How THOUGHT can stand up to VIOLENCE: On V-Day

On a fashion note, I've been wearing this bow sideways for a few days now! Wear your headbands sideways (across the back of your head instead of over the top) to reinvent the ubiquitous accessory.

This was going to be a fashion week post, but there's been an intervention! I went to an incredible performance of the Vagina Monologues today, and in honor of V-Day, and everything it stands for, I wanted to draw your attention to a slightly different subject today: Stopping Violence Against Women!

V-Day was started as a movement against violence against women and girls across the globe, more than ten years ago. V stands for "Victory, Valentine, and Vagina." Far more than a purely fundraising or prevention effort, it has educated millions, and continuously fought for the rights of women to feel safe, beautiful, and powerful.

The beautiful centerpiece from our table, program, and a mint-chocolate pussy pop!

This production featured 16 volunteer actors, who read monologues written by actual women interviewed about their vaginas and experiences. Some of the stories were absolutely hilarious, from the "dominatrix sex worker" whose job was to elicit moans from other women (accompanied by on-the-spot demonstration of all the varying types of moaning) to the "72-year-old" who hadn't checked "down there" since 1954.

But the most powerful monologues were the stories about abuse, and more significantly- unspeakable sexual violence being conducted on a global scale. The emphasis this year is on the Democratic Republic of Congo, where a complete violation of human nature has been happening for 12 years. The kind of things happening over there are hardly comprehensible. 9-month babies raped....pregnant women slaughtered along with their premature fetuses...

What kind of 21st century are we living in, where this is allowed to happen?

How have I been so blind? Not only has this war been condoned for more than a decade, but the root of it is a battle for Congo resources that currently feed our modern technology. How many people in our country are aware that HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of women have been brutalized in the process of producing our cell phones?

No matter where you are in life, how old you are, or what country you live in: this is an issue cannot be ignored.

Personally, my work addresses the fundamental. I believe the most significant and long-lasting change is conducted at the foundational level. My personal work addresses the way people think, and eradicating ignorance. The very fact that such reprehensible acts are committed is a flaw in human thinking. The fact that soldiers, who are human and came out of their mothers' bodies, can participate in violating the most basic of human tenets- the dignity of existence itself- is, I believe, the most dangerous philosophical error that stands today.

The only thing that comes close is the ability of our developed nations, governments, and individuals to blatantly ignore the issue.

I am grateful to V-Day for bringing these issues to light, for me. And I wanted to share them with you all, in hope of raising awareness, and perhaps even inspiring someone to take action. We can all fight in our own way, be it speaking out for those in need, volunteering, or standing up for ourselves.

"When you bring consciousness to anything, things begin to shift."
-Eve Ensler, founder of V-Day

Other noteworthy quotes by Eve:

"We focus on fixing our bodies. We spend $40 billion a year on beauty products. What if we actually took that money, took that time, took that energy and started fixing the world?"

"Be bolder, speak louder, give everything. ...The door is open. It's as if we have one limb through, now if we can get our bodies through, it will never close again."


One of the best ways to begin is to be confident in your own selves! On a related note, I have started practicing Kundalini Yoga, which is a form of yoga about focusing the mind and honoring the self, engaging with a higher consciousness. It has been invigorating so far, after only two classes. I highly recommend it if you ever get the chance!

"May the long-time sun shine upon you.
All love surround you, and the pure light within you guide your way on."
-"Long Time Sun," traditional Irish blessing & ending song to every Kundalini class


Through self-empowerment, we become capable of bringing light to the world. Always embrace the potential within you! I may be an idealist, but if the world's thinking shifts even one individual at a time, I believe that even the most dire of problems will be dissolved.

Would love to hear what you all think on these important issues.



The mind-body relationship

Fashion is more than just clothes. I think most appreciators of the craft, and anyone who has given some thought to the matter beyond getting dressed in the morning, would agree. Certainly within the art/design world, and in the context of why I study apparel design, this definition of what fashion is not underlies everything.

But what is it, exactly? What does it have the capacity to inform, suggest, reveal? How does it specifically transcend bodily adornment and connect to the intellectual, even spiritual?

"If humankind eats what it is, it often thinks what it wears."
-S. A. M. Adshead

A huge variety of sources have been informing my thoughts lately... Fashion theory books, the latest shows, articles in my English/Medicine hybrid class on the way the mind-body dichotomy lessens the medical field's understanding of suffering, my own design work in the new semester...

The Fall 2010 presentations have produced some spectacular aesthetics spanning three cities thus far. Rather than try to encapsulate them all in this post, I'm going to go with this conceptual train of thoughts and highlight a few collections that have excited both visually and intellectually.

A purely aesthetic freight may follow in a day or two :)

- FALL 2010 -

Starting with the most recent....Rei Kawakubo for Comme des Garcons! A designer I respect immensely, not only for her daring sculpural and asymmetrical moves, but for her highly developed thought-processes. She may leak only a word (or two, as Style.com is keen on pointing out), but the depth is always obvious here.

Described as "internal decoration," I can definitely see where she's going here. The odd shaping and collage of forms is not something you would ordinarily find on the body. Yet they aren't completely radical or futuristic in any way. The innovative yet organic feeling can be derived from something that is innately familiar- what's inside of us. Why should our skin get all the adornment, right?

Look at this incredible manipulation! Most designers would fall apart trying to put these together (no pun intended) in some cohesive way. But it's Kawakubo's intense vision and conceptualizing that carries the techniques.

An old exhibition catalogue I read lately highlighting the designer actually spoke about the "synthesis of comprehension and aesthetic" in Kawakubo's work. If only this marriage was more frequently discussed in the fashion industry!

The global-warming commentary provided by Charles Anastase isn't obvious from the get-go with these above looks, which is where I think he most succeeds. I admire his willingness to tackle the political on a higher level- through concept, this one being the mixing-up of seasons.

Some of his other designs were too literal, which didn't serve his clever idea or the eye. The fresh unexpected cuts expressed the unnatural blossoming much better than the blotchy prints or stifling ruffly poofs. And I like ruffles.

Ah, Rodarte. Their keenness of vision and unusual ability to realize their avant-garde designs always get me, if the romantic sensibility doesn't first. They dreamt up a series of sleepwalkers (pun intended this time) based on a trip to a border-city in Mexico. And that is what separates them from the pack. So many other designers would have simply stayed with the surface aesthetics and not even tried to push the concept further. I'm looking at you...and what's this? You again?

Anyway, the faint florals and quaint wrapping came together quite simply. I marvel at the unpretentious way such delicate and unique separates often look like they can just be pulled on. Did I mention I absolutely love the wrapping? And not just because I used a similar technique in my latest illustrated collection. Of course not.

Love. Something about swathing the body with such protective delicacy really suggests some kind of mind-body barrier, to me. Be it further separation, or an investigation of potential breaking-down of such barriers, is the in eye of the beholder.

Sorry about the infrequent posts lately! The spring semester just started last week, not that it's any kind of excuse for lack of inspiration. But I promise- more to come, soon!

In the meantime, please offer up any thoughts you have on the collections, and the nature of fashion at large! I hope I wasn't too abstract with my ideas in this post. Would love to hear what you guys think.