Preserving Heritage Arts in a Consumer Industry

Research

Kiowa Girl, portrait by Edward S. Curtis

Identity and cultural heritage are two topics I have been intrigued to research. I’ve wondered, how can we continue preserving our heritage in an ever-changing world? Especially, when it comes to fast fashion. I realized how relevant identity is after reading the work of Karl Marx. Although, not all of his predictions have played out yet, some striking evidence of his theories proved true in the film True Cost. The film made me think of my own career goals in the fashion industry. I want to create a way to equip designers and artisans in the developing world to be able to innovate and collaborate with one another.

I aspire to build an online platform for a designer showroom. It could be my way of preserving international artisans by displaying their work. Work in this field is already being done. Organizations like Social Tailor, retailers like People Tree, and a myriad of social media activists already are doing their part.

Then I realized, if we continue down this path of constant work, Weber’s Protestant Work Ethic, is aiding emerging designers in developing countries actually helping or hindering their society? Which internal faults has our society developed due to capitalism, consumerism, and the fetishism of commodities? What affects have consumerism had on our society? If Marx was right about the consumerism, how should social entrepreneurs respond?

I love researching heritage and the preservation of indigenous designs. Many of my career goals are fashion focused, which is why cultural heritage intrigues me. Thus, researching why and how to promote preservation ideals furthers a deeper understanding of my personal goals. Historically, clothing has been worn as a symbol of identity, which is why I chose to focus my research on historic costume.

Photographer in the West

In the early 1900s, photographer Edward S. Curtis created a commercial photography project highlighting the importance on Native American heritage rituals and costume. Curtis said, “The passing of every old man or woman means the passing of some tradition, some knowledge of sacred rites possessed by no other. Consequently the information that is to be gathered, for the benefit of future generations, respecting the mode of life of one of the great races of mankind, must be collected at once or the opportunity will be lost for all time.”

Curtis was urged to capture on film the great life of Native Americans, because his research predicted their severe loss of heritage. His photographs served as a small way of preserving the Native American lifestyle. Efforts like this happen all over the world, but the driving factor in heritage preservation is the sense of loss. Humans want to remember their history because it gives them a sense of belonging. If we cannot remember our history, we risk repeating our mistakes.

Consulting in Toluca

During my undergraduate experience, I consulted with a heritage fashion start-up in Toluca, Mexico. I enrolled in Arizona State University’s Global Impact Entrepreneurship program, which is dedicated to furthering innovations for the developing world. So I had the opportunity for a consulting role. My goal was to brainstorm with designers. They needed better streams of revenue, in order to preserve their work. So I provided the designers with a business plan, as well as a global marketing strategy.

I met some awesome people, who introduced me to historical crafting techniques. They created intricate embroidery. I learned about culture, while focusing on design. I presented marketing strategies to create economic value from their handcrafts. Consulting with the start-up partners was exciting. Each day was intriguing, which motivated me. I believe preserving cultural heritage is crucial. So we created designs that were respectful of their history. During my time in Toluca I gained experience in leadership. I was in charge of managing our prototyping and product development. In addition, I grew in my cross-cultural communication skills. It was a grand experience.

 

Heritage Garments

Technological advancements will help secure our collective culture. In Toluca, I was intrigued by the complex patterns the designers made. Mexican culture greatly inspires me. The designers used bright colors. The colors captivated me. Each family had their own motifs. They employed motifs directly from nature. Some designs were flowers. Others were animals or plants. All designs had historical meaning. They were very detailed. I interviewed several designers, who had been embroidering for decades. It was so exciting to learn about them.

It is difficult to preserve handcrafts, due to lack of economic scalability. Often times, the youth do not wish to learn traditional crafts. Traditional garments take a long time to create, because they are always handmade. Most have been preserved by word of mouth. In the future, I believe technology can be used to help preserve them. In essence, we must employ technological advances to preserve our collective past. Being part of ASU Skysong provided me with international business experience. Culture and fashion have always blended in Allisonland. This project thrilled me, because it combined my favorite research topics. If you want to learn more about the project, click here.

Below, I model traditional festival garments.

 

 

 

 

Naturopathy

Origins of the Naturopathy Lifestyle

Drawing of Hippocrates

Naturopathy research began 2400 years ago. It can be traced to Hippocrates, known as the Father of Medicine, who was an ancient Greek physician. Hippocrates believed in the healing power of nature. Around the globe, naturopathy still remains at the heart of modern medicine. Although our technology has improved, our species still relies on nature. Although many think of health or science when they hear about naturopathy, it can be a lifestyle as well.

 

Laws of Naturopathy

  1. Humans are a composite of spirit, mind and body.
  2. The spirit of a human is senior to their mind, which is senior to their body.
  3. The spirit alone may heal the mind and body.
    1. The mind by itself cannot heal itself, and requires effort on the part of the spirit.
  4. All disease (spiritual, mental or physical) is stoppage, which is brought on by stress.
  5. All disease is curable.
    1. Although all disease is curable, some people are not. In humans, there exists negative and positive energy.
    2. Many people wish to survive.
    3. Some people wish to succumb.
    4. Those who wish to survive feel they must support those who wish to succumb, which can negatively impact them.
    5. Those who wish to succumb benefit from those who wish to survive. They do not return any benefits.
  6. A state of optimum health is positive, as well as the natural order of existence.
    1. A diseased condition is the responsibility of, and created by, the individual self. This is negative.
  7. Achieve optimum health and balance:
    1. Ethical conduct.
    2. Education, with the idea of improving one’s existence and the survival of others as well.
    3. Managing one’s self with high-quality nutrition.
    4. Consistently exercising the body, including the connection of the mind.
    5. A sufficient rest schedule.
  8. Ethics means “surviving optimally for the good of all”. An ethical person not only survives, but also actively contributes to the optimum survival of all of mankind. They must take responsibility for all humans.
  9. An ethical person concerns themselves with the ecological welfare of the planet.

Learn more about the science of natural benefits by visiting Stone Naturopathic and signing up for their monthly blog!

“Everything in excess is opposed to nature.” (Hippocrates)

Gardens in New York

Gardens

I’m always inspired by nature around the world. A great garden is the best example of our appreciation for nature’s designs. I love to travel and I am always finding new flowers. Gardens are for adventure, while learning something new. Recently, on a trip to New York I came across quite a few flower friends. Most were Spring flowers, most pleasant to me during my birthday month of May.

Pansy

Pansies in New York City

Bleeding Hearts
Bleeding Hearts in Niskyuna, NY.
Daffodil
Daffodil in Niskyuna, New York #NoFilter

 

Eco-Fashion Blogs

Top 5 Best Eco-Fashion Blogs of 2017

Recently, I read a post by Charlie Ross of the Offset Warehouse, focusing on eco-fashion and ethical fashion blogs. I noticed a few of my favorite fashion blogs in the list they had. Check out the following links to find ethical and sustainable fashion vibes!

  1. Ecouterre: As the world’s first ethical and sustainable fashion blog, my list couldn’t be complete without them. If you’re new to the game, and trying to learn how to embrace a slow fashion lifestyle, here’s a good place to start. Ecouterre is chic, while it covers all the bases of conscious style.

  2. Eco Warrior Princess: This neat a tidy blog is perfectly curated. It’s aimed at readers want to make conscious purchases when they can, and who believe in choosing eco-friendly and sustainable lifestyles. Eco Warrior Princess provides resources for new ethical bloggers as well.

  3. The Conscience Collective: This blog looks for the ethics in brands, as well as showcasing their uniqueness. They focus on innovative designers, and always publish new hacks for a conscious lifestyle.

  4. The Fashion Hedge: If you’re looking for strategy and brand development inspiration, this is your blog. Check out the Fashion Hedge to begin embracing an ethical lifestyle. As you change over your closet, kitchen, cleaning products, and everything else you realize can be more sustainable, this blog can serve as a guide.

  5. Green Issues by Agy: I may have saved the best for last. If you’re looking for a new project, and ready to get your hands dirty, this blog will inspire you to no end. Agy, a passionate textile artist, reminds us to come back down to Earth. Check out this blog for constant updates on upcycles. Making something new is so much better than buying something new!

 

Nature’s Guide to Beauty

I’ve always been inspired by the way humans take design from nature. Almost everything we create, we have borrowed from our Mother Earth, often forgetting to give credit where credit is due. For my entire life, I have never been able to shut my eyes to our planet. I’ve had some of the most romantic experiences being at peace with our world and breathing it all in. Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Parks make up one of my favorite areas of the world. That’s why my fiancé and I have decided to celebrate our wedding in the area. Last Spring we were scouting out secluded locations, where we stumbled upon Jenny Lake Lodge. The lodge and campsite are nestled into the looming mountains creating an intimate, yet ominous feeling.

 

Amangani Resort and Spa

We also stopped by Amangani, a resort and spa, just a few minutes outside of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. We’d love to have our ceremony facing the mountains, while we celebrate in a grand ball theme of the 1900s style. Being united together while being at one with nature is our goal. We liked the open air patio in the back with a view stretching out over the grand mountain range. Although we liked Jenny Lake Lodge’s seclusion and forested atmosphere, the draw of the Amangani resort is clear. We imagined a royal atmosphere, with towering flowers and smooth Glen Miller songs.

Amangani, Jackson Hole, Wyoming

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bonus:

We found this little fox on the drive through Glacier National Park. Naturally, we named him George. We rolled up right as he was pouncing on a mouse. We felt a little bad for the little guy, but that is nature. Lunch!

Fashion + Function

Fashion Takes on a New Role

Fashion should have a functional twist. In China, some of the worst air pollution in the world is found surrounding cities. Chinese designers are realizing they must produce protective fashion to sustain their urban lifestyles. Beautiful new innovations of fashion with functionality are popping up every day. Fashion finally meets function, as if function is the new black. Climate change is affecting us all more and more. As our climate changes, we must protect ourselves with fashion.

 

Special Edition Masha Ma mask available on Yoox

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check out www.yoox.com for more fashion, art and design. Look for #consciousconsumerism at Yoox in their conscious collection page, here.

Learn more from @Liz_Flora here at Jing Daily!

Flower Inspiration

I believe flowers have succeeded on this Earth, because they are good for it. They are good for humans, and nature alike. I’ve always been inspired by the way humans take design from nature. Almost everything we create, we have borrowed from our Mother Earth. Often we forget to give credit where credit is due. For my entire life, I have never been able to shut my eyes to our planet. I’ve had some of the most romantic experiences being at peace with our world. Take time to breathe it all in. Smell the roses.

Desert Poppies Blooming near Lake Pleasant, Arizona | March 2017

 

 

Poppy and Peony Flower Friends

I’ve always been in love with our planet in my own way. There are a plethora of nature’s secrets, which I will never have time to discover. I found this perfect flower friend, while I was walking my dog. Sometimes little flowers jump out at me, so I have to capture the moment. Tiny things capture my attention, like the refraction of a holiday light. Or intricate patterns on the underside of a leaf. The Earth takes my breath away every day that I live.

Hana’s Secrets

Hana: Maui’s Favorite Road

Hawaii is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. The islands are isolated from other lands. They must take extra precautions with invasive species and ecological threats. The National Park Service in Hawaii work to preserve the islands for generations to come. They are especially aware of the history of the land. Originally, each island was divided into sections. Accordingly, this is how they can best be preserved. Ancient conservation practices are particular to each region. Hawaiians are good stewards of the islands, which is why the Hawaiian islands remain a tourist destination. Learn more about the National Park Service in Haleakalā and plan your visit here: https://www.nps.gov/hale/index.htm

Once upon a time, we took a spontaneous trip to Maui to camp in Hana. The East side of the island is less touristy. You’ll find more campers, than honeymooners. For us, it was the beginning of a new journey together. First, we decided to hike in the Haleakalā National Park on the East side of the Island. For millions of years, the rains from the forest trickled down the mountain, creating this gulch and small valley. Small pools tucked into the rocks, bring together the elements of life. We climbed near a small pool and waterfall. From on top of the waterfall, the view was incredible. We stood above a gorge, which stretched out to the Pacific.

We looked out towards the ocean, while I thought about my love for nature. I felt at peace with the Earth, because there was a private tranquility to this place. It resonated in my heart. My dear love has understood this part of my soul, which I did not know myself for a long time. He understands my need to be unified with our planet, so it was here where he proposed!

Naxos: Cycladic Ancestors

Naxos – An Ancient Island

In the Spring of 2015, I checked off a line item on my bucket list. Visiting the island of Naxos, Greece, had long been a goal of mine.  I first learned of the quaint island, while studying design at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. I was inspired by the exceptional sophistication of the female forms. Seeing the Cycladic figurines became an aspiration.

The Cycladic culture peaked between 3300-1100 BCE, but the civilization mysteriously disappeared during the Greek Dark Ages. Apparently, the ancient civilization crafted millions of these tiny figurines. Accordingly, they were experts at the techniques and skill in their design. They were able to create strikingly advanced statues with the smallest of details. Some mysteries still remain of the ancient culture, who valued intricate detail so diligently.

on Naxos