Week In Review
In India Fashion Is a Feminist Issue |Jeena Sharma | Observer
An interesting read about a country very much holding past and present in so many ways, including in the fashion industry, where designers are struggling to present a unified message on what modern fashion should do for women, and women are in turn struggling to contextualize their relationship with fashion outside of the traditional realm.
"Traditional values rule. 'Wedding couture is the most commercially successful part of Indian fashion. It drives wish and fantasy, aspiration and expenditure...How can a country or an industry that is so completely overwhelmed by turning the woman into an obedient bride and so tied with conspicuous consumption, including seriously expensive jewelry and feasts where ritualism dominates individualism–really be supportive of the idea of feminism?'"
Fashion becomes a victim of its own oversharing | Vanessa Friedman | The New York Times
Oh how I love thee, Vanessa Friedman! She documents a number of instances this fashion month in support of her hypothesis that fashion has gone from a closed, private industry to one that feels oversharing is the key to staying afloat, which has created a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy of oversharing, mixing content with non-content, and maybe revealing that the fashion industry doesn't quite know how to capture people's attention in a sustained, meaningful way.
"Used well, it is a powerful tool. But used, not irresponsibly, exactly, but without consideration, perhaps, it can be dangerous. Sometimes a selective drip is more effective than an open tap.
Fashion has not done anything irreparable yet. But it may. We (and by “we” I mean brands as well as the people who would be brands) should all stop and think before we post. In that pause, elegance lies."
A Win in the Ground War Against Elephant Poachers in Africa | Peter Canby | The New Yorker
Apologizing but not apologizing for all the wildlife content in these weekly reviews. The environment is my issue and within that, protecting wildlife is especially so, so here we are staring at the *most* adorable picture ever of a baby elephant! I am building something of a farm in my imagination and oh my would I love to add this little one to my virtual ecosystem!
Anyway, what were we talking about? Oh! Well, I love to celebrate good news in this column (and in general) since it seems the news is so often bleak. So, this week, we're celebrating the arrest of a notorious ivory-trafficker in northern Congo.
"The arrest of a key member of the 2Pac group is a bright spot in an otherwise complicated season for African elephants. In late August, Paul Allen, the investor and philanthropist, announced the results of a “Great Elephant Census,” funded by his Vulcan foundation. The census, a two-year aerial and ground survey designed to calculate the numbers of Africa’s elephants, found them in drastic decline, having dropped by almost a third between 2007 and 2014, largely due to poaching. The survey found that only some three hundred and fifty thousand elephants remain, with more than a third of those in one country, Botswana, which, until recently, has been largely undisturbed by poaching."
TripAdvisor to Stop Selling Tickets to Many Animal Attractions | Justin Sablich | The New York Times
See what I mean? Back to elephants et al, I think this move from Trip Advisor to stop selling tickets that encourage contact between humans and wildlife, including endangered species, is such a testament to the power of corporations to create a positive, rather than detrimental, impact through their operations.
"Among its many findings was that between two million and four million tourists per year pay to visit attractions that are considered harmful to animal welfare, and that a large majority of TripAdvisor reviews for such attractions failed to mention animal welfare concerns."
You Really Need To Pay Attention To What’s Happening In Rwanda | Kate Ryan | Good Magazine
We think of global warming and immediately carbon emissions come to mind, but there is another, highly polluting class of substances, hydrofluorocarbons, which are responsible for around 8% of manmade global warming impacts. UN talks in Rwanda this week are focused on a proposal to replace all hydrofluorocarbons with cleaner alternatives.
"During the first of a series of meetings this week, United Nations Environmental Program executive director Erik Solheim said of the magnitude of these talks, 'No one, frankly, will forgive you if you cannot find a compromise at this conference. This is one of the cheapest, one of the easiest, one of the lowest-hanging fruits in the entire arsenal of climate mediation.'”
Bob Dylan's Nobel Triumph In A Time of Trump | Adam Gopnick | The New Yorker
In maybe the best thing I read this week, Adam Gopnick connects the cultural dots that link Trump for President with Dylan for Nobel.
"The essential contradiction of American life over the past thirty or so years has been that, while the right wing and forces of reaction have had everything their way politically, culturally, the left, or at least the old counterculture, has swept all before it. Dylan’s coronation by the Swedish Academy—which, it may be said, pretty much no one alive in 1965 would have then imagined possible—is just one more sign of the absoluteness of this triumph."
Double Solitude | Donald Hall | The New Yorker
This was a brief, personal essay from the writer Donald Hall, which I very much enjoyed, about the role solitude has played in his life, from his young days as a student, through two marriages and beyond.
"At eighty-seven, I am solitary. I live by myself on one floor of the 1803 farmhouse where my family has lived since the Civil War. After my grandfather died, my grandmother Kate lived here alone. Her three daughters visited her. In 1975, Kate died at ninety-seven, and I took over. Forty-odd years later, I spend my days alone in one of two chairs."
What have you read this week?
Feature image: Anita Dongre Festive 2014 Collection.