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

Introducing the NASA Graphics Standards Manual

by Amina Suleimamagich

Slow Factory welcomes the NASA Graphics Standards Manual at their HQ in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It is available to purchase for $79 online and in store. 

The collaboration happened when founder Celine Semaan came across the Kickstarter campaign and backed it, to make these NASA books accessible. Thanks to the support of the book, it is now available online to purchase.

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:

What is an Arab identity? Does it even exist?
What have we learned from the Discovery Phase?
What are the aspects of Arab identity that are constructive rather than destructive?
Let’s explore 5 ideas that we have talked about and test them: Feedback with the audience
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

Applying the Design Process to Unpack Feminism

by Celine Semaan Vernon

On April 12th we hosted with AIGA a panel under the name of <Redesigning Feminism>. We based the conversation on the Design Process to try to unpack and explore Feminism through the work of the 4 panelists invited: JiaJia Fei (selfies), Laura Wass (Jewelry), Hala AbdelMalak (Kefiyeh) and Céline Semaan (Scarves). 

The central notion we'll worked with is Feminism and how the panelists saw Feminism influencing their own design and process, as well as the ways they think design has something to offer Feminism itself as a practice. We took the entry points into the discussion from the areas of expertise of our panelists: jewelry, selfies, scarves, keffiyeh. These four made particularly interesting ways to approach feminism because two (scarves, keffiyeh) are often seen as private, ways to cover; and two (jewelry, selfies) are seen as public forms of display.



Photographs by Candace Whom Studio

Filed under: fashion activism


by Celine Semaan Vernon

Nadine Farag and Céline Semaan launched a new podcast series!

Tune to your monthly dose of sustainable fashion! (Read about what Nadine writes about on Man Repeller)

WEAReSLOW is a new digital radio series that aims to demystify and humanize our understanding of sustainability and fashion through intimate conversation. It was founded by two New York women with global ties who believe that individual decisions make a world of difference. You can expect an honest, inquisitive, and empathetic monthly discussion on fashion, personal style, ethics, the environment, labor issues, and our role in all of it.

Filed under: fashion activism weareslow

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 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


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. 


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

Faux World Recycle Week

by Amina Suleimamagich

What is World Recycle Week and should you care? 

Earlier this week H&M, one of the world's leading fast fashion corporations, launched a new campaign dedicated to collecting 1,000 tons of unwanted clothing. During this week H&M will be accepting clothing donations to its 3,600 stores around the world and continuing this all year long. The goal is to set a trend around recycled clothing to close the loop. 

Who other than female artist M.I.A. to be the face of the campaign?

Her music video launched a few days ago and was shared amongst social media outlets. This was a wise branding move for H&M to choose her, as M.I.A.'s credibility as a female artist represents the non-Western culture and criticizes the impact western pop-culture has on the world.

On the other side, is the question of authenticity. Is all this just a marketing stunt for H&M to pose as "sustainable" to win over those people who don't give in to fast fashion? It seems that way because the action of walking into an H&M store to donate clothes might entice you to buy even more clothes - also known as greenwashing

Fashion is the second largest pollutant in the world, and a huge contribution to that is waste management. 

There is a reason companies, thrift shops, and donation centers already exist - for you to donate your unwanted clothes. Even in the mass market industry, Uniqlo has been recycling their clothing for years as part of their corporate social responsibility. 

Filed under: fashion activism inspiration

Redesigning Feminism

by Celine Semaan Vernon

We are hosting an already sold out panel with AIGA: Redesigning Feminism

Join us for the first in a series of discussions exploring the definition of Feminism through various practices of self-expression and identity on social media. What role does the design process play when defining one’s social media identity and how does that impact the very notion of Feminism?

This first panel will engage women from various disciplines using design as a way to (re)define and express what Feminism is to them.

Jia jia FeiDigital Director of the Jewish Museum
Laura WassDesigner and founder of WXYZ Jewelry
Céline Semman Vernon, Designer and founder of Slow Factory
Hala AbdelMalakDesigner and Teacher at Parsons School of Design

Kevin AllredProfessor of the very popular class “Politicizing Beyoncé” and host on So Popular on MSNBC

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