Tag Archives: fashion industry

The issue isn’t with Europeans.

The issue is within The Mindset.

I’ve been discriminated against on job interviews from what we call, People of Color.

One incident was even after I was hired! The Persian woman I worked for at Silver Textiles in LA, said they had to “let me go” because she thought that I would not grasp how to do things there. This was something that clearly existed only in her mind and her perception of me. Whether her perception was based on me being a Black Woman or an Introvert or the very likely combination of the two which somehow rendered me inferior to keep the position. I knew that her statement was coming from a biased place and I challenged her by repeating what she had just told me so that she could hear herself and how stupid she sounded. I repeated, “You are letting me go because you think that I will not be able to grasp the computer programs you use.” Like you are not even going to train me. Like this isn’t even a fact because I was not even given the chance to complete the job because I never started on the work that she thought I couldn’t handle! What preconceived notions existed in her mind to make her believe such a thing?! I’ve never received a complaint from her while I was there but suddenly her thoughts are now an issue. You got that last part? HER THOUGHTS ABOUT ME WAS THE ISSUE!!! I did nothing to her, I had not damaged her company! I did no wrong!

Another incident was from an Asian woman that I interviewed with at Claire’s Corporate Headquarters. She told me that I need to be fast-paced. She looked at my portfolio and told me that I would have to work faster. THIS WAS AN INTERVIEW! I was not even working there, all I did was sit down in the chair and explain my experience! How could she just look at my work an determine that I worked to slow?!!! She had never seen me work or my work pace. She only just met me for about 3 minutes! See? There it is again. Something that existed in her mind about me before I even walked through the door. Now who is me? I was just a category in her eyes. Something to be judged, not perceived or learned. She didn’t take the time to get to know me. To interview me. She sat there and judged me, from previous dialogue within herself about people who look like me. She even implied that I would be slow at working because I am from the Mid-West. She said, “this company runs like New York, we aren’t a slow pace Midwestern company.” I told her that I worked in a fast pace environment before when I interned at White House Black Market in Florida. She then actually let these words come out of her mouth, “You don’t know how fast-paced, it is you don’t know!” Mind you her tone was off when she was saying all of this to me. Nearly shouting and talking AT me and not to me. [At this point I just think she had a slight mental illness, although discrimination is a mental illness.]

So as you can see,

it is a mindset.

A dis>ease of the mind.

The mind is not at ease.

It is filled with uneasiness about people they don’t know.

I kind of fear. A distrust.

A damaging interaction.

A distraction,

from all things that really matter.

Now does All lives matter?

Not if you treat me this way, by ignoring my pleas, my cries for help.

What about my well-being? Does my life TRULY matter to you?

You don’t care whether I live or die?

Have a home or homeless.

Sick or healthy.

Rich or unwealthy.

What about my well-being?

This is more than just a job.

in this society.

The people I would pay rent to have no compassion.

That’s why homelessness exist.

How am I suppose to live?

L I V E my L I F E.

Not just be alive, hope not to get shot by police.

But actually L I V E my day-to-day life?

M y   D a y   t o   D a y    L i f e .

 

 

#BlackOutBlackFriday & #BuyBlackFriday

I think now is definitely the time for black people to start rebuilding ourselves a stronger economic standing in our own communities through supporting and starting more black owned businesses. Now is a good time because African American’s #BuyingPower is projected to reach 1.1 trillion by 2015 [Black Enterprise HuffPost]. Now is the time because of everything that is happening here in America this 2014 thanksgiving holiday week with the protests, #BlackOutBlackFriday and more urging to support Black biz with #BuyBlackFriday . I think the black communities have been quiet long enough about this, we need to get serious and take action about these things for the sake of our families “thrivival” in America.

Now is the time also because of the recent allowance of qualifying undocumented Immigrants to be allowed to work. Speaking from my own experiences, while living in LA and job hunting I noticed a huge divide in job placements. I noticed a lot of job listings requesting or preferring the candidate to be bilingual in either Spanish or of a particular Asian language dialect. I also noticed on some interviews I was able to acquire that a large majority of the workers was of one particular ethnicity. One experience that sticks out in particular to me was when I went to an interview in a part of the Fashion District.The majority of the wholesale businesses in that area were Asian Owned and mostly all of the men moving/loading boxes for shipment were Latino. With such a striking visual of that I knew that me getting the job was highly unlikely. Incidents/situations/experiences/realities like this makes me think, why are there so few black owned businesses? I can understand cultural differences that would render a person to consider hiring one over the other; because of this realization we black people seriously need to employ ourselves!

One other incident that affected me the most was when I was hired to work at an apparel wholesaler in LA. The owners were Persian (they constantly argued with each other in their language) and all the seamstresses were Mexican. It was a small company and one of the assistants was Mexican, she was always asked by the owners to communicate with the others because they spoke little English. The other woman was White and she was the designer in charge (she was your typical Devil Wears Prada character with a nasty attitude who spoke down to you; but that’s another story). So two weeks into me being there a new person showed up, she was Mexican. Uncomfortable situations began to occur; like there wasn’t an open computer for her to work on so she was allowed to share a computer with me. She and another Mexican girl there began to do the work that I was previously assigned to do (the other girl only spoke Spanish and did not have a degree in design, and I think was being paid far less than me to do the same work). The designer began to intrust her with communications to the seamstresses because she was bilingual. I already intuitively knew what was about to happen. In my mid 20s and a College graduate I should not have had to experience my first layoff. It was horrible, because the owner first tried to make it like it was something wrong with me when it was actually her foul hiring error. I questioned her calmly about every excuse why I didn’t “fit” the position that she obviously saw me fit for because she hired me until she finally gave me the old downsizing excuse. My lady-like, calm, and to-the-point approach did work because she eventually admitted that I was a good worker because I came to work on time every morning and had good work ethics (quoting her she said I was “good people”) but still let me go after less than 3 weeks on the job. Smh.

From that experience alone I know it’s time for some new moves to be made because this is ridiculous. I know there has got to be more stories out there like this that are not being heard. Issues like young Millennials in college debt and unemployment is a huge hindrance. Of course the betterment of our communities will not happen over night but if we all can get on one accord again like I believe we use to we can make things better for ourselves and our future generations like our ancestors did for us. Let us continue the legacy Black People.

Apparel Industry and Cultural “Inspiration”

From a Tumblr Post: dynamicafrica

Found whilst going through my bookmarked links, I don’t recall how I came about Pikolinos and Olivia Palermo collaboration egregiously and lazily titled ‘Maasai Project’, but after reading through the website’s description and looking at the horribly styled safari and animal print lookbook featuring Palermo and Kikanae Ole Pere (or “William as he is known in the western world” – their words not mine), a Maasai community leader, I am sorry I ever stumbled upon this sight.

Pikolinos, a global shoe brand based in Spain, has employed Palermo as their ambassador for their Maasai Project – a sustainable fashion initiative that has tasked itself with improving the lives of Maasai people. A project that they claim has ‘sowed the seed of hope in the heart of Africa’.

Yes, because before there were white Europeans, hopelessness and despair was the order of the day in deep dark Africa and we were incapable of living fruitful and rewarding lives. Oh and, here’s some news: Kenya is the ‘heart of Africa’ (who the hell comes up with these ridiculous labels?!).

Aside from white saviourism, Pikolinos doesn’t give much reason for their particular interest in Maasai people and culture. However, foreigners and fashion brands seem to have a particular obsession with Maasai and Samburu aesthetics – from J. Crew and Louis Vuitton, to Emilio Pucci and Thakoon, so this is really nothing new. Then there are campaigns such as these that just don’t make sense on any level.

False claims of empowerment are instead rebranded with neo-colonialist imagery and statements that completely strip away any agency from the Maasai people.

This is not a stab at sustainable fashion but rather at the type of rhetoric and imagery that mars efforts that might otherwise be a step in a more positive direction.

It’s clear that not everyone’s read or heard of Binyavanga Wainaina’s ‘How Not to Write About Africa’.

chocohawlic:

The Maasai culture itself is so damn rich and iconic. One look at the first picture and I knew these disgusting white people were using the Maasai. The Maasai don’t even need this damn “help”. They’re one of the strongest and most resilient group of people and have been consistently praised for their farming techniques that allow them to have bountiful harvests in extremely dry and desert land.

In fact, the only major threat to the Maasai was colonialism. In fact the Maasai were known for being such fierce warriors and having such a strong stance against slavery (they NEVER enslaved people), that it was common belief that all Maasai land shouldn’t be even walked on by enslavers.

Fuck this campaign and fuck white people treating all African cultures as a trend.

tamzlavender:

This is precisely my concern with the apparel industry! Constantly we see tribal | ethnic styles, prints, patterns “trending” and they are, for the most part, always owned\operated\designed by these large corporations\industries where the only ethnic people involved are waaaay in the background and only used for inspirational purposes. I really am tired of seeing this imagery. It really shows you how tied-up\rigged-up this “system” is. Because this is the stuff that gets promoted. There are so many African designers in Africa and we never see their designs promoted like this. We are constantly being shown -this is the standard, the only way ethnic people can be seen (used). So many things have been taken and relabeled as inspiration for the profit of this greedy gold-digging humans that distort and misuse cultural exchange. We NEED to be talking about this.. Seeing this perspective. Because this is a reality. This is reality…