My Journal – Issue #1
Recently, the Silk Purse Oily Rag team had a workshop/team-building retreat!
Admittedly, it was a one-person team-building workshop. And I really only retreated to the veranda (so in truth, a lot more like navel-gazing). But it was something I needed to do to help me find focus and direction for the year ahead. I needed to re-write my ‘about’, but first I needed to actually figure that out!
What is SPOR really about? What do I want to say to you all?
Starting with a bit of a brain dump, I jotted down words like ‘authenticity’, ‘resourcefulness’, ‘affordability’, ‘individuality’, ‘ethical & sustainable’, and ‘realistic but aspirational’. I spun them into a mind map, connecting them all up, to identify relationships between them, like, ‘by encouraging individuality we create greater diversity’.
I also recorded some real gems of phrases too, like ‘style shouldn’t just be something for rich people’ and ‘we’re all a bit munted in some way, but we’re all rather incredible too’. I thought carefully about some of the more topical, controversial fashion issues like self-esteem, aging and body image. The statement ‘healthy and realistic aspirations for our bodies and our style’ was where I got to on that one.
In the end (and this really is the trailer version of an epic feature-length movie), I managed to condense the Silk Purse Oily Rag message into three tidy statements. Key messages I suppose you could call them, the guts of my vision and what I want to communicate in everything I do.
Authenticity – Every woman has a unique point of view that is valid and should be nurtured
Perfectly Imperfect – We are all flawed, but extraordinary too
Resourceful & Clever – It is a woman’s intellect, her heart and her effort that gives her style, not her financial means
I road-tested these back against my original brainstorming list, and with a bit of tweaking, they all fit: Embracing “Authenticity” gives rise to values like personal empowerment, diversity and individuality, while “Perfectly Imperfect” sets the stage for healthy self-esteem and realistic fashion aspiration. The key message “Resourceful & Clever” gives a context for the importance of knowledge and skills to achieving style on a budget, of making the most of who we are, and for embracing a more sustainable/ethical fashion ethic.
Together, I hope that these messages make for an empowering fashion vision for all women. One that is a useful alternative to mainstream fashion media.
So what of it? Over the coming months I plan to share more about these key messages and to encourage discussion about them. Starting with a fortnightly column, I will look closely at what the Silk Purse, Oily Rag vision is and means, and how it can help women feel better in their clothes and selves.