Uprise Issue The
Technical Difficulties Down to the Wire
Clutch Your Pearls
Letter from the Editor
elcome to the new age of DAMchic Magazine. Our Winter Issue represents a creative revolution brought to you by our 40 member staff with 29 new faces. 2013 was an exciting year for DAMchic and we only expect greater things for 2014. For our loyal readers who have been with us from the beginning, I think you will be pleasantly surprised with our boundary pushing incentives. For our new readers, I hope we spark your interest and inspire you for this upcoming season.
With a name like The Uprise Issue, you can expect this winter to be filled with profound and radical trends. Let this movement inspire you to embrace a tougher side of fashion. Break out the leather bottoms (a personal favorite), denim tops, statement jackets in army green and brown, and everything in between. It is a time of great change in the fashion industry and in our economy. Take a cue from the big screen and let Catching Fire’s Katniss Everdeen inspire your rebellious movement this year. If you’re like me, you’re going to watch that in the theater at least three times. As you flip through the pages of this virtual magazine, you will find the result of hundreds of hours of voluntary work. Created by talented students of diverse backgrounds, we strive to produce and promote content that is relevant to you, our fantastic readers. Check out our Beauty Editor’s tips on how to revolutionize your make up routine this winter. Be inspired by our Global Market Correspondent’s feature on the importance of women’s education and the story of Malala. Read about Sseko Footwear and what they are doing to reform fair trade while improving life for women in Uganda. Let’s not overlook the movement in men’s fashion as well; androgyny is a huge inspiration for us this winter. We feature men’s coats on our fabulous female model in the Hard Times photo shoot. On a personal note, Fall 2013 was my first term as Editor-In-Chief and I cannot emphasize enough what a positive experience I have had. I am so honored to lead such a dedicated and talented staff. Their fearless attitudes and innovative energy never cease to amaze me. It is with great pride that I present to you DAMchic’s first winter publication: The Uprise Issue. To quote Suzanne Collins (author of The Hunger Games), may the odds be ever in your favor in 2014.
Xx, Katie Sherpe
Table of contents
Where We Go.11 Imagination is Bulletproof.12
Interiors Trending Now.15 DIY on a Budget.17 Get Schooled in Home Decor.19
Beauty Laying On the Foundation.22 Order Within Beauty.24
Health & Fitness Body Bootcamp.28 Super Foods.31
Trends 35.Gender Bender 37.Polyvore
Women’s Fashion 42.Runway Look for Less 44.At World’s End
Men’s Fashion 50.The Working Man’s Suit
56. Hard Times 67.A New Style of Class 68.Technical Difficulties
Spotlight 74.The Mechanics of Life 75.Sseko Designs
DAMchic Fashion & Lifestyle Publication
Editor in Chief Katie Sherpe Creative Director Allie Piazza Fashion Director Elle Crugnale Fashion Market & Accessories Director Ariana Giesbrecht Art Director Allison Reaves Production Director Megan Keough Business Director Chandra Magnuson Executive Assistant Allison Kennedy Creative Director Assistant Sofiya Popova Fashion Director Assistant Eliot Frack Fashion Marketing & Accessories Assistant Alexandra Deuel Art Director Assistant Brooklyn Cochran, Haley Price Production Director Assistant Tanner Wall, Katy William Business Director Assistant Fiona Bai Women’s Fashion Editor Whitney Grether Men’s Fashion Editor Brigitte Hougan Interiors’s Editor Bridget Shelton Interior’s Editor Assistant Brooklyn Di Raffaele Beauty Editor Kathleen Menard Health & Fitness Editor Ashley McLaughlin Global Market Correspondent Safia Khan Street Style Editor Jessica Yelas Contributors Briana Buenzli, Katie Nolan, Ariana Paniagua, Allie Rogers Photography Manager Austin Russell Photography Manager Assistant Kate Sinnot Copy Editor Grace Zetterberg Web Development Manager Jessica Downing Web Development Manager Assistant Rian Kunke Graphics Coordinator Eva Nguyen Marketing Director Natalie Menard Public Relations Manager Aimee Corliss Public Relations Manager Assistant Katie Elkins Social Media Manager Melisa Magnuson Advertising Manager Maureen Dorsett Human Resources Manager Sarah Jamieson Faculty Advisor Keith Nishida, Allison Todd
Left: Sweater, Carolyn Hart; Snap Skirt, Portland Designer; Headband, Appetite; Middle: Dress, Carolyn Hart; Bobby Pin, Appetite; Right: Dress, Hubris Apparel; Headband, Appetite
By Allie Rogers
See where the SDHE students traveled this summer! Lauren Cranston Merchandising Management Florence, Italy Fall 2013
Maureen Dorsett Apparel Design & Merchandising Management; Business Minor Fashion Week New York City, New York
Melissa Walter Apparel Design; Merchandising Management Minor London, England Spring 2013
Ali Denny Apparel Design London, England Summer 2013
Imagination Bulletproof Global
By Safia Khan
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” - Nelson Mandela
alala Yousafzai is a 16 year old girl from the town of Mingora in the swat district of Pakistan. She is one of the youngest educational activists and one with a very unique perspective. Malala has survived through the hardships of growing up in rural Pakistan at a time when there were immense and terrifying external pressures in the form of the Taliban. She first spoke against the Taliban’s tyrannical rule in 2009, criticizing their self-imposed rule to ban girls from attending school in the Swat Valley. She wrote to BCC describing what it was like to live under this regime while not being able to exercise her free will to become educated. Many of us who have the opportunity to access education forget how treasured it is by those who don’t have it. Malala is one youth who represents all those who have been kept from the ocean of wealth that is everybody’s right: education.
Photography by Austin Russell
Education is not just what is taught to us in the classroom and the lecture halls: it is the desire to learn something one does not know about. Education comes to each of us in many different forms. Some see it in the form of molecules in chemistry, some hear it in the sounds of music, and some travel to new places to find traces of history. But there are still children who aren’t aware of this privilege and its benefits. Education provides an opportunity, an opportunity to understand the world and the people who live in it. It nurtures a person on their journey towards maturity and it enhances the flavor of life in many facets. That is the cause Malala advocates. This young girl believes that the harshest, darkest days can be fought away with the sword of a pen and the shield of a book in each hand. One of many things I gathered from her talks and her book was that she believes the schooling system provides discipline and teaches unity, that the class room symbolizes equality among children from different class, race and gender. In front of the chalkboard all children are equal and there is no discrimination.
Living part of my life in Pakistan and part in America, I have seen many teenagers who see the schooling system as a threat to their freedom. Some find ways to love it, and of course, others try to escape it. To see young people trying to fight for something that their entire community depends on is indeed remarkable. As much as it makes me sad to see Pakistan drifting from its original beliefs, that Mohammed Ali Jinnah (the founder of Pakistan) had envisioned, it also makes me quite happy to see a hand full of young people striving for the betterment of Pakistan and our society as whole. While many love and support Malala’s cause for education and women’s rights, some also fear that she may be a face for hidden forces and that her speeches may be scripted. Well that may be so, in my opinion, the possibility is inconsequential. If politics is finally supporting and cultivating such an honorable cause and rallying support for women’s rights and education for all, then it doesn’t matter who is pulling the strings from behind the curtain. To me, Malala is the representation
of a basic desire that is shared by people all over the world. Her message is universal: therefore the genuity of the message is completely overshadowed by its effect. Citizens of countries ranging from the first to the third world are striving for equality and education. At the heart of it all, every man and woman wants to feel safe and free to follow the path that they choose. This philosophy of freedom and safety has been represented in many forms throughout history, and the desire to learn and free oneself from the chains of illiteracy is its most recent formula. With that said, I also want to point out those that do have the privilege of getting an education in Pakistan. It might not be very obvious to those who live outside of Pakistan but the majority of the people have access to schools and education. However, the standard differs according to class system. I say this because though Malala has been a great inspiration, it is also very important to keep in mind not to generalize her and her towns experiences to Pakistan as a whole.
By Bridget Shelton While the winter air tends to keep us inside, that’s no reason to be living in cold, stale surroundings. With holidays and family gatherings just around the corner, give your home a fresh and inviting look to welcome loved ones in style. Check out these hot new looks that will surely warm your home.
The New Industrial Revolution
Trending now is the oh-so-hip, ohso-Portland, (and my personal favorite): the industrial look. We are appropriately dubbing this style: Portlandia. But don’t fret; this look isn’t only for the hipsters among us. It can be attained and molded to fit any type of household, whether you prefer a country take or shambly warehouse-inspired. Industrial with a hint of rustic, it pairs wood and metal for the perfect marriage of warm and cool. Rife with assorted textures and multitude of colors, the possibilities and combinations are endless. For additional Portlandia inspiration, go online and flip through the catalogs of Schoolhouse Electric Supply & Co, Pottery Barn, and Restoration Hardware.
1.Hamilton Bed, Schoolhouse Electric, $1,250 2.Draft Chair, Schoolhouse Electric, $320 3.Tangled Chandelier Persimmon, Schoolhouse Electric, $285 4.Wire Frame Trash Bin, Schoolhouse Electric, $125 5.Flatiron Desk, Restoration Hardware, $495
See page 17 for DIY instructions for this trend!
According to the US Census Bureau, 33.8% of the country are renters. With
the many stipulations and restrictions placed upon renters by landlords, it is hard to dress your home to reflect your personal style (especially if you want your deposit back). Well friends, I am here to tell you that those bare white walls can actually work in your favor this winter! One of the hottest trends this season is so fittingly chic, and it’s monochromatic! Whether your end result is ethereal or modern, a white-on-white color scheme is incredibly stylish. This is one of the easiest trends to tackle, and it’s versatile and inexpensive. You are welcome to choose any color and layer your room with the different shades. Gray is also a great color to play with, but make sure to choose either all cool or all warm tones; layer hues from light gray to almost black for an edgy and contemporary look. Short on funds? No problem! Scour local yard sales, antique stores, Craigslist, and second-hand stores for furniture that needs another chance at life. You would be surprised how a coat of paint can transform an old piece destined for the landfill. If you’re crafty, stenciling a pattern onto a piece can make a huge difference between drab and fab!
1.Sven Leather Sofa, Inkwell-Corvallis, OR, $420
4.Mint File Cabinet, cb2.com, $159
2.Sandor Coffee Table, 3.Dupioni Silk GromInkwell-Corvallis, OR, met Drape, Pottery $275 Barn, $139
5.Alang Table Lamp, IKEA, $19.99
Too sterile? Try these simple tricks to break up the monotony:
:: Use colorful throw pillows & blankets. Hot colors are MINT & OXBLOOD. :: Hang art on the walls. Small holes are easy to repair with spackle at the end of your lease! :: Stack books on an end table. Three to four is perfect! :: Buy colorful or patterned lamp shades (search Pinterest for easy DIY on updating shades).
on a DIY Budget There is nothing
I love more than finding buried treasure in an antique store. I found this old shipping crate at Engelberg Antiks in Salem, Oregon for only $15! It’s the perfect size to upcycle into a living room trunk that can double as a coffee table. Inspired by our theme “The Uprise Issue,” I wanted to transform the trunk into an old Army ammo crate. Check out the step-by-step process I took to turn a dirty old wooden box into a unique one-of-akind storage piece that will be a definite conversation starter.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Step-By-Step: 1.Keep can 6-8 inches away and sweep in an even motion until desired coat achieved. 2.Attach hardware with power drill, I used hinges on the outside and inside for extra support.
3.Fasten castors to bottom of trunk. BESTA castors from IKEA are only $15 for each set of two.
4.Measure where you want the handle to be. Drill holes for U-Bolts. 5.Slide rope under U-Bolts and tighten under the lid.
6.Make sure to keep the ends of the rope from unraveling, I used electrical tape. 7.Apply finishing touches.
When shopping at home furnishing
DIY on a
stores, don’t be discouraged if you find a piece that would fit perfectly in your home, but isn’t the right color. Many stores order directly from the manufacturer and most pieces come in a variety of colors. Ask a salesperson to show you the catalog with the different ordering options. The Dorset sectional by Rowe is available at Blackledge Furniture in Corvallis, Oregon. The white fabric is highlighted with black piping and buttons for a look that’s sleek, sophisticated, and sexy. on’t be afraid to mix and match patterns or textures. Using different textures in the same color helps to keep your room from looking flat and boring. White is extremely hard to match up, so make sure when you go shopping you take swatches or examples of what you are trying to match! For the holidays, try to pair silver or gold with the look, like I did with these gorgeous beaded pillows at Pier 1 Imports! Beaded Rosette living
Colette Loveseat, $699.95
Ivory Flounce Pillow, $29.95
Beaded Wave Pillow, $34.95 Mother of Pearl C-Table, $99.95
Here are a few ideas on how to achieve the monochromatic look in different areas of the home: Anika Desk & Crosby Low Back Fiesta Dinnerware office dining Chair by Euro Style Inkwell Home Store Corvallis,OR
18 Alang Table Lamp, IKEA, $19.99
$29.99 Inkwell Home Store Corvallis, OR
Furgus Barstool Ursula Bar Height Table by Euro Style Inkwell Home Store Corvallis, OR
In Home Decor
By Bridget Shelton & Brooklyn Di Raffaele
estled in the industrial district in Portland, OR is the trendy lighting and home décor store, Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co. Started in 2003 by Brian Faherty, this small business has grown in the past 10 years into a unique retailer. Schoolhouse Electric was founded on the idea of bringing back authentic American hand-crafted light fixtures that aren’t available in the mass market. Faherty had been selling and remodeling historic properties and was intrigued by how light fixtures were being put into these homes.“I saw that the projects were falling short when it came to lighting. They were turning to mass manufactured lighting from big box stores. To me, that was an area people needed to pay attention to,” said Faherty. With this idea in mind, Faherty did some research and found a company in up-state New York that had kept their collections of cast iron light molds from the early 20th century. He bought the collection, returned them to working order and started a small shop reproducing period light fixtures. In 2008, Schoolhouse Electric began to gain notoriety with home design bloggers and the business started to take off. Faherty established the Portland warehouse in 2011 and followed with a store in Tribeca, NY. The fixtures that Schoolhouse Electric makes are simple, but present a sophisticated style. Faherty and the other designers at Schoolhouse find inspiration from the decades of yore and make the fixtures and home accessories modern and sleek, which is their appeal to customers. Along with making one-of-a-kind retro home fixtures, Schoolhouse uses materials that are only made in the United States and by local vendors. Faherty uses this concept in marketing his company: making accessories for the home that are not only unique aesthetically, but are are functional as well. Branching out from lighting was an easy step to home furnishings. Industrial meets mid-century modern, and each furniture piece has the same hand-crafted, authentic, American-made prose and brings forth wistfulness that Schoolhouse has adopted as their brand. As the business continues to grow exponentially they are experimenting with new avenues; such as a line of bags, office supplies, and hardware. Coming from a collaborative mindset, Faherty has opened the Portland showroom to house Ristretto Roasters and Anna Mara Floral Design. The expansions have effectively made Schoolhouse Electric a one-stop shop, or a place to knock three birds with one stone. Photography by Brandon Williams
1. amed after the great inventor himself, the Edison beacon bulb (only $7) brings just enough warmth to your space as it does style. 2.Cozy up to the fire while relaxing in style. Throw pillows adorn seating for extra comfort and add color, too! 3.True to form: each space inside the showroom is so impeccably done, you feel as though someone actually lives there. 4.Ristretto Roasters located at the entrance can take care of your coffee addiction in a quick, efficient, and delicious manner. 5.School is in session. Vintage furniture that has been restored is paired with the current line all over the store for the perfect mixture of old and new. 6.The coffee lounge is the perfect size for small informal meetings between friends or coworkers. 7.The â€œlibraryâ€? area is reserved for anyone who would like to study, or just hang out, during business hours. 8.Anna Mara Floral Design offers a visually intriguing floral selection for all your floral needs, big or small. 9.Supply table: what more could you need? Metal First Aid Box $28, SUPPLIES Zip Pouch $32, Canvas Zipper Pouch $68.
Fresh and dewy skin is in this winter season. A natural look can be achieved easily with a few simple steps... By Kathleen Menard Photography by Austin Russell
Proactive oil-free moisture, $7
Revlon Photoready, $8
3.Foundation Almay, $9
Almay smartblend, $8
Almay smartblend, $8
1.Moisturizer Proactive oil-free moisture, $7
Using this quick tutorial, you can look flawless while still taking care of your skin that 23 in is susceptible to dryness these cold winter months.
Order eauty Within
A structured aesthetic using classic colors. By Kathleen Menard| |Photography by Austin Russell
Use classic white makeup to make your eyes pop!
Create depth by using white eye liner and mascara. 26
Health & Fitness
Health & Fitness
BODY BOOTCAMP! By Ashley McLaughlin
Sick of your daily gym routine? Hit up your local park or outside area to get a full body workout with this fast and effective Bootcamp routine! The Tire Push This is a great full-body workout. Starting in squat position, grab the tire from underneath and push it over, using all of your arm and leg muscles. Make sure to be using your leg and arm muscles without straining your back.
Photography by Alex Howell
Health & Fitness
Pushups There are many modifications to the pushup to make it easier or harder for yourself. Any way you do it, you are getting an amazing core and arm workout. Start in a plank position with palms facing down on a mat and lower yourself down to the ground, then back up again using your arms. If you need to modify this exercise, rest your knees on the ground and push yourself up with your arms. Try to do 15!
Tricep Dips Trying to get rid of the dreaded flabby underarm? Tricep dips are the workout for you! Find a bench or chair and have your feet flexed out in front of you. Put your arms on the chair (as seen in the image) and using your arms, dip your body down and up again. Try to do 25!
Health & Fitness
This is one of the best exercises for your core that will give you that toned tummy youâ€™ve always wanted! Start with your forearms placed on the ground with your elbows and shoulders aligned. Extend your legs behind you and hold your body in a straight line from shoulders to toes. Hold this exercise for 45 seconds and repeat 3 times.
Pull-ups are a very hard exercise that you have to slowly work up to. Over time, doing one pullup can be a great accomplishment! Find a bar in your local park or gym and using both of your hands, grab the bar and pull yourself up. Using your arms and core, pull your head over the bar and then return to starting position, dangling with arms grasping the bar.
Health & Fitness
SUPERFOODS You should be eating everyday! By Ashley McLaughlin
Kale.2 Almonds.3 Oats.4
(Make sure you get the oats with no added sugar!)
6.Avocado 7.Broccoli 8.Quinoa 9.Green Tea 10.Greek Yogurt
B Gender e
Ph By ot Jy og ss ra ica ph Y y b el y A as lex H
Pants, Liverpool Jean Company; Shoes, Earth- Pants, Golden Crane; Sweater, St.Vincent thrift keepers; Socks, Costco; Watch, Nixon store, Top, Ralph Lauren; Shoes, Giorgio Fellini; Coat, Herman Kay; Socks, H&M
Everyone has heard of ‘boyfriend jeans’ or has borrowed a guy’s sweater before. Street style this winter is all about androgyny, so why not take it to the next level? 35
Shirt, vintage; Flannel, Fox Hollow; Coat, Alfred Dunner; Necklace, Buffalo Exchange; Shoes, Doc Martens; Pants, TJ Maxx; Glasses, Editor’s
Pants, Zara; Top, Eddie Bauer; Vest, Maurice’s; Shoes, Doc Martens
By Ariana Paniagua
P l e a s a n t l y
P l a i d
RunwayLookforLess A few key pieces to buy for the season without breaking your bank! An all over black outfit is an easy way to look chic. Add a statement jacket and you are ready for the winter months!
By Whitney Grether
1.Forever 21 $67.80 2. Humble Chic $38 3. New Look $12.99 4. Forever 21 $13.80 5. ZARA $119
Pull this heavily layered look together with a wide belt to define the waist while adding interest.
1.Forever 21 $34.80 2. Lorde & Taylor $54.60 3. johnlewis.com $53 4. Forever 21 $7.80 5. Charlotte Russe $45.50
Left: Shirt, Maurice’s; Jacket, Second Glance; Leggings, Nike; Shoes, Maurice’s Right: Jacket, Maurice’s; Leggings, Maurice’s; Shoes, Second Glance
By Whitney Grether Photography by Seth DuBois Who says you canâ€™t look fashionable at the end of the world? With a great pair of boots, a chic jacket and a little attitude these women are ready for any uprise headed their way.
Left: Top, Maurice’s; Jacket, Maurice’s; Necklace, Golden Crane Right: Top, Jacket, Boots, Leggings, Maurice’s
Left: Shirt, Maurice’s; Jacket, Second Glance; Leggings, Nike; Shoes, Maurice’s; Ring, Golden Crane Right: Jacket, Maurice’s; Leggings, Maurice’s; Shoes, Second Glance
Working By Ariana Giesbrecht
Photography by Teresa Yoshiura
The working man needs an adaptable wardrobe for his busy life. These modern looks give an aesthetic appeal while keeping it durable for the daily grind.
All clothing provided by The Alley - Corvallis, OR
By Katie Sherpe||Allison Reaves||Chandra Magnuson||Ariana Giesbrecht Photography by Bret Lorimore
With every great revolution comes the hard times; an era of change, uncertainty, and the resiliant energy that drives us forward. Layer the denim, bundle up the burlap and tweed, and donâ€™t forget to hold on to key accessories that transform your overall look.
Coat, 57lulus. com
Coat, The Alley; Jean Jacket, Gap; Flannel, JC Pennyâ€™s; Pearl Necklaces, Vintage
Coat, The Alley; Flannel, Target; Boots, lulus.com; Locket, Charlotte Russe
Coat, lulus.com; Top, lulus.com; Boots, lulus.com; Necklace & Ring, vintage
Top, lulus.com; Boots, lulus.com; Watch, thrift market; Suspenders, thrift store
Top, lulus.com; Pants, lulus.com; Boots, lulus.com; Pearl Necklaces, vintage
Style Class O
By Briana Buenzli
regon State University has been offering “The Weatherford Way” (BA 160) to freshman at Weatherford Hall for the past seven years, but until this fall, it was only open to business students. The class is taught by Sandy Neubaum and co-taught by Allison Todd. It gives students a chance to get their feet wet in the fashion world and gives them hands-on experience as new students. This class teaches students “four important skills: teamwork, communication, creativity and the ability to adapt to change.” In this class they are learning basic career skills, event planning, public speaking, modeling and what happens behind the scenes of a fashion show. Through this class, the staff has seen much success later on in students’ careers at the university level and beyond. Todd, a School of Design and Human Environment advisor and the co-teacher states, “It’s been an awesome opportunity and I have enjoyed working with them on a more personal level”, and states she is “very impressed with how much they have done and have been taking on.” Shelby Ulam, a freshman at Oregon State University, is currently enrolled in the class and says, “I really enjoy this class. I like how Sandy puts most the work on us and holds the class responsible for accomplishing our visions of what we want.” The class’s fashion show took place on Monday November 25, 2013 at 7:30 p.m. The students loved the result of their finished product as well as seeing their hard work come to life. Photography by Bret Lorimore
Technical Difficulties Down to the Wire By Allie Piazza Megan Keough Elle Crugnale Photography by Seth DuBois
Whatâ€™s a Revolution without a little fighting action? Industrial warriors have never been so fashionable - or robotic. In the coming age of technology, the old clashes with the new to inspire this apocalyptic style, so donâ€™t forget your scrap metal and wires.
Right: Neckpiece, Keith Nishida; Top, ASOS; Skirt, BCBG; Technical Accessories, OSU Robotics Club Left: Neckpiece, Keith Nishida; Technical Accessories, OSU Robotics Club
Top, Forever21; Gloves, Urban Outfitters; Necklace, OSU Robotics Club
Left: Top, vintage; Pants, Forever21; Hand Piece, Keith Nishida Right: Neckpiece, Keith Nishida; Technical Accessories, OSU Robotics Club
Jacket, H&M; Pants, American Apparel; Necklace, Forever21; Technical Accessories, OSU Robotics Club
Sunglasses, vintage; Top, vintage; Hand Piece, Keith Nishida
Life|| By Katie Nolan
OSU’s Melissa McGee shares her student endevors, personal style & life goals.
KN: What year are you in school, and what are you majoring in? MM: Third year, doubling in math and mechanical engineering. KN: What made you choose your major(s) as a degree?
MM: I’m involved with the math club and AIAA (American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics). KN: What is your standpoint on fashion?
MM: I pay attention to what people are wearing, and I try not to look like MM: I like math more, what with all a clown (laughs). Dressing well gives the things you can do such as teaching, you an edge when looking for a career but with engineering there’s a wideso that’s my final goal. spread of career possibilities and it makes a difference. KN: Do you think engineering and fashion go hand in hand? KN: What sort of career are you planning on doing with your major(s)? MM: Besides production, like with textiles and the machines used to make MM: I have a few ideas in mind, I the clothing, there aren’t many similarcould start with math for awhile like ities. withteaching, but my goal is to work for national defense as an aerospace KN: What is your personal style? engineer, or with encription (like with keeping credit cards safe). MM: I’m conservative, I like to wear cardigans and jewel tones mainly. I KN: Are you involved with any clubs don’t take risks with fashion. I do at OSU? know what some trends are but I’m not that involved with it.
By Megan Keough ashion can be defined in many ways, but for Sseko Designs, based locally out of Portland, OR, fashion is used as a way to empower women in Uganda and provide them with jobs and access to a college education. Sseko Designs is an ethical fashion brand that sells leather sandals, handbags and accessories hand made by women in Uganda. By creating an environment of dignity, honor and dedication, Sseko Designs provides the opportunity for women in East Africa to end the cycle of poverty and create a more equitable society.
In a recent interview, I sat down with Laura Corder, Sales and Brand Advocate for Sseko Designs, who gave me an inside look at the company. DC: How did the idea to create Sseko Designs start? LC: After college, Liz Bohannon [the founder of Sseko Designs] went to Uganda and began working with a girl’s high school doing communications. She became really close with the girls and began to realize that, for a lot of these women, they finish high school as very high potential girls, but then can’t afford to go on to college. In Uganda, there is a nine month gap period in between high school and
university that is meant for students to go back home, get jobs and earn money for college. College is cash based so there’s no opportunity for loans. Liz found that a lot of the times, these women would leave high school after doing super well and go back to their villages, where most of the job opportunities available would be given to the boys. So there are a lot of women just falling through the cracks – really bright, talented young women. Originally, Liz thought about creating a scholarship program; however, the
women at the school said they didn’t need handouts, what they needed is something to do for nine months when they’re supposed to be working and earning money. And so Liz was this fresh out of college, young woman trying to figure out what she was going to do when her friends reminded her of these crazy sandals that she had made when she was in college that tied up around your ankle. And so the idea was born. The company started out with Liz and three women from Uganda making the sandals and has since grown tremendously. DC: What were the biggest obstacles to overcome when trying to launch Sseko? LC: Speaking on behalf of Liz, who at the time had never really had business experience and was working in a foreign county, I think a big thing was just overcoming general startup factors like how do you create a business, how do taxes and tariffs work in Uganda and how do you export things to the Unit-
ed States legally? In general, logistics were a pretty big challenge. Additionally, in Uganda it’s a different world. A lot of the times this might be a woman’s first job and so you have to be very culturally sensitive and relevant. It’s important to recognize that this is Uganda and their culture is very different. Anything with a start-up is kind of a challenge, but then add in cultural differences and international shipping and it makes it twice as difficult. DC: Why were you specifically drawn towards working with Sseko Designs? LC: First of all, I believe in what Sseko does. I believe that using business as a means to change the world is huge. Specifically for me, I believe in education. I think that it is an opportunity that we have in the US that we take for granted. Some people choose to not go to college and that’s fine, they don’t have to, but the injustice of it is when people can’t go to school because they can’t afford it. For me, I believe that everyone has a beautiful mind that should be tapped into and especially, as a woman, that pulls at my heartstrings. I had taught in Ethiopia for a summer several years back and just loved being in East Africa and
loved the women that I interacted with there, so when I met Liz and Ben [Liz’s husband and co-owner of the company] and heard about what they were doing I thought, “cool…a fashion brand doing something good in a region of the world that I feel connected to.” And the fact that their whole vision and purpose started with a drive for education pulled at my heart and I was like, “I love that…I want to be a part of that.” It’s crazy, you start to work with this company that is a socially conscious company and you go into work and you start to realize work is still a grind and it’s really hard, but I know that every day when I go, I get to work for a company that’s doing really good things in the world and that’s awesome. I love that we get this picture of what life looks like for a woman across the world that we might never meet. We might never go to East Africa, but it just makes the world a lot smaller because we’re all human and all have the same kind of heart. DC: How do you decide what products to make? LC: How we decide what to make next involves looking around and asking “what do women want?” We’re constantly bouncing ideas off of each other. Liz will bring in leather samples that she pulls from east Africa and we talk through questions like “how would you like it if this was the strap on this hobo bag or would you want this kind of closure?” It’s really collaborative, which is fun. It gets everyone creative. I would say everyone in our office has had input in certain
products and we’re all very different kinds of women so that makes it really fun because we all have our different flare. DC: Where are the materials sourced? LC: The sandals, straps, sandal accessories and tote accents are all hand made in Uganda, but then we partner with different organizations in Kenya and Ethiopia that make the clutches, hobos, scarves and totes. We find partners in those countries that are working to end the poverty cycle in their own way. DC: Where do you see the company going in the future? LC: The hope for Sseko is to become a full lifestyle brand. We started out with sandals and now we have other fashion accessories. If we find an organization that’s making some product we never thought we would want to sell in the US, but its awesome and we love what they’re doing, we might partner with them. In general, we hope to continue to grow as a lifestyle brand that has tons of different products to offer to women in the US and internationally. We started out as Sseko in Uganda and we continue to dream big about different areas in the world where we can have a similar model and produce more products from different regions and bring them to, specifically the U.S. I think that could be really cool and I think we can do it.
DC: What do you really want people to that beautiful things can come from East Africa and beautiful things can be made know about Sseko Designs and your by women who are trying to earn money mission? for a specific cause. We work really hard to make LC: I althings ways like that we to emphathink size a few look key things good and one of in the them is our Western story. We market believe that and want the way you them to spend your be qualimoney can ty and to change the be beauworld. And tiful. We so we really want the emphasize products the fact to be that Sseko is driven by these amazing women and the whole purpose behind something that youâ€™ll be glad you spent Sseko is to be able to create jobs and a your money on, not because of our story sustainable economic opportunity for only, even though thatâ€™s a huge part, but women in East Africa to go to school. because you actually can walk around and Then I would say products are a really say this is an amazing product! huge part of who Sseko is. We believe
To find out more about this amazing company and their story and see all of their designs, visit ssekodesigns.com
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