Ztreet Queen: Comfy Mom-To-Be

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Carrying baby inside your belly can be uneasy sometimes. Therefore, it is very important for me to find comfort on what I am wearing. And here I was exploring Singapore at my ninth month of pregnancy, I was rocking olive tank top and cotton pants combined with skull thong sandal and intrecciato small shoulder leather bag.  The thing is a nice handbag can always be a cherry on the top of my matcha green tea cremé #frappuccino .

Have a good day!

Catatan: Dupata

www.catatanfani.comPada suatu kesempatan, seorang kawan laki-laki dari Bangladesh mengatakan pada saya bahwa banyak perempuan Bangladesh tidak menggunakan dupata (scarf) untuk menutupi payudara mereka. Apalagi tak sedikit dari mereka memiliki payudara yang besar. Dia menganggap bahwa hal ini sangat tidak baik karena banyak laki-laki yang akan melihat payudara yang perempuan tersebut dan menimbulkan niat jahat termasuk pelecehan seksual maupun pemerkosaan. Mendengarkan pernyataan tersebut, saya pun mengernyitkan kening.

“Kenapa perempuan yang salah?” tanya saya.

“Karena mereka tidak menutupi payudara mereka,” katanya.

“Lho mereka sudah menggunakan kameez, berlengan panjang dan gombrong pula.” kata saya.

“Ya tetap kurang!” katanya kekeuh.

“Kalau laki-laki yang menjadi bernapsu, kenapa perempuan yang repot? Bukankah kalian harus mengontrol napsu kalian?” kata saya mempertanyakan pendapatnya. Kawan saya pun terdiam.

“Nah, saya selalu datang ke gym ini menggunakan sport bra atau tank top dan celana pendek. Kalau ada yang melecehkan saya, apakah kamu akan bilang itu salah saya?”

Dia kembali diam. Mungkin mengiyakan pendapat saya.

“Dulu saya pernah dijambret. Seorang ibu mengatakan itu salah saya karena saya pakai kutang. Aneh kan? Wong penjambret mau emas kok baju saya yang disalahkan? Lagipula kamu punya dua anak perempuan, suatu saat mereka akan memilih jalan mereka masing-masing. Apakah dengan memberikan baju yang tertutup berarti melindungi mereka dari pelecehan seksual? Tentu tidak! Berapa banyak yang diperkosa karena menggunakan hijab atau burqa?” kawan sayapun tetap diam.

Diam entah karena tidak setuju atau diam karena tidak bisa mengekspresikan pendapatnya dalam bahasa Inggris.

Bagi saya, laki-laki yang tidak bisa mengontrol nafsu mereka tetapi kenapa perempuan yang harus repot. Melihat tetek sedikit ngeceng, ngelihat kaki ngeceng, melihat lengan ngeceng. Hadeeeeh! Percuma beragama tapi berkelakuan seperti binatang. Ya toh? Tentu hal ini tidak hanya terjadi di Bangladesh saja tetapi di tengah masyarakat tradisional mana saja.

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Notes: My Clothes, Your Clothes

Are you wearing fast fashion products either it is from Zara, Pull & Bear, H&M, Bershka and any other? How often do you buy a new outfit? And….have you ever wondered who makes your clothes, under what condition, how do they make it or where do they make it? Well, let me tell you a story.

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Yesterday, my friends and I went to an interesting yet eye-opening trip. We visited one  ready made garment factories in Bangladesh. This trip gave us the opportunity to see how our clothes are manufactured from the scratch. Located 35 kilometer from Dhaka, the factory is owned and run by Beximco Group, a Bangladeshi multinational company. The company manufactures products for a wide range of clients ranging from Zara, Pull&Bear, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger to DKNY. According to its official website, currently the company’s Textile & Apparel Division employs more than 5,150 people.

Bangladesh is known as the second largest ready made garment producer after China. The industry has become one of the largest export earning contribution to the country. According to Dhaka based newspaper The Daily Star, the industry has generated export earning up to USD 28.67 billion as of December 2016. The industry hopes to increase to USD 50 billion by 2021.

SONY DSCThe Bangladesh textile and garment industry employs approximately 4 million people. Most of the workers are women. Every month, they earn approximately 7,000 to 10,000 BDT, this figure is actually slightly higher than its minimum wage which is at 5,300 BDT. According to various local media report, the worker union is demanding that the minimum wage should be increased to 16,000 BDT.

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Some of you might remember the 2013 Rana Plaza incident which caused more than 1,100 killed and 2,500 injured; this incident is known as the deadliest industrial disaster ever. Since the incident, the Bangladesh’s textile and apparel industry claims that they have been making effort to improve the factory condition that meet the safety standard. Yet, as we walked around the factory and learnt about its production process, I noticed that many textile and apparel workers are exposed to high level of noise from the machines as well as chemical hazards without any protection which you can see from my pictures. This condition is feared to have a significant impact to the worker’s health. Not forget to mention that many of them spend hours to standing or sitting while doing their work. This made me wonder how much the 2013 Rana Plaza incident has really brought changes to the textile and garment’s industry in Bangladesh.

I must say that this trip has reflected upon me that despite the fact that Bangladesh has become a centre of ready-made garment manufacturing for many global fashion brands, the country is still severely underdeveloped. Additionally, workers tend to have terrible conditions while others get massive profits. Yet, without this sector millions would be unemployed.

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Notes: A Conscious Consumer 

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Those make me horny! [2013: Oktofani]

I don’t know exactly how many clothes I have been purchasing in these last ten years. It must be hundreds or could have been thousands. And where are those clothes now? Most of them have been donated, given out or thrown away. Why? Those were either already washed out, destroyed or simply out of trend. Well you know…I was one of those consumers who “see now, buys now” but I have been trying to change to be a conscious consumer in the past few years now. Why? Here is my story
Back in 2011, I had an interesting conversation with the domestic assistant who worked in my apartment in Jakarta. She told me that she used to work in a garment factory. She also mentioned about her workload, about her salary as well as a heartbreaking incident story where she was pregnant but unfortunately she had a miscarriage when she worked over-time in the factory. She lost her baby. I am not sure whether it was work-related or not. Since then, she decided to leave her job in the garment factory and worked as a domestic assistant in South Jakarta.

A few months later, I went to Canada for Christmas. I went for Christmas shopping in several shops including GAP, Zara and Timberland. As I was checking on the price tag, I found out that those products are made in Indonesia and the price was high. I must say that I was slightly shocked. Why? It was because I remembered my conversation with the domestic assistant of mine. “Wow! This is crazy! Why would I purchase this while the labour is not getting paid fairly,” So I walked away and entered other shops? Again, I found many apparels is made in Indonesia. I then decided to look on the Internet.

As I looked on the internet, apparently many garment and footwear products which are distributed and sold in North America are made in Indonesia or China. Although it got me proud to see those products are made in Indonesia, it somehow got me upset because many labours who made these products only earning peanuts. I understand that other costs are also added but still, it got me sad. I decided to not purchase any that time.

Those events actually change the way I consume garment products.
Do I stop buying clothes? Not yet!
So how? I start to buy less and less.
Why? It is because I don’t need it. If I feel that I want or need new clothes, I tend to have it made. At least, I know who makes my clothes and pay accordingly. Alternatively, I will get clothes from local designers who are transparent about its supply chain. Or sometimes, I purchase pre-loved collection which is still pristine. Otherwise, I only purchase new clothes in a couple of occasion in one year. Not just that, I am also pretty picky about the brand. I tend to look for information regarding how ethical the company is. Although I must admit that we cannot really trust those report 100%. Most importantly, I refuse to pay at full price. Why? If a brand can sell their products with 70% discount, it means that a brand still makes a profit from that price and I don’t want to get ripped off 🙂. Hence, it is very important for me to keep myself fit so I don’t have to purchase new clothes simply because it does not fit me any longer.

Other than that, these days, if I go out purchasing clothes, it must be for my seven months old baby boy. Yet, I don’t purchase it simply because it looks cute so I want to buy many but simply as we need it. For me, this is my way to train myself to be a conscious customer. It is not only good for the environment but also for my saving. As you can imagine, how much money I have been spending on clothes which are eventually not being worn and forgotten or thrown away.

In the end, I believe that the way the consumers consume garment products can eventually force the company to be more ethical in producing their products where it should be good for the society as well as the environment.

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Notes: Diane von Fürstenberg

14079885_10154353134090761_2568458359531648185_n-1Few years ago, I did not know who Diane von Fürstenberg is. However, now she is one of my favorite fashion designers. For me, she is very inspiring, not only as a fashion designer but also as a person, as a woman and as a fighter. But how did I get to know about DVF at the first place?

Well, as  a curious person, I always love getting to know the story behind the dresses or shoes that I have been wearing. During my free time, I often searched for articles, videos or book about those designers, and this is including DVF. I watched  some of her talks and speeches on the Youtube, I also read her memoir “The Woman I Wanted To Be” that I purchased in DVF headquarter in New York few months back. As I finished reading her memoir, I have a great admiration to her. She came across as an incredible woman and extremely inspiring. She is very determine, courageous, adventurous, selfless and also has strong wills within herself.

I myself started falling in love with DVF since I was in love with her iconic jersey wrap dress which she released in the 70s for the very first time. However, I cannot remember clearly how I started falling in love with DVF dresses. Perhaps, if I am not mistaken, it might happen in early 2014 when I started to leave the party night scene. 

Back then, I got bored with my collections which tend to be number of bandage dresses, jeans, long sleeve shirt and cropped top. Don’t get me wrong, they are beautiful collections but they tend to be just sexy but not elegant. Other than that, perhaps I also got older. As a result, I wanted something that is more elegant and classy.  Yet, for I like the clean-cut dresses, I had no idea where to find my dream dresses. 

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DVF Headquarter in West Village, New York City [2016:EO]

So one day, I strolled around Jakarta shopping malls to find the clean-cut yet elegant dresses. After entering boutique after boutique, I finally found my first wrap dress. But it was not DVF wrap dress, it was a BCBGmaxazria wrap dress. I like its fabric, jersey; they are light and look elegant. I like the way it drops as I wear it. Although I loved its prints, it was slightly too shinny and I did not really like it. 

Hence, as I really liked the style, I looked for my second wrap dress which looks less shinny. And here was I at DVF boutique in Plaza Indonesia, I found a heaven with plenty  of wrap dresses hanging on the rack. I picked some and tried them on, they indeed looked very sexy and elegant. I said to myself that I could wear them any kind of events, including function event, dinner or even to work. They seem to be very effortless to put on. 

Since then, I often go to DVF boutique regularly to check some of their latest collections. Not to get them right away tho but wait until the end-of-season sales coming; that way I can save some money and plan what I wanted to buy. Not forget to mention that  I would normally get up to 70 percent off from its real price by shopping on the end-of-season sales. Now, I got some of DVF collections ranging from wrap dresses, romper, shirt dresses, silk shirts as well as cardigan.

Another added point of DVF is that unlike many sales girls in the high-end boutique who will not be friendly to customers if customers buy nothing, most of DVF girls also have good attitude, they are not pushy. They will not force you to buy if they do not suit you well. Be they working in Jakarta boutique, Singapore boutique or NYC store in West Village.

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And that is how I got to know who Diane von Fürstenberg is and end up really admiring her as an iconic woman in fashion industry as well as a person. I must say that I learnt a lot from her memoir “The Woman I Wanted To Be“.

Although something gets me thinking and wondering whether or not DVF dresses are sustainably manufactured. As I understand that Diane von Fürstenberg is about woman empowerment and loves natures, does it mean that DVF also implements sustainable business practice in its production through its supplier which has a significant impact to its labors as well as environment around it? As some of you might be aware that DVF has moved its production from Italy to China and China has an urgent environment problem when it comes to garment industry. Having this question being answered actually will determine whether or not I will get my next DVF.

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