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MAKING CONNECTIONS
Tuesday, 01 June 2010
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When we came back from Canada last month, we carried one big wish with us: to make and learn more about Brazilian music, M.A. playing the guitar and me as a singer. We thought it would be quite hard, because we're in German speaking Switzerland with not that many Brazilians around. The first week we went to a community party in the multicultural area where we live and guess what: we met a lovely young couple, he is Swiss and loves to play Brazilian music and she is a music teacher from São Paulo. Bossanova melodies are now heard even more often in our home!

I don't want to sound like one of these self-named guru's, but it is simply amazing how things can 'click' in life. To me, it is all about connection, to people, to dreams, to yourself. Also, and maybe especially, in eco fashion. The aesthetics of the entrepreneurs I meet for example, are a guideline for the connections they make. Connection to who they are and what they believe in. Connection to what they do and how they do it. Connection to whom they relate to and how they handle this relationship. What they find beautiful and inspiring, connects them to people that feel the same, whether it is a new ecological material, a certain design or a business practice that provides a fair income.

I believe that a big problem in today's society is that we have lost the connection. The connection to the product we buy, to the people who produced it and the connection to our own heart (how much spiritual satisfaction does it give me when I buy this?). When I have the opportunity to buy local, knowing and connecting to the producers of the product - whether fashion or other - I will definitely ignore high street stores that can't offer me the same experience. Fashion has a crucial role to play here, because its aesthetics provide the chance to make connections on so many levels. I always think of the lady who connects prayer mat users in Senegal with consumers of recycled fabric cloths in the UK through making coats out of praying mats and selling them in UK stores. Previously disconnected actors become players in one value chain through a common aesthetic that binds them. What role prayer has in that connection? Who knows?!

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