Cynthia Rowley Asks: Is Your Swimsuit Hurting the Oceans? Change Your Ways Then

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If anyone can benefit from surfing in the Atlantic Ocean as a form of meditation, it’s veteran designer Cynthia Rowley. Montauk’s CR Suf Camp is headquarters for a meetup between Rowley and ELLE writer Faran Krentcil.

Rowley has battled fierce financial challenges for the last year, but her life is calm compared to the state of the world’s oceans. And surfers play their part in environmental damage. “Surfing is a reminder the world is bigger than me," Rowley explains, urging me back into the sea as the tide calms down. "The ocean is bigger than any of my problems.”

“Surfers are some of the most eco-conscious people in the world,” says Rowley, who's teamed with charities like the Surfrider Foundation to help promote cleaner beaches worldwide. “But for a long time, our primary uniform—the wetsuit—was made with polyester and really harmful plastics! The irony is mind-boggling... Once I saw how much plastic was in normal neoprene, I knew [surf wear] had to evolve.”

At a time when new designers are burnishing their eco-cred, Rowley has been marketing sustainable wetsuits, one-pieces, and bikinis for nearly 12 years. Partnering with a Thai factory for 12 years, Rowley may be one of the unsung heroes in today’s battle for sick oceans.

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“We started with the basic stuff—figuring out how to make swimsuit ‘skin’ from recycled plastic bottles,” Rowley explains. “The ‘carbon black,’ which is the spongy filler inside neoprene? We make it with recycled tires. And then there are components nobody thinks about, like glue. Every wetsuit uses glue, and so do a ton of swimsuits. But glue is often made from harsh chemicals—we don’t want that. So we found a water-based glue instead. If some of it sheds or erodes, that’s okay—it’s water!” As for the neoprene itself, Rowley’s team makes it with limestone instead of liquid plastic, swapping out a toxic material for one that biodegrades.

And why not wear wetsuits year-round, asks Rowley. And be a poser? In response to die-hard surfers who object to wannabes co-opting their authentic fashion gear, the designer is frankly philosophical. “On the one hand, I get that some surfers treat their wetsuit like a tool, something that really belongs to them as part of surf culture, and they don’t want it co-opted as a fashion item. But we’re trying to change that, because surf culture can’t exist without sustainable living. And if you can turn one item of clothing into like three different outfits, and you love how you look? Then screw it and wear what you want.”

Stopping by CynthiaRowley.com to shop swimsuits, we note that there’s no mention of the great story behind the designer’s sustainable credentials. Searching in earnest for discussion of her commitment to sustainability, we note her CR Surf Camp story but nada on any mention of her concern for oceans.

Perhaps this is why eco-conscious fashionistas know little about Cynthia Rowley’s passion for returning our oceans to their natural glory. That’s a shame, because her story is a good one. ~ Anne

Cynthia Rowley’s CR Girls Camp in Montauk, Long Island, New York

Cynthia Rowley’s CR Girls Camp in Montauk, Long Island, New York

U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo’s New Poetry Collection Brings Native Issues to the Forefront

U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo’s New Poetry Collection Brings Native Issues to the Forefront

Seeing Joy Harjo perform live is a transformational experience. The internationally acclaimed performer and poet of the Muscogee (Mvskoke)/Creek nation transports you by word and by sound into a womb-like environment, echoing a traditional healing ritual. The golden notes of Harjo’s alto saxophone fill the dark corners of a drab university auditorium as the audience breathes in her music.

Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Harjo grew up in a home dominated by her violent white stepfather. She first expressed herself through painting before burying herself in books, art and theater as a means of survival; she was kicked out of the home at age 16. Although she never lived on a reservation nor learned her tribal language, at age 19 she officially enrolled in the Muscogee tribe and remains active today. Though she has mixed ancestry, including Muscogee, Cherokee, Irish and French nationalities, Harjo most closely identifies with her Native American ancestry. On June 19, the Library of Congress named her the United States Poet Laureate, the first Native American to hold that position; she’ll officially take on the role next month.

Hedi Slimane Delivers Industrial Strength Vessel Tease for New Celine Perfume

Hedi Slimane Presents his Parfumerie Collection For Maison Celine.

Hedi Slimane Presents his Parfumerie Collection For Maison Celine.

The first glimpse and film for Hedi Slimane’s new fragrance project for Celine is not about smell, nor a fantasy of life under its spell. On Sunday Celine shared news of the project on Instagram, YouTube and the houses’ website with a single, simple statement: “15 years after the creation of Maison Christian Dior Perfume Collection, Hedi Slimane Presents his Parfumerie Collection For Maison Celine.”

Slimane underscores the artisanal preciousness of container and vessel, making an industrial, modern art object of the stout rectangular glass container for the new perfume. Depending on one’s preferred design aesthetic, the video creates a yearning to hold the object — a vessel of substance, perceived authenticity and industrial roots. The vessel is not artifice but the very bones of the new fragrance.

The reference to LVMH’s Maison Christian Dior stories Slimane’s tenure there as creative director for menswear and a time when he crafted Dior’s first colognes since 1947.

Related: “The Unexpectedly Tropical History of Brutalism”. Long associated with European cities, the style has plenty of history in other parts of the world, too. In Brazil, it reached a surprising apotheosis. New York Times T Magazine August 15, 2019

A wood-grain spiral concrete staircase that leads to the five bedrooms of Casa Millán, completed in Cidade Jardim in 1970 by the architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha. The table and chairs beneath it are 1960s-era designs by the Brazilian midcentury Modernist Jorge Zalszupin.CreditTodd Hido  via   New York Times

A wood-grain spiral concrete staircase that leads to the five bedrooms of Casa Millán, completed in Cidade Jardim in 1970 by the architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha. The table and chairs beneath it are 1960s-era designs by the Brazilian midcentury Modernist Jorge Zalszupin.CreditTodd Hido via New York Times

Central Park Women's Suffrage Monument Redesigned to Include Sojourner Truth

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For nearly a year, the proposed Central Park statue honoring women’s suffrage in America has been plagued in controversy. It’s difficult to believe that in 2019, planners of the monument could be so tone-deaf to the race-related arguments swirling around America’s women’s rights history.

The Women’s March 2017, organized by a group of women who refused to honor legendary women’s rights Hillary Clinton, after her defeat by Donald Trump. signaled a new day for setting the record straight — the truth and also new lies and distortions — about the history of American feminism.

The original design by sculptor Meredith Bergmann visually elevated two prominent white women — Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton — over a scrolling list of 22 other women, seven of them women of color. AOC disagrees with the complaint that Anthony and Stanton were metaphorically “standing’ on the other women.” But they certainly look like boss ladies at a time when younger people are rejecting hierarchy and white superiority, along with a nonexistent recognition of the contributions of people of color — and slaves specifically — in building America.

For context, there is NO statue of any nonfictional female of any skin color in Central Park and around New York, writes the New York Times. The park currently features no historical women but statues of fictional girls like Alice from Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and Juliet from William Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet.’

While a new visual of the proposed statue to be erected on Central Park’s Literary Walk by 2020 is not available, it’s a miracle that the proposed design was aborted at all. Women including Gloria Steinem helped turn back the design against the nearly insurmountable rules and regulations that defined its artistic creation initially and the legitimate controversy that ensued.

“Our goal has always been to honor the diverse women in history who fought for equality and justice and who dedicated their lives to fight for Women’s Rights,” Pam Elam said in a statement. The president of the Monumental Women’s Statue Fund, the group financing the sculpture, added: “It is fitting that Anthony, Stanton, and Truth stand together in this statue as they often did in life.” via Hyperallergic.

These Abandoned Buildings Are the Last Remnants of Liberia’s Founding History

THE HOUSE OF WINSTON TUBMAN LIES IN RUIN IN LIBERIA. IMAGE GLENNA GORDON.

THE HOUSE OF WINSTON TUBMAN LIES IN RUIN IN LIBERIA. IMAGE GLENNA GORDON.

These Abandoned Buildings Are the Last Remnants of Liberia’s Founding History

In the front parlor of a dilapidated mansion with a god’s-eye view of the Atlantic a group of young men huddle around a light fixture that washed in from the sea and is covered in barnacles. They chip away at it with a hammer and a machete to open it and see if it can be made to work. They are not having much luck, a commodity that is in short supply around here. The building has no electricity or running water. Wind pushes through broken windows. There are holes in the roof. Rainwater has collected in puddles on the grand marble staircase and throughout the house, a faded yellow modernist structure on the edge of a cliff in the sleepy city of Harper in southeastern Liberia about 15 miles from the border of Ivory Coast.

The short iron fence that surrounds the regal mansion, known locally as “the palace,” bears a monogram—“WVST,” for William Vacanarat Shadrach Tubman, Liberia’s longest-serving president, known for his 27 years of autocratic rule beginning in 1944. But the home of the man called “the father of modern Liberia” because he opened the nation to foreign investment and industry is now in ruins and occupied by squatters, a symbol of how decades of political turmoil have shaken up the old order established by freed American slaves.

Angelina Jolie Covers Harper's Bazaar US September 2019 and the Subject Is Witches

Angelina Jolie Covers Harper's Bazaar US September 2019 and the Subject Is Witches

Wonder woman Angelina Jolie follows in the steps of Beyonce’s essay in the September 2019 issue of Vogue, choosing to set her own narrative. Given the generally low quality of women’s magazines’ interview questions — I agree they have made progress — the haters should stop clutching their pearls around journalistic integrity and come up to Angelina’s level.