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Photo: Minot Daily News
Norma Baker-Flying Horse is owner of Red Berry Woman, a fashion designing business that was accepted into Paris Fashion Week.

Yesterday I mentioned that APiermanSister was a blogger whose writing I admired. She says she is shy, but as far as I can tell, one of her personal characteristics is fearlessness.

As a regular visitor to and connoisseur of Paris, she had always wanted to attend Fashion Week. In a recent post, she describes how she wrangled an invitation — finding a publication back in the US that would take an article and help to justify her admission to the show as a writer.

This is from Alison’s February Minot Daily News report on designer Red Berry Woman, an enrolled member of the Mandan Hidatsa Arikara (MHA) Nation and member of the Dakota Sioux and Assiniboine tribes.

“Norma Baker-Flying Horse has been having a whirlwind of fashion success.

“ ‘I recently had a dress walk the red carpet at the Grammy’s earlier this month and I’m also preparing to show in France,’ said Baker-Flying Horse of Mandaree, Oklahoma.

“Baker-Flying Horse said she will be the only Native American who will be showing in a show for the opening of Paris Fashion Week. …

“Baker-Flying Horse’s fashion line, Red Berry Woman, incorporates Native American traditional garment styles into contemporary couture garments for both men and women. She also creates different types of Native American traditional-style garments,’ according to her Red Berry Woman website at redberrywoman.com. …

“Baker-Flying Horse also was an invited designer for the international fashion showing in Vancouver, British Columbia, during Vancouver Fashion Week this past September.

“Another event in past months includes being the designer for a fashion show in Cornwall, Ontario, where actor Adam Beach was a guest. His wife, Summer, was Baker-Flying Horse’s guest runway model. One of Baker-Flying Horse’s creations also was worn by Alice Brownotter, an activist from the Standing Rock Reservation, for an event held by actress Jane Fonda who invited young people to participate who have had leadership rolls in their community. …

“Last March Baker-Flying Horse had the special honor of having one of her fashion designs worn at the Academy Awards show, the Oscars. She was the first contemporary Native American fashion designer to have a gown worn at the Oscars.”

More on Red Berry Woman at the Minot Daily News, here, and at the Smithsonian, here. But the most fun piece to read is Alison’s blog post about crashing Paris Fashion Week, here.

Photo: kfyrtv.com
The 2018 Native American Cultural Celebration closed with a Red Berry Woman Fashion Show.

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Photo: Didem Tali
Seng Super is a co-founder of La Chhouk, a Cambodian creative fashion initiative that makes clothing out of recyclables. The group, which includes gay and straight designers, hopes to both encourage people to reduce trash and also “show people that LGBT individuals are capable of creating beautiful things.”

Never underestimate the power of a creative mind to make something lovely out of something ugly. I remember surprising myself with how much I loved certain luminous oil paintings of factories spewing out air pollution. The sad Depression-era photos of Appalachian poverty also have a certain beauty. These works draw you to them without any undertone of “poverty is good” or “pollution is good.”

In Cambodia, young designers aren’t repurposing plastic to praise it but, you might say, to bury it.

Didem Tali writes at the South China Morning Post, “Members of the recycling collective La Chhouk started with a dress made from brown rice sacks decorated with beer bottle tops and broken CDs which was later worn by a Miss Cambodia runner-up at an international beauty pageant.

“Most visitors to Cambodia are eager to see the ancient temple complex of Angkor or the beaches of Sihanoukville, but there is one sight they may want to shield their eyes from: mountains of plastic bags, bottles and styrofoam boxes. …

” ‘Plastic waste is everywhere,’ says Seng Super, a 22-year-old Cambodian designer. ‘It’s in the streets, rivers, lakes. It’s very upsetting.’

“Seng Super studied at the Royal University of Fine Arts in Phnom Penh. He was born in the 1990s, a time when millions of Cambodians were beginning to lift themselves out of extreme poverty, bringing environmental degradation in its wake.

“For many young and urban Cambodians, pollution is a huge concern. So when it was time to prepare for the university’s annual art show in 2014, Seng Super and his classmates decided to create a project that would challenge people to rethink their wasteful ways. The result, La Chhouk, is a creative fashion initiative geared towards making clothing out of trash and other recyclable materials. …

“Seng Super and his classmates wanted not only to challenge the way Cambodians think of waste, but also capture their attention in the most remarkable and elegant way. Using only recyclable materials they found in the trash, they created several flamboyant dresses of the sort usually worn by traditional apsara dancers. …

“Many people thought the goal was too far-fetched and ambitious – especially as none of them had any training in fashion. That is why the designers named their collective La Chhouk, which means ‘lotus’ in Cambodia’s Khmer language.

“ ‘The lotus is a beautiful flower that can grow in muddy or dirty waters,’ Seng Super says. ‘We thought it was a beautiful metaphor for what we wanted to do with trash and our dresses.’ …

“Last year the members of La Chhouk were given a vote of confidence for what many regarded as a wacky project when Em Kunthong, first runner-up in the Miss Cambodia 2016-17 beauty pageant, opted to wear the dress for the Miss Earth environmental awareness beauty competition held in the Philippines.

“ ‘This dress represents the perfect Cambodian woman,’ Seng Super says … ‘She’s empowered, close to the Earth and strong like a bull. She has the soul of a wild cow, which is a very important element of Cambodian identity and culture.’ …

“Since the creation of that first apsara dress, La Chhouk has gone on to design dozens of other dresses inspired by Cambodian culture and mythology. In a recent project called Saving Wild, they sought to bring attention to animals facing extinction in Cambodia, such as the Indochinese tiger, river dolphins and various bird species. Seng Super designed dresses representing these animals using plastic waste.

“The project is ongoing, and the collective recently held an exhibition in collaboration with the WWF and Tiger Beer.

“The collective’s members still hold down day jobs to pay the bills, and work on their recycled fashion projects in the evenings and on weekends.” More here.

Hat Tip: @BeingFarhad onTwitter

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We join John’s family or Suzanne’s family for Halloween on alternate years. This year, we were scheduled to hang out in John’s neighborhood, where a park at the end of the street bubbles over with festivity and John serves as the master of ceremonies for the costume fashion show.

Leading up to that event, I took pictures of the fun ways Halloween lovers decorated this year — noting, for example, the proliferation of giant spiders on houses and some upside-down zombies in an otherwise innocent-looking yard.

Suzanne’s family cut Jack O’Lantern designs using templates from the Internet. I’m posting the cute owl, but they also carved a crocodile, an octopus, and a cat.

the costume parade

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Shows how far we have come from ancestors who let nothing go to waste that making clothes out of leftover fabric is a novelty. But it’s a good idea nevertheless.

Katherine Martinko at TreeHugger writes that Beru Kids is a children’s clothing company in downtown Los Angeles that makes use of textiles that would otherwise be landfilled.

“The garment workers are mostly female,” she says, “and are paid higher than minimum wage (not per-garment, as is usual in the fashion industry).

“What’s really interesting about Beru is that it repurposes deadstock fabrics to make its clothes. ‘Deadstock’ refers to surplus fabric that has not been used by other factories. In LA, it is sent to a warehouse, where Beru’s founder Sofia Melograno goes on a regular basis to purchase whatever textiles catch her eye. Beru has also begun recently incorporating organic, traceable cotton into its garments.”

Traceability means the cotton can be traced back to its original source so it’s possible to assess whether all steps in the supply chain are environmentally and ethically sound.

Martinko adds that because the fashion industry is a huge polluter, finding a use for fabric that would otherwise get thrown away is good for the planet.

More here.

Photo: Beru Kids (via Facebook)
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If you are a scientist who wears ties, or if you know one, consider designing your own at Vermont-based Cerebella. Past design ideas have resulted in frog-skin, moon-jellyfish, pollen-tetrad, and obelia (a tiny marine animal) neckties.

At Cerebella’s blog, Lucy Partman wrote on October 13 about how she ended up Chief Curator for the company.

“I grew up in New York City … going to museums— and I mean a lot of museums —especially the Met. … My parents … are designers and own a clothing store in Manhattan so dinner table discussions often involved fabric prints, shirt designs, sizes, quantities, and window displays …

“At LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts … I went from biology to painting, from art history to calculus.

“At Yale, I tried to continue this interdisciplinary education. I majored in both history of art and biology and constantly sought to intertwine these interests, passions. For example, I worked with conservators — who work in a hybrid art studio and science lab — at the Yale Center for British Art to conserve paintings …

“I founded an organization at the Slifka Center called Slifka Arts to provide students the opportunity to curate and exhibit student art. … Shortly after the opening of an exhibit I curated at the Slifka Center called Only in a Woman: Microscopic Images by Harvey Kliman, MD, PhD — which will soon be exhibited at Brown Medical School — Ariele [Faber, Cerebella founder,] contacted me regarding the exhibit and Cerebella. Our conversation has continued ever since.” More here.

Photo: Cerebella
Frog-skin Necktie. Each Cerebella textile pattern is designed by finding inspiration under the microscope.

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Erik sent along this lead, and John sent it to him. Both are guys who started tech companies, and I’m learning that requires a certain kind of attire.

To signal you are a laid-back but savvy entrepreneur, wear cool socks.

Claire Cain Miller and Nick Bilton write at the NY Times, “For barristers in 18th-century London, it was shoulder-grazing wigs. For the Mad men of 1950s New York, it was briefcases and fedoras. For the glass-ceiling-shattering women of the 1980s, it was shoulder pads.

“And for today’s tech entrepreneurs in high-flying Silicon Valley, it is flamboyantly colored, audaciously patterned socks.

“In a land where the uniform — jeans, hoodies and flip-flops — is purposefully nonchalant, and where no one would be caught dead in a tie, wearing flashy socks is more than an expression of your personality. It signals that you are part of the in crowd. It’s like a secret handshake for those who have arrived, and for those who want to. …

“Some say the craze took hold because socks are an acceptable shot of flair in a dressed-down, male-dominated culture — and peek out when entrepreneurs present their latest apps onstage at the tech world’s frequent conferences. Others offer a perhaps more universal explanation. ‘Girls notice,’ said Matt Graves, 37 …

“Travis Kalanick, 35, co-founder and chief executive of Uber, the on-demand taxi service, began wearing statement socks at his previous company, which sold software to businesses.

“ ‘I started having to suit up for meetings with Fortune 500 companies,’ said Mr. Kalanick (his favorite: hot pink). ‘I wanted to keep a little of my geeky computer engineering flair without people thinking I was nuts.’  …

“Sometimes I will even browse the women’s section and get the XXL, because they have all the fun colors,” said Andrew Trader, 42, an investor at Maveron who helped found Zynga. (He is partial to wool socks with bright stripes as well as a pair with an American flag pattern.)”

Read more at the NY Times, here, and check out their slide show.

Erik adds, “And here is a Swedish retail start-up (featured in article) that apparently designs and sells them.”

I can’t tell you how happy I am to know about socks. Father’s Day gifts for the men in the family are settled for the foreseeable future.

Now, can I give Suzanne, the Luna & Stella entrepreneur, socks as gifts, too?

Photo: Peter DaSilva for The New York Times

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