Words according to Thomas, Co-Founder, Jack of all Trades, and Creative and Visual Director of Raven Vanguard
Today, Dakota and I partake in a cataclysmic twosome of the literary-kind.
In the lonely universe of luxury design, Raven Vanguard inherently embodies an aesthetic of mysteriousness and inscrutability that, at first observation, seems utterly inaccessible to younger generations of consumers like Millennials/Gen Yers and Generation Zers. (Technically, I am a Boomer, and Brooke and Dakota are Millennials. In the interest of openminded discourse, we defy the archetypes of our respective generations.)
But, as we have learned, alongside the conjuring of all this mysteriousness came the distinct possibility that we could also be wholly misunderstood by those whom we had actually hoped to communicate with among Generation Xers and Baby Boomers.
I find most attempts at generation categorization to be entirely perplexing to the point where I now readily admit that most Baby Boomers and Generation Xers are too vanilla and commonplace in their ideas of what comprises cutting-edge contemporary cool. There, I said it; most of my generational compeers are absolutely dull and unadventurous when it comes to having a radical vision for their designed environment that willingly expands upon the outer-bounds of creativity and embraces a willingness take on forward-looking risks.
By stereotype and presupposition, each one of us has some naysaying conception of what constitutes the typical Millennial or Generation Zer. And instead of turning this segment of our Once-over into another one of my social media sucks rants, I’d rather offer an olive branch of sorts to those Millennials and Generation Zers whose timely embrace of luxury design, including fashion and décor, may turn out to be the impetus underlying the ultimate sustainability of Raven Vanguard’s mysteriousness. I’ll expand upon this notion in a future Once-over so until then it suffices that I have been keeping a watchful eye on Gucci’s ascent and acceptance within the design culture of may Millennials and Generation Zers. I now have renewed hope for those I most definitely counted among the lost generations. Oh yeah, that and it definitely helps that I create with the two baddest-ass Bitches on the planet.
Words according to Dakota, SHE II, and Raven Vanguard’s third member, also known as Sloth
I have a lot to say and very little to say, truly. I have been really rather tired this week, so it is a bit difficult to formulate extensive thoughts on one given thing, let alone a bunch of things. So, to start, here is a not-in-order list of random things I talked about, thought about, and experienced this week. Positive affirmations, manifestation, disappointment, total utter confusion, creative frustration, long discussions about a particular fashion choice via group text, collaboration, re-evaluating the definition of success, realistic goal setting, cults in California, food selection in Buffalo, reuniting with car community friends, catching up with family I haven’t seen in a while, brunch, bonfires, selfishness, downsizing, and my niece’s 1st birthday. All over the map, I know.
But one thing in particular that really stuck with me this week is the long group-chat conversation that I had with my friends from college. One friend is in advertising and copyrighting and the other two are industrial design. The friend in advertising brought our attention to the “Back-to-School Essentials” viral ad by Sandy Hook Promise, “an anti-violence nonprofit founded by the parents of victims of the Sandy Hook shootings in 2012” as stated by the Washington Post. The video was incredibly powerful, depicting kids going back to school with brand new backpacks, skateboards, gym socks, scissors and phones, all of which they proceed to use to protect themselves, escape the building, help bleeding classmates, and text their mom final words “I love you” during a school shooting. It was heartbreaking and painstaking to watch. Effective in its message. Reinforcing the need for change.
On the absolute opposite end of the spectrum was Bstroy’s New York runway show this week. To which I say, what a god-awful, insensitive, poorly thought out, graphic, disgusting way to grasp at getting noticed in the fashion world. All for a drop of fucking ‘clout.’ In case you don’t know what I am referring to, Bstroy released three hoodies on the runway with school logos reading “Sandy Hook,” “Columbine” and “Stoneman Douglas High School.” The hoodies were tattered with bullet holes in them. The brand argued that the hoodies were designed for awareness purposes to draw attention to the irony of being killed in a place where people are supposed to feel safe. I call total bullshit. The designers themselves stated, “That's for you to know who we are, so we can have a voice in the market.” Oh? So, it is for attention. It’s not awareness. A poorly written shallow artist statement will never distract from the fact that this was a gross appropriation of other’s tragedy, pain, and loss for profit and recognition. I mean, imagine being a parent that lost a child in a mass school shooting and seeing a 20-something year old hypebeast walking around in a hoodie covered in bullet holes, with your child’s school on it. Talk about being forced into reliving trauma by a company whose intention was to get attention and make money. Not to make positive change, not to donate to those affected, not to support the need for action, just to support themselves. It infuriates me. An opinion article written by Hilary George-Parkin for CNN says it perfectly:
“Bstroy's designers may have aimed to achieve a similar effect with their hoodies, but they seemed to ignore the group most affected by the issues they ostensibly wanted to shed light on…
On social media, the images quickly reached the families and friends of victims, some of whom accused the brand of "mak[ing] light of our pain" and "profit[ing] off the deaths of our family members," as well as inciting comments from Sandy Hook denialists.
Bullet holes, after all, may help memorialize the ugliness of the attacks, but they do little to commemorate the lives of victims.”
And that is that for this week. I suppose I had more to say than I had originally thought, but I needed to get that out there. Sometimes it helps to have a platform to discuss these matters on! And as for moving on with my life, HAPPY FIRST BIRTHDAY TO ELLA ROSE, my niece!!