Three Of Our Fierce Advocates Discuss What 'Valuable' Means To Them

by: Well Made Clothes Staff | 1 year ago | Features

L-R: Vanessa Turnbull Roberts, Moreblessing Maturure, and Izzy Stephens.

We are shaped by what we value and our values shape the world. At their very best, values have the potential to bring communities together, start important dialogues and, as Izzy Stevens notes below, bring meaning to our lives. This is why we believe in clothing that has values, and one of those values is gender equality. For International Women's Day were are celebrating this value with a collection that looks good on women and is good for women.

Our new range of 'Valuable' tees and 'Valuables' totes are made for valuable women who need a place to store their valuables. The tees are climate neutral and made fairly from GOTS certified organic cotton by Earth Positive in India and the totes are made fairly from GOTS certified organic cotton in Freeset’s fair facilities in Kolkata. $10 from every sale will also be donated to Freeset, a fashion production company in India that helps save women from sex slavery.

For International Women's Day, we asked three amazing women to dress up in the collection and talk about what the word valuable means to them. Activist Vanessa Turnbull-Roberts; writer, director and actor Izzy Stephens; and activist, writer, actor, and creative director of Folk Magazine Moreblessing Maturure all shared incredible insights about the value of women, empathy and community. Let their words remind you how valuable you are (just in case you forgot) below.

1) Vanessa Turnbull-Roberts

Vanessa, in her own words:
Vanessa Turnbull-Roberts is a proud Bundjalung woman, her proud line stems from Northern NSW through to beautiful Gadigal country in Sydney. She is 21 years of age and understands the many inequities that exist, not because of literature or learning from a textbook, but first hand experience from community, family and her individual experiences. While completing her Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Social Work, Vanessa has remained an active member of her community. She has worked alongside Grandmothers of forced removals and F.I.R.E to change the conversation for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people around issues that arise from colonialism. Vanessa's activism highlights truth and passion for all individuals who are subjected to the many inequities that exist. Vanessa stands proudly alongside many others who are a part of the movement and changing the narrative around injustices, particularly around Indigenous rights.

WMC: What does being 'valuable' mean to you?
Vanessa: The word valuable to me represents worthy and willingness. What are you willing to sacrifice for the value of another? The justice for another? Will you stand aside and wait for something or someone else to do something or will you go in and give it your best [by] valuing the injustices like they are your own? Not because it’s the right or wrong thing to do, but because it’s the human thing to do.

Each individual is valuable in their very own special way, we all hold different values and sometimes can forget the power of sharing those values. Being valuable is only real when shared — sharing common truth, common pain, and common change. We are much stronger when we stand beside each other rather than in front or behind. We are in heavy times at the moment, a time where if we truly do not begin to value each other to the very core, we will lose ourselves, but more importantly we will lose the most sacred mother on this planet, our Mother Earth; The provider of love, kindness and most importantly the holder of all knowledge in valuing connection to each other.

WMC: Why do you think initiatives like International Women's Day are valuable?
VanessaEvery day in my spirit is International Women's Day. We came from a woman who carried us for 9 months, so for each 24 hours in each day throughout every 12 months in a year we get to live, we must again value our woman and remember this sacrifice our mothers made for us to be safe. Most importantly the firsts that our mothers taught us, like our first feeling of connection, our first feeling of love, of nurture and of providence.

When I think of International Women's Day, I think of the fight the women in my culture and community had and have to face still to this day. I am reminded of the stories I was told as a kid about the sacrifice of women being massacred to save their children. I am reminded of the rapes, the assaults and the damage that colonial invasion introduced and subjected my people to. I think of the warriors in my life who have stepped up yesterday today and tomorrow. I think of my mother who every day throughout my 21 years of living never once told me about the sexual abuse she encountered but still taught me the importance of self-care, self-love and standing strong in your grounding; to me, it’s a reminder of the integrity our women possess.

The narrative around International Women's Day is a powerful one, and again, whilst we celebrate this one-day occasion, we must remember the importance of establishing this moment as a lifestyle activity. When we remember the love of another, the sacrifices of others, and the importance of showing love to all our brothers and sisters, we remember the value that all deserve — unconditional love. Whilst standing together for the common good will provide healing, again, I urge all not to just sit when the pain does not directly impact you, because years of from now it will harm the being who carries the genes of yours in the future. Speak the truth even if your voice shakes. Our ancestors throughout the many countries in this country are working on it upstairs, but we all have some groundwork to do down here.

WMC: What are your goals for the future?
Vanessa: I am completing my degree for my parents, community, and family, and most importantly for all the old people who have walked before me and have fought for our rights — they have taken much larger steps in order for us to be where we are today, and as the next generation we will continue to as well. I wish to seek a career in child protection, juvenile justice and law reform that supports Indigenous people, youth and justice for beings. I aim to combine policy and direct practice in order to develop programs that enhance empowerment within Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities, particularly seeing accountability for those who project unjust behaviours.

2) Izzy Stephens

Izzy, in her own words: 
Izzy Stevens is an Australian actor, director and writer who is best known for her acting work on Australian TV shows Underbelly: Razor and Puberty Blues. She also stars in the feature film Occupation, which premiers globally this year. Most recently, Izzy wrote, directed, and produced the short film Phenomena, which was a finalist in the 2018 Tropfest.

WMC: What does being 'valuable' mean to you?
Izzy: This is something that I’ve thought a lot about, yet really struggled to articulate. However, I believe that feeling valuable, in both a professional and a personal sense, gives meaning to our lives. The strength of the community we create is the product of how valued each individual within it feels; it provides an experience of worthiness; it is the feeling that our contributions are unique and necessary.

WMC: Why do you think initiatives like International Women's Day are valuable?
Izzy: These initiatives are so valuable because they reinforce and celebrate community — they create a conversation, they liberate people, they create and reflect experiences of validation, and acceptance. Now more than ever our world is more and more equalised, yet we still come up against day-to-day frustrations, and these initiatives do make us feel that we are not alone in that.

3) Moreblessing Maturure

Moreblessing, in her own words:
Moreblessing Maturure is a Zimbabwean/Australian activist, actor, writer and the creative director of FOLK Magazine — a platform dedicated to showcasing Australian Artists of Colour and their work. Her portfolio of work encompasses a myriad of disciplines through performance, theatre making, creative and analytical writing. However, the common thread across all of her projects is an unrelenting drive to rewrite the narratives around communities that are deprived the right to tell their own stories.

WMC: What does being 'valuable' mean to you?
Moreblessing: I use “valuable” to describe things or people that have had a significant, positive and irreversible influence on the lives of those around them.

WMC: Why do you think initiatives like International Women's Day are valuable?
Moreblessing: I believe initiatives like International Women’s Day are of such great importance to our culture and our future because they have been able to forge and cement a place in our society that was greatly needed. It represents a much greater shift in the dialogue and actively demands space for wom*n, internationally.

You can shop our 'Valuable' collection for International Women's Day over here, with $10 from every tee and tote sale being donated to Freeset, a production company in Kolkata, India, which helps to save women from sex slavery, retrains them to work in the fashion industry, and employs them in their fair, certified organic production facilities. 

These interviews have been edited slightly for clarity


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