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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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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Body+ DSM and Women’s Equality Day

“Sexy does not come from the shape of a body, but the fire in a soul.”
– J. Iron Word

The first annual Body+ DSM, the brainchild of Flyover, was held at the Des Moines Social Club on Saturday — bringing together activists, progressives and creatives from across the Midwest. And fittingly, on Women’s Equality Day.

“The takeaway is people that join the day event will find themselves part of an affirming, supportive and inclusive community,” Flyover and Women’s March Iowa said in a joint statement. “(Body+ DSM is) part of the movement of changing politics, economics and social ideals by giving a voice to those that are underrepresented in our communities. Creating a safe, positive attention to our minority groups will inspire people to learn and opportunity to engage in the needed self-care that is a radically political act in the fight for progressive change.”

I was delighted to join political organizer and As Seen On M.E. founder Megan Evans and Women’s March Iowa organizer Lyra Halsten on a panel, for a discussion about fashion and political protest. While the bulk of our conversation was centered on the impact of the 2016 election and women leading the grassroots resistance, it is impossible to overlook the contributions of our female forebears from the Suffrage Movement and 19th amendment of 1920 to the Civil Rights movements, and all of the generations in between that helped move the needle forward on gender equality and more opportunities for the next generation of women. And while it seems that we’re living in an alternate universe with Trump as president, I am thankful that we have an opportunity to shape a new movement in history with activism and action. Now is a time to use fashion as a self-expression for your cause from “Stay Nasty” pins to giving new life to vintage finds (see cutting down on fashion industry/fast fashion waste) and beyond.

Me & Megan Evans on stage at the Des Moines Social Club’s Kum & Go Theater.

Tatiana Giacinti & Megan Evans outside of the Des Moines Social Club (multimedia mural and photography by Jami Milne).


As Seen On M.E. accessories table plus my laptop and new Millenial pink lip purse from Aldo(!!!).

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