New York celebrates 100-year-old Finland.


    Finland’s centenary celebrations take over New York in September. Photo: Riitta Supperi / Suomi 100.

     Finland’s centenary is celebrated on six different continents. This September, the centenary celebrations take over New York with events highlighting the best of Finnish art, design, technology, culture, and education. The events will take place at various locations throughout New York City between 8 and 14 September.

     On Saturday, 9 September one can experience a piece of Finland in the middle of Manhattan. Street Fair brings various vendors to Bleecker Street in West Village, where you can enjoy Finnish delicacies at the Suomi Café, buy handicrafts, experience the real Finnish Sauna on wheels, and get refreshed at Lumene’s booth. There will also be a mölkky tournament.

     On Saturday evening, you can pamper your taste buds at the Finland 100 Birthay Party featuring Finnish design, tech, and art. The programme includes performances by singer GEA, DJ Rony Rex, music and dance improvisation by Oases from HEL, live painting by Susanna Sivonen, and scenography by Kira Leskinen.

    The House of Finland programme includes a coding workshop for children. Photo: Suvi-Tuuli Kankaanpää / Finland 100.

     “Traveling Sauna” offers a genuine Finnish sauna experience on Sunday 9 September in Red Hook, Brooklyn with the right temperature (between 158 and 212 F) and with the use of Sauna vihta (the birch whisk). The Traveling Sauna project celebrates Finland by highlighting Finnish culture, achievements, and innovation. The Finnish sauna travels over 10,000 miles across the US during the centenary year, and the tour ends on 2–6 December in Washington D.C.

     The House of Finland (THoF) opens its doors at 287 Gallery in Chelsea to highlight the best of Finnish art, design, technology and education from 11 to 14 September. The THoF showcases Finnish innovation, sustainability and integrity to key decision makers, investors and media. The programme includes, for example, a fashion show, an art auction, coding workshop for children, a tech-themed breakfast event, and much more.

    Traveling Sauna offers a genuine Finnish sauna experience in Brooklyn on Sunday 9 September. The sauna travels over 10,000 miles across the US during the centenary year. Photo: Traveling Sauna.



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    Size Discrimination Exists In Your Favorite Stores — You Just Might Not Realize It.

    Size Discrimination Exists In Your Favorite Stores.

    If you’re not already familiar with Nicolette Mason, you’re going to want to memorize her name. The graduate from Parsons School of Design began her career at a brand design firm; but her keen interest in clothes and runway trends inspired her to launch a personal style blog on the side in 2008. It wasn’t long before she was recruited to contribute to big name sites like Refinery29 and write for magazines like Marie Claire. Since then, the freelance writer-cum-editor-cum-designer has worked with Vogue Italia, Chanel and Dior, just to name a few.

     But it’s actually her work as a plus-size activist that has garnered the most attention. Lucky for us, we got to chat with the Los Angeles native about how she managed to break into fashion and whether she takes issue with the term “plus-size” in the first place.

     You have done so many things in the fashion world. Was there one moment or endeavor that set you apart and launched your career?

     It’s honestly a combination of a lot of things. I was really lucky to start at Marie Claire when I did. I think being in New York was lucky. And then there are also just different access points. Being a privileged person has definitely helped me, and I think that it would be really irresponsible of me not to acknowledge that that plays into it. The fact that I look white and I come from an affluent background has been a huge foot in the door. And I went to Parsons, that was another access point — I was already around this entire community from the age of 17.

     But besides the things I have inherited through privilege, I’m also just really hard working. Being nice and having good work ethic are also really important, and being meticulous and detail-orientated is essential. You still need to be smart and hard-working even if you do have all the privilege in the world.

    Size Discrimination Exists In Your Favorite Stores.

    That’s so refreshing that you acknowledge that privilege played a part in your success. Many people don’t. 

     That’s really frustrating for me, and that’s something I see a lot in the fashion world. I don’t think that there is anything inherently wrong with being privileged, but I think you have to acknowledge that that is a factor in a person’s success. And it certainly is for me, and it’s really important to think about and be critical of.

     One of the big facets of your career is your work as a plus-size activist. First, do you take issue with the term “plus-size”?

     I think in an ideal world, we wouldn’t have any sort of differentiation based on size, but it’s something that... we’re not there yet. I don’t have a problem with the term plus-size as a way to differentiate what this market is; because until fashion and the word is in a place to present clothing by style instead of breaking everything down by size, it is essential to have some kind of terminology that goes along with it.

     But I don’t hate the term. There are a lot of different terms that are used in this category and in the market. I don’t mind when people use “curvy,” as long as it’s not being used as a euphemism in place of fat. That I do think is pretty ridiculous — there are obviously curvy, plus-size people, but there are also plus-size people who are not curvy. Curvy is used as a way to talk about size instead of what it really is, which is body type — and that’s another conversation entirely. But I don’t have an issue with plus-size in reference to clothing. I don’t identify myself as plus-size. I’m a person. I’m Nicolette and I’m a lot of things in terms of identity, and my body is just part of that.

    Size Discrimination Exists In Your Favorite Stores.

    It seems like every article about you mentions that you are plus-size in the headline. Does that bother you that you’re always associated with the term “plus-size”?

     If it’s a piece talking about my work in the plus-size world or talking about plus-size fashion, obviously that makes sense. But when there is a feature about my apartment, to be described as “plus-size girl Nicolette Mason” feels very reductive. That’s the only thing about me that’s interesting? What about writer Nicolette Mason? New Yorker Nicolette Mason? There are just so many parts about my identity that to be reduced to “plus-size woman” feels really ridiculous.

     I don’t even think that’s the most interesting part of who I am. I’m also very openly queer and political about that, and there are very few openly queer women in the fashion world, and that’s not something anyone talks about. I’m also Middle Eastern and Jewish, and I grew up in L.A. I feel like when the only thing we’re talking about is body, it reinforces the idea that that’s all that is valuable about women and that’s how we should be categorized.

     But, yeah, obviously I am plus-size. I’m fat. I’m quicker to call myself fat than I am to say I’m plus-size, because that’s an accurate description of my body. I don’t have a problem with that at all. But when it’s the only thing anyone talks about, it’s pretty ridiculous.

     Women, regardless of size, are constantly being told what they can and can’t wear. Do you think there are any rules when getting dressed, and do you adhere to any?

     I just wear what I like, and that’s often not what the most flattering thing is. My personal fashion rule is: Wear what you like and what excites you, because that’s what’s going to make you look the most confident. You could wear a trash bag, but if you’re really confident about it, you’re still going to look good. So that’s my only real rule.

     But what I think is so successful about my Marie Claire column, “Big Girl in a Skinny World,” is it really speaks to all women universally. I think women and people in general who are interested in fashion are pretty exhausted with having rules hammered down their throats or being told that they can’t wear this, or they have to wear this. It’s just really tedious. So to have a page in a mainstream magazine that says you don’t have to do this — you can wear stripes, you can wear white bottoms — is a refreshing change of pace.

     Since you shop so much, have you had any memorable shopping experiences?

     I’ve had so many negative experiences. Like, when I ask “Can I please see this in a size 14?” I know what size I am, but pieces always run differently — if something has an elastic waistband, for example, I know it’s going to be more generous. I have a really good fluency in cuts and fabrics and enough understanding to shop for myself regardless of what the tag says. But there are times I’ll ask for the size 12 or the size 14, and the sales associate will respond, “That’s not going to fit you.” Most of the time, I just learn I’m not going to bother shopping in stores when I can go online — I don’t need to give this person permission and have them rewarded for the money that I’m going to spend. I can go online and not have to deal with it. That’s a psychological conditioning that’s been a product of being snubbed by sales people all the time.

     I had one bad experience in the West Village where I was looking for this See by Chloé dress. I knew it went up to a size 14, and I knew that they had it at Bloomingdales, but I lived in the West Village and I saw it in the window of this boutique. But when I went in and asked for it, they said, “We only stock it up to a size 8.” I was like, “Well that’s ridiculous. The brand makes a full size going up to a 14, can you order it?” And they replied, “No, we can’t do that, I’m sorry. This isn’t the right place for you.” That really pissed me off because this designer, who has designed it and is worthy of their boutique, does make a bigger size run. But the way they buy [stock] for their store is essentially implementing their own sizing discrimination. That was a shitty one.

     I had a really good experience in Paris, of all places, where I was shopping at Sandro with my mom and my sister, who are both thin (my sister is a 2-4 and my mom is a 6). I’ve conditioned myself not to engage with stores and boutiques especially, so I was standing back and just helping them. But one of the sales associates approached me and said, “I think this piece would look really good on you. Let me grab a couple of pieces for you that I think would work.” I was really taken aback, since Sandro is not a store I would consider generous in its sizing. But she took the time to help me and devote energy to me instead of my mom and sister, who would have an easy time buying clothes there. She did find a few pieces that worked and I ended up buying two of them, when otherwise I probably wouldn’t have bought anything. She made me feel like a part of the process and included in that environment, which was so touching that it really took me aback.

     It seems only natural for you to design your own clothing line next. Do you have plans or desires to do that?

     I’m working on something now... (By Michelle Persad).



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    Dark Hair Dye and Chemical Relaxers Linked to Breast Cancer.


    (Reuters Health) - African-American and white women who regularly chemically straighten their hair or dye it dark brown or black have an elevated risk of breast cancer, new research suggests.

     “I would be concerned about darker hair dye and hair straighteners,” epidemiologist Tamarra James-Todd said after reviewing the report online now in the journal Carcinogenesis. “We should really think about using things in moderation and really try to think about being more natural."

     “Just because something is on the market does not necessarily mean it’s safe for us,” she said in a phone interview. James-Todd, a professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, was not involved with the new research.

    Dark Hair Dye and Chemical Relaxers Linked to Breast Cancer.

    The study of 4,285 African-American and white women was the first to find a significant increase in breast cancer risk among black women who used dark shades of hair dye and white women who used chemical relaxers.

     Black women who reported using dark hair dye had a 51 percent increased risk of breast cancer compared to black women who did not, while white women who reported using chemical relaxers had a 74 percent increased risk of breast cancer, the study found.

     The risk of breast cancer was even higher for white women who regularly dyed their hair dark shades and also used chemical relaxers, and it more than doubled for white dual users compared to white women who used neither dark dye nor chemical straighteners.

     The association between relaxers and breast cancer in white women surprised lead author Adana Llanos, an epidemiologist at the Rutgers School of Public Health in Piscataway, New Jersey, although she worried enough about the safety of hair relaxers in African-American women like herself to stop using them years ago.

     “A lot of people have asked me if I’m telling women not to dye their hair or not to use relaxers,” she said in a phone interview. “I’m not saying that. What I think is really important is we need to be more aware of the types of exposures in the products we use.”

     The study included adult women from New York and New Jersey, surveyed from 2002 through 2008, who had been diagnosed with breast cancer, plus women of similar age and race but without a history of cancer.

     Women were asked if they had ever used permanent hair dye at least twice a year for at least a year. They were also asked if they had ever chemically relaxed or straightened their hair for at least a year.

     While the vast majority - 88 percent - of blacks had used chemicals to relax their hair, only 5 percent of whites reported using relaxers.

     For dark hair dye, the numbers flipped, though the differences were not as dramatic. While 58 percent of whites said they regularly dyed their hair dark shades, only 30 percent of blacks did.

     The most striking results showed increased risk in the minority of black women who used dark hair dye and white women who used chemical relaxers.

     Black women who used chemical straighteners and white women who used dark hair dyes were also at higher risk for breast cancer, but that might have been due to chance. James-Todd said that because so many of the black women used chemical relaxers and so many of the white women used dark hair dye, links would have been hard to detect.

     There’s no reason to believe that chemical relaxers and hair dyes would increase the risk for women of one race and not of another, she said. She believes the association stems not from genetics but from cultural norms.

     It could also boil down to products, and women from different cultures might use different straighteners and dyes. But the study did not ask women to specify the products they used.

     The study included the largest population of African-American women thus far examined for breast cancer risk and dark hair dye, according to the research team.

     Previous studies have shown that long-term users of dark dyes have a four-fold increased risk of fatal non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and fatal multiple myeloma, the authors write. Prior research also has associated dark hair dye use with an increased risk of bladder cancer.

     A 2016 report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that breast cancer rates are generally similar for black and white women, at around 122 new cases for every 100,000 women per year, although black women with the disease are more likely to die from it.

     SOURCE: http://bit.ly/2ujsWXd... (By Ronnie Cohen).



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