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Slave to Fashion kickstarter Campaign

The last several months have seen us pass through two periods that profoundly affect me. The first was Earth Day, a time to reflect on our place in the world and how we promote balance with our natural environment. Linked to that was Fashion Revolution Week. All revolutions are made up of small meaningful steps we take every day. That is as true of revolutions in fashion as it is of politics.

determined postivity Natasha Taneka
Take your first step!

Following my passion of helping revolutionise the global fashion industry, through my time as a volunteer with Trusted Clothes, I have had the opportunity to learn about how some of those first steps are taken which are making a change for the better.

Two interviews we at Trusted Clothes carried out with Safia Minney, a prominent British social activist and pioneer in the sustainable fashion movement, and Graphic designer and communications strategist Matt Morgan of Fact Studio really brought home how critical the change that is needed is.

The team of four (and an army that believes in the cause) are working presently on a project called “Slave to Fashion”, part of a new campaign to create a book and micro-documentaries to give consumers an opportunity to be part of the change that has been highlight in the past few weeks. The team has the best people with heart and strong subject knowledge to deliver a transformative strategy to lead the fashion industry towards better fair business practices and transparent supply chains. 

When confronting something as extensive and integrated with the global economy and leisure practices it can seem like you can’t make a difference. From your phone, however, or computer you can take the journey and make a difference to reach a fashionable future where slavery has no place.

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The imagery of the book really captivated me, as it’s simple but subversive design drives the message that fashion can come out of the shadows of slavery and that “fashion can be used to empower workers – whilst creating, beautiful, competitive and accessible fashion.” The campaign ends soon but you can take your first step on the road to revolution by pledging now.

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It’s important, whether you are someone passionate about improving the lives of your fellow man, or whether you simply love sporting the newest style fashions in your community, we should all take part in educating ourselves, on our train rides to work, our lunch breaks or when reading and winding down before bed. You don’t have to be a committed full time activist to be a revolutionary.

We want you

Following “Slave to Fashion” the campaign will move on to documentaries and new publications which will inspire us all to walk the walk of what is a complex issue. Listen to Safia and Matt talk with us why this campaign is so important for businesses and consumers.

What Safia and the team are offering us is a new way to engage via pledging on kickstarter. Time is short….get to the site below and pledge what you can to end slavery in fashion.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/947623622/slave-to-fashion

#slavetofash

Natasha Taneka

Collaboration with Aperio films

Featured

Retro Fashion and Feminism

Bought my first retro super feminine dress from Collectif and absolutely love the dress. It’s a green wiggle dress with fun black polka dots.  I have always been interested in old hollywood elegance and movies like Grease, but thought the fashion style belonged in the past. This is because I associated that era with how limited women’s rights were and didn’t want to be a collaborator in women’s oppression. This is probably why it took so long for me to delve in to the 1950’s fashion world,but boy am I ready now!

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Dress : Regina Polka Flock Dress from Collectif  Shoes: Black Heels from Guess by Marciano 

This new passion gave me the opportunity to sit down and think what is really putting me off about classic romantic silhouettes. After having a long think, I concluded it was mainly two things. I felt I would not be a feminist if I wore cloths in the style of women who had no other choice but to wear such clothing for the ‘male gaze’. Secondly, I was personally not fully comfortable with all my natural curves being visible, so my style tended to focus on hair and shoes.

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After further thought, I decided being a feminist to me is about being body positive, and having the choice to adorn your body in whatever manner I wanted without fear of judgement from society. I kept in mind the cultural context in which the retro fashion was created, whilst acknowledging how liberating it was for me to wear them. Embracing my pinup measurements instead of hiding them allows me to exercise agency to be confident and glamorous.  In addition, I really cherish how the retro community is very inclusive as it has all sizes of people able to participate and radically encourage confidence.

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I absolutely love modern vintage glamour outfits, make up, and hair styles. There are now so many stores available and fatale women that bring inspiration and joy to this growing fashion sub culture. For a dose of enchanting vintage style, I follow Angelique NoireForever AmberJenny Rieu and Chicago Chic.

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 Retro fashion can also force us to reflect and see what truly inspires us about our past and what aspects of it we want to carry forward. Fashion has a beautiful position that can invite you to recognize, engage, appreciate and enjoy the body you have. This dress is my nod to femininity, fun, and body positivity.

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Wrap it Up …keep warm and still slay them ….. Global Fashion Inspirations

Sometimes as we have the same friends, same social network accounts we follow …we at times unknowingly limit our sources of inspiration. Sometimes the internet lands you on a website that is new and if willing it can take you on a ride. This is what happened to me this afternoon, although I don’t cover my hair daily for spiritual reasons, I enjoy a very well wrapped cloth around the head every once in a while. It’s perfect for me on bad hair days or when I’m feeling regal. Yes, when I work that scarf on my head, I feel like royalty!

African Queen

Here are a few ladies that look magnificent and fiercely beautiful with their headgear and fashionably modest. Not long ago, the fashion for a majority of women and men was to not display a lot of skin, and that has changed. However the fashion below is refreshingly artistic and can keep you warm! Its a nice break from all that skin, bones and meat in the media. There is extra effort and love in their unique looks that we can all enjoy and possibly incorporate into our wardrobe.

Layered Spin to revitalize that hat!

Incorporate your pearls with it

Purple Everything with Pink Frames!
Purple Everything with Pink Frames!
Get out of my way!!!
Get out of my way!!!
No boundaries here....amazing Lolita combo!
No boundaries here….amazing Lolita combo!
Statement colours...layered powerful perfection!
Statement colours…layered powerful perfection!
So many styles ...so many tutorials...go on and wrap it up!
So many styles …so many tutorials…go on and wrap it up!
Pink!
Pink!
World cant stop me now!
World cant stop me now!
Soft touch of Strength
Soft touch of Strength
She makes drinking coffee look so darn cool!
She makes drinking coffee look so darn cool!
Rich colours and fabrics.
Rich colours and fabrics.
Serving Face
Serving Face
Bright colors!!
Bright colors!!

Classy and Comfy...best combo ever!

Featured

A Leap, Hop, Jump, Altogether

It’s been a while since I wanted to see Paris. I finally did it. I had many motivations and reasons to see it. Paris is one out of a few trips I didn’t do off the whim. I have to say it took effort, negotiation and timing. Kinda like taking this picture did!  It look several leaps,hops, jumps all together.

Leap, Hop, Jump Altogther
Leap, Hop, Jump Altogether

I can officially say I did it, and like the long distance relationship…it had its surprises (good and bad) and was worth the wait. I recently travelled for love, not for my career, not for my family or for an education. Here in London, I get to travel for fun.

I’m taking what seems to be another leap in my life by living with my boyfriend, but lucky for me He likes to travel a lot. Travelling together gives us so much to learn about one another.

So as you may notice, the past year have been filled with dreams that I am happy to say I have checked off. Paris was a big one… The memories still big a big satisfying smile to my face but now that my feet are back on the ground … but its only left me thinking what’s next ….which makes me ask myself why did I want to go in the first place.

My travel experience for every reason deeply reflects what I’m going through, and I think Paris provided a sense of stability as I was so familiar with it via the media and it was within my budget. Travelling with my boyfriend, showed me we really did get along and it was not just a desire being fueled by distance.

That jump right there in the picture is happiness to have come out the brighter end of the adventure that began a year ago when I moved to London. The feeling of checked is a sense of accomplishment I may have to congratulate myself. Because like this trip, my life was rushed and required my best (best that I didn’t know I had). At the same time it was also packed with time suspended moments of pure happiness.

–       Maonei

Asking all these questions…

 

Whilst walking along the river Thames one Sunday afternoon (as you do) I stumbled upon a very unique statue.  I peered closer and to my surprise it was in honour of Russia’s Peter the Great and his legendary stay in London in 1698. Coincidentally, I had just returned from a visit to Russia, and my husband studied there in 2007 so I knew a little about why there would be a statue at the entrance to Deptford Creek. Tsar Peter was on tour in Europe in 1698, and spent about four months in England, learning about shipbuilding and informally meeting dignitaries, allegedly in disguise. He would return back to Russia with enough knowledge about English shipbuilding to build and launch Russia’s first navy.

I found it really inspirational to see a statue of a man that embodied such curiosity and love of learning. For some it’s very uncomfortable to humble one’s self to ask for help. But Peter the Great is the embodiment of how it can be empowering. There is a Shona proverb that alludes to this way of thinking which is ‘if you like what someone is doing, ask them how they are doing it’. Many of us spend too much time trying to be independent and do it ourselves when it’s unnecessary. We can be independent and strong, but also need to be audacious in leaving the shores of ignorance and asking questions.

Natasha Taneka and Peter the Great DSC_5861One  the most important questions for me right now is ‘Who made my clothes?’ I can confidently answer that question about the top I’m wearing, because I asked. Boom Done Shop made my clothes and they remind me what it’s like to be spirited, inquisitive, avoid self-doubt, in full knowledge I’m not hurting anyone. They responsibly choose to screen print by hand on to ethical t-shirts and sweatshirts to ensure their products make don’t damage the world they take inspiration from. As adventurous consumers, our responsibility is to sail into the sea of life in search of treasures of pure mischief embodied in ethical fashion brands.

Lounging here, on the statue of a dreamer and leader, changer of the face of Russia and arguably the world, recalling stories of how much he accomplished during his journey through Europe on his own terms…leaves me hopeful that the fashion revolution too can be fun, and life changing for all who dare to sail against the current. We can all do better on our own terms whilst asking questions such as: Who made my clothes?

Explore the Cloud Forest -Singapore

One of the most memorable experiences during my visit to Singapore was the fabulous botanical garden called Cloud Forest within the Gardens by the Bay.  To be honest when I first heard of it I thought to myself “This is something I’m probably too grown up for. I mean how magical can plants really be?” Well I was super wrong and everything seemed to align for me to have a fun time.

First off, I went with the best squad (My great friend who I had not seen in like two years and my husband who had not met my epic friend!). Secondly, it was pouring cats and dogs outside, so the enclosed and vibrant biosphere gardens were a perfect activity. As soon I stepped into the huge glass dome structure I was overwhelmed with the waterfall cascading down, mist surrounding a massive plant mountain with pathways suspended in the air, disappearing up into the clouds of spray.

Now, if you should visit, don’t underestimate how much time you need in there…the Cloud Forest is huge with seven levels. In addition, it’s full of unique information, not only on plants but rocks and crystals too! The plants were all so beautiful and diverse; it really provides a childlike sense of awe and wonder at the colours and shapes.

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There are surreal Lego plant sculptures and art everywhere within the plant displays which only add to the imagination of a world of forest spirits and mystery.

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The infinite striking colours of green within the Cloud Forest were amazing.

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This is the kind of concrete jungle I like! All in all, the Cloud Forest was a great experience and one I would seriously recommend to any traveller visiting Singapore.

Sparkling Golden Pineapple Shirt from Boom Done Shop

Idle Hands are the Devil’s Work….

I have always been inspired by the way people dedicate their lives to creating a better collective future. Most leaders realise the importance of inspired communication in order to galvanise the people for change. From what they wear to what they say, it’s all crafted to be in unison with their overall agenda. One important way of communicating is through body language, and I believe it is one of the most effective strategies that one can harness. Spiritual rituals that use hand gestures as symbolic forms of energetic communication with others, and the self, are well known.  In addition, some of the best orators on the planet (President Barack Obama) strengthen the strongest lines with their hands to reinforce their message.

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We all know you can’t pass any set of high street shops or mall front without spotting a nail shop, so consumers appreciate the feeling one gets when your nail beds are glimmering with a fresh coat of your favourite colour and or a message of elegant sophistication. However, we are not always aware of what kind of nail polish we put on, let alone what we do with our hands.

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But not to worry, I recently discovered Zoya Nail Polish. This brand provides safe nail polish free of five dangerous toxins (Toluene, Formaldehyde and Formaldehyde resin, DBP (Phthalates) and Camphor. Moreover, this product is vegan friendly and cruelty free. Zoya’s natural and safe nail polish leaves us free to effectively and beautifully share our message with the world.

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So I’m sharing a few of my favourite hands gestures that do everything from calming my nerves, to making me feel fierce, to giving the appearance that I’m attentively listening to every word someone else is saying. It’s all proven useful to me because I believe communicating empathy through body language can diffuse a tense situation or encourage your allies to overcome challenges. So watch where your hands are going buddy! : P

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Nails By Zoya Nails and Dress by People Tree and photography by Kat Martin from Aperio Films aperiofilms.co.uk 

Slay Casual Friday like a Boss

So for some of us that went to schools were you had to wear a uniform, you can understand the excitement of wearing regular clothes during the week. Either during “spirit week”, a field trip, or fundraising day, it was your chance were you got to show your own unique personality. Funny though how as kids really we would show up in what was trending and look like clones within our cliques (happy clones we were nevertheless).  Unbeknown to the observer, small details within one’s crew made a statement. In adulthood, we have work wear, which is used to extend the message of the companies’ mission and culture. Most of the time, it doesn’t leave a lot of room to be creative, and so many work places have Casual Friday. A day at work, where we can be a little more relaxed which can do wonders to productivity of any team. Being able to bring a little more of you to the office increases employees chances of being engaged rather than just satisfied. And because I love fashion so much, it gives me another reason to look forward to Friday!

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Working now in the corporate world, when Casual Friday comes around I take into consideration the work culture whilst taking the opportunity to have fun and communicate my personal style.  Now you don’t want to have too much fun, as its still work. So to avoid any blunders, on your first Casual Friday at a new job, if you aren’t sure how casual to go (because there  is such a thing as too casual), just go to work formal and peek out what the rest are wearing. However if you really are lost, anything clean, not too revealing and not too busy will suffice.

My trick is to combine casual with formal. I wear my favourite pair of G-star Raw Jeans with a fitted T M Lewin shirt. I wear large cuffs with my shirts and white Guess by Marciano strappy heels to give my outfit depth and making it a conversation starter. It’s a perfect outfit in case one in pulled into a crucial meeting. But most importantly, when you head for after work drinks, you can roll up the sleeves and pop two buttons open and you’re ready to start the weekend like a boss!

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How  do you slay Casual Friday ? I would love to hear how you ♫ work work work work work ♫ that outfit!

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Fantastic Photography by chevrons & éclairs , Boss Lady Glasses by Ray Ban , Cool Cuffs from the hubby, Luscious Lip definer by Christian Louboutin, Bag is a Second Hand from the awesome Fam🙂

The Fashion Debates – Premiere

The Fashion DebatesInstagram has been working magic for me lately, as I have been finding great brands and events more easily than using google search.  My latest find was an event being held by co-founder Olivia Pinnock at the Condé Nast College of Fashion & Design called The Fashion Debates. It is an organization that holds a series of debates on critical topics in the fashion industry with an aim to encourage all stakeholders to question how to do business better for people and the planet.  Their first topic was ‘Can we put an end to sweatshop labor?”The event started 7 pm and it was a great feeling to join a line at the entrance filled with people buzzing with excitement for a challenging topic. Its been a few days now since the event, but let me tell you we were not disappointed.

The Fashion Debates Conde Naste

The night had people in attendance sharing their experiences and candid opinion about the state of the fashion industry. The encouraging ambiance was created by  the amazing panellists Olivia  fantastically brought together who didn’t hold back with the stark reality of the fashion industry but shared ways it which each was changing their own way of doing business better. Here are the golden nuggets I got from the night.

The Fashion Debates Fashion Worked

There was Clare Lissamen who really brought a lot of light hearted energy to a topic that can be very depressing (especially on a late Thursday night). She wears many hats from being the Co-founder of an ethical menswear brand called Arthur and Henry to being the Director of My Source. A great golden nugget that spoke to my constructivist theory background, was her focus on Norms. It’s so critical, and refreshing to discuss the patterns of human behaviour, taking a step back to see the lens of change throughout history to fully understand the problems we face today. The debate then pointed out how certain things such as mitigated labour rights were largely okay in the UK, and now are seen as morally repugnant, therefore highlighting its definitely within all of our power to end sweatshop labor globally. This was uplifting as sometimes it feels like injustices will never end, but starting little by little to create a new acceptable reality is important. We just have to remain optimistic, no matter what.

The Fashion Debates Speakers

The next impressive panellist was Stella Heng (Co-founder and Creative Director of Sports Philosophy) who shared an important aspect of her company’s focus, which was supporting consultants to travel to do field research in the countries Sports Philosophy wants to make an impact on child labor. It’s brilliant they send consultants who have dedicated their lives to understand the nuances of the challenges within child labor to do research and they use that data to guide them with what initiatives the company’s charity offers to communities. Also I think it gives agency to the communities to be part of their own solution, because that’s when you can ensure the development is sustainable.  This totally spoke to me as I had done my master’s degree on policies involving temporary foreign labour being heralded as the solution but not truly being the productive nexus between businesses and international development.

The Fashion Debates Stella Heng quote

The third panellist was the founder of the brilliant Fashion Revolution and founder of fair trade hat shop Pachacuti, Carry Somers. She discussed with us how dangerous it is for the labourers to strenuous working conditions to unionise , and shared facts of the number of people being murdered in their struggle for better working conditions. She further mentioned a connection between terrorism and the sourcing of cotton in areas within the Middle East that are under ISIS control, to highlight how crucial it is to us all that companies should be with ensuring supply chains are transparent. One of the reasons I attended this event is because as I learn more I feel overwhelmed with what is ethical enough.  Can you be ethical if you only wear pre-loved items, and what if it has fur? Is it okay for Pamela Anderson (PETA Activist) to advertise with Misguided, an online store with no transparency or CSR information on their website? Afterwards, I had the opportunity to share my concerns with Carry and I asked her for her opinion and she said you have to prioritize, then start by observing how much you buy and how much you use. Simple sustainable change in my consumer behaviour is what I have to keep in mind.

The Fashion Debates Carry Somers Quote

In short, I left the night fired up, as I had spent the evening with fashionistas sharing their stories and best practices. I literally can’t wait for the next debate. The Fashion Debates announced the next topic Is The Fashion Industry Racist?  Will I see you there? Get tickets here. If you cant make it follow them on Facebook, or Instagram for updates! Really looking forward to what Olivia Pinnock has started with her team to create space for ideas to be conversed, challenged with the intent to make fashion create and work better.

 

 

 

How Knot to be Cold

It’s just been super loco weather in London the past month. I mean we have had hail and snow, freezing temperatures, random bouts of sunshine and rain. Yes, okay rain no big surprise as it’s London…but the rest …no not cool! So with this unpredictable weather, we have found ourselves unable to put away the winter coat, or whip out the sandals. We had a phenomenal day recently, but I’m very weary and don’t want to be caught off guard with nothing to keep me warm. However, the only way to keep the hope of summer alive I believe is through scarves. Because they are extremely light weight, it’s the perfect accessory that can keep you warm, transform an outfit, and hide a hickey, or two (we don’t judge)! So I thought I would go to the queen of scarves (lucky me she is also my mother in law) to show me how to elegantly tie a scarf and face the dreary weather with bright confidence.

Fast Car Cowboy Inspired Scarf Style Natasha Taneka
Cowboy Knot

So the first style is inspired by Jonas Blues Featuring Dakota  music video of the remix of Tracy Chapman’s classic song Fast Car. It features a handsome cowboy rocking a great scarf so I asked my mother in law for help to recreate the look. I knew I was in safe hands and she would teach me the ins and outs of the art of scarf tying.  I went over to her house and she shared with me that it’s always been her thing, however when seeking inspiration she checks out blogger Mai Tai. So I did too and instantly saw for myself why she would.  The following styles have links to the tutorials we used from Mai Tai. I think we all should find a little more enjoyment in how we tie our scarves and be creative in what patterns and materials we use.  I love that scarves keep well, and can be also made from clothes that used to have a former life and possibly had different occupations (a dress perhaps). It’s a great way to experiment with your style and discover the bright side of scarves whilst keeping warm. With the help of Mai Tai Picture Blog and my mother in law’s exquisite sense of style…I’m ready to combat the grim weather in stunning fashion. Take that Weather!

Natasha Taneka Scarves are it
Asymmetrical Wrap 

 

Hermes London Natasha Taneka Blog

Natasha Taneka All Class with a well tied scarf
Criss Cross Knot 

Perfect print silk scarf from Hermès