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A Window to Our World: A Year of Contemplation

Story by Rachel Schwartzmann – Photos via The Style Line

A Window to Our World

began as a place for commentary for our growing global community surrounding the events of the tumultuous 2016 presidential election. Since then, this series has developed and now features stories and accounts from our interviewees who share how they are changing the current political, social, and environmental climate – for the better.

Today (and exactly a year later), a few of our interviewees share a window to their world and reflect on a year of political and social change. Discover our conversations below and be sure to catch up on our initial stories with each of the featured women in this interview too.

Sophie Elgort, Photographer

Give us a current window to your world: What’s changed since we last spoke and what are your thoughts on the past year?

I’m six and a half months pregnant with my first child, so that’s a big change. It definitely gives perspective. I look at what I’m doing each day and I want it to have meaning, to be able to do something to stand up for what I believe in not just with words but with actions. It never feels like enough.

No matter what your political views are, what has this year taught you about using your creativity and unique personal style for good?

It’s not enough to just have success in your field. With everything going on in the world, it’s so important to use the success you have and pay it forward. Make a difference in the lives other people less fortunate than you.

What is one question you hope you’re asked more often and why?

What you just asked about! I wish I and others would be asked about

what we are doing to make the world a better place. How we are using the influence we have to do good. It’s so important, yet a topic that’s often left out.

Robin Reetz, Editor

Give us a current window to your world: What’s changed since we last spoke and what are your thoughts on the past year?

Just when we thought things couldn’t get any crazier after 2016, 2017 happened. After the election, I went through a period of shock, disbelief, grief, and anger. It was a defining experience for many and one I’ve used to help inform who I am today. That experience helped me understand and see a lot of things clearly, and it’s turned me into someone that’s sharper, more keenly aware of certain realities, and more ready to fight for what’s fair and just than ever before.

No matter what your political views are, what has this year taught you about using your creativity and unique personal style for good? 

The emotions I outlined above have since settled into a more grounded, permanent, almost steady feeling of assuredness and self-awareness. I’ve been using those feelings to give me strength and confidence, whether that means feeling more sure in myself and what I’m wearing and (trying) not to be afraid to speak out when I see something I think is wrong. Ultimately this year has given me strength, confidence, and taught me to focus on my true style rather than letting myself be influenced by outside sources.

What is one question you hope you’re asked more often and why?

How do you appropriately bring your interests and beliefs into your everyday personal and professional life? How do you fight for what you believe in a way that’s appropriate and respectful? I’m always working on this. Trying to find ways to fight for what I believe in while staying respectful and appropriate. There’s so much power in the tiniest actions and it’s important that we challenge ourselves to push the systems forward in even the smallest, most seemingly everyday ways.

T Ngu of Project Object

Give us a current window to your world: What’s changed since we last spoke and what are your thoughts on the past year?

This year was quite stressful with all the politics and tragedies happening around the country, but through it all, I’ve seen more people than ever coming together to support one another. I am hopeful that if we keep lifting each other up and allowing our voices to be heard within our own communities then that will continue to loudly spread so we can drown out all the bad.

No matter what your political views are, what has this year taught you about using your creativity and unique personal style for good?

With Project Object being very female-focused, empowering and positive driven this year has taught me that there is a need for this kind of space to help encourage us through times of unjust disappointment or when we feel hopeless.  It is a space that we share to remind those that you are not alone.

What is one question you hope you’re asked more often and why?

I’d like people to be more curious about the people behind art or design. When we know who the creator is, their story, and what led them to their passions it makes us appreciate them and the things they make even more.

Adeline, Student

Give us a current window to your world: What’s changed since we last spoke and what are your thoughts on the past year?

I’m nearing closer to graduating with a degree in Public Relations while simultaneously working in a career that intersects fashion and marketing. I’ve also become more committed to protecting my space, preserving my energy, and practicing intention on a daily basis. At best, this year has been challenging. I think it’s really easy to find yourself feeling drained by the reality that we’re living in, especially as a person of color. I’m doing my best to be more kind to myself while supporting other marginalized groups of people.

No matter what your political views are, what has this year taught you about using your creativity and unique personal style for good?

I think that this year has ultimately proven just how much silence breeds complacency. Regardless of what your creative outlet or personal platform may be, I think it’s more necessary now than ever to utilize that for good. Disruption isn’t comfortable, but it’s crucial to enacting change.

What is one question you hope you’re asked more often and why?

I wish I was questioned more regarding obstacles I’ve encountered, both personal and professional.

I think that it’s a really humanizing part of producing any type of work and is ultimately what unites creatives across all industries, mediums, and scopes.

Reshma Patel of Quiet Storms

Give us a current window to your world: What’s changed since we last spoke and what are your thoughts on the past year?  

What a year it’s been! Quiet Storms turned one in May and as we prepare for our second holiday season at the store, we’re feeling energized and optimistic about modern jewelry. This feeling is propelled by our community of immensely talented designers, our warm and wonderful clients and our creative and generous design partners. When we last spoke to you, everything was so new, we’ve learned quite a lot since then. We’re feeling more established in terms of building meaningful connections with our clients who now see Quiet Storms as a resource for new, artful and exciting jewelry collections. From the beginning we’ve been working towards creating a more personalized and quieter approach to retail, allowing clients to truly connect with our collections and their purchase. But, we’ve also tried to keep things fun by hosting regular events–piercing parties, braiding events and trunk shows throughout the year. We tried our hand at creating our own line of jewelry boxes, with the help of our amazing interior designers and are working on a new surprise for this Holiday season.

No matter what your political views are, what has this year taught you about using your creativity and unique personal style for good?  

The election has provided a unique and collective awakening. Our voices, our forms of expression and our channels of communication can be used to tell/show people you care, inspire, inform and organize.It’s been so wonderful to see so many women and businesses I admire using their influence in fashion and style in meaningful ways. With Quiet Storms, I’ve had the chance to meet so many people from all over the world through the store. Listening to others’ stories and gaining perspective is key to one’s own understanding of the larger world out there. Personal style and our creative output will always be important, no matter the political climate. I think now is the time to utilize both for bringing people together.

What is one question you hope you’re asked more often and why?  

I’ve met a lot of young, emerging designers in the past year. They often ask if we are looking to bring in new designers and if they can send me their lookbooks, but I think a more meaningful question might be, “What do you look for in a designer and their collection?” I could then share, in detail, what I love about each one of our designers and what we hope to find in others.

Because for me it’s the complete story that I look for and champion; the artist, their point of view and their art.

Karina Castrillo, Writer

Give us a current window to your world: What’s changed since we last spoke and what are your thoughts on the past year? 

I’ve relocated from Paris to Miami, and for a while dealt first hand with the outcome of the election with fear and anxiety as most have. But eventually, the constant media spectacle led me to unsubscribe from The New Yorker and tune out the T.V. – Trump is out of my daily thoughts now. The way to try to help the situation I find is conversing with people, those who voted for him mostly. Sometimes you find that dialogue changes minds more efficiently than complaining.

No matter what your political views are, what has this year taught you about using your creativity and unique personal style for good?

I think that the political situation hasn’t made a dent in the wave of fresh creativity that’s been consistently pushing through all the industries especially fashion.

That’s the silver lining. I feel lucky to work in the digital sphere where there’s always new content and ideas. Social media is really a platform for any kind of movement you want to start or take part in which is good for a change.

What is one question you hope you’re asked more often and why? 

I like to be asked what I am reading at the moment. I think it tells a lot about the kind of person you are, and often it could lead to meaningful relations.

Evelyn Flores, Blogger

Give us a current window to your world: What’s changed since we last spoke and what are your thoughts on the past year?

Things can really change in the shortest amount of time, can’t they? I am currently in a career I truly enjoy (PR/Marketing) compared to my previous corporate role, drinking more water, and since we last spoke I’ve learned to say “NO” in hopes of living a more stress-free life. This year has forced me to roll up my sleeves, get uncomfortable, organized, and get shit done. I like it.

No matter what your political views are, what has this year taught you about using your creativity and unique personal style for good?

I think, this year, the hardest lesson (for me) was to SPEAK UP. I’m a pretty quiet person and keep to myself, but I learned REAL quick that our civil liberties are hanging by a thread and I can’t just sit back and “hope for the best.” This wasn’t exactly welcomed by all… someone who blogs about style… speaking up about immigration policies… how dare she? I have created a platform for myself and whether it’s supporting woman owned businesses, leaving a job that doesn’t accept different values/beliefs, include links to sign petitions on blog posts, educate my following on statistics that are important to me, suggest inclusive activities at work… I don’t mind taking negative feedback because the way I see it, being quiet about a subject that hurts millions is only making you compliant.

What is one question you hope you’re asked more often and why?

“What makes you say/do that?” I want to get more into creative processes because it takes a lot of work and people only see final projects. I think that’s also a good way to start political or life conversations that can lead to educating your audience on experiences you might have that they have been privileged enough to avoid.