Now On Stands: An Interview with My Mom for Lenny Letter

Hello, and Happy Election Day!

Today, I along with millions of Americans stood in line at the voting booth. And one year from today, we will have the opportunity to vote one of the most controversial, despicable congressmen, Steve King, out of office.

My mom, Leann Jacobsen, is one of the Democratic challengers in Iowa’s 4th District. A lot of people ask why she is running for office, and since I’ve had a behind-the-scenes perspective for the past 31 years, I wanted to share an in-depth interview with you. Today, it was published on Lenny Letter.

You can read more about the interview here.

One of my favorite things she told me in the interview is this:

“Many people think that Northwest Iowa is ‘Steve King Country,’ and that he’s just inevitable and everyone in our corner of the state is just like him. The people I know don’t talk like him, they don’t think like him, and one of the hardest things is going to be removing the perception of inevitably. Because he is not inevitable. Voters are ready for someone who shows strength and leadership and compassion, and I’m ready to be that person.”

Click here to read more over on my mom’s Congressional campaign website.

Our time for activism and leadership is now. Being frustrated with the policies and headlines coming out of D.C. is a timely call-to-action for us all to vote, support grassroots change, and recognize that politicians like Steve King are not “inevitable.”

Featured image via Lenny Letter by NYC illustrator Melissa Ling.

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A Styling Interview with Carson Kressley

The new Outlets of Des Moines presented a “Makeover Miracles” fashion show—in conjunction with Carson Kressley and his styling team—gifting new to looks to five Des Moines-area people with garments and accessories from the participating shops. I caught up with Kressley after the show to discuss easy wardrobe transitions for cooler weather.

Here are Kressley’s favorite outwear options:

“Your outerwear piece is really the workhorse of your fall and winter wardrobe. It’s one of the few things, along with the handbag, that you wear every day. Almost everything else you wear once a week or every two weeks, but your coat is your go-to. I like coats that are a little longer, so if you’re wearing a dress, the coat gives you coverage. Puffer jackets are cute; save those for your second weekend warrior jacket. But if you’re going to invest in one coat, have it be like a wool or wool-felt with some length. And do a chic color! You don’t have to [stick to] black, gray, taupe or brown. You can do a beautiful baby blue or a soft pink. You could do an Hermés orange. [Color is a] fun way to make something that’s [utilitarian] look fresh and fun.”

You can read the full interview over at DSM Magazine.

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The Rise of Sustainable Fashion

Fashion chief executives scream about sustainability, and how they plan to cut carbon emissions by 40% and reduce environmental impact by 50% in every interview. But none of those brands seem to understand that a much easier solution is just in front of them. Preventing overproduction in the first place would have an immediate effect on reaching those sustainability goals. The industry talks about conspicuous consumption — buying for the sake of buying — as the reason behind the growth in the luxury segment. But brands are producing more product than there is demand for. I call it conspicuous production, producing for the sake of producing and artificially inflating the numbers.” – Guram Gvasalia

It’s no secret that there’s enormous waste that stems from the fashion industry from garment production to the billions of discarded clothing items that end up in landfills every year. In fact, the fashion industry is the second biggest polluter in the world!

During the Body+ DSM event, I touched on the current political climate necessitating each of us to become activists for our causes. With the dismantling and defunding of science- and preservation-driven programs, there is a growing concern of who and what is going to hold themselves accountable for contributing to climate change. And I find that, more and more, my project list is growing to include designers and brands that focus on eco-friendly clothing production practices, including brands like Proclaim, Tropic Bliss, Locally Grown Clothing Co., and Hudson George.

What are some of the key issues and practices around sustainable fashion brands?

  • Materials – Embracing recycled and upcycled (or “deadstock”) fabrics, as well as natural fibers, such as hemp, cashmere, organic cotton and linen.
  • Labor – Protecting the artisans and makers behind garments by providing decent working conditions, fair prices for labor or trade, and safeguarding workers’ rights throughout the supply chain.
  • Production  – Working to reduce over-production and making limited runs of designs, so that there isn’t excess inventory that ends up in landfills or parallel markets.
  • Packaging & Delivery – Leveraging recycled and/or biodegradable materials for packaging and shipping purposes. In addition, eco fashion considers the transportation mode for garments (e.g., carbon emissions from planes).

“Slow fashion is about designing, producing, consuming and living better. Slow fashion is not time-based but quality-based (which has some time components). Slow is not the opposite of fast – there is no dualism – but a different approach in which designers, buyers, retailers and consumers are more aware of the impacts of products on workers, communities and ecosystems.” – Kate Fletcher, “Slow fashion” for The Ecologist, June 1, 2007.

Of course this list is not comprehensive, as companies continue to explore innovative ways for improving their contributions to the slow fashion movement. Here are some great resources to look to if you are interested in learning more…

“The best product is one that makes citizens look at their community with fresh eyes.” –  John Thackara

Photos in collage provided by Danielle Amato of Hudson George, New York.

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