Culture Punch- Irish Twins

Here in a small town on the Canadian Shield lived a brother and sister. I am the one in front, looking left (even then). Nice sweat-palazzos, hunh? This was just the beginning of my love affair with fashion that drew bullies from miles around, drawn to me like glitter to RuPaul’s brow. But who cared? Not me. I was pro-tec-ted. My sister always had my back. Rushmee’s the one looming behind, the one with the Farrah Faucett Feather. Nice hair Sis!

“Rush and I were both born in Ireland- not even a year a part. We’re technically Irish twins.”

These days, it’s raining trouble. The world seems to get scarier by the minute. I learned this the hard way when I started to map out a plan to create a high-end atelier in Bangladesh (drawing from my Parisian Haute Couture roots). The news of the killing of Xulhaz Mannan (an openly gay blogger and intellectual) opened up old rooms in my head where I had left my bullies under lock and key. My plans to open up the atelier were put on pause as I tried to come to grips, for the second time in my life, of who I actually was in this picture. I overthought, like usual, and axed everything until Rushmee and I decided to go to a Fairtrade conference in Nova Scotia. Continue reading

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Culture Punch- The Prequel

A few years ago, I heard of the demise of a supplier that I had once worked with. My thoughts went out to my primary contact there. He is a soft-spoken man at least twenty years my senior and had worked for the company most of his life. We never spoke of his homosexuality, he was of another generation and the complexities of gender in India was out of my purview (I am learning more these days) .

What we had was a friendship and when he rang and asked if I had anything to work on (he was going it solo), I really had to think. I was busy with a full time job and as those of you in the clothing industry know, full time means heavy overtime. But, I honed in on something small, perhaps a bowtie, an object that did not require sizing. In the bizz, SKU numbers are killer and concentrating on accessories seemed to be manageable. I had a website designed and targeted the wedding industry, purchasing a table at the WedLuxe event in Toronto. I even scored a small blurb in NOW magazine by the present style editor of The Globe & Mail, Andrew Sardone. Of which I am very grateful.

Then, as you know, I got involved in worker’s rights and ditched everything. Now that I look back, we were already on the path to an authentic venture. Arunava’s (not his name) and my story are very different but the space that we inhabited when we worked on the project was ours to share.

As we enter phase one of Culture Punch and after all the compliments I have received for our bowties, I am re-launching the accessories but with a third of the proceeds going to Rainbow Railroad. Continue reading

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