School days are over: it’s cool to be kind.
On the second day of NZFW, I talked about the somewhat snobby clientele that the event tends to attract. I spoke about a desire to separate myself from these sour faces, and to speak a different message at Fashion Week. One that wasn’t characterised by the worth of my clothing or the reputation of my family name.
By Thursday — or rather, Day 4 of Fashion Week — I would clarify exactly the message that I would be sharing. It was a message, that to me, reasoned my purpose at the event to a new extent. It wasn’t about where I was seen or who I was seen with. It was about the words I was seen saying, and in a slightly different way than usual, the clothes I was seen wearing.
For Day 4 of Fashion Week, I partnered with Flo & Frankie on their Flo Gives Back campaign. When they first contacted me in regards to this project, they discussed the synergy of my brand with its core ideas. They spoke of my platform as being both honest and powerful.
Their belief in the alignment between Currently Loving and this far-reaching, incredibly significant project was an absolute honour. It was an indicator both for where this platform could go, and too, for where I’d already taken it.
Proud is the word. I was proud.
Here on Currently Loving, I’ve always tried to do something a bit bigger, and a bit different to the rest. Personally, I don’t engage with content that feels superficial — in fact, with subject topics in general of this essence.
Perhaps this is why I’ve never fully immersed myself into the beauty side of blogging. While I’m a woman who too wears make-up from time-to-time, talking about make-up and discussing make-up is just not enough for me.
As I’ve said before, I want people to come away from a read on Currently Loving having truly gained something. I want readers to be encouraged to reconsider the ways they can better their lifestyle as well as their outlook. And so to me, that involves discussions of far deeper topics than the essentials in my make-up bag.
When Flo & Frankie reached out to collaborate on this specific project, my response was an unwavering yes. They got it. They got my channels. They showed clear understanding for who I am and what I represent on Currently Loving. This meant a lot to me, and so too did the ideas behind the campaign.
The Flo Gives Back range comprises a series of t-shirts, a jumper and a couple of stylish accessories, each marked by a different saying tending to giving back or popularising kindness again. 15% of the sale price per item is donated to helping women in need in Nepal.
If you recall back in 2015, a polarising earthquake struck Nepal, and left countless without a place to call home. Never mind a roof to cover each head, there remained not the shape of a village to offer sense of support nor the feeling of community. This destructive natural disaster made the Nepalese some of the most targeted victims of human trafficking and severe poverty.
Flo & Frankie are a small family business, who know first-hand the power of interpersonal kindness. It’s this sort of generosity, that often comes unexpected, which has enabled them to do what they love, extending a range of gorgeous fashion brands to women all across Auckland.
They realise that it’s not just locally where women both require and wholeheartedly benefit from sources of empowerment. This is an international phenomenon; something that all of us women can bond over, no matter the circumstance or the location we find ourselves.
Flo & Frankie have partnered with an organisation in rural Nepal (the area of Makwanpur), specialising in reviving the lives of women, and simultaneously, the families they represent. They intend to educate women — to provide them with the appropriate skills and knowledge — to start their own sustainable businesses. This initiative is one that has helped to protect the community from exploitation and slavery, as well as to initiate a long-awaited lift in the social and economic development in Nepal.
Much as I was slightly disappointed to regard earlier in Fashion Week, that women still struggle to own their sexuality; that we are still, in fact, victims of our innateness — this is a reality of 2018, which, by contrast, is indicative of great progression.
To imagine that women local to us are setting up businesses and choosing to pursue careers [independent of their historical responsibility to the home] is not all that difficult in this day and age. That it’s becoming a possibility in lesser-developed nations such as Nepal, however, is something quite different. Such a development would arguably be to a far lesser extent, without the contribution of campaigns such as Flo Gives Back.
It is one thing to wear an outfit and to feel good in it. Another thing entirely to wear an outfit and to know you’re empowering a greater good that exceeds far beyond yourself.
It sounds so simple. Almost too good to be true. And it is. By buying a piece from the Flo Gives Back project, we’re making a tangible and physical donation towards change. By wearing the piece, however, we’re pushing for change of the mental and the psychological. You could argue that one is as equally as important as the other.
It’s not just at Fashion Week or some high-end event, after all, where patronisation for one, plain carelessness for the other, is somehow deemed cool. Back in school, to be overly interested or passionate about something did, for a long time, warrant a response of utter disdain, or in the worst case scenario, rejection from our neighbours.
To show that you actually cared or were invested in something was to make yourself vulnerable to two things: judgement and disagreement. In hopes of avoiding both, many of us didn’t wish to act out of the crowd at all. We hesitated to make a stand for risk that no one else would stand alongside us.
For some reason, we let mean be the conceptualisation of cool. For it is far more aggressive and daunting than kindness, it still reigns to this day. I often wish I could speak to young people: to tell vulnerable girls to be ignorant of the opinions that don’t matter. I wish most importantly that if we were to speak, they would hear our words.
But at that age and in that climate, you simply don’t. All that matters is your little world, and in that little world, unfortunately, those bitchy girls take up a great deal of space.
I ask that you join me in the Flo Gives Back project, not solely because it’s important to support like-minded women everywhere, to give back to those less fortunate, or even, to find more significant meaning in the material with which we clothe our backs.
I ask you to do it for your childhood self. Let it be a way of standing up to the mean girls that have been; as well, to the mean girls that are probably yet to come. Let us stand up together to announce that kindness is fucking cool. Showing consideration and god-damn caring about something is also cool.
Let us allow kindness and passion to be the traits that get us places, over cockiness and carelessness. Let our graciousness and our generosity be the reason people look up to us — not because of the way we flaunt our height.
This is about something so much bigger than us. It’s about prompting an ultimate change in the dynamic of how we support one another. It’s about altering the way we judge and critique our neighbours, as if to imply that we’re not really on the same journey.
At the end of the day, we all want the same things. To get by. To be happy. To be healthy. To be safe. If you could help someone have all four by simply investing in a t-shirt… would you?
When partnering with Flo & Frankie on this project, they kindly informed me that should I have wished not to wear one of the t-shirts to Fashion Week, they understood. It mightn’t be the aesthetic you’re going for, they said.
I appreciated the gesture, and yet, I chose to wear it to Fashion Week anyway.
What better occasion, I thought, than in a setting where people are arguably most captured by the attire I wear? It only felt right to utilise those eyes, in order to highlight such a meaningful message. I wouldn’t have been happier in anything else on Day 4 of Fashion Week.
When passing folk did a double-take at the cursive font, once again, I was proud to be apart of something bigger.
Alongside partnering foundation Share & Care Nepal, Flo & Frankie hope to create what they call a “Flo-On-Effect”. Consider this a commitment from Currently Loving: we’re staying for the journey.
Will you join us?
Shop: Flo Gives Back
Wearing: Flo & Frankie Cool To Be Kind Black Tee, Leo + Be Cherub Sweat Jacket & Dreamy Pant, Witchery Lana Loafer, Witchery Alysha Satchel Cbody in Khaki, Arise Collective Nowra Polarised sunglasses.
Images by Tony Collins, edited by McKenzie Collins.