Pressing for Progress

International Women's Day DiscussionWe celebrated International Women’s Day 2018 by hosting a discussion with three vivacious women.

Our guests were:

  • Sarah Akwisombe - the straight-talking blogger and interior stylist 
  • Pippa Bhatt - the commercial production expert behind Coterie & MADAM films
  • Remi Ray - the fashion entrepreneur and creator of the podcast, The Advise We Didn’t Take.’

Thanks so much to everyone who joined us or watched live. We especially loved the lively chat that followed! There was loads of great insight, generously shared, and these are just a couple of the snippets:

  • Pippa gave us some great practical tips on how to be mindful of the gender stereotyped language we use with young kids, gained through her own experience as a mother of two girls, as well as through seeing gender roles played out loudly across the advertising industry.
  • Remi shared that two of her business idols are Sara Blakely and Jessica Alba, for the way they have managed to build epic businesses whilst still sticking true to who they are and also whilst supporting other women.
  • Sarah discussed how she still comes up against sexism whilst managing her business, and particularly finds it frustrating when she is patronised by corporate contacts, which can feel like pressure to adjust her own personal style - although she definitely has no plans to do so!

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day was Press for Progress. The sentiment is basically about keeping the current momentum going around gender equality. And challenging us to translate that into action. With that in mind, this blog isn’t just a report back, but also thoughts about next steps...

We definitely don’t have all the answers, but we’re going to keep thinking and have drawn a few conclusions to keep us pressing for progress from here: 

1. It’s important to help those most in need or whom may be marginalised from the conversation, as a priority. One way we’re doing that is supporting Bloody Good Period - a great initiative to provide menstrual supplies to women who can’t afford them. If you’d like to help, please donate via their website.

2. Whilst we find the word intersectionality really hard to say (without trailing off mid-way through in an awkward mumble), that’s a mini-challenge we’re willing to snap out of, because it’s a sentiment we absolutely support. It’s fair to observe that some of the feminist movements gone-by have largely been championed through the lens of society’s relatively privileged women, so we’ll be thinking about how the next stage can better support all women. Diversifying your sphere of influence is a good way to start. With so much of the UK’s media written by white men, we’ve found gal-dem a refreshing additional news source, written by women and non-binary people of colour – as a mechanism to help readdress the balance of voices defining our news agendas.

3. Gender stereotyping starts young. Apparently it even happens before we are born, with nurses reporting that when parents know the sex of their child they’ll usually describe their baby’s movements as flutters or wriggles if it’s a girl, or kicks and thuds if it’s a boy. We’re definitely going to step up our own kid banter game. No more go-to comments on pretty dresses with little girls or strong big-ups with little boys. We’ll be mixing up the small talk props by focusing on comments about being smart, kind and curious - for all genders.

4. Men need to be championing change. In a similar way that (we assume) you’d assume your heterosexual friend would be against homophobia and prepared to take a stand against it, we need to assume men are pro gender equality, if we believe them to be decent human beings! Talk to the men in your life. Help them get it if they don’t already. Here are a couple of content pieces we’d recommend they check out if they want a place to start to help inform their thinking:

    • Five women is a great podcast episode from the team at This American Life. It shares perspectives from five women who worked with a guy called out in #metoo. He wasn’t particularly famous and their stories aren’t particularly out there, but it features a whole host of observations about the way society is set up to condition both women and men around what totally weird behaviours are acceptable. 
    • Blogger, Father of daughters, has written an article for Stylist about why he'd like to see men get more involved. He talks about how his experiences as a Father have given him better perspective, but how gender equality is an opportunity all men should embrace.
    • For a longer read, check out Bell Hook's book, All About Love: New Visions. It's a thought provoker and looks at how men and women are socialized to view love in different ways, including exploring some of the consequences for gender equality.
    5. It’s easy to start helping by simply supporting women and being kind to each other. One small way we try to do that is by celebrating some of the brilliant people who inspire us, people like this.

    Love to Love: Part Four

    Just a uniform

    Welcome to Love to Love - a series of interviews with top women we love to love, about all the stuff they love to love.

    Today we meet Siobhan Maroney aka Just a Uniform - the multi-coloured fashion blogger representing for Kent and leaving a trail of glitter wherever she goes.

    You’ll have no doubt seen her honest blogs and daringly experimental fashion mash ups. But what you may not know, is that Siobhan used to be a teacher and counts her an envy-inducing ‘Bachelorette’ party in Las Vegas (gurl gang goals) as a true highlight of her past few years. Let’s find out more...

    How would you describe your style?
    More is more, less is bore - a phrase I live by! Clearly I’m a bit of a magpie, but I also love making fashion playful - breaking rules, mixing things up, experimenting basically. It has to be joyful!
    What’s your dream dinner party line up if you only had three chairs to fill?
    First off, Prince, definitely. Just because he’s an all-around genius of course - musically talented and also in the style stakes. I love how daring he always was. The second place would go to Iris Apfel. She’s the reason that I started my blog and I am absolutely inspired by her. For the final seat, I’m going to go with the blogging style queen Megan Ellaby. I think her style is everything - and she’s just the nicest human.
    Where’s your favourite place to visit and why?
    I’m going to be controversial and insist on saying two! My favourite city is Berlin. I go there every single year. I got engaged there and it holds so many great memories. It’s a really, really creative place, where you’re allowed to be who you are. And it feels really free because of that. One place I’d definitely recommend checking out if you go is Kreuzberg for it’s nightlife, vintage shops and amazing Turkish food. The other place is somewhere I haven’t even been yet, but I’ve been obsessed since I was in primary school! And that’s Japan - for all the crazy visual stimulation and a total change in surroundings - I love the fashion, the food, everything.
    Where do you get your style inspo from?
    The streets - just literally people-watching, I like my magazines, but I don’t really follow trends. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of trends in my wardrobe for sure, but they are there because I genuinely like them. Mainly I love observing and enjoy walking around shops and seeing what’s going on. I try to go to fashion weeks and like getting inspiration from there, but equally, I just think it’s great to just see what everyday people are doing. For me it’s mainly bloggers who are leading the way - and that’s where I see the most style. A couple of people I'd recommend to follow are @nicolekayclark and @tezzamb
    What does jewellery mean to your style?
    Last year I didn’t make a new year’s resolution, but my pledge to myself was to accessorize more! Basically because I always felt that my accessories game wasn’t quite up with my clothes game - so during 2017 I was really going for it - and now I get so many comments about my accessories and jewellery, especially my Milk Tooth London earrings! Loads of people stop me and ask me about them. Jewellery can complete a look, or make a look, so I love its flexibility.
    Tell us about the earrings you’re wearing now?
    For me I love The Cloud - how statement they are basically! They are a bit out there and really suit my style. But also gold, pink and red is the best colour combination!

    New Year Resolutions

    So, it's that time of year. Generally, we don't take resolutions too seriously, but sometimes it's nice to pause for a second and think over the serious stuff. Here's our three resolutions - and *spoiler alert* you need to pay close attention to the third one...

    NEW YEAR RESOLUTION ONE >>> Drink Responsibly (downgraded from Never Drink Again on 1st Jan morning).

    NEW YEAR RESOLUTION TWO >>> Share Complements and help spread a little happiness e.g. "Iman darling, your earrings are sickeningly fabulous".

    NEW YEAR RESOLUTION THREE >>> Be Generous and Kind. And we are putting this into action straight up, by sharing our 20% off Friends & Fam discount for all you lovely people. Simply enter code 'THNXPAL' at checkout during Jan. Yes, really!

    And once all those January mantras are over, there's still our simple philosophy to remember >> Embrace your own style, buy things you love and hey presto, feel amazing!

    Check out our super stylish one-of-a-kind earrings to make you shine at