Creatives for a Better World – because it’s up to us

Gwand Sustainable Fashion Festival Paris mode durable Ninette Murk DAA HIV w

After running our education center in Antwerp for almost a decade, we have decided to take the concept fully online later this year and we couldn’t be more excited if we tried!

Doing good for others is the most normal thing in the world

Gwand festival Paris mode durable Ninette Murk DAA

The concept of our education center was to use pop culture in all its forms to educate young people worldwide about issues such as HIV/AIDS, LGBTQ, anti-bullying and more and for this we invited creative students to come live with us in Antwerp for 3 months and work on dedicated projects and campaigns together- it worked a dream, we had fun and the young people learned something to take with them in their careers: doing good for others is the most normal thing in the world, it’s not ‘charity’ and everybody gets better from it. We had up to 4 students at a time living and working with us, mostly from Europe, but also a few from the US, South America and even Australia.

Gwand Sustainable Fashion Festival Paris Ninette Murk DAA HIV Antwerp
Data from unaids.org

In the last decade the world turned into a negative direction big time

Then I got thinking: what if we can make an online platform that is accessible to everybody with internet and for which they don’t have to travel to a foreign country? Not everybody has the money for that, or in some cases the parents didn’t allow their daughters (in these cases it was always about girls) to do this. And these people also have good, creative ideas, so why not use that power?

In the last decade the world turned into a negative direction big time: a move to the extreme right and dictatorships, climate change catastrophes (and climate change denials from the same right wing people), fast fashion getting out of hand production-wise and the need for sustainability coming to the forefront (this last thing is a positive evolution, obviously), violence against and trafficking with women and children, hate against the LGBTQ community, religions turning back to the Stone Ages… the list is endless.

Dwand Sustainable Fashion Festival Paris Ninette Murk Designers Against Aids

I’m not someone who is very much interested in politics or religion, as they seem to be ruled by money and greed most of the time and not by idealism, but what I AM interested in -and have been since I was a little girl- is how to make the world a better place. In my opinion, everybody can do their bit and all together this will create change. But what exactly is that ‘bit’ and how to apply it locally and maybe eventually also on a macro level?

A few months ago I had a lightbulb moment: let’s build an online platform with interested partners, take a dedicated part of an important social issue (mostly taken from the Sustainable Development Goals by the UN), explain the situation and the problem at hand and ask everybody to supply creative solutions for that issue. That can be done by text, video, fashion, art, whatever they like. After we collect all these solutions, we choose the best and most practical ones and start to share the hell out of them worldwide, together with our network of media, organizations and private people.

I hear so many times that young people are lazy and selfish, not interested in helping others

We will say: look, here are 5 solutions to this social issue that you can easily apply at home, in your community, at school… choose the one(s) you like best and get going! And please share this with your network, because many hands make light work. We ARE the change. We ARE the power.

I hear so many times that young people are lazy and selfish, not interested in helping others, only want to buy the latest cell phones and don’t care much about the future of the world, but I found the contrary to be true. What I do understand is that many people (both young and old) feel powerless and anxious right now,  because so much is happening over their heads and they have no influence on this at all, except maybe by going on a march or strike. This way we CAN make the world a better place- step by step, issue by issue.

We’re now contacting well-known designers and artists to become Ambassadors

Ideally, this platform grows large and has many supporters, as this way the change will also be more substantial. I believe that 95% of all humans are good people, so if we can group say 10% of them… just imagine! Will you join us?

The CBW project is still in its infancy – we’re now contacting well-known designers and artists to become Ambassadors and Advisors and global media and organizations to help us with online sharing.

When this is in place (by spring, we envision) we will contact potential funders and technical partners such as digital and social strategy agencies.

If you have feedback or suggestions, please contact me.

And please like our Facebook Page here. Visit the website of Beauty Without Irony.

Kindest regards,

Ninette

About Ninette Murk

#VOCKSDiary – IFA Paris Campus Talk

Gwand Festival Paris mode durable Catherine Dauriac Fashion Revolution France

Make stars that shine not only bright but fair and green too

The Gwand will take place in Paris, which makes me extremely happy. I had imagined that the Gwand could take place in Paris earlier in the 90ies and now the first official trip in mission ‘Gwand Sustainable Fashion Festival Paris’ in cooperation with IFA Paris was scheduled. I travelled to Paris last Saturday.

First day in Paris

On Sunday morning I enjoyed, as a mother of two adorable children, to finally get a good night’s sleep and prepare for Monday. In the afternoon I met up with some “old” friends. In the evening, before going to bed, I went for a walk along the Canal Saint-Denis and breathed the Parisian air. I realized once again that it was the absolutely right decision to organize the festival in Paris and of course to enter the partnership with IFA Paris Fashion School – a stroke of luck. Paris is the city of fashion and is aiming to be the sustainable fashion capital of the world, here fashion finds plenty.

It is serious

On Monday morning, together with the lecturer Sandy Bontout, I had the pleasure of presenting the Gwand Sustainable Fashion Festival and its successful history to the fashion marketing students of IFA Paris. Furthermore we talked about the collaboration with the school and what part they will play in the implementation of the festival. I was overwhelmed by the knowledge and awareness of the young generation, the knowledge of the urgency to bring about change and the naturalness with which they do so. Also the many creative suggestions and new inputs, as well as the enthusiasm to participate in the first Parisian festival for sustainable fashion impressed me.

In the evening we had the IFA Paris Campus Talk, which was led by Sandy Bontout and we discussed with Catherine Dauriac from Fashion Revolution France about sustainability in the fashion industry. It was a great evening with interesting guests and above all I was very happy to meet Sylvie Grumbach from 2e Bureau, Catherine and Francis.

Paris is a hit! Admittedly, I arrived back home in Lucerne, tired but very happy, and I would like to thank everyone I met on this trip. I am looking forward to working with you – together we will make a change!