years. This certainly does maximize your consumer purchases and wardrobe, but it may also be a reason to consider making a different choice regarding the textiles in your own wardrobe given the historical lineage linking cotton to various violences. It would of course be very difficult given the everywhere-ness of cotton, but it does not mean that making informed decisions as much as one can to choose a different textile or minimize its use to do so.

In addition to the ethical scope, there remains the question of making a decision that is wise for your pocketbook. One way to begin to maximize purchasing power of ready to wear garments is comparing the cost of the garment to the materials used to construct the garment. This is only possible, however, if one makes learning more about the materials a priority and part of your choices as a consumer of fashion. The question to ask yourself or even a retailer once that information is discerned might be ‘is the label on the garment adding to the total cost?’ If the answer to the question is yes, you can then follow with, ‘does the brand have a history of producing quality products and does the brand adhere to manufacturing and production standards?’

An option beyond natural fibers are synthetic fibers, which come with their own set of ethical and consumer concerns. Ethically, amongst other things, many synthetic fabrics are made from materials that figure negatively in matters of energy consumption and also with pollutants that are harmful to the environment. The downside, in terms of maximizing purchasing power is that some synthetic fabrics (e.g. nylon, polyester, acrylics, rayon, and spandex) tend to have various problems in terms of the durability in comparison to natural fabrics, so if you want something to last for a long period of time than you should consider purchasing the natural option. But, if you are only buying a piece for short-term use, synthetic might be a better choice for you.

Nylon-Stocking-Weave-Scanning-Electron-Microscope

A nylon stocking weave through a microscope.

Another option is also fabrics that blend synthetics, which often have a more positive impact on synthetic fabrics in that they lessen the problems with durability and other weaknesses with a synthetic fabric, while enhancing all the things that one may love about it. It is also true that some fibers are just as durable as natural fibers such as bamboo, lyocell and modal. All just food for thought in helping to increase consumer purchasing power and staying trendy in the same vein.

Glamourtunist

We’ll Return January 11, 2016. Happy Holidays!

December 28, 2015

Dear hearts,

Glamourtunist.com is taking a winter hiatus for a few weeks. We are so excited about the year to come and to all the wonderful essays, interviews, and fashion photographs we will share with you. In the meantime, we hope that you will catch up on any of our posts you may have missed and share the ones you love with your friends and family. Here’s to 2016! May it bring you and your loves ones all the joy and peace in the Universe, and the fulfillment of all of your dreams. See you on January 11, 2016 !

Love,

The Glamourtunist Team