Last week, I participated in a panel discussion at LIM, the College for the Business of Fashion, on "Doing Business as if the Planet Matters." The students seemed really interested in learning about how we all got our start and I was impressed with their questions at the end.
Interestingly, at one point I asked the audience what they think of when they hear the word "craft," and I am happy to report that not a single person said "doilies," "afghans" or "Grandma." One said "architecture." Another said "art." Then I asked if they think art and craft have a hierarchy, if one is "above" the other. The students all kind of shook their heads no, and the only person who ventured that art is higher was not a student but a teacher or administrator. Which suggests, however anecdotally, that perhaps indeed craft is finding itself in a more favorable position with the upcoming generation.
In any case, it was exciting to participate alongside the founder of Red Queen Cosmetics and the rep from Shaklee, a company that's been green since the '60s.
It was especially nice to meet Erica from Miniminimarket in Williamsburg, who was also on the panel. Erica opened shop on Bedford Ave. nine years ago featuring lots of pieces by local designers and is a total pioneer of not only that neighborhood but the whole "Williamsburg look." She just opened a shoe store called, of course, Shoe Market, and since something like 90% of all shoes sold in America are made in China these days, will be going to China this summer to see first-hand where so many of the shoes she stocks are being manufactured. RIGHT ON. And she's super nice to boot.
Thanks for the opportunity, LIM, and I hope we helped inspire your students to give priority to environmental issues as they set out into the business world!