We never set out to be a controversial platform. We have been told to stay quiet and not to bother. And we almost didn’t…we almost couldn’t. From the outset, Semaine has been an inspirational platform–and we’re not going to apologise for venturing away from the yellow chic road of fashion to say something important. And this road–to tell you the truth–has been a much more challenging one. From finding a brave brand, Ilegal Mezcal, to support such a bold film envisaged by French filmmaker Zoé Le Ber, to the pure blistering heat of the California desert.
It hasn’t been an easy road, but then again, no one ever said it would be easy. Because doing the right thing is never the easiest thing. And that is why this week, we’re going to tell the story of how this Semaine came to be. May this week inspire no matter which side of the fence you find yourself. May the message speak louder than the controversy. May the emotion strengthen the power of your own voice.
Every day we open the news, we read negativity. We read articles fed to us by our own personal, pre-determined algorithm that keeps us in our red states and blue states. Our bi-partisan corners. We get consumed in a vortex of our own echo chamber. All around the United States, walls are being built and reinforced by people who would likely rather bear arms than extend an arm of help to those in the most need - and we are up in arms about it.
We are reminded by the words of Rebecca Solnit - who just so happens to have written one of the most popular books amongst our tastemakers ‘Men Explain Things To Me’ - “Hope is not like a lottery ticket you can sit on the sofa and clutch… Hope is an axe you break down doors with in an emergency… Hope should shove you out the door, because it will take everything you have to steer the future away from endless war, from the annihilation of the Earth’s treasures and the grinding down of the poor and marginal. Hope just means another world might be possible, not promised… Hope calls for action; action is impossible without hope.” (Solnit, 2004)
Let’s call upon history to teach us a lesson. This is not about men versus women; this is not about sexual orientation, religion, gender…this is not about your country of origin–after all this very film was brought to us by French filmmaker Zoé Le Ber who still felt called to engage, though the president she doesn’t even call her own. This is about how we are all human beings, capable of the worst evils, but we are also inexplicably capable of the greatest kindness and of an unbridled love that breaches borders and cares for the earth and all of its beings.
Trump is merely symbolic of our tendencies towards selfishness and greed, hate and exclusivity. Arrogance and intolerance. We must set aside our prejudices and wake up. All of us. We who are privileged and have a voice, some of our voices are just louder than others, but together we can communicate hope and change and drown out the hateful intolerance.
So not only this week but every week, let’s call on our humanity and kindness. Our love and our collective strength. Let’s take the words of Charlie Chaplin’s speech from the Great Dictator. Let’s keep them in our hearts.
By Michelle Lu & Georgina Harding Co-founders of Semaine.
All you need
There's really only one thing you should buy this week and that's our very special T-shirt. Created especially for this week, on the 100% recycled Trash tee made in collaboration with past Tastemakers Iris Alonzo and Carolina Crispo of EVERYBODY, all of the proceeds will go to Planned Parenthood of New York City and Everytown for Gun Safety – a nonprofit organization which advocates for gun control and campaigns against gun violence.
The right to open arms teeExclusive to Semaine
right to open arms posterExclusive to Semaine
right to open arms posterExclusive to Semaine
Movements and Mantras
During the times we feel powerless, educating ourselves can be the most useful tool we need to feel strong again. Here's a selection to start you on your journey.
And the Pursuit of Happiness
Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities
The White Album: Essays
Men Explain Things to Me: And Other Essays
Trump, the house flanks; surveys and reports
To Have or To Be?
Made to be political
This week Semaine's contributing arts editor, Francesca Gavin, collated some of her favourite political art picks. "In the current climate, the political content in contemporary art is ramping up. In fact, art without a dose of politics almost feels out of touch. This doesn't make the work boring, inaccessible or worthy. Instead, we are seeing a wave of artworks that are smart, wry, at times funny and deeply powerful. These are a selection".
Pigment Print on Canson Platine paper, edition of 30, 2 APs
20 x 16 in
Two colour silk screen print with deboss elements, edition of 10 + 2 AP
66 x 67 cm
Inkjet print, edition of 50, 10 APs
69 x 49.5 cm
Giclee on paper with UV finish. Each print individually hand stained by the artist, edition of 30
29 x 50 cm
Giclee print on paper, edition of 100
59 x 42 cm
Archival pigment print, edition of 15
11 x 14 in
Screen print with embossing, edition of 100
27 x 62 cm
Our world with Good Trouble Magazine
Good Trouble magazine celebrates the culture of resistance and are instrumental in creating a culture of resistance amongst their loyal following. They are a destination for all to find out where they can view politicised art shows and they create space for anyone to get engaged. These travel picks are where you can head to immerse yourself in the world's issues and where you can find the artists creating for the causes you believe in.
Fake news finders
This week we are borrowing past Tastemaker Cameron Russell's digital digest. Activist and model, she has recently used her voice by creating a social media campaign to uncover stories of sexual assault in the fashion & modelling industry, giving young models the encouragement to make their voice heard. Here is a selection of resources that help Cameron remain well read on topical issues, and even an app that collates everything she has been reading, for you to read also.
Movies of movements
There is a plethora of resources out there... If you don't fancy reading an essay at the end of a long day, perhaps kick back and watch a documentary or film. This selection of new and old classics is the perfect way to visually open up your mind to the realities of the past or of the people facing difficulties around the world.