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vogue

British Vogue Releases First Braille Edition In Publication’s 107-Year History 

British Vogue has released a braille edition of its magazine for the first time in the publication’s 107-year history. 

The issue, which is released this month, is also being made available in audio format as a means of increasing accessibility to people who are blind or partially sighted. 

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The publication’s editor-in-chief, Edward Enninful, wrote on Instagram: “The Vogue team and I are delighted by the response to the May issue, but what the process of making it taught us is that what’s most important are tangible and lasting changes.

“Vogue and the fashion and publishing industries have a great deal to do still, but it makes me very happy to see the arrival of these first braille issues today.”

The title of the issue is “Reframing Fashion,” and as a whole it will focus on disability justice, accessibility, and pride. 

Tilting the Lens is an accessibility and inclusion consultancy company that worked with British Vogue on the issue. The company is well known for working as an advisor for brands like Netflix and Starbucks on how to make their businesses more disability-friendly. The edition features 19 disabled individuals from fashion, sport, activism, and the arts. 

There will be five covers available for the special issue, each of which will highlight an influential disabled activist or prominent public figure, such as actor Selma Blair and consultant editor Sinéad Burke. 

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Enninful recently spoke to the media about his own experiences with having an invisible disability. 

“I’ve had five retinal detachments, I’m partially blind and my hearing is less than 50% – I’m wearing hearing aids now. It’s never stopped me, but there are so many people with invisible disabilities who never talk about it, because it might hinder them. I’ve never had that fear,” he explained

“When I’m reading, it’s still difficult: when I’m doing interviews, I have to ask people to talk at a certain level. But these are things that are me; these are things that I’ve embraced. We always talk about diversity and inclusivity, but that also has to extend to our disabled brothers and sisters.”

Individuals will have the opportunity to receive an audio file and the ability to print a braille file of the issue from their own home for free, as well as register to be sent a physical braille copy of the issue. 

Enningful was initially made editor-in-chief in 2017, and from the beginning has promoted his message and goals of increasing inclusivity and diverse representation in fashion. He’s turned down advertising from major fashion brands during his time with British Vogue due to their vision’s not aligning with his desire to increase inclusivity. 

Enninful was also awarded an OBE for his services and work to implement more diversity in the fashion industry.

leather

Luxury Designer Brands Are Investing In Sustainable Bags Made From Leather Scraps And Unconventional Materials 

Luxury designer bags are often made from exotic animal skins, which in recent years has been called out for its harm towards the environment. Now, some brands are shifting their focus to create bags made from recycled materials as a form of up-cycling, and reducing the carbon footprint/environmental impact that comes from traditional designer bag production. 

Coach, for example, just launched Coachtopia, a sub-brand that will be focusing on creating a variety of bags made from leather and other materials that would otherwise have been thrown away and ended up in landfills. 

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Telfar’s vegan bags are also nicknamed the “Bushwick Birkin ” after they grew in popularity in New York. While the bags are still on the more expensive side, the prices are more reasonable for the average consumer looking for a nice sturdy designer bag. 

“Every time you eat an apple, you’re basically eating a handbag,” said Stella McCartney after showcasing her latest collection of bags made from waste such as orange and cacti byproducts. 

The animal leather industry is actually one of the first examples of up-cycling, as the leather is brought from cows who are used for their meat/food, however, the industry is still very wasteful. According to ELeather, an engineered leather supplier, up to 75% of all leather hides are disposed of. 

The Leather and Hide Council of America also released a report in 2019 that stated 5 millions hides went to landfill in America that year. 

The younger generation has also been a driving force in this shift in fashion. In general, Gen Z has been a major player in the fight against climate change and the industries that drive it, especially fashion. 

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According to research, 90% of Gen Z consumers believe companies have an obligation to address environmental and social issues. 54% of the group also stated they’re willing to spend more if it means they’re getting a sustainable product; only 23% of baby boomers had the same ideals. 

Joon Silverstein, senior vice president for global marketing, creative and sustainability at Coach and head of Coachtopia, says that “according to [the company’s] research older generations and more established luxury consumers tend to consider pieces made from recycled leather as low quality. Gen Z has a different mindset – they consider it a moral and ethical [issue].”

There are two major aspects to the leather industry that lead to its waste. When the leather is being tanned at the tannery, the hides are treated and processed into leather using chemicals that make the leather, and its waste, non-biodegradable. The production also takes place in large factories where pollution is consistently emitted. 

Faux leather, like “pleather,” also comes with its faults, as it’s often produced from plastic or petroleum-based materials that have their own environmental issues. 

While this issue is going to take a lot more than a couple brands releasing small collections of sustainable bag lines, it’s hopeful to see sustainability and recycling/up-cycling trends enter the mainstream.

wedding

Conservative Clergy In Church Of England Protesting Same-Sex Marriage Blessing Plan

The Church of England recently announced plans to offer blessings for the civil marriages of same sex-couples, a move that many conservative clergy and parishioners are protesting, stating that it’s against biblical teachings. 

runway

Denni Francisco Is The First Indigenous Designer To Host A Solo Show At Australia Fashion Week 

Australia fashion week will host its first solo show for an Indigenous designer in its 23-year history this May. Denni Francisco of the Indigenous clothing label Ngali is gearing up to hold her first solo show in an honor she’s calling “exciting, exhilarating, and a little bit terrifying.”

“When you’re the first at doing something it comes with a degree of responsibility. There are cultural elements that come with everything we do, so it’s not just the creativity, it’s about ensuring it all comes together in a culturally appropriate way.”

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Francisco is a proud Wiradjuri woman, and has won designer of the year at the National Indigenous Fashion Awards twice. 

This will mark the third time Francisco has had a showing at Australian Fashion Week, but will be the first time she’s had her own standalone show; previously she was featured as one of six designers on the Indigenous Fashion Projects runway show. 

Francisco previously was able to show between 6-8 designs during her featured showings in 2021 and 2022, this year, however, she’s planning a show of 30 looks in what she’s referred to as a “collective effort” between her and her team. 

“We’re already talking to the First Nations accessory designers and looking at what we can do with them. Everything that Ngali does, we’re looking at how we can bring in more of our mob, so it won’t just be Ngali. It will be more of our creatives coming together,” she explained. 

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Australia’s Fashion Week this year will present 45 designers over a five-year program, a slightly more scaled down plan when compared to previous fashion weeks. 

Natalie Xenita of global entertainment conglomerate IMG, which has staged Australian fashion week since 2005, said “this schedule was based on feedback from the industry. We’ve been careful to curate the schedule this year so that it’s … manageable, and that each designer that’s showing can get their cut through.”

For the past two years of Australian Fashion Week, IMG didn’t charge designers to participate in the program, a rule that will continue into this year’s showing. 

“It’s a really important long-term strategy for us, because the industry is still recovering from the massive impact of the pandemic,” Xenita explained. 

westwood

Vivienne Westwood’s Legacy Lives On In Paris Fashion Week Show, Just Weeks After Her Death

Vivienne Westwood’s widower and collaborator, Andreas Kronthaler, says the new Vivienne Westwood collection shown during Paris Fashion Week was a tribute to her legacy.

meta

Meta To Launch Paid Subscription Services For Facebook And Instagram 

Mark Zuckerberg announced on Instagram this weekend that Meta is currently testing a subscription service in which users of Instagram and Facebook can pay to get verified; similar to Twitter’s recent launch of its paid Twitter Blue services where users can pay for verification. 

Meta will be releasing “Meta Verified” in Australia and New Zealand this week, in which users will have the option to pay either $11.99 a month for web service or $14.99 a month on iOS devices. 

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The service will also include extra protection from impersonation accounts and direct access to customer support services. 

To avoid an increase in fake accounts, users who want the paid service will need to provide proof through a government ID which matches their profile name and picture; users must also be 18 to be eligible for the service. 

“This new feature is about increasing authenticity and security across our services.”

A Meta spokesperson also stated that there will be “no changes to accounts that are already verified,” as verification was previously given to users who are “authentic and notable.”

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“We are evolving the meaning of the blue badge to focus on authenticity so we can expand verification access to more people. We will display the follower count in more places so people can distinguish which accounts are notable public figures among accounts that share the same name.”

Twitter recently launched its own version of this paid verification subscription service with Twitter Blue; launched in December. 

This move came from Twitter after an influx in fake “verified” accounts began to take over the platform. 

For Twitter, each checkmark is a different color to differentiate what type of account is verified: gold check marks for companies, gray for government entities and other government organizations, and blue for the average individual.

Twitter Blue currently costs $11 a month for iOS and Android users.

cooking

New Study Suggests Women Leading Healthy Lifestyles May Reduce Their Risk Of Long Covid By Half

“Among the women who contracted Covid-19 during the study, 44% of them developed long Covid and of those women, the participants who practiced five or six of the healthy lifestyle factors lowered their risk of long covid by 49%.”

Museum Of London Docklands Seeking Iconic Pieces Of Fashion For Show Spotlighting Jewish Designers

The Museum of London Docklands is making a public appeal to find various iconic pieces of fashion history to put in an upcoming exhibition spotlighting Jewish designers in history.

candle

How Fragrance And Scents In The Home Can Impact Your Overall Air Quality 

We all can relate to the desire of making our space smell good. There’s a multitude of fragrance options currently on the market that can make any home smell good and fresh. However, it’s important to understand the potential dramatic impact on our home’s air quality that these scent options can have.

According to Svetlana Stevanovic’s recent research and reporting for The Conversation, people spend, on average, 85-90% of their time indoors, and inhale around 20,000 liters of air daily. Air pollutants that exist within our homes can arguably become much more harmful than the ones existing outdoors due to how much more time we spend in our houses. 

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These stagnant indoor air pollutants from seemingly harmless fragrance options can have a major impact on our health and wellbeing, and can lead to issues such as eye irritation, respiratory issues, headaches, and more. 

The US Environmental Protection Agency has also reported that levels of indoor air pollutants can get up to three times higher than outdoor pollutants. 

Home scents are made to fill a space with a particular smell that will make our air smell nice, but it also can mean that we’re intentionally releasing a mixture of chemicals in a closed indoor environment, which can lower the overall air quality in a given space. 

According to Stevanovic, air fresheners alon emit more than 100 different chemicals, some of the most harmful being classified as volatile organic compounds (VOCs). 

“These VOCs will react with ozone and other indoor oxidants to generate a range of oxidation products, which are potentially toxic molecules. The level of exposure and concentration determines the potential toxicity,” Stevanovic wrote

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The type of product and its composition determines the type and amount of pollutants being emitted into the air in your home. All air fresheners produce a high level of VOCs, and legally speaking, air freshener companies don’t have to disclose the chemical composition of their products.

There can be tens or hundreds of chemicals in your air freshener that you wouldn’t even know about because they’re not listed on the product itself. 

“In a study across the United States, Australia, Sweden and the United Kingdom, 32.2% of people were reported to have a sensitivity to fragrance. In those who are sensitive, fragrances are a risk factor for asthma and headaches.”

The best advice when it comes to avoiding an increased level of pollutants in the home is to use fragrances in moderation. When it comes to candles, using soy, beeswax, and any candle that’s labeled as “non-paraffin” and maintaining proper ventilation in the home throughout the day is generally considered to be safe. 

Removing chemical air fragrances, fresheners, and scented candles will have a lasting overall impact on the quality of air in your home. Overall, maintain a level of moderation when it comes to adding fragrance to your home, and consider using air purifiers in combination with ventilation to keep airflow consistent in your home. 

tree

US Forest Service Initiative Encouraging People To Cut Their Own Christmas Trees

Christmas tree prices in recent years have been on a steady rise, motivating many people to branch out, and cut their own. A decades-old initiative run by the US Forest Service is encouraging individuals to cut their own trees during the holiday seasons as a means of maintaining healthy forests throughout the nation.