Week In Review
Howdy! Here's the roundup of interesting things I read this week.
Rick Owens Takes Fashion To Another Dimension | The New York Times
Vanessa Friedman explores how environmental themes ran through three collections presented at Paris Fashion Week: Rick Owens, Hussein Chalayan, and Balmain. She credits Mr. Owens for a particularly beautiful and thoughtful collection that questions our relationship with a changing climate. Whether designers should take a stance on climate change, Ms. Friedman writes:
Designers should be as passionate on this subject as any scientist (or politician, for that matter). Certainly, it has affected their business in a visceral way.
I was inspired by this interview with American-Ethiopian designer Abai Shulze, who believes that a fashion company can promote local jobs, use local resources, and serve as a rung on the economic development ladder. Of her company, ZAAF, she says:
ZAAF was conceived with the goal of creating new economic opportunities by leveraging local resources. Thus, we source our leather and textiles from Ethiopia. We have our own facility in the country that allows us to experiment with different techniques and designs as well as invest in our team so we could establish a strong foundation to create a sustainable company.
This was an interesting and important piece about taking a different approach to protecting elephants: legalizing the ivory trade rather than banning it. The UN implemented a ban on ivory trading in 1989, but in 2008, legal trade resumed again, and has since been banned. Both legalizing it and banning it have carried negative consequences for elephant populations. So, what's the best way forward? The article includes opinions from a number of conservationists and academics who share their point of view.
Whether or not legal sales of otherwise illegal products will undercut harmful black markets is a classic question in economics. It seems to have worked when the US repealed the prohibition of alcohol and legal booze flooded markets previously dominated by bootleggers. It’s less clear whether it is working in places that have experimented with legalising (sic) marijuana or prostitution. Will it work for ivory? This question pits two sets of economic theories against each other.
Oh, Scandinavia. How I love thee! Here Sweden goes again leading the way with, well, everything, but more specifically this time, thinking about high level policy that could promote a more reasonable approach to consumption. The ruling party in Sweden has put forth a proposal to implement tax breaks for Swedes who repair clothes (wink), shoes, and bikes. The tax cuts would be offset by a tax increase on certain resources that go into making new products. I'll follow up when I hear whether the measure passed. Until then, can we take a moment to acknowledge the power of good, common sense policy and a government that's functional enough to act in its own best interest?
"If we want to solve the problems of sustainability and the environment we have to work on consumption...One area we are really looking at is so-called ‘nudging.’ That means, through various methods, making it easier for people to do the right thing."
- Per Bolund, Swedish Minister for Financial Markets and Consumer Affairs
As countries and citizens alike struggle with ways to stem ISIS's tide of violence globally, here's a reminder from someone at the front lines: humanitarianism can have a role. Davey Gibian, Co-Founder of the Heraion Foundation, is taking a longer-term view of the needs, particularly of women and children, living under ISIS control in Iraq. Working to deliver material aid, education, and employment opportunity, Gibian is committed to stabilizing and nurturing young lives so that the grip of ISIS weakens over time.
Obviously, a threat as serious as ISIS demands a military response. That being said, it seems we as a country have lost sight of the confluence of factors contributing to this threat that demand our attention as well. Putting too much emphasis on a militarized solution, Gibian concurs, creates a blind spot that prevents us from understanding extremism’s network effects. To put it plainly, it’s like throwing a bucket of water on a forest fire. You might solve one part of the problem, but without a comprehensive plan in place, it will continue to adapt and evolve.
How Morality Changes in a Foreign Language | Scientific American
I'm always fascinated with how languages can impact our human experience. Here's an interesting piece that pulls together research suggesting that multilingual people respond differently to moral dilemmas based upon which language the dilemma is presented in.
What then, is a multilingual person’s “true” moral self? Is it my moral memories, the reverberations of emotionally charged interactions that taught me what it means to be “good”? Or is it the reasoning I’m able to apply when free of such unconscious constraints? Or perhaps, this line of research simply illuminates what is true for all of us, regardless of how many languages we speak: that our moral compass is a combination of the earliest forces that have shaped us and the ways in which we escape them.
Finally, in non-news, that is also good news, Ina Garten, culinary north-star, aesthete, Hermès aficionado, and part-time Parisian has vindicated me and my cilantro-hating tendencies by sharing that cilantro is one of the things she most dislikes in Vanity Fair's Proust Questionnaire. Get me some good wine and let's celebrate!
What have you read this week?
Feature Image Carl de Souza/AFP/Getty Images via The Guardian.