One Feminist's Take on American Apparel

When all of the media blew up about American Apparel's CEO this summer, I held my tongue. Don't get me wrong - I had A LOT of opinions on it. But I thought it'd be better if I just didn't share them. Fortunately, I have found my voice..... so here goes my first semi-controversial, outspoken blog.


Driving around Los Angeles, there is one thing explicitly clear about American Apparel - they have absolutely no respect for women. I would even go so far to say that they hate women. Block after block I drive by a multitude of billboards featuring scantily clad women in frankly embarrassing poses. The fashion industry has long been accused of objectifying women, but American Apparel takes it to an entirely new dimension.

Great Britain's Advertising Standard's Authority investigated complaints regarding their advertising and found, "a voyeuristic quality to the images which served to heighten the impression that the women were vulnerable and in sexually provocative poses." Their most recent scandalous ad featured inappropriate sexualization of school-age girls.

Jumping onto the internet to do some brief research easily reveals numerous sexual abuse allegations against (now former) CEO, Dov Charney, including forced oral sex and masturbating in front of a reporter, their model agreements which require the girl to essentially keep her mouth shut in the event of any complaints, firing employees based on their attractiveness, and more. 

In June when the news broke of Charney's termination, I hoped that his replacement would turn around the company's representation of women and girls. Which is why I found it so interesting to learn that American Apparel has appointed a woman as their new CEO. As of January 5, 2015 Paula Schneider will take the reigns of American Apparel. The big question is - will she be able to change the company culture to one that gives women the respect we deserve?

I desperately hope this isn't just a publicity stunt to turn around their falling stock prices, but instead an opportunity to re-establish the brand's reputation in a positive light. Only time will tell..... but the world (this feminist in particular) is watching. 

Truth in Advertising

With all of the attention paid to photoshopped images in the past several years, I have been plagued with the question of why nothing in the fashion industry is changing? But I realized that instead of looking to the industry to do something about it, it's up to me to take the first step. While I can't control what other people choose to do - I can control what I choose to do.

Representing real women has always been at the core of what Bri Seeley stands for. And that is why I am stepping up to take the Heroes Pledge.

Recognizing the part Bri Seeley can play in protecting children from the effects of “photoshopped” ads, we sign the Truth in Advertising Heroes Pledge agreeing:

1. To do our best not to change the shape, size, proportion, color and/or remove/enhance the physical features, of the people in our ads in post-production.

2. That if we do materially change* the people in our ad(s), we will add a “Truth In Advertising” label to these ads to ensure consumers, in particular children and teens, do not confuse an advertising “ideal” with what’s real. (Specific Label Language and Size Requirements TBD.)

3. Not to run these ads in media where children under 13 might see them.

*Material change means only to a persons' shape, size, proportion, color, removal and/or enhancement of individual features.

To learn more about the Truth in Advertising Act and what you can do to help, read my latest article on the Huffington Post, The Best Bill In Congress You've Probably Never Heard Of.

G.G. Silverman

Woo Hoo! Our first radio show was a great success! Thanks to everyone who listened and tweeted in questions for our guest G.G. Silverman! The show is available to listen to HERE and be sure to enter for your chance to win a copy of Vegan Teenage Zombie Huntress below! 

Or, if you can't wait to get your hands on a copy..... purchase NOW on Amazon.com!

Inspire and Influence

The time has come..... for my own radio show!

I met several inspirational women, The Champagne Sisters, while doing interviews for The Inspirational Woman Project. They each have a radio show on Bubbly Talk Radio. And after interviewing each of them for the book, I was adopted as an honorary Champagne Sister and invited to launch a radio show on the Bubbly Talk Network!

Inspire and Influence with Bri Seeley features interviews with inspirational and influential women (and some men too!) to highlight the positive change they bring to the world. Our first show features G.G. Silverman, author of Vegan Teenage Zombie Huntress

Join us on Monday at 1pm PST, or download the show later on Bubbly Talk Radio!

Giving Tuesday

I was raised with a supreme respect for the importance of giving back. Growing up with a single mom, we were on a lot of government assisted programs (it's what I attribute my love of cheese and peanut butter to!) but no matter what financial situation we were in, I always found us volunteering, serving, and helping someone in need.

Naturally, this was something I found vital to incorporate into The Inspirational Woman Project. I met Shelly, the founder of Women Empowered, through a mutual friend with a recommendation that we somehow partner her non-profit with the Inspirational Woman Project. Shelly and I sat down over coffee last month so that I could learn more about the organization. Their multi-faceted approach to empowering women was exactly what I had hoped to find in an organization to give back to.


Shelly shared that while Women Empowered began as a small group doing light hearted activities, it quickly grew through social media to incorporate volunteerism. Today the non-profit organization incorporates professional development workshops, health awareness, volunteerism for women and girls, financial growth, business guidance, networking and mentoring. Shelly is passionate about helping women build relationships, further themselves, and inspiring them to pay it forward.


We aim to empower women by building their self-confidence and allowing their voices to be heard through various workshops, hands-on volunteer opportunities, networking events, and mentorship of at-risk teen girls – all of which are designed to make our members believe that their contribution will and does make a difference, however big or small it may be.


Shelly shared with me that while the organization is based in Los Angeles, they have plans to expand into New York in 2015. In Los Angeles they combine four aspects (volunteering, mentoring, networking, and workshops) for their members. However in New York, they will be starting with networking and workshops to build a community before introducing volunteering and mentoring. 

How can you get involved?

1. If you're in the Los Angeles area, check out their membership options

2. Connect with them on Twitter and Facebook for updates about their expansion into New York.

3. Purchase The Inspirational Woman Project coffee table book - 15% of our proceeds go to Women Empowered to help further their mission of empowering women.

Gilt City Shopping

A little known fact about me..... I really don't like shopping. Wandering around all day to find the perfect piece is exhausting, frustrating, and I usually leave empty handed. Which it why it's crazy for me to tell you that I'm going shopping next week - and I couldn't be more excited!

The Gilt City Warehouse Sale is coming to Los Angeles on December 5 and 6! It's a two day shopping party complete with complimentary cocktails, designer clothing, home décor, and more - all at up to 90 percent off retail! Friday night gives you early access to the shopping, followed by four general admission sessions.

Tickets are for sale at www.gilt.com/LAWHS.


Published!

The Inspirational Woman Project has been a labor of love since July. I have poured most of my waking moments (and even some of my sleeping ones!) into making this project a reality. So when I woke up to an email from the printer this week, I about burst seeing the first images of the finished product.

When a person has spent as much time and energy, and poured as much love into a project..... to describe the feeling of seeing it come into reality is indescribable. I truly want this book (and subsequent movement) to change the world - and each of the lives it touches. 

The book is for sale HERE - with shipping happening in mid-December. The book makes a perfect holiday gift for the women in your life (and is also good for recent grads!). The 99 women featured are nothing short of powerful, motivational, and unstoppable! As is the 100th woman in the book - YOU! The final interview in the book is blank so that your story can be included as part of The Inspirational Woman Project. We are developing a way for you to share your story directly with us as well, so stay tuned!

Confession

Being a fashion designer means that I am always put together and have an amazing closet filled with fun, inspiring clothes, right? Well, my secret is: I hate dressing up. I mean, I love getting dressed up.... but it's the deciding what to wear and how to pair things. It stresses me out. 

On any given day, I am super casual - skinny jeans, flats, and a tank or tee. I dress as minimalistically as possible because my main focus is usually being productive and making strides in my business.

2012 was my first year of attending fashion week events. I went to nine shows over a course of two weeks. Leading up to this - I was a complete wreck. Luckily my best friend went through my closet to find my outfits, then took me to the mall to finalize the looks with accessories. Then we photographed each of the complete outfits so that I knew exactly what to pair with each look for each night.

This year again I had nine events to attend in two weeks. But instead of going to the mall to find my accessories - I reached out to my network of inspirational women. I pulled together looks featuring three jewelry designers, a shoe company, my handbag designer, and a fellow fashion designer (plus a little Bri Seeley for good measure!).

Dress by Kucoon | Clutch by MOFE | Necklace by Joanna Morgan

Dress by Kucoon | Clutch by MOFE | Necklace by Joanna Morgan

Dress by Kucoon | Clutch by MOFE | Necklace by Joanna Morgan

Dress by Kucoon | Clutch by MOFE | Necklace by Joanna Morgan

I find this calm confidence in surrounding myself with the work of powerful women - that are talented to boot! Plus, it gives me great talking points to brag about their talents when someone compliments me!

Necklace by Safia Day | Cuff by Robyn Rhodes | Handbag by MOFE | Shoes by Sole Society | Sunglasses by ZeroUV | Dress by Bri Seeley

Necklace by Safia Day | Cuff by Robyn Rhodes | Handbag by MOFE | Shoes by Sole Society | Sunglasses by ZeroUV | Dress by Bri Seeley

Cuff by Safia Day | Handbag by MOFE | Skirt by Bri Seeley

Cuff by Safia Day | Handbag by MOFE | Skirt by Bri Seeley

Blouse by Bri Seeley | Cuff by Safia Day

Blouse by Bri Seeley | Cuff by Safia Day

Check out the websites of these amazing women/brands that I am proud to know:
Safia Day
Robyn Rhodes
MOFE
Joanna Morgan
Sole Society
ZeroUV
Kucoon

Oscar de la Renta

Yesterday, one of the greatest fashion designers of our time passed away. His legacy lives on in his spectacular creations worn by the likes of Jackie Kennedy, Sarah Jessica Parker and Princess Diana. A man who wasn't only talented but kind, joyful and full of wisdom. His words will continue to inspire designers like me when he said, "My job as a designer is to make a woman feel her very best". In his honor, we have picked six of our favorite fashion moments from the great designer himself.

Amy Adams at the 2013 Academy Awards

Amy Adams at the 2013 Academy Awards

Lupita Nyong'o at the White House Correspondants Dinner

Lupita Nyong'o at the White House Correspondants Dinner

Cameron Diaz at the 2010 Academy Awards

Cameron Diaz at the 2010 Academy Awards


Sarah Jessica Parker at the 2014 Met Gala

Sarah Jessica Parker at the 2014 Met Gala

Jessica Alba at the 2013 Golden Globes Awards

Jessica Alba at the 2013 Golden Globes Awards

Gisele Bundchen

Gisele Bundchen

An Inspirational Halloween

This year, we'd like to give you some ideas so your Halloween costume is a bit more on the inspirational side rather than the spooky side. After all, what is Halloween if not to make a statement and what a better way to stand out than as an inspirational woman? Here are three ideas of things we would love to go as!

1. Rosie the Riveter

She may not be real but she did inspire a whole generation of working women and for that, she is definitely an inspiration to us! And also, a great Halloween costume.

2. Suffragette 

A period costume that represents women fighting for their right to vote? Count us in! Don't forget the wonderful sash with the 'votes for women' and voila! A great inspirational women costume.

3. Madame Curie

The famous scientist and twice winner of the Nobel award is one of the most inspirational women out there. Another great period costume and a way to remember the famous scientist. 


This Halloween, looking like an inspirational woman is where it's at! Which inspirational woman will you choose to honor this year?



Day to Night at the W Hollywood

Right after Phoenix Fashion Week, we were given the opportunity to showcase our collection at the W Hollywood. It was a great experience and we even debuted a few new things like.....

The Harper maxi in a Chevron inspired print:

And the Belle blouse in the same pattern with an Adriana maxi skirt in black.

We loved every moment of the evening!!! We'd like to give special thanks tom Sole Society shoes, Zero UV Sunglasses, MOFE handbags, Safia Day jewelry, and Clutch Crowns for their support in making our looks stand out and be the most they could be! And more thanks to Parker Whitaker Productions, Media Play PR, Mannfolk PR, Alexis Bellino, Kiara Belen, and all of our fabulous models!!!!

Feedback

We received this message from one of our Inspirational Women that we just had to share with you!

"What I like about the selection of women featured in this project is that these are real women of all types. Everyone will find a woman in here who they can connect with and be inspired by. Sometimes it is hard to be inspired by celebrities because they are so far removed from our lives. These women represent us, and every single woman can find someone in this book who inspires them." -Jacqueline Depaul

BE SURE TO PRE-ORDER THE INSPIRATIONAL WOMAN PROJECT BOOK ON KICKSTARTER HERE TO JOIN THE MOVEMENT ALONG WITH HUNDREDS OF OTHER AMAZING WOMEN!