Week In Review

Week In Review

The Week in Review is a roundup of interesting, inspiring, or thought-provoking things I've read this week, covering Fashion, the Environment, and Humanity. Explicitly designed for slow Sundays.

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Fashion

Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons in Conversation | Jonathan Wingfield in System Magazine

With the fashion industry in a period of massive flux, questioning, and (hopefully) re-orienting, here's an interesting look into the minds of two of fashion's great designers and thinkers of the moment: Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons. The two go back and forth and toy around with what fashion could look like. At one point, Prada says she is interested in work that will: "broaden the horizons of what fashion can be." That makes two of us, Miuccia. Here she talks about the problem with big brands: 

"I think there’s something slightly wrong about this idea of big brands. Raf did the biggest thing by leaving [Dior] – chapeau, respect – because he probably didn’t feel comfortable anymore. Of course, Prada is my own company, so it’s my own fault that it is the size it is, but now I’m at a moment where I really want to focus on what I like, what I care about. I don’t have to care if we don’t grow enough for the market."

 

Forget Organic, Retailers Increasingly Are Turning to Sustainable Cotton | Dimitra Kessenides in BloombergBusinessweek

Cotton is one of the most environmentally taxing crops on the planet, and yet it's still ubiquitous in our wardrobes. The debate around organic cotton versus conventional cotton is expanding to include Better Cotton, from the Better Cotton Initiative, which seeks a sort of middle road. Could this be a more promising or more practical solution to reducing the negative environmental effects of cotton? 

"Over the past nine years, Ikea, Zara-parent Inditex, and H&M, among others, have signed on to the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), a coalition of farmers, garment makers, and retailers committed to producing and using sustainable cotton at accessible prices. BCI farmers are taught how to grow sustainable cotton using less pesticide and water—reducing stress on the environment—at a cost close to that of regular fiber. “That’s one of the aims, to make Better Cotton mainstream and make it available for the masses,” says Ulrika Hvistendahl, sustainability spokeswoman for Ikea. Since 2009 the retailer has increased the percentage of Better Cotton used in its products, from sheets to furniture. In fiscal 2015, 70 percent of the cotton Ikea used was Better Cotton."

 

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Environment

Photo: Robyn Beck/Getty Images

Photo: Robyn Beck/Getty Images

All I can think about environmentally these days is the travesty that is happening in North Dakota as protests by the Standing Rock tribe continue over the Dakota Access Pipeline. I cannot understand how we as a government and as corporations continue to knowingly and relentlessly devalue human and environmental life for the sake of profit. Why? And what can we, as citizens with voting power and buying power and a sense of respect for Life do about it? 

Shailene Woodley: The Truth About My Arrest | Shailene Woodley in Time Magazine

"When the Dakota Access Pipeline breaks (and we know that too many pipelines do), millions of people will have crude-oil-contaminated water. I know it is easy to be apathetic or detached from the reality that fossil fuel contamination could actually affect you and the ones you love… But hear me loud and clear: If you are a human who requires water to survive, then this issue directly involves you. Don’t let the automatic sink faucets in your homes fool you—that water comes from somewhere, and the second its source is contaminated, so is your bathtub, and your sink, and your drinking liquid. We must not take for granted the severity of this truth."

This Video From the Dakota Access Pipeline Protest Is Absolutely Nuts. A Total War Zone. | Ben Dreyfuss in Mother Jones

This is disturbing, but I found it important to put an image to what these protestors are facing as they stand up for their rights. 

Also, while we're on the subject of the DAPL Protests, here's a song released by Ruth Unger of Mike + Ruthy, two incredible musicians who happen to be close family friends, about the inextricable link between water and human life. The band writes on their Facebook page: 

"Here's a new song from the banks of the Ashokan, native Lenape land, giving thanks to our Mother Earth. Let's remember we are all part of nature and we can't live without her. The more we pollute and degrade our water the less we have to share. This song is a prayer for clean water, clean energy, and the wisdom to choose the healing path."

 

Humanity

  Photo: Susan Wright for The New York Times

 

Photo: Susan Wright for The New York Times

The Italian Winemakers' Cult | Danielle Pergament in The New York Times

As we consider the role that our consumption, whether that's fashion, or food, or drink, impact the environment, I found this delightful piece absolutely inspiring. We're actually heading to Tuscany next week and I'm hoping to visit at least one of the biodynamic vineyards mentioned in this article.

"Ms. Variara’s practices may seem unorthodox, but her method (better known as biodynamic winemaking) is becoming more and more prominent among a small cohort of Italian winemakers. It follows an ethos composed in the mind of the Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner in the early 1920s, and the tenets are fairly simple: There can be no synthetic chemicals or mechanical irrigation. A true biodynamic farm must also grow a variety of fruits and vegetables, and there have to be animals, either domestic or wild, to keep this miniature ecosystem in check."

 

Image courtesy of Skateistan 

Image courtesy of Skateistan 

Skateboarding Is Helping Kids Stay Kids A Little Longer In Afghanistan | Maija Liuhto in Good Magazine

As we think more and more about the importance of play to children's development, an organization called Skateistan is working to provide children in one of the world's hardest places to live, Afghanistan, with some time to just play, focusing in particular on children engaged in street-work. 

"Skateistan provides a safe space for youth to play and learn. Through skateboarding they develop empathy for one another and become part of a supportive community...In the skate park, youth from different backgrounds are able to form strong friendships and the novelty of skateboarding, compared to more mainstream sports, has been especially enticing for at­-risk youth."

- Hannah Bailey, Skatistan Communications Manager

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What have you read this week? 

 

Feature Photo by Alyssa Schukar for the New York Times

Sustainability, Reframed

Sustainability, Reframed

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Should Clothes Be Local?