[As you'll notice, I've done some -yeah- 'censoring' in this post, because ever since I got really creepy emails, I've been more wary and so anything that's too up-close... well I just want to protect my mom's privacy. I've censored with some pink hearts, which, I agree, do look silly!]
My mother's birthday was a few days ago. I have always wanted to do a post about my mother ever since I went through all her old photos. This topic actually does pertain to fashion, because she was in the fashion industry
. She worked for about 5 different design companies, like Tommy Hilfiger (I think that was one of her worst experiences). She was a technical fashion designer
. That meant she made the ideas actually wearable
. Made a shirt actually fit right. To this day, she will inspect any garment I pick up and berate me if it has a horrible fit [which she used to do a lot, preventing me from buying much unless it was very well made].She always got mad at me for getting so interested in fashion
and spending so much time on it, and she said I caught the shopping bug from my grandmother
. But after finding some old photos that I'll show you later, I realized she wasn't exactly telling the truth as she was a bit of the fashion plate when she was younger.
My mother worked in the fashion industry. She said she only did it because she wasn't really booksmart to do other things. And in Taiwan, they make you take a test which determines which industries you have to choose from. [that photo is a design she made when she was in grad school
]In the end
, the fashion industry, or rather the people she worked with, treated her very poorly, and ever since she's kind of...hated it. She knows its bads
, like the backstabbing. She's trained people below her, only to get badmouthed and discarded after having trained them. When she was pregnant and couldn't come in to work, they tried to fire her. She's been discriminated against (but that was more a problem back then). All her collegues that she graduated with, have also for a while, been no longer in the industry.
She's a really tough person on the exterior, but sometimes, you can never always be that hard
, and you just can't take it anymore. She finally got so stressed out and "scarred" I guess, that she was done with the whole thing by the time I was in middle school. Now she's a piano teacher. And though fashion was her "second love", piano was her first. ; )
But what I learned was that unless you're the type of person willing to play this game at times, you're not going to survive.
People used to ask this woman who my family used to know, this old asian lady who taught at FIT, how she was in the industry for so long. She said, "You want to know why? I'm TOUGH."
I never seriously considered trying to be a designer, although in high school you feel like you have the potential to do anything, and it was a dream. My mom doesn't like me to spend too much time on fashion, because she knows I'm not the type of person who could survive in such an industry. You put in a lot, but you might not get as much out. You can't stew over any wrongs and you have to be as tough as nails. And I started to realize as I wondered myself, would I really be happy my whole life doing something, though artistic, is honestly, mostly filled with superficial people who take this art mostly at face value?
Sometimes I don't think I would.
I think the goal of life is to find meaning in it, and sometimes I would think, nowadays, there are like, what, thousands of people trying to make it as designers, but not as much going into fields that might make a larger difference, like important dilemmas
like global poverty, world hunger, speaking up for those who don't have a voice on the global stage or even right at home. Where are young people like us really needed?
We need innovation, fresh ideas to solve important problems.
I doubt that I would have even continued my blog this long if I didn't have such a strong feeling about animal rights and the skin industry's role in fashion. I wouldn't feel right just posting about superficial things like clothing and what celebrities are wearing everyday
. I wouldn't find meaning in this blog unless I didn't feel like it had a cause. But it does! So I think I'm a little more safe here. :) What is great about fashion, other than that it's fun, sometimes is that it can be used to raise awareness of important issues.
[right photo, a design she made in grad school. I love it! The print reminds me of Tsumori Chisato.]
It's kind of sad that you need to fight really really hard for some things you want in life, and it's even more difficult when you're not really sure if you want something. I like fashion, a lot. But as a career choice... that's a little questionable. Though there are really good people in the industry, a lot of the time, it's social smooching, kissing up to your boss (though that happens everywhere if you have a boss!), favors, and who you know
, that matters.
You might be lucky, or
you might need to claw your way upwards and betray your peers sometimes to get where you want to be. I'm not that kind of person. It used to kind of bother me. But I'm nice. Suck it.
If it's what you think you're destined to do, if you have a view, of course, you should go for it! But if you're a young girl, you need to realize that it'll be really really tough, though possibly rewarding in the end
. Just keep in mind that when you read all the glamour and glitz, those are the few who make it. You almost never hear about the tons of also talented people, who did not make it.
Whether it be not recieving enough funding, etc.
I care a lot about justice and fairness which is often hard to get in the industry and I'm not talking about designers but about any job in
the fashion industry, or related to the industry. So, I myself know it would be really hard for someone like me to accept. Hey, I get seriously annoyed when my brother uses a Mario Kart cheat. I'm just that
kind of person.The real reason I'm writing this post
is because, just a couple months ago, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.
As you can believe, it was very difficult to accept. Bad things have happened, but nothing too bad; nothing life-threatening.
My mother has undergone 3 surgeries
, and the malevolent little buggers are still there. Plus, my mother had lent something like, well, a significant amount of money, her life savings really, to a man who she thought was our family friend, who needed some help in starting up a company. It's been quite a while, and he refuses to return most of it, prompting us to currently seek legal action. The medical bills keep coming, and these monetary problems are unfortunately, real. So there's another headache!
It just shows that sometimes, though fashion can be a huge deal in your life, there are much more important things, like family. Like trying to help find a cure for a life-threatening disease.
In any case, this post is for my mother.
____________________________________My Favorite Photos of
My Mother and Her Outfits
My mother actually gave me these pants after I saw this photo.
I can't wear them as well though! If I could, I'd tell you.
My mom and her friends at the beach.
Isn't that hair just wack?! The 80's, yeah. I love the photo though.
No, this is not my dad, but one of my mom's old friends in Taiwan.
I only showed his face because, although I actually don't think Brad
Pitt is that cute, I do think he looks as close to an Asian Brad Pitt as you can get.
Which is quite funny to me. :)
The bottom right has a very Anthropolgie feel to it.
Looks early stella mccartney, I think. What season? I forget.
One of her more outrageous items. I was surprised too.
Some of these photos were taken by my mother's
photographer friend since he needed a model.
Why don't I have one of those?
I don't know why, but I never thought my mother wore oxfords!
Silver pointed moccasins, jeans, and a red and dark grey coat.
I actually really like this ensemble.
Btw, that bump on her stomach is me.
And my dad no longer has that jacket.
My grandma, aunt, and my mom [the smallest]
I Love this one because it looks so current like it could be
ripped straight from any Street Fashion page.
Kind of a Michael Kors-y feel.
"Most basic research in breast cancer is done on animals. But what we learn from animals doesn't always translate into how cancer develops in humans" - Dr. Susan Love
On Charities that fund Cruelty-free Research:
You might point out that this an interesting "dilemma", seeing as I am against animal cruelty and testing, but a lot of cancer research is done on animals.
Though I'm sure testing on animals brings about something, studies show that in comparison, research done without animals actually accomplish more and don't drain as much funding. It's a paradigm because people think that injecting cancer into other animals is the key to understanding ourselves and that is where the answers lie. It seems like it's more effective, but it doesn't seem to be...
But as stated above, people like Dr. Susan Love, who I have actually heard speak, is one of the more groundbreaking people working on finding a cure for breast cancer and one of the world's experts, does not believe in animal testing. It's just simply not as effective.
In any case, there are more alternative to animal testing that don't involve animals at all, like in-vitro, etc.
You can learn more here on alternatives to animal testing:
I'm not going to knock charities that do fund animal-testing since I think that would be counterproductive. But here is a list of non-animal testing charities which include like, the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade, Children’s Cancer Association, American Breast Cancer Foundation...:
If all these well-known charities decide to not fund experiments done on animals, don't you think there's a reason? And I think if I were to donate my money to one, I might as well donate it to a kinder AND more effective non-animal testing charity.
"An increasing number of scientists and doctors are questioning and refuting the long-standing practice of experimenting on animals in the name of human medicine. Concerns range from the physical and mental welfare of animals to the gross physiological and chemical differences not only between species, but within species.
Beyond the visible differences between humans and other animals, myriad internal genetic, biological, and physiological factors separate us. Indeed, variations within species can confuse studies, but extrapolating data from one species to another is even more problematic.
The past several years have seen an increasing number of published studies indicating the myriad failures of using experiments on animals to predict human health. Additionally, the media is increasingly giving voice to doctors and professionals who are speaking out against the antiquated, wasteful, and inhumane practice." - humaneseal.org
As always, I welcome other opinions, but if you are unwilling to look at these studies, please do not try to open a dialogue with me.
This has been a problem in the past, and the dialogue then goes nowhere, and is enriching for noone. I seriously think I might even need to put up a disclaimer one of these days.
One of my most enriching courses I took this spring was my Contemporary Moral Issues philosophy class, which taught me philosophy is more than just abstract ideas, is relevant to current society (look at Peter Singer, Thomas Pogge), and that if people do not remain openminded and willing to accept facts, no progress can be achieved. This course was one of the hardest courses I've ever taken, next to Organic Chemistry, but I think the most rewarding, though sometimes confusing. I honestly think everyone should be required to take this class.
I learned the best learners make decisions not based on what their beliefs are, but make decisions based on facts and logical reasoning. Believe it or not (no pun intended), I try to do that. Not convinced? Well, after studying abortion and anti-abortion for half a semester in my class, I still do not know where I stand on abortion. I'm being honest to god when I tell you that. I used to think I was anti-abortion, but now I'm not sure after reading both sides, and I would not make a decision just to make a decision. One might think that because I'm just an animal rights activist, that I would automatically be pro-life. But it's a lot more detailed than that.
So I do welcome other opinions. I like intelligent debate, but be prepared to back your opinion up. Oh, and you can't just say your belief,and then run away and not respond. That really annoys me as well.
As you may have noticed, there is no mention of PETA anywhere in this post, so do not give me some anti-PETA, PETA speal. Believe it or not, there is more to animal rights views than simply PETA.
Also, I will take this moment to say I also don't understand people who say there are more important issues to worry about, like Darfur and global poverty. Hello? Have you seen my blog? I obviously do care about issues like that. I don't think that you need to pick one cause over another. My heart can go out to many causes._______________
Lastly, let me clarify a simple view that may be that by supporting non-animal testing I care more about animals that I care about my mom. I think animal-testing is not a good way because for perhaps the most important reason, non-animal testing is, overall, more effective based on facts, and therefore the better solution.
And if you even bring it to that level, then, no offense, but I will truly have nothing to say to you.
Not up for donating?
Shopping for a Cause
Looking for a gift for someone? Well, part of the proceeds go to breast cancer foundations.
[psst. and I'm in love with that watch.]
And which I posted on a long time ago--Ralph Lauren's Pink Pony Initiative[from $-$$$]
want to join in on the fun? have some old photos of your mom that shows where you can identify where your fashion sense came from? put up a photo on your blog, link back and comment down here, and I'll check it out and compile a post with all the photos and link you too. ciao. [deadline- 1 week]