Progress on our documentary

by Celine Semaan Vernon

(Still from our documentary, Are We There Yet, shot in the Lebanese refugee camps to document our work with our give back partners the American Near East Refugee Aid - ANERA.org thanks to the flash grant we receive as part of the Shuttleworth Foundation). The documentary is being edited as we speak in Beirut, Lebanon and we are so excited to be sharing our work with you all soon!

Filed under: fashion activism we are home

We received a grant from the ShuttleWorth Foundation!

by Celine Semaan Vernon

On May, 6th I received an unexpected email from the ShuttleWorth Foundation informing me that I have been nominated (WHO ME?) by Sean Bonner "to receive a Shuttleworth Foundation Flash Grant in support of your work." (WHAT?) That's not an email you get everyday. I was so excited and in complete disbelief that I texted Sean right away to make sure it wasn't some kind of spam email. Here is a glimpse to my reaction receiving this grant:


The grant comes with only one condition: "The only string attached is that we ask you to live openly, tell us and the world what you have done with the money."

Here's a little video about the Foundation:


Shuttleworth Foundation from Blink Tower on Vimeo.

What we plan to do with this grant.

Since I will be traveling to Lebanon in July and August and was planing on documenting the amazing work ANERA (our NGO partner) is doing in the refugee camps in Lebanon as well as the Education initiative we are helping them fund through our We Are Home Collection, I will use this grant to hire my Lebanese filmmaker friends to shoot an amazing short documentary shinning the light on the 1.5 Million Syrian refugees stranded in Lebanon. 

“The world headlines parade millions of refugees as faceless, nameless people in need of shelter… But here they have a face.”- ANERA

I am so grateful to Sean and to the Shuttleworth Foundation for giving me this grant and contributing in our efforts to raise awareness about the biggest Human Rights crisis since WWII and helping us and our partner ANERA reaching a wider community of supporters. The crisis has been under documented, the refugees in Lebanon, Jordan, Greece, Turkey and Europe have not been properly supported by the International Community. We join others in the mission to push the boundaries, stereotypes and judgement to inspire social change in the region and support the refugees with all the means we have.

You can expect a thoughtful, honest and intimate look at the situation in Lebanon my home country. We will be collaborating with ANERA throughout this documentary and will hopefully have it online by September.

More soon!

Filed under: fashion activism we are home

The Inside Scoop on this Father's Day

by Shelby Strattan

Your dad grew up in a different time and space.

“You kids were too young but I remember when….”

Sometimes we listen, sometimes we don’t. Regardless, our fathers are full of a wisdom that is worth hearing. Our dads are walking history books, imbibed with knowledge of years we didn’t get to see. They are our looking glass into the past.

Our dads of all ages hold memories spanning a plethora of countless events. Slow Factory wants to connect your dad with something he can resonate with for this Father’s Day.

 

The three giveaway prints are from our newest collection, “We Are Home.” This collection helps to shine a light on those who were forced from their homes in Syria. With little to nothing left, these refuges often flee to Lebanon. Here, the nonprofit organization Anera helps provide a valuable education to give these refuges hopes for a brighter future. Slow Factory donates 10% of this collection’s sales to Anera, supporting our mission to revolutionize the fashion industry. Our 100% eco-friendly and fair trade products showcase that sustainable materials and responsible practices are the new direction the fashion industry is moving toward.

These sheer prints are a luxurious blend of silk and cotton. Folded, they can transform in numerous different pocket scarf designs. The first print is of a photo taken when Apollo 10 first launched. The image captures the awe of the audience, taking in a monumental experience of watching our fellow citizens launch into depths of space that most will never see with their own eyes. The second scarf is an image of earth taken in 1967. This is the first color image of earth as a planet from space, so it received the nickname “Earth’s First Selfie.” The last print is an aerial image of scattered clouds over the sea, combined with a fading rainbow ombré print. This print represents the light-scattering properties of mineral dust in our atmosphere that cause increased cloud formation. Its effects on the environment are not clearly defined, but still serve as a reminder to be cautious in regards to our space. This is why Slow Factory only uses eco-friendly materials in order to help our Earth achieve sustainability in regards to the atmospheric climate.

Dadio won’t like these prints? We’ve got you covered.

For a limited time only, we are selling our Le Petit Prince pocket scarf, Globular Clusters tie, and bow ties – the Witch Head Nebula and the Globular Clusters.

 

Let him feel connected to the life above us on this special day. Show him he’s your favorite star out there.

...

Shelby Strattan is a student at Tulane University interning in New York this summer for Slow Factory and Dimassimo Goldstein. She is currently enjoying the summer heat and the city's delicious food. 

Filed under: fashion activism Gift ideas inspiration science life we are home

Angelina Jolie Pitt: Refugee system breaking down - BBC News

by Celine Semaan Vernon


"How we respond will determine whether we create a more stable world or face decades of far greater instability. At its extremes, the debate about refugees in western nations has been polarized– with on one hand, some peple calling for open borders and on the other hand, for the complete exclusion of all refugees...or worse: for certain groups of refugees. But policies should not be driven by emotion, by what might be termed as naïve humanitarianism... or by a rational fear and unacceptable prejudice. Instead we need to find a rational center, rebuilding public confidence and ensuring democratic consent for the long term approach that will be needed."

Filed under: we are home

NYCxDesign: Redesigning the Arab Identity

by Celine Semaan Vernon

What is the Arab identity?

Can we deconstruct, redesign and evolve this idea?

On May 13th, we are giving this experimental methodology another test drive with an NYC x Design panel <Redesigning the Arab Identity>, hosted at our Slow Factory HQ. This time the conversation will be between my two friends Ahmed Shihab-Eldin, Vice Correspondent, and Nadine Farag, writer at Man Repeller and Huffington Post, and myself, founder of this lovely site/boutique #fashionactivism label Slow Factory. Our focus: The Arab Identity, the Arab Experience, the Arab Expats as well as the millions Arab refugees the world has been witnessing these past few years. The Syrian refugee crisis is the worst humanitarian disaster since WWII.

Below is a breakdown of what we will be exploring:

Discover:
What is an Arab identity? Does it even exist?
Synthesize:
What have we learned from the Discovery Phase?
Build:
What are the aspects of Arab identity that are constructive rather than destructive?
Test:
Let’s explore 5 ideas that we have talked about and test them: Feedback with the audience
Evolve:
How do we move forward: Brainstorm what needs to be done or should be done

Join our conversation and help us deconstruct, break and redesign the Arab Experience. RSVP here.

 

Filed under: fashion activism we are home

Fashion Revolution Week

by Celine Semaan Vernon

Global Warming, Fashion and the Refugee Crisis

How we caused the war in Syria by shopping at Zara and Calvin Klein.

Bernie Sanders is arguing that climate change is “directly related to the growth of terrorism”. He is not the only one to think that. In fact, Al Gore, Prince Charles, and President Obama all have strong evidence to believe that global climate change is at the root of political unrest and terrorism. There is scientific support for the climate-conflict thesis: a study by Earth scientists at Columbia University, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found: “Climate change is implicated in the current Syrian conflict”.

The chain of events is clear: pollution leads to climate change, which leads in many cases to droughts (such as California and Syria), which leads to resource scarcity; combine with an oppressive political situation and mass poverty, and instability and violence are bound to follow.

Icons are from thenounproject.com by: Simon Child, Creative Stall, Botho Willer, Pham Thi Dieu Linh, Juan Pablo Bravo

According to climate science maverick James Lovelock: 'enjoy life while you can: in 20 years global warming will hit the fan'. Lovelock has been dispensing predictions from his one-man laboratory in an old mill in Cornwall since the mid-1960s, the consistent accuracy of which have earned him a reputation as one of Britain's most respected - if maverick - independent scientists. Working alone since the age of 40, he invented a device that detected CFCs, which helped detect the growing hole in the ozone layer, and introduced the Gaia hypothesis, a revolutionary theory that the Earth is a self-regulating super-organism. Initially ridiculed by many scientists as new age nonsense, today that theory forms the basis of almost all climate science.

So, what do we do about this situation and what does fashion have to do with this?

Fast fashion Is the second dirtiest industry in the world—second only to Big Oil—according to ecowatch.

Here is a quick overview of the numbers around fashion. A single mill in China can use 200 tons of water for each ton of fabric it dyes; many rivers run with the colors of the season as the untreated toxic dyes wash off from mills. After preliminary investigations into links between well-known apparel brands and textile manufacturers with environmental violations, a group of five organizations sent letters to the CEOs of 48 companies. Respondents included Nike, Esquel, Walmart, H&M, Levi’s, Adidas, and Burberry – all who have now started to take proactive measures and have carried out inquiries and pushed suppliers to take corrective actions.

You might be asking yourselves: “How can we produce responsibly? Shop consciously? And continue living our lives without guilt?” All these are great questions that everyone should be asking themselves. Unfortunately we still make fun of the curious minds out there and thus conditioning most people to just “go with the flow silently” but I think our generation and younger generations will not buy this status quo anymore. Questioning things and asking to better understand a given situation is a basic human right.

...

What we try to do at Slow Factory is to: 1) Raise awareness about these topics. 2) Archive the Earth as it is in a utilitarian fashion making it wearable, palpable, wrapable and impossible to avoid. 3) Join forces with NGOs working on the ground with scientists, teachers, activists and funding their initiatives in various causes, such as bringing education to all, cleaning our oceans or providing tools and support in empowering women. We can all shift our way of being and become more aware, more connected with these issues and join existing groups devoting their lives to making the world a better place. Why not? How else would you like to spend your time?

Filed under: fashion activism we are home

4/23 EARTH DAY POP-UP

by Amina Suleimamagich

It's a no brainer that Slow Factory is hosting an event for Earth day this weekend 4/23. We are known for our eco-friendly, ethically motivated production of silk scarves with printed images from NASAs space station. You will have a chance to get your hands on these silky smooth scarves at our pop-up at our new Slow Factory HQ!

Wait, There's more! Voz (Tory Burch Foundation Finalist) will be joining the pop-up and will be selling their hand crafted clothing, as well as Thinx the period underwear that everyone is talking about. There is so much to be excited about this Earth day at Slow Factory HQ! All the founders and designers will be there, so come meet the designers, support your local businesses and shop brands that have a common mission: the make the world a better place!

The event runs all day from 1-7pm at 188 Woodpoint Rd #1c 11211 Brooklyn, New York - right off the Graham L train stop. 

RSVP

We also wrote about this piece filed in Fashion Activism: Global Warming, Fashion & The Refugee Crisis.

Filed under: fashion activism inspiration universe we are home

My 4 year-old daughter collaborated with us on the We Are Home Collection

by Celine Semaan Vernon

 

The We Are Home is a collection that is close to my heart. As some of you may know, I fled a war torn Lebanon with my family when I was three years old to seek refugee status in Canada. When I returned to Lebanon in the 90's, I began learning more about my country. But the notion of Home always seemed to be mysterious to me. I grew up feeling like an outsider and enjoyed playing the anthropologist of every culture I encountered, even my own.

The Key we created for this collection is an homage to the refugee tradition to wear the key the home one leaves behind. For We Are Home, I also wanted to keep our signature scarves of the prints from NASA and explore a new way to inspire our mission.

For the scarf with the image of Earth taken by DISCOVR, I was inspired by the drawings of my daughter Sila Grey who is four years old. She always draws smiling people holding hands, so one day I asked her "Could you make me a lot of these people for my work?" To this she answered: "No! I don't want to work." Wise child. I had to bribe her with candy to draw for me. I love this print so much not only for her drawings but because it symbolizes so much and is in its own right the very essence of childhood. An homage to the Syrian refugees's stolen childhood during this past four years of war.

10% of this scarf funds ANERA's Education initiative in Lebanon. Learn more here.

Filed under: fashion activism we are home

This Actress #CantDoNothing About The Refugee Crisis

by Celine Semaan Vernon

This Actress #CantDoNothing About The Refugee Crisis

This actress is a former refugee—and she wants to make an impact on the refugee crisis

Posted by NowThis on Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Filed under: we are home