STYLE GURU STYLE: A World of Stories

STYLE GURU STYLE: A World of Stories

It is amazing to me just how hard is to understand the complexity of a system that is so present in our everyday lives. A system we are practically dependent on: globalization. On one hand, this process is a really beautiful thing. For example, I am wearing something that has traveled thousands of miles, across seas, over mountains and somehow has ended up in my closet. This big world doesn’t seem too out of reach after all!

On the other hand, however, this creates a greater likelihood for (often unjust) shortcuts to be made. We don’t see who constructed our T-shirt, how long they work or what their home life is like. We don’t see the carbon footprint each product makes as it travels across the country to and fro from factories, to packaging, from stores, to eventually our homes.

I attended a social justice conference not too long ago in which a professor spoke about the idea of interconnectivity. Something he said had really struck me, “We are living in a world of stories we are unable to hear.” How interesting is it to consider how many stories are attached to our daily interactions, choices, and even purchases. I really wanted to explore the story of the simple objects I wear and use.

For this look, I paired my flannel tunic with a pair of earrings made in Cambodia from detonated bombshell remnants. For me, they were a living message that even something as tragic and destructive as a bomb, can be made into something beautiful.

My Shinola planner was constructed with paper derived from trees in a sustainably managed forest. The use of products like paper, although nearly necessary in our lives, do not need to result in the depletion of such a critical natural resource.

The University of Dayton has a strong presence in Malawi. Beautiful bags and laptop cases ($10) like the one pictured above were made by women in the region UD students had spent time serving in. I thought this was such a steal, but for the Malawian women who constructed them, just this small amount of money would make the world of a difference.

I have been striving to live more mindfully and look at materials past their face value: every earring I wear, page I write on, and bag I hold. When I put on a pair of shoes, I wonder how many steps were taken by the worker who had constructed the sole. I wonder how many hours were spent in the cotton field tending and harvesting the plants in which would eventually turn into the shirt on my back. I want to be aware that my clothes do not just appear, but were touched; touched by hands that too have a story.