Beauty and integrity.
Moving forward I don’t think we can survive on one without the other. It’s a heartbreaking waste of resources to try. Just because it’s ‘organic’ doesn’t mean it’s beautiful. And just because it’s luxurious doesn’t mean it was made ethically or sustainably.
They are two powerfully magnetic forces:
Beauty, exquisiteness, fine and refined, heart-melting, something that touches your soul and takes your breath away.
Integrity, nobleness, virtuousness, heart-melting, something that touches your soul and takes your breath away.
Often it can feel like we have to choose.
You want a shoe that fits and you want it to look good too.
Some shoes are all about style, whatever the sacrifice it takes.
Other shoes are total comfort, all day long, whatever it takes.
Why can’t we have both? What’s the hold-up?
We’ve walked on the moon but can’t make a pretty pair of shoes that doesn’t kill my feet?
Okay, this isn't really about shoes.
It’s not all that bad, there are some wonderful shoes out there. I’m really talking about Beauty + Integrity in everything we make in this world.
More than comfort, it should not poison a river, prematurely kill a man or abort a fetus
…and why can’t it look great too?
A lot of fashion’s history has focused on one side only: Glamour.
Now, there is this backlash of well-meaning do-gooders swinging into sustainability
In the example of shoes, it’s like Christian Louboutin vs. Birkenstocks
Neither of these are going to get us where we want to go.
If you find yourself in a shop that has the most beautiful dresses, one that just fits you so perfectly like your second skin, and it looks so great on you! But, the label says made in China, Vietnam, Bangladesh, wherever, and it’s Acrylic. You feel conflicted and torn about it. And if you buy it, a shadow of guilt looms over you for the life of the garment. It’s a tragedy. Why couldn’t they have made it better, more sustainably? They could have but they didn’t and we are all paying the price for that
Most of us are not against comfort.
It’s not like we go shoe shopping and say “Give me the most uncomfortable shoes you’ve got.” In the same way, we’re not against integrity: It didn’t cut down an old-growth forest? Great. It saved a polar bear? Great.
The conflict arises when integrity is not paired with beauty.
Mostly I think we can agree that it should have integrity, but maybe you’re on the fence about beauty. After all, it reeks of trendy glamour.
Most of us, save for some tree-hugging fundamentalists (like myself), will choose beauty over integrity when we are faced with that conflict. Are you wearing those Birkenstocks out to dinner on a first date? Probably not.
Do you think the WWF would have become so popular and well-loved if they had a creepy spider on all of their campaign ads?
If it’s beautiful….
- it’s going to be used for the purpose it was created, not demoted to the dungeons of your closet
- it’s going to stick around longer, be better cared for because you want it to last
- you’re going to wear it with pleasure and enjoyment. it makes you feel good when you are out in the world, makes you feel confident, secure, connecting and belonging with others, uplifts your self-esteem, allows you to brave vulnerability
- you’re going back for more. You want to look and feel that good in all your clothing, so you vote with your dollars in that brand
The top values don’t have to be just ecology and equity… If humans design without values such as beauty in mind, they will cause what can be characterized as “intergenerational remote tyranny”: determining that those in the future will suffer and/or have less opportunity, health, choice, and freedom because of our actions today. –William McDonough
There’s no reason why fashion can’t be both stunningly beautiful as well as deeply respectful to people and planet. It’s not easy to find but is essential. Beauty + Integrity, I don’t think you can have one without the other; they are one and the same. And that is why they both make your heart melt, touch your soul and take your breath away.
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