NYFW: ‘Party With a Purpose’

Here, New York Fashion Week is all about garment workers' rights. And the inaugural Africa Climate Summit kicks off.

NYFW: ‘Party With a Purpose’
A poem written on the spot for me at today's Remake x Mara Hoffman event.

LISTENING: to my Lyft’s radio
FEELING: slightly buzzed
SEEING: Chinatown shops pass by

It’s nighttime here in New York City. It’s also Fashion Week — my first, actually. I’ve lived in New York almost my entire life, but I couldn’t tell you how I spent the Fashion Weeks of years past. What I can tell you is that they likely had little to do with fashion.

This year, I did something different: I partied with a purpose. I attended a cocktail party celebrating the soon-to-happen reintroduction of the FABRIC Act, which stands for the Fashioning Accountability and Building Real Institutional Change Act. The piece of legislation proposes improvements to minimum wage standards, such as ending the practice of paying garment workers per piece.

Garment workers are underpaid and exploited around the globe. The U.S. is no exception. I’m working on a story now about the climate emergency and the unique struggles of garment workers in Southeast Asia. Stay tuned!

At the event, designer Mara Hoffman reminded us all of the possibilities born when we come together. She pointed to our collective power.

Welcome to Possibilities, a creative climate newsletter on the possibilities that lie where crisis meets community. I’m Yessenia Funes, and I'm officially a NYFW girlie.

More is going on this week besides Fashion Week, though. Sure, there's the Burning Man shit show, Beyoncé’s birthday concert, or those juicy Kylie-Timmy photos (I’m guilty of following all these, too—no judgment). But the real news is in Nairobi, Kenya, where the world’s first-ever Africa Climate Summit kicked off Monday.

Leaders across the continent united to urge the Global North to invest in African countries as planetary stewards and climate champions. The continent is home to some of the minerals most urgently needed in the green energy transition. How can countries reap those economic benefits when they are struggling to rebuild from the disasters climate change is already bringing?

These families aren't responsible for the fossil fuel pollution driving planetary heating, yet they're the ones suffering.

“Those who produce the garbage refuse to pay their bills,” said President William Ruto at the event.

It’s past time that the climate movement looks to the leadership of African leaders—their reparations are past due, too. We need creative ways to implement this. Maybe it starts with free seeds for farmers in the Global South. (I've been writing a lot about various agriculture models across the globe. Here's my latest story for a farmer series I'm working on for Textile Exchange.)

In a few days, Fashion Week will be over. It won’t be long until Climate Week descends unto New York. Whose stories do you want to hear? 🌀

Rest in Power

While we can't say for certain that climate change led to these specific weather events (we need attribution studies for that), we do know that the Earth's rising temperatures are already creating more disasters like these.

At least 14 people are dead across Greece, Turkey, and Bulgaria where storms struck the region Tuesday.

A cyclone has killed at least 36 people in southern Brazil as of Wednesday.

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