September 26, 2019 3 min read 3 Comments
Diversity wasn't something I understood as a philosophical concept until I was well into my teens. Having moved to the US as a Chinese immigrant, the notion of "diversity" was just a fact of life for me - I was just different enough to not fit in well, but not different enough that I could just be Chinese. So, moving through life as a minority female immigrant, I usually was the personification of diversity in many crowds, especially since I've chosen to work in many male-dominated and predominantly white professions (defense contracting and emergency medicine, for example).
One time, an angry white man yelled for me to "go back to your sweat-shops, you chink!" when my Asian Uber driver scratched the man's car and I came to my driver's defense. The sad thing was, I had a cousin who worked in one such "sweat-shop." So the notion of sustainable and ethical supply-chain isn't just a faraway concept I studied about when I obtained my MBA. It was personal and close to home. Capitalist society is rife with exploitation, especially where there is no shortage of cheap labor that can be outsourced overseas. But exploitation is just that - it's making a profit at the expense of others. So the idea that more and more clothing companies - among many other retailers and manufacturers - are jumping on board with the sustainability social movement and buying into the idea that profit shouldn't be the only important driving factor is something deeply meaningful to me. My cousin no longer works in a retail clothing factory, but I've been to too many others as part of my international medical work: girls weaving in refugee camps, children collecting and repurposing plastic waste - if I can help support a company that values practices that decry this sort of corporate behavior, I'd love to be a part of it.
I am trying to swap out many items in my closet by recycling them, selling them, donating them, and only buying good quality items that last a long time to reduce waste. For example, I recently began to buy undergarments, sheets, towels, and T-Shirts from a website named PACT, and KOTN as well. Understanding where clothing is made is a very high priority.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, thus is subjective; it is always changing and unfortunately, subject to the opinion of critics. The world is always telling us how we should look, how to dress, how to act, etc. And when we don’t fit in, the world labels us without our consent - “too fat, too tall, too short, too dark, too pale, ugly”. Too many times we are forced to fit a certain mold and conform, losing ourselves in the process. So we fit the mold for the moment until “beauty” is seen as something else.
Diversity in beauty to me means inclusivity! All shapes, sizes, ethnicities, sexualities and gender identities are highlighted as feeling beautiful in their own skin! I think representation is so important for young and old people alike who are learning to own their own self-expression! It makes me feel optimistic to see more and more diversity in the fashion industry as we are moving towards a world where inclusivity is automatic!
Maven educates their customers on the supply chain so I can feel comfortable knowing how it’s made, who makes it, and that it’s healthy for my skin. Learning more about the supply chain opens my eyes to how disproportionately the textile industry exploits women. Instead, Maven empowers women in the textile, fashion industry by valuing artisan talent and collaborating with female owned enterprises to reduce, re-use, recycle their materials! The clothing that touches me has been touched by strong amazing women and that makes me feel unstoppable knowing that a force of women created my look.