Next Stop: Mars with Mae Jemison

by Summer Ash

Last Wednesday I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Mae Jemison in person as part of a celebration of National Geographic's upcoming special on Mars (part documentary, part drama). Dr. Jemison was a science advisor on the project and helped the team to accurately portray astronaut behavior in crisis as well as how the bunks of the spacecraft should be designed. And she would know, having flown on the Space Shuttle as a Mission Specialist for STS-47.  

After a panel discussion to open the day, I was fortunate enough have Dr. Jemison all to myself for almost half and hour! Knowing I would have this amazing opportunity, I came prepared thanks to Celine...

In addition to personally wearing one of Slow Factory's Women Who Inspire scarves featuring Dr. Jemison along with fellow astronaut, Jan Davis, Celine gave me the scarf of Dr. Jemison alone to present to her in person. So before my time with her was up, I showed her the full design on the scarf I was wearing and told her all about the Women Who Inspire collection. She was amazed such a thing even existed. To her surprise, I then gave her the second scarf and needless to say, she loved both. I managed to get this photo of both of us rocking our scarves in celebration of women everywhere. 

The day ended with a screening of the first episode of the MARS miniseries so clearly I had to represent the red planet with some more Slow Factory

If you don't know Dr. Jemison's work already, I highly recommend reading up on her. A former dancer, she entered college at age 16 and finished medical school by age 25. She then did a stint in the Peace Corps before going on to become the first African American women in space (such a slacker!). One of her current projects it the 100 Year Starship which aims to make interstellar travel a reality in the next 100 years by "including the broadest swath of people and human experience in understanding, shaping and implementing this global aspiration."

National Geographic's MARS airs nationwide on Monday, November 14th. You can already stream the first episode online and there are three more to come. It's a stunning mix of science and narrative jumping between the present in 2016 and the future first crewed mission to Mars in 2033. It will inspire the hell out of you. 

Summer Ash is the Director of Outreach for Columbia University’s Department of Astronomy. Having been both a rocket scientist and a radio astronomer, she’s now harnessing her powers for science communication. She is the "In-House Astrophysicist" for The Rachel Maddow Show and has written for The AtlanticScientific American, Slate, and Nautilus Magazine. She tweets as@Summer_Ash and is also one-half of Startorialist.

Filed under: astronaut astronauts awe event feminism going to space inspiration mae jemison mars national geographic nyc scarf scarves science space who wears slow factory women who inspire

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

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

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

How Humans Can Evolve to Survive In Space

by Amina Suleimamagich

"If we hope to one day leave Earth and explore the universe, our bodies are going to have to get a lot better at surviving the harsh conditions of space. Using synthetic biology, Lisa Nip hopes to harness special powers from microbes on Earth — such as the ability to withstand radiation — to make humans more fit for exploring space. "We're approaching a time during which we'll have the capacity to decide our own genetic destiny," Nip says. "Augmenting the human body with new abilities is no longer a question of how, but of when." " - TED, Lisa Nip - Synthetic Biologist

Filed under: inspiration science science life universe

What's it like in Space?

by Celine Semaan Vernon

I conducted a short interview with Ariel Waldman, author of the book "What's It Like in Space?". A book I cannot wait to read personally! Waldman makes “massively multiplayer science”, instigating unusual collaborations that spark clever creations for science and space exploration. You can learn more about her here and buy this amazing book here.

1. What inspired you to write this book?

Through my work in democratizing space exploration and serving on a National Academy of Sciences committee on the future of human spaceflight, I started meeting a number of astronauts. There are only ~550 humans who were ever astronauts, so it's a great privilege to meet anyone who has been in space, no less a number of them. I began realizing that people sometimes hold a very "buttoned up" view of astronauts which didn't match up to my interactions with them. I'd often come home from various trips with lots of funny stories to tell about the amusing, embarrassing and weird things that had happened to astronauts while in space. The first question most people want to ask astronauts is "what's it like in space?". I thought it'd be great to collect these short stories and share them with the world.

 

2. What did you want to be when you grow up?

Honestly? When I was a little girl, I would tell my parents that I wanted to "sew clothes for poor people" - meaning I wanted to repair clothes for the homeless. I did take sewing classes for a little while. At 14, I became very career-obsessed and was determined to become an Executive Creative Director - which I did end up spending several years of my life trying to achieve by climbing a corporate ladder before having an epiphany and becoming independent.

 

3. What's your favorite quote in your book?

I love the story of Apollo 12 astronaut Alan Bean when he walked on the Moon having to remind himself of what a huge experience he was having. Alan Bean revealed, "I would look down and say, 'This is the Moon, this is the Moon,' and I would look up and say, 'That's the Earth, that's the Earth,' in my head. So, it was science fiction to us even as we were doing it."

 

4. Which astronaut had the biggest impact on you the most?

I really enjoyed talking with Anousheh Ansari. Anousheh is the first Iranian in space, the first blogger in space, as well as the first self-funded ("spaceflight participant") woman in space. She is just incredibly relatable and her stories reflected the way most of us would imagine space travel to be like. For instance, she talked at length about how when she went into space that she didn't get any sleep because she'd stay up the entire time just to keep looking out the window. I think Anousheh is very much an early example of making space exploration more open so that people of all different backgrounds can participate.

 

5. We spoke briefly over the phone about fashion and science, what relationship do you see between these two fields?

I think both fashion and science are about exploring provocations about the world we live in. I grew up adoring Alexander McQueen's creations and wanting to make my own weird things someday. I ended up achieving this in the end through being a "science hacker". In fact, I've been hoping for a while that a fashion magazine would do a photoshoot feature of biohackers, spacehackers, neurohackers, etc. with their crazy contraptions because I do think they provoke in the same manner that fashion does. Nicole Kidman once said about fashion magazines, "They give us access to another world. They give us access to dreams." In this sense, science and fashion are one and the same to me.

Filed under: inspiration science life universe

This Artist Uses Immigration Paperwork as Her Canvas

by Amina Suleimamagich

Istanbul-born artist Merve Iseri, who now resides in London, uses immigration papers as her canvas. Her medium is oil and that is very clear by the oil stained outlines around the streaks of paint. Her inspiration stemmed from the time she spends filling out paper work to live and work in London as an immigrant. Iseri's artwork is relevant to the refugee crisis the Middle East and Europe are experiencing currently. 

Filed under: inspiration we are home

A Universe of Love

by Summer Ash

February is branded as heart month by corporations, but I say we should feel the beat all year long. 

I have a complicated relationship with my heart to say the least, but if anything, it's made me realize the importance of friendship, love, and appreciating the Universe on a daily basis. So on this last day of February, and a bonus one at that, I thought I would share some of my favorite celestial symbols of love. 

The photo at the top of this post is of the surface of Mars, taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) in 2009. Launched by NASA in 2005, MRO had a two-year primary mission to study the history of water on Mars. Now almost ten years later, it continues to function, still taking data while also assisting in relaying communication from other satellites and rovers on the Red Planet. 

Our other planetary neighbor, Venus, is of course named after the goddess of love herself. Venus is practically an Earth-twin in size, but an anti-twin in everything else. This image is a composite of radar data taken by the Magellan spacecraft NASA sent to Venus in 1989. The planet itself is shrouded in thick cloud layers, but NASA was able to make this image with radio waves that penetrate the atmosphere and bounce off the planet's surface, giving us a picture of the topography. While on Venus, this dense atmosphere is toxic to life, from here on Earth, it's what allows Venus to shine so bright in our morning and evening skies - and perhaps inspire our imaginations from time to time. 

Eros is a member of the asteroid belt, orbiting the Sun in an orbit similar to Mars, sometime further and sometimes closer. Fittingly, it's a member of the Amor group of asteroids. In 2000 NASA's Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR Shoemaker) mission was the first spacecraft to visit Eros and send back high resolution images like this one. Even more incredible is the fact that NEAR Shoemaker successfully landed on the asteroid's surface at the end of its mission life in February of 2001, just over fifteen years ago today. 

Hopefully this image needs no introduction, but if Pluto hadn't captured your heart before, I hope this picture seals the deal. Less than eight months ago, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft arrived at Pluto and snapped this phenomenal image - our first ever glimpse of this distant world. The heart shaped feature (aka Sputnik Planum) became an instant symbol of our love of exploration and discovery. 

Lastly, moving out into the galaxy, I leave you with these nebulae colloquially called Heart and Soul. Located over 6,000 light years away from us, these regions of gas and dust, called nebulae, are where are stars are actively being formed (or at least they were 6,000 years ago!). This image was taken with NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) which was launched into Earth orbit in 2009. WISE uses infrared light to detect emission from dust, asteroids, brown dwarfs, stars and galaxies. It captured the glow of these striking regions, IC 1848 (aka Soul Nebula) on the right and IC 1805 (aka Heart nebula) on the left, in 2010. I think it's safe to say, it also captured my heart for now and evermore. 

I hope you'll take this opportunity to look around you and realize that love is everywhere, here on Earth and throughout the Universe, not only during "heart month" but everyday. 

Summer Ash is the Director of Outreach for Columbia University’s Department of Astronomy. Having been both a rocket scientist and a radio astronomer, she’s now harnessing her powers for science communication. She is the "In-House Astrophysicist" for The Rachel Maddow Show and has written for Scientific American, Slate, and Nautilus Magazine. She tweets as @Summer_Ash and is also one-half of Startorialist.

Filed under: allthelove asteroid asteroid belt astronomy awe cosmos Eros heart heart and soul inspiration love Mars nasa nebula pluto romance science science life soul space universe Venus

Who Wears Slow Factory?

by Celine Semaan Vernon

Meet our squad [Part One]<3





look ma no hands

A photo posted by RACHEL BESSER (@rachelbesser) on





beautiful bae #peace #globularcluster @chrisunkim #risingstar #greaternewyork #mitfellow #tedfellow

A photo posted by Slow Factory (@theslowfactory) on


today in #microfashion #LES #kid rocking #slowfactory #newyork #ff @nyartbeat

A photo posted by Slow Factory (@theslowfactory) on







Filed under: inspiration squad who wears slow factory