Couturesque Responds to the 2016 Election

Open letter re: Trump's election.
An open letter from our Editor in Chief.

Dear readers,

You may have noticed that it has been a slow week here at Couturesque, with fewer articles and little interaction on social media. And if you noticed that and wondered if it had anything to do with Tuesday’s devastating election results, you would be correct. When I consider the collective devastation that many of us have been experiencing over the past few days, and the very serious threat that this result poses to many vulnerable people, it is hard to get motivated to write about Resort collections or new makeup launches.

For those of you who aren’t aware, I moved from Canada to New York City at the end of August. At 18, I decided to uproot myself and re-establish myself in a different country with a different culture, where I knew very few people. I wanted to be a part of everything that New York had to offer; as a city, it has always symbolized new life and endless opportunities.

To say that that feeling of hope has been dimmed would be an understatement. As I watched the results roll in on Tuesday night, I felt incredibly conscious of my existence in a female body; I felt like my own body was a weapon being used against me. I remember texting someone (I don’t remember – there were a lot of frantic, sobbing texts exchanged that night) that I felt like ‘humanity hated women more than it hated rapists.’ I couldn’t stop crying. I felt isolated and worthless. I don’t think that those feelings have left me, they’ve just gotten tired.

Being a white woman who comes from a country where our Prime Minister walks in the Pride parade and proudly identifies himself as a feminist, I have had the privilege of fighting injustice and inequality, but never really having to stare it in the face. On Tuesday night, I saw just how deeply prejudice runs in this country. I saw that racism, sexism, and homophobia in America are so much more real than stories I read about, but that they are part of a ubiquitous pandemic that has divided up the country based on how people look, identify, and love, and decided that only some of these individuals deserve dignity. At the end of the day, I may feel scared, but my identity still puts me in a much safer position than many, and instead of choosing to bond with our sisters of colour in our shared female experience (and a little something called compassion), the majority of white women actually carried the president elect to the White House. For this, I have been overwhelmed with guilt; did I do enough throughout this election to use my white privilege for good? Apparently not.

We have talked a lot about the deep and hollow sorrow that has wrecked out bodies and minds this week, and the feeling of powerlessness that has come with that. Going to sleep on Wednesday morning and hoping that the election had just been a dream, the streets of New York were completely silent. For a ‘city that never sleeps,’ the stillness was eery. But Wednesday night was different. An estimated 100,000 protestors moved their grief outdoors to occupy Union Square, Fifth Avenue, the space in front of Trump tower, across to Central Park South and Columbus Circle. It was cathartic to scream, but more importantly, to be in community and to see the overwhelming number of people who felt the same way that I did. There are a lot of challenging politics about the idea of ‘coming together’ – especially considering the oftentimes bigoted divisions that have been inflicted between party lines – but I cannot stress enough how inspired I was by seeing the outpour of love that Wednesday night engendered. This is what we will desperately need everyday until January 2021; a fierce, unapologetic devotion to caring for one another, especially those most likely to be overlooked or blatantly targeted by the president elect, a refusal to leave anybody behind, and a commitment to protecting not only ourselves, but everyone whose human rights are now at risk.

I am still not healed, nor do I expect any of us to be for a significant period of time. But as I look to tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that, I realize that I have to accept that things will be hard, and I have to come to terms with how I will approach these unique, heightened challenges. What role can I play – in my friendships, in my studies, and through Couturesque – to be an effective ally?

Couturesque will continue to publish regularly. We want to continue our hope of being a safe, positive space where you – regardless of how you identify – can feel valued. Fashion and beauty should be fun and not restrictive; this is a place where we want our readers to feel good about themselves. But fashion can also be political; under fascist occupation in the 1940s, the Parisian fashion scene was all about national solidarity and subverting their oppressors, and the American punk movement marked a rejection of normative mainstream culture. Already, we have seen the ‘safety pin’ trend rise as a representation of ally-ship. Ultimately, we recognize that what we are writing about isn't always going to be hard-hitting, political journalism - at the end of the day, we are writing about fashion, but looking to the future, Couturesque hopes to frame fashion as a means of empowerment, and never the opposite.  If we can do anything to make you feel more safe, we will.

Most importantly, I want you – whoever you are reading this, and whether or not you live in the United States – to know that you are strong, smart, powerful, beautiful, and valuable. People care about you. We care about you and we always will.

With love,

Tia Elisabeth Glista (Editor in Chief) and the Couturesque staff

Tia Elisabeth Glista is the founding Editor in Chief of Couturesque Magazine.  She is also a textbook Taurus (ambitious, aesthetically-driven, very stubborn) who can at any given time be found listening to BANKS and looking at pictures of puppies.  Click here to follow her on Instagram. 

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I founded Couturesque Magazine when I was 15 years old because like many of my peers, I felt ignored and talked down to by all of the other teen fashion publications out there. I figured that at the end of the day, the people who knew the most about my generation, were the people who belonged to it. The fashion industry is becoming increasingly dependent on the creativity of younger voices who challenge the status quo and make us rethink what we wear and why we wear it. And that is exactly what Couturesque set out to celebrate - authenticity, intelligence, originality, and diversity... in other words, what makes Gen-Z tick. Fast-forward to 2016 and we now have a staff of more than a dozen fashion distruptors contributing to our daily content from all around the globe, 100K+ readers following us from Toronto to New York, to London, Copenhagen, Berlin, Tokyo, and Tel Aviv, and a plethora of big-wig industry fans and collaborators. But what matters to us the most is the responsibility that our publication has to make a positive impact in the lives of those who come across it - we stand against retouching our photoshoots and we stand for sharing the beautiful, individual, complex voices of everyone, especially those who feel marginalized by mainstream fashion media. We hope that you love our site as much as we do and that you take the time to follow us (Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Pinterest / Tumblr / Snapchat / YouTube) throughout our journey to make fashion accessible to the powerful young adults of today.

Tia Elisabeth Glista
Editor in Chief