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Review: “The True Cost” of Fast-fashion

Posted by on August 23, 2015

I watched “The True Cost” this weekend after a recommendation from a fashion industry leader who wants to leave her job. It was a documentary on a topic I’ve grown to know a lot about as it also intersects with globalism, sustainabiity, and economics. “The True Cost” is a transparent reminder of the fast-fashion industry’s collective damage and toll on humanity and the earth. It was difficult to emotionally process, especially since I have also participated in this cycle, whether purchasing clothes from H&M or Forever21 once upon time until I learned how to make my own clothes. My friends who pride themselves on being eco-friendly and compost diligently every week still purchase clothes for bargain prices and throw away shoes after a visit to Las Vegas just because “the shoes are so cheap.” We should be with the life cycle of a garment from where it starts to where it ends.

Slavery still exists, and a lot of these factories overseas are treating their workers like cattle. Clothing factory workers in India and Bangladesh make $10/month on average. The whole system is a vicious cycle. There is the counterargument that we are helping build the infrastructure of these third-world countries from essentially nothing, but that doesn’t justify how harmful and dehumanizing these conditions are as well as the social impact they are having on our planet. We all live on Earth. We all wear clothes. Clothes matter.

I’ve heard anecdotes about people in first-world countries who leave their jobs the day they walk in. Their quitting is reasonable since the situation was that bad: the employer was exploitative, the working condition was highly questionable, etc. But what about laborers who have no choice? Privilege exists along a continuum and as people who are empowered to choose the jobs they want, we should also examine the clothing we purchase and why the $ sign can be so low. If the cost is that low, then that means the company made a huge profit off of exploiting their factory workers. Not to mention, the quality of the materials was also sacrificed to produce such a high volume of clothing quickly and cheaply. Earth is not respected as land and a gift we should thoughtfully cherish; to the corporations the Earth has become a factory to abuse and reap benefits from at its expense.

As a consumer, you have power. You don’t have to enable this cycle and buy into this cycle of mass production, consumption, blood, and disposal.

Did you know that IGIGI makes all of its clothing in San Francisco? I’m very proud to work for a brand that gives back to its local economy and pays its workers a living wage in ethical work conditions. An IGIGI purchase is an investment because the clothes are built to last. Stand behind your clothing and the hands it took to make them. Know the true price.

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Everything In Its Right Place with Marie Kondo

Posted by on August 19, 2015

Forget The Container Store and the file cabinets that promise to partition the administrative tasks on your desk. In the very hectic world we live in at the moment, you need only one simple guide book to walk you through the steps of organizing your space. Space, as it turns out, is both a physical and mental place, and leaving the contours of either forgotten curtails your potential for balance and success. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo has a whimsical, fairy-tale element to the title but the spell she casts has deliverable, practical results. Methodically and meticulously in classic #KonMari fashion, she goes through the dusty nooks and neglected shadows we leave behind when we hastily close the door for a quick-fix, acceptable exterior. Google has mastered the art of knowing what we search for sometimes better than ourselves and Kondo, through a high-minded approach of dutiful and joyful cleaning, knows the pitfalls people are wont to when tidying with a closed mindset. She advocates that if you follow her steps, you will be able to manage your place very easily instead of starting all over like a yo-yo diet. But wait — how can tidying hold spiritual value? There are karmic lints floating around and Kondo wants to dust them into redemptive matter. Don’t just throw your socks in the drawer. Thank them for putting up with your weary feet. Don’t leave loose change lying around the house; it’s a sign of disrespect.

Since Kondo has addressed the variations of every single domestic grooming task imaginable, I piled together some of the best tips to tip you over into the right track. Try any of these and join the cult of #KonMari.

1. Stack your clothes vertically.

2015 Week 5-5

Normally, when you stack clothes, you pile them up in layers, one on top of the other. Kondo has cleverly taught us to fold your clothes so that they are stacked vertically in your dresser (like books). You can see your collection all at once and not forget about the ones at the bottom. Just make sure to allow them to breathe. They are clothes, after all. Clothes have feelings.

2. Throw away anything that you don’t love or doesn’t bring you joy.


This has to do with energy (and can actually be applied to people you know). It is about keeping your life lean with only the main ingredients that are crucial for keeping your mental and emotional engine running at its best.

3. Hang your darker, heavier clothes on the left and gradually input the lightest ones on the right so that you have heavy-to-light spectrum, from left to right.


Kondo says that the eye is soothed as it travels from left to right, with clothes lightening in color and weight in succession. Only hang clothes that will be wrinkled in a drawer or are difficult to fold.

4. Keep all your papers in one file.

As aforementioned, papers never bring you any joy so you should only keep the ones that you absolutely must deal with or save to eventually deal with. Keep them in one pile to prevent them from snowballing.

5. Clean by category, not location.


You don’t want four different sections for one category throughout your house. Think like a librarian. Taxonomy keeps us from sliding into entropy.

–Jane Yu, staff at IGIGI

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Keeping up with our fashion publicist: PR Girl Camille Schmidt

Posted by on August 7, 2015





Get to know our PR girl, Camille.

When Camille isn’t volleyballing to a litany of body positive queries via our social media channels or scouting out fashion brands to add to her arsenal of outreach, you can find her cherry-picking from her wide selection of trendy juices, armed with a delicious cranberry chocolate power bar for sustenance. If you happen to catch her before she zips away to her next meeting, you also might hear the guttural sermons of 2Pac and Biggie Smalls a la “Gangsta Party” blasting from her speakers. Hey, they’re (2Pac) both from Marin county. Camille always knows her affiliations but she keeps up with dressing the part. Her clothing suggests a high appreciation for femininity but her level of conversation outside of her profession is often cheeky, thoughtful, and discerning. Camille was kind enough to allow us some time to let us chew in on what she does in her highly coveted role as a Fashion Publicist.

Jane Yu: What are some of the challenges of being a PR consultant? Why did you decide to branch off into your own business instead of working with an agency?

Camille Schmidt: One challenge is that many brands don’t have a cohesive vision so it’s my job to really implement a cohesive vision, especially a vision that people will enjoy and that will get the attention of press because those are two very separate things but those are critical to my being good at what I do. I prefer to be called a publicist over PR consultant because I’m like the sixth man in the company. I’m usually pretty integral like an employee but I like to have independence as a consultant.

JY: What are the deciding factors you consider before working with the brand?

CS: For me, it’s really important to be successful. First, it’s for a brand to be open to making changes. And also I need to see the potential for success available. They need to have a good product.

JY: Have you had a lot of clients approach you?

CS: I have. I have multiple clients. I have about six or seven clients at a time and sometimes I’ll see a client and I’ll consider working with them but I just don’t see their model working out. For me, it’s important to have a steady paycheck. If I don’t think the brand’s going to be successful then I can’t work with it.

JY: Your profile mentions that you’re a fourth-generation fashion industry veteran. How has your family tree been involved in the fashion business?

CS: My mother’s grandfather came to New York in the early 1900s and created a dress business. He started out selling apples in Manhattan and then he moved to having a high-end women’s dress business.

JY: What kind of dresses?

CS: Formal women’s dresses. Things that you could wear. My grandfather and his brother ran the business for about fifty years and then my mom started her lingerie and sleepwear business thirty-five years ago. She was one of the first importers from China at the time.

JY: What are the steps that led you into becoming a fashion publicist?

CS: I always had a love of fashion and I grew up in my mom’s office and trade shows. I always designed my own clothes. My aunt would make me clothes and I would design them.

JY: By drawing?

CS: Drawing them, yeah. That’s what I did when I was in my mom’s office—draw clothes. So I always thought that I’d have some position in the fashion industry. I actually went into public relations, hoping to be in politics. But my mom said that I was always so concerned with what I was going to wear that I should probably use my skills in fashion as well.

JY: What made you not go into fashion design, then?

CS: You know, fashion is a hard business in terms of making money. I’d love to do that in the future but I don’t sew and I don’t plan to learn. Also, it’s really just about development and the costs of development are really expensive so for me, it made a lot more sense to use my skills in writing and people and influence design from my perspective with the press.

JY: What makes your expertise very rare and sought out?

CS: I think I have an understanding of social media especially that people of an older generation don’t understand. I really try to take things from a personal perspective and try to see things from other people’s eyes. That’s what makes me good at PR and social media—it’s ‘cause I know what people want. I try and make personal relationships with either my social media community or the editors I’m pitching to.

JY: How do you flex your business and creative skills synergistically?

CS: In terms of creativity, sometimes I take over. I’m a Virgo and I’m very detail-oriented. Sometimes I care about a project and take more time than I need to which isn’t necessarily great for my business. But I always get my work done—that’s what’s most important. Getting my work done and getting it done right. I think that having both creative and business skills and not letting one take over is really important ‘cause a lot of PR people are just in it for the paycheck and for me it’s really about the creative methodology and making sure that the brand is the best that it can possibly be.

JY: How would you describe your own personal style?

CS: I would say feminine. I like classic things but I also like a little flair. I tend to feel like I’m a kindergartener as an adult so if I can have things with bows and sparkles or pink, then I will. But obviously I have to be a little bit more professional in the working environment and stuff because I’m a very young consultant or publicist in my field. I’m also in a high level for my position so I have to be taken seriously. Sometimes I have to dress up and be a little more mature ‘cause of that.

JY: But in your personal life you prefer pastels.

CS: Absolutely. When I’m bigger I don’t want to necessarily do that all the time but you know, I like things that are quality. I look at textiles and I look at fabrics. Full cuts. I like things that have a classic appeal.

JY: If you could have a clothing business, would you design it like what you just described?

CS: Absolutely. I think that if you try to go outside who you are, then it’s definitely not cohesive. I think that the best brands have a vision and a creative director that have a similar style to what they’re creating. I think that’s why things are changing here at IGIGI. Erena is really adding her sense of style into things.

JY: What’s your alternative career?

CS: My alternative career would be to be a reality star ‘cause I would love to just talk shit on TV for a living.

JY: All your observatons?

CS: Absolutely. I would love to be a host on “Best Week Ever,” when that still existed. I would just like to comment on things in my own ironic sense. I think that I have good points to make about things and that I’m observant. That would be really fun for me.

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IGIGI: Books We Love

Posted by on July 27, 2015

I’m a bookworm at heart and forever will be one. A large part of my childhood was spent sitting against the dizzying stack of shelves at my local library and traveling to worlds, lives and centuries beyond me and my little body at the time. Reading defined so much of who I was that I actually needed to take a break from it (I was reading about one or two novels once a week, according to my updates on Goodreads! My friends almost didn’t believe me but that’s how engrossed I was) in my early adulthood. There is a thing called balance, right?

I’ve taken up other hobbies since moving to San Francisco and emerging from my bat cave. Seeing other people read, happily, and not checking their phones makes me a bit wistful for those simpler bygone days. I did have a (regular) cell phone back then but the incessant interruptions were only nascent.

I actually finished a novel this past weekend that I took a nibble through, slowly, for the past few months. I loved it so much that I want to now share it with everyone, but I also thought I would round up some selected favorites from others at the IGIGI office. Summer (or any season) is a perfect excuse to read and improve our perception, well-being, and empathy. Here goes:

1. My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

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Elena Ferrante continues to be a mystery (her name is a pseudonym) yet she’s managed to become Italy’s most highly discussed and prized novelist. She’s written several books, all to much acclaim. I was tipped to My Brilliant Friend since the literary scene has become obsessed with the intrigue shrouding Ferrante. There’s even a hashtag called #FerranteFever. Her writing is blunt, passionate, and very personal. The setting of this novel is set in 1950s Naples as two females oscillate between growing together and apart in a war-torn city. I’m so glad I read this book and can’t wait to continue the rest of the series.

2. In Praise of Messy Lives by Katie Roiphe

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What do spectators have in common? The awe of watching others, larger than life, spill over into messy self-destruction or quirks. Katie Roiphe has written an amazing collection of essays that cover topics ranging from the “enormous popularity” of the MadMen TV show to personal revelations on being divorced and a single mother. Her cultural critiques are pretty perfect.

3. Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey


Lena Dunham also happened to recommend this book somewhere (I forget), but I did really enjoy reading this book about all the creative minds out there, past and present, who have/had their quirky rituals and daily tasks that they needed to do to ground themselves.

4. A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan


This book was excellent. There’s a motley of characters who tell their perspectives or interweave throughout the non-linear story from different tenses. Egan is a skillful writer who understands the psychoses of her characters as they deal with the trappings of success, the inevitability of time passing, and the desire for renewal. I also really liked being able to peek into the music industry, which is very parallel to that of fashion.


–Jane Yu, staff at IGIGI

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How to Unplug and Give Yourself the Present of the Present

Posted by on July 20, 2015

In our button-pushing culture, people are addicted to their phones, but that’s sadly become old news (or at least nothing new). With wifi hotspots abounding and more apps to make our lives seamless, we are encouraged to use our cell phones whenever possible. I carry my charger around with me because my iPhone is always on the cusp of running out of juice. It almost seems like a civic responsibility to make sure your phone is never out of batteries (which indicates availability to “connect” on-the-go).
I once read Stephen Elliott’s experiment of not using the internet for a month (but this was back in 2007… our [d]evolution has continued since). After going on this curious experiment, he was finally able to take a break from continual bursts of information and started reading a lot of more challenging books. Before I relented and purchased my first smart phone last year (that’s how much I wanted to stay out of the Matrix although my using the computer at work and at home didn’t really exempt me from this rule), I swore to myself that I would always be in control (control my phone), not the other way around.
Some suggestions below might be obvious for hobbyists or those who go on retreats willfully. I’ve rounded up activities to divide your day like day and night, online and offline. The golden rule to maintaining a healthy life is balance yet it becomes easy to slide into the extreme end of the spectrum where texting every ten minutes is usual. What happened to the mantra of “Use, don’t abuse”? We’ve rounded up activities for you to help you be mindful and present. Maybe we need a reminder on how to unplug every now and then.
1. Cook yourself a healthy meal.
This is much better than eating out or take out. Not only do you get to control your portion and ingredients, you take an active role in what goes into your body. It’s also more cost-saving.
2. Go through old photos/memorabilia
There’s nothing like holding a hard copy of a photo to have a walk down memory lane. Also, there are some studies that show that the act of taking photos may actually diminish what we remember.
3. Wander around without consulting Google Maps.
If you think less in a linear way, getting lost can be fun and you can find something new!
4. Wake up ten minutes earlier to do yoga and make your bed.
One of my friends said she makes her bed every morning to clear her mind (and that she’d read somewhere that it’s psychologically beneficial). She also happened to be a straight A student so maybe there’s a slight correlation.
5. Read a book.
Private time is the best. Period.
6. Write a card.
Emails are quick and efficient but there’s something impactful and special about a handwritten note. The time spent on writing a handwritten note signifies value because it took actual time and effort to send one.
7. Take a bath.
Maybe if you’re in California (where we’re experiencing a severe drought) then a bath just seems wasteful, but soaking yourself up in suds with a good book is a wonderful way to relax.
8. Declutter.
I recommend The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. Many of her recommendations and strategies worked in helping me organize my room.
9. Write in a journal.
Writing your thoughts in a stream of consciousness form will aid in unlocking your subconsciousness.


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