New York is taking baby steps toward turning the tide against the abhorrent working conditions, flagrant abuses and health risks manicurists in the state face each and every day. After that eye-opening exposé in The New York Times detailing the sweatshop-like conditions salon workers are forced to endure, both the city and state of New York have been looking for ways to correct the issue.
We are now beginning to see some reforms to the nail salon system. New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo has revealed a new poster outlining salon workers’ bill of rights, which is required to be on display in every nail salon in the state starting this week. The posters, which will be available in 10 languages, cover wage and tipping regulations that employers are obligated to honor, including rules against making new manicurists pay for training and keeping employees from wearing gloves and masks to protect them from the chemicals found in nail products.
The state will also hand out cards for customers in order to help them judge if the salon they are patronizing is treating its workers fairly. A checklist, which includes checking for the salon business license and posting of the new bill of rights in plain view, will be distributed to consumers. Gov. Cuomo is hoping to get the customers involved, encouraging people who notice violations to “walk out the door, go down the block, patronize another business.”
It seems like a small step, but it is an important one. By promoting awareness to both manicurists and patrons, hopefully the abuses that have occurred for so long in the industry will end once and for all. It is great to see that New York is being diligent in correcting these injustices.
The model appeared in front of an audience 450 strong in Valencia, Spain to speak for the TEDxBerkleeValencia series. In the talk, Graham discussed her early struggles as a young model with her body and how she came to accept her figure for what it is. She recalls a period in time when she hit rock bottom. “Between the parties, the men, the alcohol – I was looking for self-love, affirmation from somebody when in reality, I didn’t love who I was and I couldn’t seem to get a handle on regulating my own weight.” She says the change in her outlook of self-worth and validation came when she thought of her mother, who always told Graham she was beautiful. “In my lowest moment of insecurity, this is when I realized I had to reclaim my body and its image as my own.” Graham is not a fan of the term “plus size,” and encourages women to call “ourselves what we want to be called: Women with shapes that are our own.”
Graham said that once she began to fully accept and embrace her body shape, she realized that she must bring the message of self-love to inspire other women. She also encouraged men to help in the charge in pushing body positivity forward. “I felt free once I realized I was never going to fit the narrow mold that society wanted me to fit in,” she said. “I was never going to be perfect enough for an industry that defines perfection from the outside in.”
Graham notes that the plus size fashion is an $18 billion dollar industry, which is why it’s so important for us to turn the tide and to start thinking of what we call “plus” bodies as normal. After all, the average dress size for women in America is a size 14. It does not get more normal than that. “The fashion industry may persist to label me as plus size,” Graham says, “but I like to think of it as my size.”
You should look no further than our forums for exclusive previews and earlier this week, Porter‘s Summer Escape 2015 cover dropped thanks to a savvy member. Now that the official images have been unveiled, we can take a closer look. Porter tapped Joan Smalls as its newest cover girl, joining the likes of Christy Turlington Burns and Lara Stone. Captured by Ryan McGinley, the Puerto Rican beauty donned an Eres swimsuit worn underneath a Burberry coat and we’re unfortunately left a little underwhelmed by the outcome.
“It’s almost as if Porter has been reading all those lack of diversity comments on here and bam! A Joan cover,” hailed A.D.C. the moment the cover surfaced, hitting us off on a positive note.
“Right? Finally. Some diversity on their cover,” replied nataliaapple in agreement.
Yet the conversation soon targeted Joan’s modeling abilities. “This girl can’t model anymore…” KissMiss sniggered.
“She doesn’t look happy to be there,” acknowledged tigerrouge.
Forum member congacon wasn’t feeling it either and informed us, “My problem with Joan is that her facial expressions are dull most of the time. The girl just doesn’t get ‘it.'”
Miss Dalloway soon fired back. “I don’t understand these arguments about her not looking happy! How many high-fashion magazine covers have subjects grinning anyway? Her face expression is perfect for the setting/styling she is in IMO. She looks fantastic, and is selling me the right mood of the cover,” she enthused.
“I love it! The white and green work perfectly. I’m definitely going to buy this one,” Oxymore announced.
Has Porter done enough for you to make a purchase? Voice your opinion with us here.
Forum members feel the image is better suited to another publication. “Looks more like Allure,” Oxymore noted immediately.
“Too dark for July, and yes, it looks like an Allure cover,” responded fluxxx.
“Allure, is that you? Well this cover had the style for that magazine,” burbuja8910 agreed.
Discussion soon took a turn for the better. “Allure, especially the American edition, can only wish! This cover, and the January Jones one is actually proof that British MC can produce decent content. This is without a doubt Emilia’s [best] to date, much better than Vogue. Love the dramatic make up,” raved Benn98.
Nepenthes shared the same sentiments, enthusing, “This has to be her best cover so far!”
Also full of admiration was kokobombon: “One of her best covers IMO. Magazines rarely do her beauty justice.”
“She’s a beauty, yet with her natural hair color, I often find her nondescript. But this makes her look dramatic, and it’s certainly a lot better than her U.K. Vogue cover,” tigerrogue shared soon after.
Take a peek at Emilia’s accompanying cover story and drop us a comment here.
Things are really not looking great for Band of Outsiders. The contemporary label has been rumored to be in the process of shutting down, and it looks like they are going full steam ahead. According to WWD, the New York-based brand will be closing its SoHo boutique at the end of June.
The Band of Outsiders Instagram page shows an image of a sign assuring customers that the store is still open as of now and that they are selling their wares at discount prices, which is sometimes a telltale sign that a brand might be in trouble or trying to get as rid of as much merchandise as possible before officially shuttering. Staff members at the label’s 70 Wooster St. store say that most of the items are for sale at up to 40 percent off and even more price reductions are expected as the store’s closing date nears. They mention that the sale was already planned before the news broke, so perhaps the closing process has been going on for longer than we thought.
‘Tis possibly the only upside to a beloved label shutting down – getting discount designer duds. Band of Outsiders founder Scott Sternberg still will not comment or confirm whether the brand will be shuttering completely.
There’s a lot of talk within the fashion industry about how the business can be made more sustainable. Fast and luxury fashion are the source of so much pollution and a hotbed of human and worker’s rights violations for many of the people who actually craft the garments. It’s easy to see that the way we make clothes these days is not only hurting our environment, but is also fracturing our societies. True Cost, a film directed by Andrew Morgan, explores this dark side of the fashion industry, the garment workers who suffer and the dire damage mass producing clothing is doing to the environment.
In the film, the fashion industry is noted as the second most polluting in the world after the oil business, a statistic Morgan later credited to the Danish Fashion Institute and World Wide Fund for Nature. Morgan, who raised $76,456 through a Kickstarter to put the film together, traveled to 13 countries to research and capture just how harmful and unsustainable the industry really is. The film is widely said to be one that will really make you rethink picking up that $10 H&M skater dress. That a near $3 trillion dollar industry can’t “afford” to make sure some of the people most instrumental to keeping it afloat have even basic rights in their workplaces or livable wages is certainly enough to get audiences to at least be more thoughtful when they shop. The film is filled with eye-popping statistics, like one that claims that 2014, the year after that devastating Rana Plaza building collapse, the fast fashion industry amassed sales of $72 billion dollars, making it its most profitable year.
The film paints a bleak picture of the industry, but the good news is some high and low fashion retailers have begun to address some of the inherent problems in mass producing clothing. H&M has been quite transparent about the impact its clothing has on the environment, publishing sustainability reports every year, complete with their goals for leaving less of a footprint. Kering just released a report on its environmental impact, which found that the majority of their footprint comes in the production phase.
The True Cost definitely shows the bleaker side of fashion but hopefully, jarring films like this will help keep the public informed about the changes that desperately need to be made, and hopefully will help bring us closer to actually improving the impact fashion has on the environment and helping workers.
The True Cost hits theaters and iTunes today. Watch the trailer above.