#FashionFilter: Fashion Ethics Issues

Juliana Jabour duo
Juliana Jabour (Brazil) duo

 

 Hello TRIBE!

I miss you! I’ve been busy registering and prepping my pilot run of 12-week Fashion Design Semester online course and it’s been eating up a lot of my time.   I am so EXCITED as I’m connecting with each new student  and meeting new artists and designers from around the world.   Pinch me, please, am I dreaming? (For more information about the course here on this site, check the Fashion Design Online Course page.   Please share this post if you know someone ready to commit to their dream for 12 weeks of pretty intense study and development in fashion drawing and design.

This has been a year of many transformations and projects as FashionIllustrationTRIBE comes to life.

My current timeline rundown:

Online course development has been intense since January!  Register here.

Summer course registration is open for Beginner/Level One.  Register early to receive your supply kit on time, ESPECIALLY IF SHIPPING OUTSIDE THE U.S.!

February 1, 2014  marked the release of my BOOK, the Language of Fashion Design, on Rockport.  I wrote this book from September to April 2013 (research and manuscript) with edits through December.  This was the publisher’s timeline, and was INTEEEEEENSE! I learned so much, I’m just busting to put out another book at the next level with all of the learning and connections I made during my research.  One of the most exciting parts of that journey was re-connecting with students and global design.  One of the most disheartening was the lack of diversity in race, size, and age in fashion presentations , as well as styles…. I find the smaller companies are doing much more unique things these days and have place my heart there.

April 7, 2014: at Wix Lounge in Chelsea, NYC, #fashionfilter, hosted by Francisca Pineda and Ethical Fashion Academy , Ethical Fashion Academy workshops in Costa Rica (that’s what I’M talking’ about!!), and Creative Director of Bhava luxury fashion footwear,  (and fellow B-Schooler and Parsons Fashion alum) has invited me to speak on a panel she has organized.  I’m am thrilled to the gills to meet Francisca and talk with her about images in fashion production, the responsibility within the schools, body images in the media, race, age, and size diversity. The discussion will also discuss sustainability and artistic process.

The conversations I had with Francisca that sparked the panel creation started when she posed a question about ethics in fashion. I was prompted to send her what had been on my mind first and foremost, especially after having researched so much of the world’s fashion weeks for my book.

One: I have refused to teach ANY unrealistic proportions ANY MORE  in my Parsons classes.  I no longer enjoy sharing my portfolio from my own college days with students, because the models are so elongated and thin that I, with my eyes now opened, am not comfortable viewing them or promoting those kinds of images with my students (98percent female student body- no pun intended).  More on that to come.  To illustrate, here is one of my old illustrations (another spontaneous pun):

super-skinny was the norm when I was studying fashion design in the nineties
super-skinny was the norm when I was studying fashion design in the nineties

Laura Volpintesta Fashion Illustration Tribe Jersey group sportswear portfolio 1995

Here is the “YOU ARE NOT A SKETCH” anti-anorexia campaign launched by Star Models in Bahia, Brazil, speaking out against fashion sketches common practices.   I applaud them here for taking typical fashion sketches and translating them directly into human forms to clarify what the sketches are saying.  Unfortunately, we have distorted Photoshop images to contend with now, too.

Star Models "you are not a sketch" campaign

Those images are pretty disturbing!  But truth be told. I wrote some posts on the subject of fashion body distortion proportions.

Here is Iman, Naomi Campbell, and Bethann Hardison’s Diversity coalition tackling and addressing the lack of diversity (dwindling since the 70s 80s) and speaking UP to make a change.  We all can make change in our place, even if we aren’t industry leaders (yet.)

Speaking for change MAKES you a leader!  With many teammates!!

Raised on American Elle Magazine in the mid to late 80s, I was accustomed to the beauty and joy of seeing an array of nationalities, colors, and body types in the models, issue after issue. I always found these images exciting, healing, happy to see races gathered up like a bouquet of flowers. I was well aware of fashion media’s power to brainwash visually and was loving that aspect of WORLD beauty, one love, one planet one world, one race of humans.

As far as I’m concerned, when a business gets that big, it has a sense of social responsibility. I would be embarrassed NOT to feature diverse models, without a doubt. But as an artist, a designer, a human, a musician, a woman, an American, I have never made a single move that wasn’t influenced and lifted by African heritage, people, and culture, so it’s terribly important to me. But the fact is, it’s terribly important to all of us. Likewise with overseas production. When we hurt, exclude, or take advantage of others, we are hurting ourselves. We don’t do that when we feel good. Fashion ethics issues matter.  Am I right or am I right??? ;0)

In the meantime, I recommend (as I heard Rha Goddess say in an interview with Gabrielle Bernstein the other day) “consuming from products and services/ patronizing companies that AFFIRM LIFE”. Do not buy from brands that don’t reflect you. Stop thinking that there is something wrong with you, your body, your skin, your shape, your family life, when the message comes from the outside. It’s that fashion system that is missing out on YOUR beauty.  Not only that, but have you stopped lately to really let the production system realities sink in? Google #insideout #fashionrevolutionday.  Who made your clothes? Shop local, shop small.  Remember that the person making your clothes—– is you.  Fashion ethics issues are about being informed, and making choices that you can feel good about, as well as spreading the education that improves women’s lives worldwide.

If you want to find fashion images that excite and reflect your life and TRULY AFFIRM your life and make you SMILE (it’s no wonder runway models looks so sad most of the time), go onto Pinterest or Instagram or Google and start finding artists, companies, and designers who ARE creating those images. Collect them. Follow them. Shout out their names. Write about them. Illustrate them. Patronize them. Publicize them.

JOIN MY CLASS AND DRAW THEM yourself!! Create your own images!! 

Get involved! It’s a movement.

Love you so much!
Laura
SHARE! COMMENT!! Get fired up! Work it out!

What is beautiful to you?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Get started today!

When you SUBSCRIBE FOR E-MAIL UPDATES, offers, and news from me,

You also get a thank-you gift package to enjoy RIGHT NOW.

Whether you want to go deeper into FASHION DESIGN or FASHION ILLUSTRATION,

I know you will enjoy what I've created for you.

  • Beginner Model Drawing video lesson customizable for all body types 
  • PDF ebook download "101 Fashion Design Inspiration Prompts"- includes croquis templates for creative design idea sketching
  • Video "9 Top Fashion Design Resource Books"