Flower Power: an era of movements and empowerment
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.” - Margaret Mead
When we first created ‘Wildflower’, we knew the collection would be more than its clothing. In fact, all our collections try to draw on lessons we were taught by our inspirations - the green places we have visited. This Chapter, however, was a little different and special in its own way. Rather than focusing on a singular place, we wanted to pay ode to wildflowers; those we saw on travels to Australia, California and in our home bases, Singapore and India. We bring to light the resilience and power they hold in their presence no matter where they are in the world, and with this idea, it sparked another connection. In recent history, there is one particular moment in time that saw the potential and importance of these modest beauties, that being the Flower Power movement that took place in the late 60s and early 70s.
Today, we wanted to tell you a little more about the significance of that movement, how it fits perfectly with our ‘Wildflower’ story, and how 2020 reminds us of that era of empowerment.
THE FLOWER POWER MOVEMENT IN BRIEF
To begin, let’s quickly review what the Flower Power movement actually was. Here’s a quick explanation to get us started:
“Flower power was a slogan used during the late 1960s and early 1970s as a symbol of passive resistance and non-violence ideology. The wording is rooted in the opposition movement to the Vietnam War... [It] was coined by the American Beat poet Allen Ginsberg in 1965 as a means to transform war protests into peaceful affirmative spectacles. Hippies embraced the symbolism by dressing in clothing with embroidered flowers and vibrant colours, wearing flowers in their hair, and distributing flowers to the public, becoming known as flower children.”
Non-violence and unapologetic resistance; the core of the movement. Its inspiration spanned far and wide, bringing like-minded individuals together all over the US at the time, and it's still remembered today all over the world. Flowers became a resounding symbol of anti-war beliefs and encouragement to create change peacefully.
It’s also interesting to note that, around the same time, the second-wave of feminism was also underway as women campaigned for equal rights and opportunities as well as greater personal freedom in many political and social aspects.
It was truly a time of significant social empowerment, one that we certainly felt this year too.
OUR YEAR IN EMPOWERMENT
This year has given us a lot of opportunity to really focus on key social issues. With much of the world safely retreating to their homes for a lot of the year, we had plenty of time to reflect and realise how important it was to amplify our voices as well as create spaces to project voices who truly deserve to be heard. When it came to Flower Power, it was not always viewed in the most positive light as the term became associated with the prominent “counterculture of drugs, psychedelic music, psychedelic art” existing at that time and also became somewhat “commercialized and diluted into a fleeting mainstream fashion trend.” This degradation of a movement is certainly something we have fallen prey to with many of our contemporary ones. From Black Lives Matter, discrimation in India to climate change discussions, over the years we have all heard conversations rise, fall, be debated for the better and for the worse, but it would always subside after weeks or even days with the next hot topic taking the lead in our fast-paced world.
This time around, we had much less to be distracted by and had no choice but to confront these issues. For us, climate change was certainly at the forefront of many of our discussions. For much too long, fashion has played a harmful role in the preservation of our environment and so, we saw many major brands address and be made accountable for their unsustainable practices.
To name a few recent developments:
- Boohoo is facing a legal inquiry into their business practices as there are claims of their workers being paid under minimum wage.
- ASOS sets new sustainability and ethical standards while also ditching Boohoo.
- H&M announces a new collection that will be created from waste.
- The rising popularity of secondhand clothing.
And why is this significant? Well, the steps made by big, wealthy brands will help lead the way for others to follow suit.
Being a small fashion brand ourselves, it’s exciting to see important change happen and seeing the way it occurred being through our, the public’s, awareness and demand for better practices. Flower Power had the advantage of bringing together the masses in person. We also have that power but we now can also join hands online and project our voices to corners of the world that were not possible in the 60s. You may not think that what you share on your Instagram or Twitter matters, but with enough voices, there is no way we can all go unheard. It makes for a world and community that understands that we all need to do our part, whether big or small. Your voice is far more important than you know.
Which leads us to how ‘Wildflower’ tries to harness these values.
A WILDFLOWER OUTLOOK
Compassion took the lead in the Flower Power era, something we shaped our 6th Chapter on. A peaceful approach and a determination to do no harm is certainly something the wildflower taught us this year. It’s gentle but vibrant nature is a strength we wanted to harness in our continuing fight for good; the good of the people and the good of the planet. We choose to fight our fight through sharing love, stories, and enthusiastic encouragement to live a little greener.
As you may or may not know, this shines through our social media and blog. What we especially want to focus on this season is sharing our experiences of the year, whether that may be good or bad, but always with the message that we are all continuing to grow and evolve for the better. Our intention is to amplify voices within our community who have a story they want to share that could help others.
THOUGHTS FROM US
This year brought many people greater awareness of social issues we have long ignored and/or put aside. We took some time to reflect on own thoughts of what we learned through the experience. How had the year changed our perspective (if it has) on social issues, was it a learning experience? Did we take part in furthering these conversations and how?
Here are some of their thoughts...
"It’s been an emotionally challenging yet life changing year for me. 2020 gave me a chance to learn a lot more about myself while navigating all that was going on in the world. It also allowed me to unlearn a lot that I’d known and to relook at my own habits and thoughts. The youth has inspired me immensely this year, whether it was their involvement in climate change and environmental issues, racial discrimination or the recent farmer protests in India. It’s pushed me as an individual to have difficult conversations with family and friends while constantly finding ways I can learn through these conversations and other mediums. I truly believe that now is the time to have the courage to speak for what matters." - Mahima
"I believe during this period of Coronavirus, the ones who were affected were considered to be a bomb within the community or society they lived in. Especially at the start of this ordeal, If someone had the virus, people would look down upon them as if they were evil and they sometimes experienced repulsion from their own people. The feeling was so widespread, the idea of untouchability was felt by those with riches and upper castes, a feeling, I believe, the poorer and underprivileged in our society have felt for a lot of their lives. We are ignorant towards this demon that exists in our society that has been dividing communities for centuries but now Coronavirus has brought a new level of understanding. There's no complete cure to it, no money, muscle or power can completely save you from it. This virus has proved that it won't discriminate on basis of caste, colour, community, body type or region. So why should we? Greatly, I have always believed humanity and compassion should be put above everything and this year has only strengthened that belief." - Kanishk
"For the most part, I keep myself quite up to date with the social issues being talked about online. In our digital age, no prominent movement goes unnoticed on the Internet and we have all become accustomed to spreading the word far and wide via our Instagram platforms, Twitter handles and so on. It's a blessing and a curse in many ways. On one side, we can fall prey to fake information, bias and passive activism. We have all seen a usually inactive 'friend' on Facebook join in on hashtag trends only to disappear all over again once the week of excitement had gone by. On the other, hundreds, even millions, grow aware from these occurrences and the conversation touches many corners of the Earth. It's taught me that the power of the collective is incredibly important and that constant learning is key. Just because we stop talking about something online, doesn't mean the problem goes away and I hope we all learn to stay determined in the fight for good." - Shanthi