StylistLive – A Call To Action

Every year, Stylist holds a beauty and lifestyle event that encapsulates the content featured in their magazine; beauty represented in the form of braid bars and social issues in the form of informative panels. And this year, we thought we would take a look and see what all the fuss was about.

The first panel we attended was titled; ‘Beauty & Cultural Appropriation: How the Lines Blurred’ with presenter June Sarpong, beauty journalist Ateh Jewel and The Guardian’s commissioning editor, Coco Khan.

Cultural appropriation has been hot topic in recent years and the panelists helped settle a long debate over what constituted as appropriation vs appreciation – which, simply put, was the intent. And for their friends and colleagues who don’t quite see what’s problematic about things like the Kendall Jenner ad, they promoted creating a dialogue to educate and give them a better understanding of the issues.

This led them to the next topic of discussion – representation in the industry. They pose the question “how did the Pepsi ad pass through several rounds of approval?” and ponder, if it’s a lack of ‘poc’ (person of colour) that made them think there would be no backlash. But with a limited time frame, the panelists didn’t give a solution to the on-going problem, nor did they have time to take more than one question from the audience.

It would be nice to see this explored more thoroughly by Stylist, as, although the panel gave an interesting debate, it also left us wanting a lot more.

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In the talk “Pitch Perfect: Learn the lingo, win the gig with Badass Women’s Hour”, radio hosts Harriet Minter, Natalie Campbell and Emma Sexton made it their mission to spread an important message…

While the talk started by stating the obvious – mentioning the importance of breathing, stating that power poses actually do work, or stressing the importance of learning when not to speak and just sit in silence – the panel took an interesting turn when it became a workshop. They asked attendees to think about the image they want to convey when meeting clients and employers, which compelled one to reflect on past achievements and key personality traits. Who are you? What have you done? What do you do and who do you do it for?

The aim? Teaching attendees to better sell themselves and their business and move up in their career. Because despite women being at the centrefold of the fashion and beauty world, behind-the-scenes, men are still holding the power and leading the industry.

While women in leadership roles are assumed to be bossy, overly-ambitious and workaholics, their male counterparts are seen as bosses, with realistic ambitions who are dedicated to their work. But if the Badass Women’s Hour trio taught us anything at Stylist Live, it is that women are not bossy, they are bosses. No, women are #BadassBosses.

Overall the event was the perfect mix of fun pop-ups and informative talks and discussions. Not only were big brands like Google and Benefit in attendance, they also gave room to local and independent brands like Alexi London and East End Prints. The only major constraint was time – most of the panels ran out of time before the panellists could address any of the audience’s questions. Which is something we hope is rectified next year…

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