September is always a busy month for me and this month has been no different from previous years. I have had a series of speaking engagements that combined themes of daring to be bold, equality, ethics and female representation. Thinking differently is something that I do naturally and I enjoy listening and contributing to discussions that make me think again and again about what I hold true.
This month I had two particular and related experiences. Both were positive yet each reminded me of how our actions can make a difference. I was in Dubai recently and while I acclimatised to the hot, sultry weather that generated spectacular sandstorms, I contrasted this with the fierce cold air-conditioning present in every building that I entered. I met a few friends and as we sat in the Dubai shopping mall we talked about fashion, lifestyle and the imaginative ways that women manage their cultural freedoms and expectations.
I talked about MSLs new clothing range that is currently being made by an emerging British born designer and imagined how the two piece affordable garments for women would be received in the Middle East environment. My friends agreed that our new collection would make statements about politics and fashion and that this would be no bad thing.
My other experience was seeing Joan Baez, the folk singer, at a concert at the Royal Festival Hall. Here was a woman who, for over 50 years, has challenged the politics of the world. She was the person who marched on the front line of the civil rights movement with Martin Luther King Jr and stood alongside the late Nelson Mandela when the world celebrated his 90th birthday in London’s Hyde Park. In 1967 in a Pop Chronicles interview she said: “I went to jail for 11 days for disturbing the peace; I was trying to disturb the war”
I think Joan Baez is an international treasure and while not all of us will have the courage or the opportunity to take big actions, we can all do small things to ensure that the world is a more harmonious place to live. At MSL we do this by trying to think and act differently.
By Maggie Semple