Culture I Discovered in the Desert

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The internet has a way of making me feel inadequate lately. I’m not talking about social dopamine withdrawal. I’m talking about discovering other writers’ articles and then going down a rabbit hole to find extensive bodies of work, books, multi-hyphenate careers on top of books, bylines in WSJ and The Guardian. This stuff usually lights a fire under my ass. I read, I have opinions, I iterate, and add to the evolving conversations in fashion and culture.

Lately, though, I’m not feeling as inspired to be a fountain of writing — more of a sponge. I even did a getaway to Joshua Tree to hike and dedicate the cold nights to writing. But all I felt like doing was reading, reflecting, rinsing and repeating.

Maybe I’m matching the world’s gloom with more catharsis than usual, maybe it’s writer’s block from lockdown culture, or maybe it’s stress. Whatever the cause, I’m a little less Carrie during Corona.

That said, I refuse to be at a complete standstill. So I’m going to give you what I’ve got this week and that means curating the stuff I’ve been sponging up. I normally send what I’m reading, watching, and discovering in fashion and culture to my email subscribers. Be sure to get on the list if you want my monthly roundup.

Culture

Becca Rothfeld explores an existential question, why are womxn always waiting?

Bookforum examines The Beetles as pop queer icons.

Why are the cities I lust after having mass exoduses as of late?

Poems by W.S. Merwin, the original treehugger. Or you can watch his film, Witness here.

If you’re hoping to discover independent zines but struggling, like me, to find a curated store offering something edgier than a W, I can’t recommend Stack more! They send you one curated zine from around the world each month. It’s so good I won’t hold it against them that they sent a magazine on skateboarding.

Politics/Times

A prescient view on why Trump’s tyranny took hold. After reading this, I’m less confident in the promise of unfettered democracy; however, his thinking on checks and balances and unquestioned faith in the founding fathers’ rationale for them needs to be, ahem, checked and balanced. Form your own opinion after exploring this piece in The Atlantic.

China is following in our divided footsteps. as showcased by blockchain chickens in the Times.

A retro-read by Remnick on the origins of the original pollyanna paper. And USA Today isn’t the only one glossing over harsh realities, we have ad execs to thank for a new era of greenwashing that’s got folx believing ExxonMobil and Chevron are actually interested in alternative fuels.

How we treat the people willing to do the jobs we aren’t speaks volumes about us.

We should still be worried about Q-Anon, and the frightening and lasting impacts of Trump’s presidency on science and culture.

How’s your apocalypse going? Anyone else watching Utopia (or the original)?

Ideas

Can we mine the Bauhaus movement for climate design inspiration? Or look to Paris’s 15-minute city? Could we go deeper and create a feminist city?

A few sections from Lo–TEK, an anthropological collection of case studies that show how sophisticated indigenous innovation and culture is and how it’s designed to work sustainably with complex ecosystems. Dismissing this wisdom as colonizers is one of many reasons we’re in a climate crisis today.

Innovation is industry agnostic!

Fashion

This is why we need to regulate fashion. And proposals from the industry for Biden (hallelujah this happened).

Brand’s I’ve covered on here as ‘ethical’ didn’t do too hot in Remake’s transparency report (TL:DR – they are Everlane and Allbirds).

Conversely, these brands own their own factories in the ultimate testament to transparency and ethical sourcing.

Can the lord just taketh away fast fashion already?

A trend I can get on board with: the return of made-to-measure.

The fashion wiz, Bliss helps ya get ahead of next year’s emerging designers.

The breakdown of the fashion calendar and COVID-19 birthed GucciFest! And gave rise to music videos as runways.

Honestly, I can’t explain why this annoys me but it DOES.

This is the new treatise on ethical consumption and the internet has thoughts.

Wish/Gift List

Indian designers are pushing boundaries and, in many cases, we can thank them for the styles we’re wearing during quarantine, as Alden reports in InStyle. A few affordable options I love are: The Summer House (this favorite has been on my shopping list from the beginning), Jodi, Nor Black Nor White and Refash ( a marketplace dedicated to upcycled goods)

eddie baurer-karla welch

Karla Welch made Eddie Baurer look cool for winter. But Cotopaxi has been doing styles like this for a while, try their more ethical versions. Elsewhere, I was on the hunt for the perfect silver puffer after seeing one on 90 Day Fiancé (I know, uncharacteristically trashy for me but it was fun on vacation). I scored this style secondhand. Turns out, Poshmark and Depop are both brimming with them.

kasi-martin-jacket

Also, a belt bag that’s equal parts hip (yep) and hippie, tiny jewels from Trium, maximalist pillows from Linen Connections, the perfect sweater suit, hangers that won’t ruin your clothes, and CBD chocolate from GRON.


As always, hit me up with your thoughts in the comments. What did you discover this month?

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3 Comments

  1. Laurel Tincher says:

    Great roundup. The amount of divide in this country is startling. People unwilling to see other’s opinions. We need to do better. Also, awesome jacket! Poshmark is great for secondhand GOLD! Happy December!

    1. Kasi says:

      Thanks, Laura. My intent in reaching beyond fashion content is for just what you mention, helping bridge the divide by sharing researched information and journalism. Hope you keep coming back and using your voice to advocate and create change. In kindness, Kasi

  2. Sammy says:

    It’s always good to be a sponge before you start wiping clean the minds of others. Who knows, you may leave a streak that shines for days on end. Thanks for sharing these articles. I’ve selected and read the ones of interest to me. The common theme since late 2019 through 2020 seems to be “Just because something hasn’t happen to you, doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.” I think back to the movements over the last 12 months (#metoo, #BLM, #antimaskers) – these all stemmed because something did happen to someone, and half of the country recognizes and believes the issue exists, the other half doesn’t recognize it as real until it impacts their life. Unfortunately if you’re a white male, you don’t get to ‘experience’ and learn what it’s like to be (female, black, minority, gay, etc.) in this country. I’ve never been randomly pulled over by a cop, never been robbed, never been discriminated against randomly, etc. Funny thing is, when people find out I was raised Muslim and Arab, all the abuse starts. But when people assume I’m a white male, I’m treated fairly.

    I have a book recommendation for you. It’s called ‘One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter’ by Scaachi Koul. She’s an Indian author who grew up in America and details her stories about having darker skin than most Americans, being a little heavier than others, being less attractive, and she even goes into her experience going back to India where she’s slightly lighter skinned than everyone else, and they treat her like a Princess for it. As a male who’s never really felt inferior at anything or felt in competition with others or magazines, this book has been very eye opening. Boys are taught to play sports, make friends, and make money. Girls are unfortunately taught completely different things growing up, most of which is unattainable. The pressure is ever growing, and causing severe issues.

    I’ve had a bit of an epiphany lately. The feeling I get when I go out in public, the way I reciprocate the vibes I receive and people reciprocate the vibes I give off, a lot of people don’t have that luxury. I walk in public and I’m fit, healthy, wealthy, personable, friendly, etc. Based on appearance alone, someone with the same description stated above but with darker skin, different body parts, different orientation, etc. would receive COMPLETELY different vibes. It’s not that I’m treated great in public. I’m treated fairly. What does that mean for everyone else? We must work together to change the culture until everyone is treated the same, regardless of our differences. It’s difficult though when people can’t see the situations from the perspective of someone else.

    Anyways, sorry for the novel. Thanks again for doing what you’re doing. Keep it up!

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