"It is as if the rich part of the world is washing Tetra Paks while the earth collapses." Lisa has the world on her mind.
Today is a big day for us – we’re picking up the keys to our new office. It is, above all, full of light. Emma’s face is like a kid’s on Christmas Day when she’s in there. As you know, we do most things ourselves, and it seems in the future, Emma will do even more photographing, which makes this space perfect – it’s is much like a photo studio.
We have some really exciting projects coming up this fall, including creating a visual identity for a brand offering high-quality cashmere sweaters and producing content for Instagram accounts that aren’t our own (but keep following us on @wemakeitlast). We’re also launching a new section of the site, and oh yes, before that there’s our forth fashion flea-market. (Welcome on 3 October!)
Men are calling us for advice (like duh) and we don’t have time to eat our lunches away from the computer. In other words, Make it last is growing up. In a week from now, we will have been up and running for a year, and OH MY has a lot happened since then. We’re actually nominated for a prize here in Sweden – the Swedish Publishing Prize. Fingers crossed ok?
Starting up Make it last with Emma is already among my most rewarding experiences. We both longed for a more relevant way of approaching fashion, to learn new things again, and update our weary views. This year has been a study of innovation, ambition, devastation, fear…. There’s no such thing as one solution to making fashion more sustainable (yes, I have to add “more” prior to “sustainable” as fashion will never “be sustainable), but one thing is for sure: the solutions offered are numerous and yes, they will have a real breakthrough.
I read Malin Ullgren in Dagens Nyheter the other day, and a couple of her well-formulated sentences stayed with me. They read, in Swedish, something like:
“Usually I’m utterly uninterested in private individuals’ environmental responsibility, I don’t believe in it, it shifts focus from nations’ and companies’ acute responsibility and possibilities to influence. It is as if the rich part of the world is washing Tetra Paks while the earth collapses.”
These sentences are everything to me. I don’t disagree with Malin Ullgren, which pains me to my core. The Tetra Paks, please, stop. When I read these sentences hastily, I have to close my eyes and take deep breaths, my inner voices telling me that Make it last is an impossible, ridiculous, insane project by the very definition: “Make it last.” Bah. But then I return to the words and I think about them… And no, it’s not as simple as that.
As smart as she is, Malin Ullgren is taking the easy way out. Actions matter; they make revolutions. If we stop believing in that, there’s really not much more to do (than perhaps to watch those companies do whatever they feel like without consequences larger than, well, destroying the planet). So however hard it is – yes, it is indeed a struggle every single day – I have to believe that it somehow matters what I do. What I could and can do. Trying to make it matter – and trying to make the ones who are indeed really responsible – nations, companies – to change.
This week, Lisa has California on her mind.
Photography by Damon Winter for New York Times
“You’ve had a landscaper and a house keeper since you were born
The starshine always kept you warm
So why see the world, when you got the beach
Don’t know why see the world, when you got the beach
The sweet life”
The hook of Frank Ocean’s song Sweet life
On my mind is California.
Still, the land of my dreams.
But the land suffers; the drought is severe, devastating. The limits of nature tells us California can’t keep being the seventh economy of the world on current terms. On its fourth year, the drought tells the state’s 38 million inhabitants (owning 32 million vehicles) that they indeed have to change their way of living. Even Governor Brown is forced to listen, and he recently ordered a 25 percent cut in water consumption.
The 25 percent cut doesn’t apply to farms, which consumes some 80 percent of the state’s water, and the issue of agricultural water spend needs to be more urgently addressed. But the Californian definition of beauty; a lush lawn and a golf course; is still a very real problem. The domestication of natural resources is as tricky as retouching the diversity of human beauty.
“Domesticated paradise, palm trees and pools…”
The Sweet life sounds like a Sweet lie.
I’m about the last one to say this, but there’s something about this paradox that defines California. Natural beauty versus external threat. Sunsets and foggy skies, cars and surfboards, extreme wealth and homelessness. A dream isn’t always a good one.
California has faced many a crisis; temporary droughts, crashing state budgets, massive energy issues, earthquakes; but has always, so far, found its way forward. It seems even this time around, most experts are saying ”no, it’s not the end of the California dream – but we have to adjust, we have to learn how to do things differently”.
And I choose to be hopeful. As Dr Starr tells NY Times: ”It’s not over… But it will change itself.”
Reinventing oneself; reinventing a state. It sounds like a shimmering cliche, but if any state can do it, it’s California. It will change.
Please take a look at Damon Winter’s photos of a dry California here, and while you’re there, read the feature as well. And have a good weekend.
Generation Z cares more about values and innovations than heritage and traditions. Lisa Corneliusson wants in.
Generation Z. Digital by default. Constantly connected. With upheaval as norm.
I’ve always been obsessed with youth, perhaps more for every year that takes me further from it. (Yes, I’ve feared non-youth since the day I turned 13.) Right now, I read as much as I can about changing consumer behavior and how Gen Z (the digitally savvy ones who do not know life without a smartphone) is changing the market. We’re heading towards a new value economy and to me it seems this will bring a lot of positive changes. ”Generation Z is the most engaged generation to date and if they don’t like it, they will do something about it. They’re quite activist in their mentality”, says Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia (ok so he’s 76 years old but he’s still on my yes list).
My favorite read right now, the LA Briefing, states a fact: luxury brands have been slow in adopting their businesses to what Gen Z wants. While the luxury segment has largely leaned back on ”the security of heritage” and relied on ”introspection rather than innovation”, the younger audiences are ”less motivated by external signifiers of wealth and more by intangible ideas of value”.
This disconnect got i-D Magazine to start new lifestyle title Amuse, launched to attract this ever-growing group of luxury consumers who are ”driven by experiences more than transactions”. This disconnect is probably also a reason why Kering has put sustainability and innovation at the core of their development. This disconnect is probably why Natalie Massenet made a huge deal out of launching The Net Set earlier this year (an app offering editorially curated content instead of a traditional e-commerce). S-commerce is predicted to be the future, and I’m very curious about Semaine launching next week with the tagline Forget the look. Shop the life. (And by the way, even more curious to know what Natalie Massenet is lending her genius to after leaving Net a Porter post-merge with Yoox. (Is she the next Anna Wintour?! Etc).
This week GANT did a major relaunch, simultaneously communicated in some 70 countries. The campaign feeds off GANT’s Ivy League heritage – not so appealing to Gen Z according to LA Briefing logic. But its message – real people (former Ivy Leagues students) who changed the world, not the shirt – may be one that Gen Z appreciates. I myself think the campaign is ambivalent in its message. After all, Nick D’Aloisio didn’t need Ivy League to teach him code at the age of 12, and GANT, as any other similar brand, needs change that is more than symbolic.
But: Perhaps this feeling of conflict between something rich and privileged (like the Ivy League heritage) and something standing for social change is in my system because I’m not part of Gen Z. Maybe I’m more traditional; my parents met while protesting against nuclear power on the streets of Stockholm in the late 70s; they work with kids and books in the public sector and not with fashion and tech in the private one. But then again, as with most parent-child-relationships, maybe my values stem from what they are and also whey they are not. I am after all an entrepreneurial leftie; accepting the market economy and still wanting to work with things that matters to me.
Discussing this new value economy, Marcie Merriman writes in WWD: ”The entrepreneurial community has the advantage in this new world (…) Large companies need to act more like start-ups and provide alternative innovations, not incremental improvements.” Now, although I am a huge fan of the podcast Startup and love to work for myself, I value a public sector and a welfare system a million times higher than private profit, i.e, I’m not disillusioned enough to think private startups is some overall solution. But if the message here reads that huge companies need to be more receptive to their customers? Then that’s music to my ears. I believe in consumer power – but also, that the consumer isn’t responsible for changes to happen. Changes are needed on policy level; initiated by the companies selling the clothes; agreed upon by politicians directly influential in decisions on how many refugees to welcome to a country. (Amen, Naomi Klein.)
Yes, it’s all part of the same system and it needs radical change, now more than ever.
Brand to Watch: Another Tomorrow
Recently launched New York label Another Tomorrow combines everything we love: sustainability, traceability and complete chicness.
Editor’s Pick: The All-Vegan Wishlist
Why not spend this time of solitude and reflection to discover some great new products that are not only vegan, but 100% chic?
RUS Summer Knits On Our Minds
Fight the quarantine boredom by reading our interview with RUS sisters Pati and Inés, discussing their new SS20 collection, family affairs and sustainability.
Conscious Collab: Wood Wood x Katharine Hamnett London
Thanks Wood Wood for making this collab, giving us a chance to talk more about super-cool sustainability activist Katharine Hamnett.
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