Letters from RMM

Spotted in the dust

By Rachel Maskell

Hello my friend!


Happy Virgo season. This is my favorite time of year as it’s my birthday month and new beginnings. 


We just got back from the Playa. It was my fifth year and Kaliana’s first, although she only stayed till Thursday morning...thank goodness!


While out there amongst the art, the lights, and shiny things I spotted a lot of leopard print. Not only in my wardrobe but just about every tenth person had some reference of a big cat on their costume. This of course made me delighted and also got me thinking. Why so many spots?


Yes, I recognize that it’s in all the shops. H&M was covered in it last time I went. But I think there is more to it than that. Big cats use their spots to hide and camouflage into their surroundings while we wear it for the opposite reason. We want to be noticed. We want to stand out and exert our dominance. We want to be sexy and fierce. We want to be playful and strong. And we want the feminine. So in walks the cat. The Big Cat. 


Perhaps the leopard is the totem of this time. Representing a strength and dignity we all need. Representing the power of the feminine and our individuality. These are characteristics of resiliency that will serve us well into the future. 


It’s time to sharpen our claws, work on our ROAR, and dare to put on our best spots. 


This year is going to be FIERCE. 


xoxo, 


RMM



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You do You

By Rachel Maskell

Hello my beautiful friend!


How are things? 


I went from full on travel, to home, to full on Burning Man prep crafting hats, sewing lights, and creating my first art couture all upcycled chain vest. (See pic below). I’ve been so busy in the physical world I’ve trailed off in the digital world. How does one keep up?!


Last night I had a phone call with the camp teacher that Kaliana has been attending. Ms. Karen is a retired Waldorf instructor and deeply understands the psychology of child development. We spoke about Kaliana’s behaviors and how it relates to her going into first grade: her tendency to emotionally manipulate me, her demanding language, and bedtime challenges. 


Ms Karen shared some insight about this sacred time; how they’re developing their individual self and finding more ground and awareness in the world around them. It can be scary and overwhelming which can lead to very challenging behaviors. She offered plenty of tools to help but the one that stood out most was setting boundaries energetically by putting on my imaginary crown, standing tall, and exuding the vibe of Queen/King of my domain. 


This is not rocket science, I know that. This is also not new to me. Except, at this point in time it couldn’t be more poignant. As her world shifts she pushes and pulls on me, the safe space. What she is looking for and needs is stability. A loving pillar. 


The reality is that we all need this. We are flailing around looking for a point of stability and reference that tells us we’re safe, we are loved, and all is well. 


The difference is as an adult we can, and should, seek this stability within ourselves. Take some deep breaths, tune in to our inner guidance, and step off the hamster wheel. I know, easier said than done. 


I mention this now because so many things are changing. The pace of the world and the demands on our time are ever increasing. Feeling out of sorts is becoming the new normal and I’m afraid if we keep looking outside of ourselves for stability we will be lost with the herd. 


Let’s not get trampled on or caught up in everyone else. Now is the time for You. What do You want? This is the deep inner You. What makes You happy and thrive? What does your imaginary crown look like and how often do you wear it? 


Choosing You isn’t selfish. It’s the greatest gift the world can receive right now. 


Big love, 


RMM







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Some things deserve a second chance

By Rachel Monique Maskell

Hello Darlin’!


How’s it going? We’ve made it back to Sac town; it was a bit of an adjustment coming back, but after spending the past week getting the house sorted it feels good to be home. 


I picked up some more amazing silk scarves while in London for the shop. Ribbon scarves are in and I found several at thrift stores that I just hand washed this morning and set out to air dry. They’re so pretty blowing in the wind. 


I know there is still a bit of stigma around buying things second hand. There’s a fear that there are cooties or something lurking in the fabric that makes it unsafe. Or it’s uncool because it’s not what’s in season. Or someone will find out and think you’re too poor to buy new. 


The thing is, even these beliefs are outdated. 


We have access to laundry facilities in a way that they didn’t when cooties were actually a thing. We can wash the clothes we purchase. This should be done for new or used clothes after we buy them. 


How does anyone stay up to date with what’s in season when the amount of seasons in fashion has gone from 2 to ‘52 micro seasons’ with fast fashion anyway?

I think the positive outcome of this insane production and design schedule is we can wear what we want, what makes us happy. There’s no hard and fast trend since it’s constantly changing. 


Fiscal responsibility is a lot sexier than being broke and dealing with credit card debt. Fast fashion brands capitalize on this because they know we don’t want to spend a lot of money on clothes. The problem with their model are the garment workers on the other end. Until they are getting paid a fair working wage it feels unfair to me to be a bargain hunter for clothes that likely won’t even last. 


Second hand means feeling good about the environment and women’s rights when purchasing. Knowing that most thrift stores go back into caring for communities in need and no new chemicals or production runoff was produced through the clothes is empowering. 


Plus there are so many amazing things at thrift stores! I know not everyone has the time to sort through all the other crap that is also there so that’s why I’ve started my shop and request line


Together we can change the perspective of second hand making the most of resources that are already available.


Big big love,


RMM

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There’s always room

By Rachel Monique Maskell

Hello Gorgeous!


How are you? How’s your summer holidays? 


I was going to write last week but it was the last day on our boat trip and WiFi wasn’t easy to come by, so I postponed. 


Last week was also the end of #the100dayproject and my #100days100outfitsnothingnew challenge. Between lots of travel, a few special events, and changing seasons it was a good challenge for sure! Mixing things up wasn’t too hard, took a little more thought and coordination, but the only way to really be different day to day requires boldness. Some days I felt it and others were pretty DT. 


The hardest, of course, was in the packing. In this case there absolutely wasn’t always room. It’s a constant reorganizing and sorting and shedding of items. The boat trip required even more shedding. 


But the things that don’t require physical space, there was, and is, room for more. Room for more banter. Room for more fun and play. Room for love and friendship. Room for self growth and appreciation. 


There’s space for all sorts of intangible things. The question is...what will you pack? 


Big big love,


RMM



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When being single isn’t cool

By Rachel Monique Maskell

Hello Darling!


Happy summer vibes to you. I’ve started on our summer holiday and currently in Croatia. It’s hot but absolutely lovely here. 


When we breezed through NY on our way across the pond we went to an amazing picnic where we were asked not to bring any single use plastic. It was the first time I had been to a party or picnic where that was the request. It was wonderful and a little challenging since we weren’t local. 


But I was thrilled that this was a thing. James was so committed we found paper cups to bring. They also had cool canned water called Liquid Death. Super fun. And the challenge is good. 


When you start becoming aware of plastic you realize it’s everywhere. From small bits to cover tops of bottles to the bottles themselves and endless toys. It’s not that I have a solution but there are brilliant people out there who do. As consumers we must be aware and participate in doing things differently. And this includes our clothes. Polyester is plastic. Plastic comes from oil and wars are often fought over oil. 


I don’t think I will be able to break my habit overnight, especially while traveling but single use plastic isn’t cool. It's never single...it doesn’t go away it changes. 


My solution for now is to carry a water bottle, a reusable straw, and my own bags. To limit my use of plastic when and where possible. To not buy poly fabrics. To support innovation and make an effort to change behaviors. 


What are your solutions? How are you breaking the plastic habit? Would love to hear your thoughts and strategies. 


Big love,


RMM

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What does it all mean?

By Rachel Monique Maskell

Hello Beauty!


How are things? It is getting super hot here in Sac. All I want to do is lay out by a pool and drink cocktails. Isn’t that what the summer is for?! Alas, there are other things and other people that need my attention…


This ebb and flow made me think of the symbols I use at the top of this email which is something you may be wondering about...what do they mean? What’s the point?


They’re are something I made a few years ago with my dear friend and artist Mika Cali. Since their birth I have evolved but the meaning has remained consistent, they in fact, represent evolution. 


Another way I have thought of them is alchemy in action. The steps towards transformation. The first step is tuning in, the second receiving, the third is action, and the fourth is the manifestation of change. And then it begins again. 


With all things we embark on we are evolving, if we are conscious of the process. With fashion and clothes transformation becomes even more present, it is the visual representation of who we are and who we see ourselves in this moment. Clothes are symbols that often speak louder than words or at least set the stage for first impressions and yes, judgement. 


At different stages in our lives and at different times we need clothes to support our growth and transmit to the world how we are showing up. They can be conversation starters or repellers. Knowing your style, what works for you, how to play with clothes can all be tools for communicating what you want. My trick: tuning in to the environment and the atmosphere of each occasion and dressing in a way that supports that energy while allowing my unique style to shine through. It is being both a chameleon and a flower. Communicating that I both understand the social situation while not being consumed by it. As a side note, my clothes usually speak to me...they tell me if they’re a good fit or not. And I listen. ;)


Today’s takeaway...in what ways are you evolving now and how can your wardrobe support these changes? Are there things that need to be updated? Whose help do you need to make sure your clothes match the vibe you want to be transmitting? The mirror in your bedroom may not be as good as a mirror in a friend. 


Big love and stay cool.


Xoxo,


RMM

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Get there faster if we take it slow

By Rachel Monique Maskell

Hello Bella!


How are you doing? It’s towards the end of May and these past few weeks feel like cycles, both short and long, have been wrapping up.


Because of this I have been thinking a lot about cycles in our economy and the environment. I’ve been thinking about the government and it’s far reaching arms into our personal health, and our children’s, and yet when you look at their track record for the environment it leaves a lot to be desired.


I’m sure there are many well meaning people and politicians looking to make the best decisions to keep our economy strong and our people healthy, but it concerns me that if we look only to government to solve our problems we may never solve them, or simply create greater problems in the process.


For instance, I know the fashion industry needs better regulation. We need to hold corporations accountable for the working environments in the garment factories. We need to find better solutions for production that don’t do so much damage to the environment and create so much waste. But waiting for the government and corporations to change seems like a path that will get us nowhere quick.


Yes, it is one way of going slow but it’s not a way that will get us there faster. I think for quicker, deeper change it’s going to require the consumers to get involved. We have to vote with our dollars, or not. We have to communicate through the language that corporations, and therefor government, will understand...money.


We have revolutionized, and continue to, the food industry. Now it is time to put that same passion and energy into our clothing systems, a field that touches just about all areas of industry including farming.


So my questions for you this week:

  • How are your spending habits on clothing aligned with your values?
  • What areas do you need to be more educated on when it comes to women’s rights and sustainability in the fashion industry?
  • Do you know if your wardrobe is supporting you or draining your energy?

There are so many areas that need our attention right now and it can feel immensely overwhelming. Starting with a few questions may help to break things down into actionable items. If these aren’t the right questions for you, what are?


Have other questions you want to share? Want to tell me your thoughts on the above? Hit reply and share your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you.


Big love!


Xoxo,


RMM

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He told me not to

By Rachel Monique Maskell

Hello Gorgeous!


How are things? I’m coming into finals and feeling crazy. So much has happened and is happening, but overall things are chugging along.


In my last email I shared some personal things, like I do, but I decided to also post on my personal Facebook. I wanted to connect with people that aren’t on my email list and tell them about the loss of my friend and how I was doing.


A minute after I posted on Facebook, a ‘friend’ that I hadn’t heard from in a while messaged me and recommended that I not share what I did on FB to my email list. My first thought was that I did something wrong and I should delete the post. My second realization was that he’s an internet marketer and his list is not only much much bigger than mine, his purpose is hugely different. And then my third thought was, here’s a dude once again trying to censor women because it makes him feel uncomfortable.


Whether or not he was conscious of doing this it’s an issue women have been coming up and fighting against for centuries. Since the time we began domesticating animals we have become classified as property and relegated to censorship and control.


Yes, we have come a long way. Just think of what it took for women to wear pants let alone have the right to vote or own property. Fashion trends for centuries have represented man's fears of a woman’s body and his inability to control himself so he blames Her. The infamous Eve who tempts man. Poor Adam. It wasn’t his fault. It never is.


And perhaps in some ways it isn’t.


I struggle with this but I recognize that we can’t keep blaming men and expecting them to change the system. They work on half the brain capacity of us. They are hindered by their greatest strength which is single focused attention. They do not have the empathy, the compassion, and the capacity to understand the intricacies of life as we do as women. But this knowledge requires responsibility and forgiveness. It requires ownership of our own life and the independence from the approval of the dude. Whether married or not this is FN hard. The world is not set up for that, nor are we trained to think differently.


So what does this have to do with fashion?


Choice.


Choice to wear what we want ( thank you to all the women who came before to fight for this). Choice to wear what makes us feel good, that makes us more of who we are and want to be.


Choice to invest in products that we believe in because they support other women in foreign countries who aren’t as far along as we are with personal liberties.


Choice to purchase wisely because we understand limited resources and Mother Nature is no exception.


We have fought hard for the right to have choices. We are still fighting for equal pay and a shift in women’s role in the workplace, at home, and in society. But these changes aren’t going to come from the men who created the systems in the first place. It’s going to come from us women. Individually and collectively.


With Mother’s Day this Sunday I pray that you take a moment and not only think of where you can make different choices but that you take a step in creating a more positive and sustainable world for our future generations.


Thank you for letting me rant and the freedom to chose to speak my mind.


Big love,


RMM

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