Have you already been touched by the wave of change? Did you hear about Chime for Change, about the cause that Gucci, Beyoncé and tens of celebrities are working for, next to you? About the 4 million dollars destined for more than 120 projects in 70 countries? About the lives saved? I had the opportunity to tell all about it and talk about the inspiration designers and fashion industry personalities can provide, in the October-November issue of Tonica magazine.
Janina Nectara, the sound of change in the world of fashion
She is founder of the blog Fashion Avec Passion, Gucci Romania ambassador for the humanitarian project Chime for Change, has had the opportunity of working with some of the world’s greatest fashion houses and sent us exclusive pictures from Milan Fashion Week. We leave you with the wonderful Janina Nectara to find out how it is to live… the Parisian dream.
Tonica: Hello, Janina Nectara. How did it all begin?
Just like the most important events in this world are triggered by crises, also in my case the point it all started from was marked by a critical moment. I had just finished my studies (I had taken Marketing and Political Sciences) and, despite having a job at a political consultancy firm, I remember that nothing used to fulfil me any more. The chair gave me back pains, the computer strained my eyes, and the door bell used to downright annoy me. All of these, summed up, would have amounted to sweet nothings had I been passionate about the job, but for me they illustrated the textbook symptoms of a total ’’mismatch of personalities’’ with the field.
That’s why the divorce between us was quick and painless.
I then went to Paris, where I took an intensive program of fashion business at the Paris Fashion Institute. A wonderful place, where Karl Lagerfeld (topping the list of the director’s board), Yohji Yamamoto, Alexander McQueen, Azzedine Alaia, Stella McCartney, Kenzo, Sonia Rykiel and many other resounding names from the fashion industry have shared insight into their experiences with the students. I also immediately started working with Godfrey Deeny, founder of the men’s guru magazine Vogue L’Uomo, now fashion critic for the Financial Times and Editor in Chief of the most influential daily in France, Le Figaro. All that I know about fashion I know from him and I couldn’t have asked for a better teacher. And for having access to all of the big fashion houses’ events, from Hermes runway shows to cocktails organised by Chanel or Dior haute joaillerie launches, I was given the idea (I admit it, I can take no credit for it) of talking about it on my own website. This is how Fashion Avec Passion came about, and it motivated me to deepen my knowledge of fashion, so I started studying design at the University of Timisoara, one of the best in the country.
T: You’ve had the opportunity to get to know great international designers. Can you describe for us those moments?
Due to the fact that at one point I collaborated with a certain TV channel, I got to interview couturiers, supermodels, musicians and what we call fashion people. Boy George, Pharell Williams, Giambattista Valli, Antonio Maras, Pierre Cardin, Anna dello Russo, BryanBoy, Susan Tabak, Karolina Kurkova, Isabeli Fontana, Natalia Vodianova, Anja Rubik, Fan Bing Bing, Claudia Schiffer to name just a few. These encounters were brief, though, since time was essential, with many others lined up to take a few words from these personalities. Still, there were other more relaxed events or even moments after the catwalk shows when I met Marc Jacobs, Rick Owens, Elie Saab, Giorgio Armani, Miuccia Prada, Zuhair Murad, John Galliano, Jean Paul Gaultier, Yohji Yamamoto, Karl Lagerfeld, Diego Della Valle, Rachel Zoe, Mary Katrantzou, Nicola Formichetti, Manolo Blahnik.
I can’t believe I still remember in detail all of our encounters. Each personality is a fascinating universe of ideas, contradictions, questions and meeting them probably was my biggest personal gain. By carefully observing their discourse and behaviour, I got to know that Miuccia Prada and Karl Lagerfeld are genuine encyclopaedias when it comes to the history of art and that no one possesses the social skills of Giambattista Valli, as well as the ability to fluently speak 5-6 languages (at least this many I heard him talk to reporters in). Also, no one can hope to match Marc Jacobs’ tremendous loquacity, just the way I have never before met anyone as elegant and graceful as Giorgio Armani. These are just extraordinary qualities that I wish I could have all for myself. I’m working on it but, nevertheless, I was joking with a friend that if I could manage art history as well as the languages in a probable future, faced with the phenomenon that is Marc Jacobs, I wouldn’t possibly stand a chance.
T: You are the Gucci Romania ambassador for the Chime for Change humanitarian project. Tell us about the campaign.
Chime for Change is an international movement meant to plead, to chime for a fundamental change concerning women’s rights. Its founders: Frida Giannini, Beyoncé and Salma Hayek, have left behind the confines of a classic charity, building a tremendous communication platform working as a catalyst for the voices of women around the world.
Impressive communities of women face problems concerning education, health or justice. In many parts of the world they risk their lives in order to teach children how to read and write, get shot for writing on blogs, thrown acid in their faces for going to school, assassinated for being teachers. You could have been one of them, had you not been born in Romania! The easiest thing that we can all do is chime, spread the word, share with our friends the injustices they suffer, as CFC is present on Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. Also, the Chime for Change initiative is supported by UNICEF, KERING FOUNDATION, BILL and MELINDA GATES FOUNDATION and CATAPULT, through an ingenious system allowing people to see what is going on in the world, what are the problems as well as the means through which they can help.
The stars of the effort are Madonna, Jennifer Lopez, Aishwarya Rai, Blake Lively, Jay Z, Freida Pinto, Jada Pinkett Smith, Eva Longoria, Laura Pausini, Rita Ora, Timbaland, Zoe Saldana. Among its active supporters are Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Kylie Minogue, Ben Affleck, Cameron Diaz, Gwyneth Paltrow, Olivia Wilde, Prince Harry.
With such a tremendous force, it is no wonder that in my recent trip to Asia I came across articles supporting the CFC cause in virtually all glossy magazines from Singapore to Qatar.
Thanks to the honour-worthy initiative of Gucci, today schools are being built, mothers are getting adequate access to medical care for themselves and their children and hundreds of lives are being saved every day. Frida Giannini said: ’’I think it is part of our brand’s DNA. When you design something beautiful, it mustn’t just be beautiful, but also stand for something good.’’ I urge you to go at ChimeForChange.org and listen to Beyoncé. Find a project that speaks to you and tell your friends about it! Just as Prince Harry believes: ’’We all need to focus on the issues that afflict women around the world. And we need to do it now!’’ As Madonna already has us persuaded that ’’The revolution of love starts here!’’
Photos: Tonica, Chime for Change