Second Annual Calm Before the Storm

Fashion week is a time that happens twice a year and is when our industry truly becomes alive. The energy is heightened, New York, London, Milan and Parisian streets become a runway show themselves with everyone wearing their best streetwear as models run from casting to show to casting again with little sleep food or sanity.

With a few seasons under our belt, Dani and I understand how stressful this time of the year can be and therefore wanted to provide models with an outlet. Last year we held the Calm Before the Storm, a bi-annual pre-fashion week event for models to de-stress, primp and prep themselves for the upcoming shows. It was such a success that we decided to throw another one, this year with even more sponsors, more vendors, and super special guests to lead our opening chat.

To see our community come together was so special and we’re happy to see this event grow stronger every year. From new faces in the industry to models with cool side projects, it was a beautiful night of love and laughter and was so fun to be in a space with each other minus the competition or anxiety. We hope everyone went into fashion week with a new friend, a little less stress and confident you can kill it. And if you need advice or a coffee to grab, Dani and I are always down (especially for matcha lattes at Blue Stone Lane;).

Without our community of sponsors, we wouldn't have been able to throw together such a fun night!

Sponsors:

The delicious food we enjoyed was catered by Ripe! Ripe is a healthy food catering company in NYC. They believe food isn't just fuel, it's an experience, it's community, it's growth. We agree! Ripe donated their event space to us for their event! You can tag them on any posts using these handles: @so_ripe

Sustainability was a big topic of our event today. Check out one of our favorite clothing brand's ADAY! Tag your ADAY pics wearing their hat to receive a discount at their store! @thisisaday

Those beautiful serums you received are from Amberlight Beauty, a company started by Dominyka Gajauskaite. Dominyka ensures the best material go into all of her products from rose oil to open your heat to chamomile for calming your senses. Find out more at @amberlightbeauty

The cutest toothbrush + dental floss packs were provided to you all from BOKA. They're a mindful oral care company that stresses the importance of working with our bodies, not against them. See all of their fun pics and share yours @boka!

EcoEnclose provides sustainable solutions for packaging and sent us all of those beautiful recycled paper bags for your goodie bags! I uses them for all of our ODM/ODC shipping, and they're incredibly easy to work with! Check our their Instgram @ecoenclose!

Groceries Apparel is a sustainable style + lifestyle destination for conscious fashion-forward individuals. They’re also the company we use for our Perfect white tees! Follow them @groceriesapparel.

The healthy bubbly was provided by Health-Ade Kombucha! We're addicted! If you are, check out more information or share your pics @healthade.

One of the best feelings in the world is putting on a pair of new white crisp socks. Lucky for us JawxJawshop slipped some of our socks into our goodie bags! You can follow them @jawxjawshop!

Keep your luscious locks shiny + your skin feeling bright with the powerful ingredients in The Seaweed Bath & Co's products! They sustainably hand-harvest certified organic seaweed of the coast of Maine! You can follow their story @theseaweedbathco.

We raffled off beautiful rings donated by Shiffon Co. Shiffon is more than just a jewelry brand, they aim to be supportive, powerful network for women. Follow them @shiffonco for more inspiration!

Everyone searches for that perfect pair of denim, look no more because Simply Suzette definitely has it! They are an online boutique for women looking for ethically + sustainably produced denim! See more from them @simplysuzette.

Artisanal coffee & food delivered with first-class service. That pretty much sums up Bluestone Lane! It was also the place where Dani + I first brainstormed our Calm Before The Storm event, so you know we are big fans! In your gift bags you will find some yummy granola samples from Husk Bakeshop  these goodies can be found in their cafes! Follow them @bluestonelane to see what they are up to!

Modern, sustainable and luxurious: Celsious offers a fresh and new way to "come clean" in a beautifully designed environment in Williamsburg! If you haven't checked them out you can find them at @celsious_social.

The beautiful candles decorating the space in addition to the samples in our goodie bags were provided by Keap. This candle company was created to provide consumers with a middle ground; a candle that was neither cheap and full of harsh chemicals nor overly priced. In addition to making candles that are better for our health and our pockets, Keap started as a Public Benefit Corporation to provide better access of affordable, sustainable living to people outside of the electrical grid. They’ve partnered with SolarAid to provide solar light to communities in need through their Buy a Candle, Light a Home program. 

Knours. is an innovative brand that addresses the casual link between a woman's cycle & her skin. Sounds too good to be true! We love the cute pink bags of amazing product they gave us and we hope you do too! Check them out here @knoursknows

Trying to keep healthy while on the go can be a bit tricky at times, luckily Monday Carrot has you covered with their smoothie packs! They combine science backed benefits of a plant-rich, whole-food diet with the latest findings in nutrition research to optimize results from the inside out! Check them out @mondaycarrot

All of that wine we enjoyed was donated by Parcelle Wines! They are a curated wine shop and the first retail concept from Delicious Hospitality Group, the team behind NYC restaurants (and some of our favs) Charlie Bird, Pasquale Jones, and Legacy Records! See more from them @parcellewine

RYU is an incredible clothing line created for the urban athlese that moves with you. They stand for respect and they are #BeyondTough. Check them out @ryu_apparel

Role Models MGMT is an ethical talent & modeling agency started by two models + social activists who came together to start a modeling agency. Role Models MGMT will disrupt the way we think about and see the industry! Check them out there @rolemodelsmgnt. 

Did we not have the best chairs ever?! Those were graciously donated to us by Sub Rosa. They are an independent strategy and design practice that helps organizations explore, learn and grow. Check out their Instagram @wearesubrosa.


And of course our amazing vendors:

Cameron Russell:

We are so grateful to have Cameron Russell Speak at our event, she is such a role-model in our community! Cameron put together the first event that Britt and I had ever gone to where the model activist community first began. We spoke freely about our experiences in the industry and got to meet more models in a space other than a casting. She is now head of the group, we call ourselves the Model Mafia, and we get together for events, talks, fashion shows, climate marches, etc! E-mail brittb@odmodc.com to see how you can get on our e-mail list.

FaceLove:

What looked to be THE MOST relaxing facials were provided to you by Face Love!! They made our event so much more special.  Their massages are the perfect pick-me-up during fashion week! Check their new storefront out in Flatiron @love_facelove.

Dominyka Gajauskaite:

Dominyka started her own skin care lines as a result of being sick of unfriendly products being used on her face time and time again. Her serums are our favorite. Stay in the know about @amberlightbeauty!

Summer Rayne Oakes:

Summer is definitely a jack-of-all-trades! She is literally a master in everything she does, we are so inspired by her! Her love of plants and amazing green thumb have us all asking for advice!! Check her website to discover more and definitely hit up her youtube channel.

Sinead Bovell:

Sinead is the founder and CEO of WAYE (Weekly Advice for the Young Entrepreneur), she is dedicated to building a sustainable working future for the next generation through entrepreneaurship. If you haven't been to one of her talks, make sure to follow her at @sineadbovell!

Daniel Gottlieb:

We hope you were able to experience all or that Hyperice love from Mister Yoga Dan! He has developed a practice that brings together his two passions- sports and yoga- to create a full mind/body fitness for your spirit program! See more from Dan @misteryogadan.

Sandrina Bencomo:

We all know how hard it can be to take care of your health while you are running around for fashion week! Sandrina has a few tips + tricks! If you were not able to speak with her check out her website to book and appointment.

Celsious:

FINALLY doing laundry can be fun (seriously)! Celsous had filled that gap by opening up a snazzy new laundromat in Williamsburg where you can hang out, grab a coffee + do laundry with and eco-friendly approach! @celsious_social

More Impact, Less Harm!

Between Fashion Revolution Week April 23-29th and Earth Day on April 22, it’s an important time for us all to reflect on our positive and negative impacts on the environment. 

Prior to starting ODM/ODC, I had little knowledge of the effects of fast fashion on our environment and on the people who make our clothes. $5 seemed like a bargain for a t-shirt and I found myself flocking to fast fashion retailers, desperate to buy the newest trends for as cheap as possible. Even being in the industry myself, having witnessed first-hand the difference between well-made clothes with beautiful fabrics and time consuming handwork and cheap fast fashion that felt as if it were about to fall apart, I found it hard to wrap my head around the fact that there is a crucial difference between a $5 throwaway and something that would cost me a lot but my last a life time. This is the problem many people face without even knowing it because of the marketing we are bombarded with each day. Consumers now expect to pay as little as possible for more clothing without realizing who is really paying for the pay-cut. 

It wasn’t until living four and a half years in NYC as a full-time model that I began to realize the negative impacts of fast fashion. A fellow model and friend of mine, Cameron Russel had a meeting for models in NYC to talk about how to best use our platforms to advocate for matters that are important to us, for her it was women’s rights and the environment, especially fashion’s impact on the environment. It was at this specific meeting that I realized the fashion industry is one of the ‘dirtiest’ out there. In terms of pollution, worker’s rights and fabric waste, the industry has much to improve upon. 

Something recent that ignited the fire for people to advocate for a better industry was the tragic Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh, five years ago on April 24, 2013. After numerous warnings that the building had visible dangerous cracks, workers were demanded to go to work regardless, and a day after many had complained, the building collapsed killing 1,138 people and injuring 2,500. It was the fourth largest industrial disaster in history. Tons of brands were identified in the rubble, many western , although it took many years for all those involved to own up to their involvement in this atrocious disaster. The disaster was fueled by political corruption and corporate greed perpetuated by the idea that our clothes needed to be made faster, be made cheaper all at the cost of the workers in third world countries where factories were unsafe and workers conditions were forgotten. 

Now, five years what has changed? 

Brands and customers seem to be more conscious of what they buy, what materials they’re using to produce clothing and who are the makers behind it all. The Fashion Revolution non-profit was made to promote genuine change and inspire others to be curious about where all their clothes are made. The industry hasn’t totally transformed but brands big and small are definitely taking strides to be more transparent about all their production processes, which is a huge step in the right direction. [1]

The Fashion Revolution created the hashtag #WhoMadeMyClothes? to inspire customers to reach out to the companies they buy from and see if they respond about their supply chain. Companies big and small including H&M, ASOS, and Adidas are working with their customers to share their suppliers, proof that some positive change is being made. 

The Fashion Revolution organization also encourages easy steps for those in and outside of the fashion industry to take to ensure we’re all on the path to better production. These steps include an action kit with information on how to get involved globally at each and every fashion revolution week event. Things like printable posters to share on social media, campaigns to share with friends and followers on social media with important facts and quotes, encouraging consumers to share their fashion love story. The fashion love story should be used to write a love letter to a piece of clothing you already own encouraging consumers to shop less and find love in things they already own. Similarly, the organization created the hashtag #haulternative which inspires consumers to refresh their closets in a new way such as shopping secondhand, swapping with friends or doing DIY customization. The last steps to inspire change are to actively reach out to policymakers, writing letters to brands and then downloading their educational resources which includes worksheets, activities and information to show how you can be a student ambassador at your school. 

Whitney Bauck, editor at Fashionista magazine is passionate about the intersection of fashion, faith and ethics and often writes about these issues, especially when they pertain to fashion. Since the factory collapse, Bauck explains another positive step towards ensuring a healthy and safe work environment in the Bangladeshi garment industry with The Accord, a five-year legally-binding agreement between large corporations and trade unions. [2] With the Accord in place, factories are continually inspected to ensure safe working conditions and are financially backed to upgrade safety measures. If you refuse to work with The Accord you could lose out on working with international brands that are signed up. Now, factory safety is no longer a “Western Luxury”. Because of these improved safety conditions, the amount of deaths per year has significantly dropped from 71 workers pre Rana Plaza to 17 workers annually now. [3]

There is however much more improvement needed. While the amount of unions surged immediately after the Rana Plaza disaster, activity has since slowed down, many people claiming to have been beaten up by police officials if they were involved in unions. There is hardly any backing of these unions from government officials. [4] Companies are pushing for safer working conditions yet often don’t want to pay for it. It’s tough without these unions to impose proper working wages or overtime pay for instance. [5]

In addition to these resources, I personally only try and shop from brands that are transparent about who makes their clothes, where they are made and the materials they use. There are enough brands out there doing it ‘right’ for me that I find I have enough resources available to shop. As of late, I’ve found I haven’t really had to buy any new clothes at all but will try and shop secondhand or swap with friends if I need something specific! It’s a fun way to spice up your closet, save some money and ensure you’re not contributing to environmental harm. Check out this article where I talk about a clothing swap I did with some friends in NYC! 

With organizations like the Fashion Revolution, companies who are willing to change and friends and family who are inspired to do good, we can all work together to demand better conditions for all workers and for the environment we all often take for granted. Which leads to another important holiday that falls right before Fashion Revolution week, Earth Day!

Earth Day is a global annual celebration to demonstrate support for environmental protection. From the amount of plastic used, the amount of material waste, contaminated rivers and streams, greenhouse gas emissions, the food industry, makeup and hair, the list goes on about ways in which we can all collectively work to ensure better conditions for our environment. 

With plastic waste alone, and even more specifically single-use straw waste, over 500,000,000 plastic straws are used EVERYDAY in the United States, many of which end up discarded in our ocean. It’s something so simple we can all say no to, to alleviate the amount of plastic ending up in our oceans and killing our ecosystems. I took the pledge to #stopsucking on single-use plastic straws and instead use bamboo straws if need be. Paper straws are a great alternative however if you don’t have to, using none is even better! Similarly, I always bring reusable bags to the grocery store, am never without my reusable water bottle and reusable coffee mug! I’m always on the go, so it also helps to have a metal fork and spoon on hand (I have a few in every purse). It’s little steps like this that we can all implement in our lives that will help make a difference. We can also reach out to our local restaurants, coffee shops (hello Starbucks!) and policymakers to address the abundance of plastic use and see if there’s a feasible solution that’s better for the environment. 

This past Earth Day, I had originally planned to skip all the fun activities and watch a Raptors basketball game in D.C. which would include four + hour bus rides each way to and from NYC. What was environmentally friendly about that? Being stuck in a bus most of the day and contributing to the carbon footprint wasn’t ideal. We decided to skip the game and spend as much time as we could outdoors and ended up having one of the most fun weekends I’ve had in a while. 

We started off our day by not using the lights as much as possible. Sure we had to get ready in a little bit of darkness but the light shining in from our windows did the trick. Next we went to our local coffee shop and used a cup to stay and my reusable mug. We then decided to do a 5k run and pick up trash along the way. This is called ‘plogging’ picking up trash while jogging and is huge in the Scandinavia. [6] It’s a fun way to keep our grounds clean and I must add definitely added a strength component to the workout! After our run, we made sure to bring our reusable bags with us and headed to the grocery store for a shop having them bag up everything in our own bags. Afterwards, we walked home along the east river and enjoyed the rest of the sunny day. It was a fun day outside where we got to admire mother nature and tried to make a difference where we could. It’s things we try and implement into our daily lives anyways but was a nice reminder to not leave the lights on, not have the tap run unnecessarily, pick up trash whenever you can and be cognizant of your impacts on the environment. 

So, what changes are you going to make in your life? For our environment, for the people who make our clothes, for the companies we invest our money in and for the life we leave behind for future generations. Share some things you already do and what steps you’d like to implement into your lives, we’d love to hear your suggestions! 

*Opening image shot by Leeor Wild for ADAY's new minimal waste campaign 

Sexual Harassment; What It Is and How to Stop It

Enough is enough...

The Harvey Weinstein allegations were the sparks that lit the roaring fire. Now, months after the first allegation, many more sexual harassment cases have come to light. I thought I’d share my input as a model in the fashion industry.  Just like Hollywood, the sexual abuse prevalent in modeling is astounding and has been ignored for far too long. [1]

To start, it isn’t to be ignored that abuse of all natures is prevalent in many industries, not just film or fashion which have been highlighted in the past few months. I’ll be touching base on my opinions of abuse in modeling but am by no means saying it is the only industry where this happens. 

So what is sexual harassment? [2]

This list is what sexual harassment in a work environment involves. It includes many things... 

Actual or attempted rape or sexual assault.
Unwanted pressure for sexual favors.
Unwanted deliberate touching, leaning over, cornering, or pinching.
Unwanted sexual looks or gestures.
Unwanted letters, telephone calls, or materials of a sexual nature.
Unwanted pressure for dates.
Unwanted sexual teasing, jokes, remarks, or questions.
Referring to an adult as a girl, hunk, doll, babe, or honey.
Whistling at someone.
Cat calls.
Sexual comments.
Turning work discussions to sexual topics.
Sexual innuendos or stories.
Asking about sexual fantasies, preferences, or history.
Personal questions about social or sexual life.
Sexual comments about a person's clothing, anatomy, or looks.
Kissing sounds, howling, and smacking lips.
Telling lies or spreading rumors about a person's personal sex life.
Neck massage.
Touching an employee's clothing, hair, or body.
Giving personal gifts.
Hanging around a person.
Hugging, kissing, patting, or stroking.
Touching or rubbing oneself sexually around another person.
Standing close or brushing up against a person.
Looking a person up and down (elevator eyes).
Staring at someone.
Sexually suggestive signals.
Facial expressions, winking, throwing kisses, or licking lips.
Making sexual gestures with hands or through body movements. 

VERBAL

Referring to an adult as a girl, hunk, doll, babe, or honey
Whistling at someone, cat calls
Making sexual comments about a person's body
Making sexual comments or innuendos
Turning work discussions to sexual topics
Telling sexual jokes or stories
Asking about sexual fantasies, preferences, or history
Asking personal questions about social or sexual life
Making kissing sounds, howling, and smacking lips
Making sexual comments about a person's clothing, anatomy, or looks
Repeatedly asking out a person who is not interested
Telling lies or spreading rumors about a person's personal sex life

NON-VERBAL

Looking a person up and down (Elevator eyes)
Staring at someone
Blocking a person's path
Following the person
Giving personal gifts
Displaying sexually suggestive visuals
Making sexual gestures with hands or through body movements
Making facial expressions such as winking, throwing kisses, or licking lips
 

PHYSICAL 

Giving a massage around the neck or shoulders
Touching the person's clothing, hair, or body
Hugging, kissing, patting, or stroking
Touching or rubbing oneself sexually around another person
Standing close or brushing up against another person

Reading through this list, I think it’s safe to say that many of us have experienced sexual harassment of some sort. 

Mid October of this year, model and activist Cameron Russell took it upon herself to share on Instagram not one or two but over 70 stories, anonymously sent to her by models both male and female of their experience of sexual abuse in the industry. [3]

From the submitted posts on Cameron’s Instagram page, I read through stories of rape, stories of unsolicited sexual acts, models who were forced to do things they did not want to do. [4] Models who were frozen in gut-wrenching situations where they were unable to move, unable to act, unable to react or stand up for themselves. It’s so much easier to say get up and stand up for yourself but when you’re in an industry that glorifies sexuality, sometimes as young as 15, 16 years old, what’s considered “normal” is often skewed. You have to live your life in a new lens that is confusing. There are photographers, stylists, agents, casting directors who have an unsurmountable control over a model’s career and oftentimes we are left silent, unable to speak because we need work, we need to pay the bills, and we’ve gotten lost along the way by trying to make it. 

 “…He put his fingers deep down in my v few times as he was shooting pics of me, saying this will make pics look more sensual. To a 15 yo….”

“…Making me feel like I was the one who had done something wrong by not wanting to sleep with him…”

“… He looked me in the eye and asked me after 5 minutes of meeting me if I would suck his dick…”

“…After about 2 minutes in front of the camera he told me I needed to “let loose” and “be more sexy” and he kept telling me to touch myself…”

“…Telling me to come in the bathroom to take photos of us while he masturbated…”

When I read through some of these stories, my heart broke to even be in an industry where sexual harassment happens so frequently. I thought, thank god I haven’t been in a situation like this. But as I really thought back to when I first started modeling, the blocked memories began to surface and I realized that a lot of what I had dismissed was in fact sexual harassment. From having to change in front of multiple people on set, changing backstage as photographers snapped away, having stylists touch every inch of my body (oftentimes exclaiming “don’t worry I’m gay”, which never made them shoving their hands down my crotch to tuck in my shirt feel any better…) shooting topless which I told myself I would never do but now “depends on the situation”, texting and phone calls from photographers, dealing with unwanted flirting, tolerating creepy photographers because they’re “big” and have the power to “make my career” … The list goes on and on. And I’ve normalized all these actions and have forgotten about a lot of them because this abuse often seems like a caveat to being a model. We just have to “deal with it” or are told it comes with the job. 

Enough is enough. Agent’s need to stop sending models to photographer’s houses/castings when they know they have a bad track record. Look out for us! We are entering a mature industry, oftentimes at such a young age away from our families. You are our family! Treat us as you would your own kids. Would you send your kids to someone who you’ve heard has done bad things? It shouldn’t even be a question. Not everyone is lucky like me to be with an agency that consistently values their models health and well-being. This should be an industry-wide standard that we don’t have to ask for. 

Magazines need to stop hiring these perpetrators and take note of those like Condé Nast International, who are finally stepping up to do the right thing. (Recently, the publishing house finally cut ties with longtime perpetrator Terry Richardson). [5]

Advertisers, stop hiring these people. There are far too many stories circulating. You know who they are. Step up and say no! There is no lack of talent. Find someone else to shoot it. Find someone else to style it. Find someone else to do the hair and/or make-up. 

In the wake of these scandals, many people have been sharing their sexual harassment experiences using the hashtag #MeToo. Years ago, Tarana Burke, founder of Just Be Inc, an organization that promotes the wellness of young female minorities shared her experience as a survivor of sexual violence. She used the hashtag #MeToo to shed light on the fact that no one is ever alone and use it as a way to heal together. When talking about the issue, Burke exclaims “We are experiencing a moment of mass disclosure, which can be very triggering for folks. There are a lot of people who are turned off by this movement — and I get it. There’s not a clear message or outcome. It’s not like people are saying, “Yes, me too” and then getting a list of steps to follow to heal and make change on this issue. And that’s what I hope to provide for folks in the coming weeks and days. But in the meantime, be gentle with yourself, take your time, figure out what you need, don’t be afraid to ask for what you need, don’t let anyone shame you into feeling like what you need is dumb and don’t let anyone diminish your experience." [6]

While some have publically stepped out by using such hashtags, many have not and are oftentimes questioned for it. What people need to understand is for some, the there is a necessity (short-lived or long-term) of remaining anonymous and hiding these abuser’s names. There is legality at play and the safety and reputation of those who decide to submit their stories. Deciding to step out and share their stories is one of the most heroic things someone can do. With jobs, reputations and safety at play it is in the media’s best interest to respect the privacy of these victims until the right lawyers and investigative journalists are hired to expose the abusers. Reopening old wounds or revisiting new ones are hard now, are hard then and should not be looked upon lightly. Let those who have been abused heal in whatever manor they wish to and refrain from questioning any of their motives. 

This is only the start and meaningful change will happen. Step up, stand up, and be a part of this movement. Help those who don’t have a voice. Help those who have been hurt. Educate young ones on the meaning of consent. Invite men to our conversations. Collectively, we have the power to fight sexual harassment. And it needs to happen now more than ever.