…I’m hopping off of the carousel. Actually, it started to feel more like a treadmill. Fashion blogging has changed immensely since I first set out in 2006. Back then, I swore up and down that I would never show my face, let alone divulge my full name, on these here interwebs. Back in those days, all I did was write. Nowadays, I think most people hear ‘fashion blogger’ and think that you are a person who takes photos of yourself every day. I never set out to be that person. Yet somehow I became that person. And it’s really not my thing anymore.
Everything gelled at once. The not shopping, the deaths of hundreds because everyone wants to eat their marbles faster and faster, the piles of worn-once-or-twice fast fashion garments crammed into the racks of thrift stores that I see when I go on excursions for my vintage store. I’m one person, and I can’t really affect that much change in the world. I don’t want to buy something new and just hope it came from a good place. I figure if being more of a vintage and home-sewn-wearing gal is going to help me not contribute to more waste and death, then I’m cool with that."
— At What Cost? by Catie Nienaber (May 7th, 2013)
by Lolla Mohammed Nur, @lomonur
(Note #1: I use the term “habesha” as shorthand in this article to describe the cultures and people of Ethiopia and Eritrea. It is a contested term within the diaspora, and does not necessarily apply to all ethnic groups in those two countries. Here, I use it as a general term to refer to Ethiopians and Eritreans for the sake of brevity).
(Note #2: The dress was NOT been removed by Urban Outfitters from the website. I initially had assumed they removed it, but I later found out that the dress was actually mysteriously sold within days of the campaign launch. Urban Outfitters declined to tell me who bought it, vaguely citing “customer privacy laws.” Personally, I think it’s all fishy.)
For about a week now, Ethiopian and Eritrean diasporans have taken to social media to express their disbelief, shock and anger with Urban Outfitters, a company that has an established reputation for controversy and for cultural insensitivity.