As a industry 9 to 5iver, I can honestly say it is hard for me to be excited about fashion nowadays. In a world built on superficial beauty, it is easy to get caught up in the polish without any purpose. So when I was introduced to the crew at Spring Up Bow Ties, I was psyched. Any group whose vision is violence-free campus communities in which students have equal access to higher education, as well as resources that reflect and respect their experiences, I support.
Nastassja Schmiedt and A. Lea Roth
2. Age (You can give me the range…)
21 and 23.
3. Yeah Yeah Yeah, we don’t like labels…..umm:
We are both queer and we have been in a relationship for 2.5 years!
Why You Rock
4. So what is your claim to fame?
As students at Dartmouth we received national coverage of our activism with #RealTalkDartmouth after a non-violent student protest in March 2013. We worked with other Dartmouth students, faculty and alumni to file a Clery Act Complaint to the Department of Education against Dartmouth alleging systematic underreporting of violence on campus. We got more involved in the national sexual assault movement, and the Office of Civil Rights in the Department of Education decided to look into Dartmouth 1 week after Lea gave one of four speeches at the Ed Act Now rally with organizers and activists from colleges and universities around the country.
5. What made you do what you are doing?
We created Spring Up to develop multimedia educational materials about interpersonal and structural violence in higher education, support those affected by violence, build sustainable coalitional movements with activists and organizers, and imagine violence-free and affirming campuses and communities. Inspired by socially conscious business solutions to funding sustainable organizations, we developed Spring Up Bow Ties as a funding stream for our social enterprise.
6. Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
We have a lot of goals in many different arenas, so it’s important to us to build a great team and collaborate. We would love for Spring Up Bow Ties to be an international adult and children’s bow tie line promoting gender diversity, self-love and liberation! We are in the brainstorming stage of our independent production agency Spring Up Productions and we are working on a couple books and screenplays that address issues of violence, identity, class, entrepreneurship, and post-modern citizenship. We are currently in production of comics and zines that address activism and violence in higher education for our non-profit.
7. What do you think are the State of Affairs in the LGBT community present-day?
We’d love to see LGBT communities embracing their queerness and diversity rather than a “we’re just like you” model. There’s a tendency in mainstream LGBT organizations to pronounce the “T” in LGBT silently; or to see trans* and gender nonconforming people as an add-on to their core mission. We must embrace our trans*and gender nonconforming folks as a key part of our community, as a step towards helping all people learn to move past strict gender roles that are restricting to everyone!
We’d also love to see more intersectional solidarity and organizing. LGBT communities are unique in that we are drawn from all other communities; therefore, all other forms of oppression affect us. We can accomplish amazing things if we are willing to embrace our diversity in all forms as an asset, and channel it into organizing and community support.
8. What would you say to the young (and no-so-young) sister/brother who has decided to come out the closet?
Congratulations on taking the first step towards living a life of self affirmation! You may struggle to translate yourself to people who don’t understand your identity, but that says more about where they are in their life’s journey than it says about you. Embrace the idea of a chosen family of those who love and support you.
Just because I want to know..
9. What is in your nightstand drawer? eyebrow raise
Earplugs b/c we live on the first floor and hear the traffic! Laptop chargers to be able to watch netflix while cuddling.
10. What is your definition of pride?
Lea: Pride, to me, is the positive affirmation of self in the face of a society that is trying to erase you. Pride is a journey from a wounded state to a place of self-love and healing. This is a project not yet fully realized by our communities, but it’s really something special, and it’s beautiful when people come together to celebrate and affirm this process.
Nastassja: Pride is not just about being LGBT, it’s about being proud to be every part of myself (black, Italian, femme, survivor of sexual assault, etc.) because all of those tie into my identity as queer and are part of my journey to self-love.
A little extra: This isn’t a radio show, but there is nothing like a good shout out.
Shout out to the Spring Up team, especially the amazing people working with us to make this Fall/Winter 2014 “Imagine a World” Lookbook happen! If you’d like to learn more, you can check out our stylist’s blog at: http://shainaamichellee.blogspot.com.Thank you to our supporters, and to those who have contributed to our Indiegogo so far! Also, shout out to activists working to support their communities.
What to Find Out More About Spring Up, here’s how:
Facebook= Spring Up Bow Ties
their bowtie shop= springupbowties.com
their website! timetospringup.org