Posts tagged with "chinese laundry"

Heather Skovlund computer illustration for use by 360 Magazine

CSR In The Digital Age: With 360 Magazine

By: Kai Yeo

“We’re all connected through culture. Basically, we all must learn to adapt. We learn more through traveling and seeing more. When you’re in a different environment, everybody must love and laugh and dance. I don’t need to know your language. But companies need to focus on connecting everyone through love, not war.” – Vaughn Lowery

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has been around for years, with its’ roots being found as early as the 18th Century. In my CSR research assignment before, I wrote that “the key idea of CSR is for companies to pursue pro-social objectives and promote volunteerism among employees (such as through donating to charity and participating in volunteer work), as well as by minimizing environmental externalities.” As an international student trying to find my career path in the United States, I find that company CSR is one of the first few things I look for when finding a suitable company to work with: how genuine they are and how much they care for their employees. The process of researching and writing my essay on CSR in the modern day and CSR within my internship site provided me with the valuable opportunity not only to learn about an important business topic, but also allowed me to develop a better understanding of what it is.

For my CSR Interview, I got the opportunity to speak on the phone with my supervisor Vaughn Lowery. His career started from “humble beginnings in Detroit to a full scholarship in Cornell University under the ILR program. From there, he became active in modeling, acting, and producing screenplays.” Now, Vaughn is the publisher and founder of leading fashion and lifestyle magazine, 360 Magazine, which is also my internship site. His job involves fostering relationships within the community and being an editorial director that curates and oversees content for all columns of the magazine. The position also entails making sure that Apple News, LinkedIn, Twitter, and all other news sites are updated. As a pop culture and design magazine, it is important to constantly be up to date with relevant content and breaking news. Being a quarterly publication, 360 is also working on their summer magazine issue. Vaughn mentions that with COVID making everything digital, the team has been working on expanding the business: creating a self-publishing division, developing e-commerce, getting sponsors, and most importantly, waiting for things to start opening back up.

With a background in studying business and company culture, Vaughn says that his education helped him design a company culture that made sense, “Transparency, cool kids, intelligence. I wanted a space for comfort regardless of race, age, and religion. Education was not the answer to my business but a part of the process to help with preparing for my magazine. The most important thing is life experiences, there are no books on it.” Vaughn emphasizes sending people in his company for events and communicating with clientele because “you can’t speak about things you don’t know.” COVID has made jobs in the media a little more mundane, but he’s excited about things opening back up and is hopeful for the future. Without in-person experiences, it is hard to understand the inner workings of media companies with everything being digitally produced.

Vaughn defines Corporate Social Responsibility at 360 Magazine as “having an environment that is inviting and inclusive, especially showcasing inclusivity.” As a magazine that promotes culture and lifestyle, it is important that everyone he works with is aware of what is going on in the world that we live in and what is happening with minority populations. He speaks about being the only African American in a lot of his school and work experiences, and he created 360 with the ideal of having more minorities and women working in his company: “We all live in the same world… and some people don’t know that. But we need representation and for people to see us. It’s not on us to educate them, but it’s on us to speak up.” 360 avidly speaks up for diversity (#metoo) and openly supports nonprofit organizations.

When asked about how veritable he thinks big companies are with CSR movements, he says that they’re doing it for a myriad of reasons. Companies get away with more stuff as a corporation, “But the responsibility is about being genuine. The board of directors and Zoom calls and the whole spiel. If they’re trying to just make money, revenue principals are not true to themselves. 360 was founded on real culture. The diversity is important. It is what it is.”

“Your company diversity is a reflection of the world, we’ve been doing this since the start of 360, we’ve been ahead of the trend.” The magazine has always featured drag queens, people who are transgender, and minorities, “This is very important when doing events and stuff, it’s a big family. We have less than 50 people. And it’s important for our clients to know that we have each other and rely on each other. That we know how to respect one another and appreciate each other, despite all odds.” Vaughn believes that diversity and inclusion of people of color has always been important, and he emphasizes that 360 will keep pushing these agendas and morals as long as he’s the head of the company. I see this in his effort to get everyone together (even if it is just on Zoom for now) to celebrate big articles, book releases, sponsorships, and so on.

As I type this interview essay, I find two key points to really reflect on: 1) assumptions about company morale and 2) why diversity is so important to me.

1) I think back on everyone else I’ve spoken to during my time as an intern here with 360, and I find that these core values that Vaughn spoke about with me are reflected in all the conversations I’ve had with him and other employees. Coming from a very structured, patriarchal Asian background, I came into this internship thinking that it would be like all my previous experiences (they talk of diversity, but it’s never really executed once you’re a part of it – school projects, internships, part-time jobs, and so on). However, no one in the company has been curt or condescending when speaking with me, and they truly mean it when they point out mistakes and gently correct me. Maybe it is because of the way I was brought up, or the environment I was most familiar in, but these good intentions had me on my toes for the first couple weeks I was here, and I’m honestly still getting used to it.

2) With the rise of Asian hate crimes in the past year, I find myself turning very reclusive and immediately trying to find fault with people when something brushes me the wrong way (though sometimes it really is a racist comment or remark). It’s been difficult having to correct people when they say my name wrong or trying to explain my culture when these simple things can so easily be looked up online. I’ve been very lucky growing up well-traveled and seeing different parts of the world, and I understand that not everyone has that privilege, but how far does “I don’t know” get you in the digital age? I need to work in a company where people are willing to learn and grow new perspectives, and I see this quality in Vaughn too as he speaks about his loneliness as the only African American in his industry when he was first starting out.

After 45 minutes of talking about diversity and the whole CSR conversation winding down, Vaughn tells me to keep doing what I love, “Understanding the industry through work experiences is how you’ll get in. It’s constantly changing.” He talks about learning to forecast and foreshadow and having connections at arms’ reach. By the end of our conversation, I felt that I learnt a lot and could have a clearer vision of what I wanted out of this internship. I’ve had the opportunities to go for company events (for brands including Lillet, Chinese Laundry, Rockstar Original, etc.), though I would really like to be able to go to a CSR event in the near future to promote these same values that I share with 360 Magazine.

To read more about Vaughn Lowery, please visit his Wikipedia and IMBD.

Chinese Laundry Event photo by Kai Yeo for use by 360 Magazine

Chinese Laundry × JuneShine

By: Kai Yeo

Outstanding quality, unique designs, and an affordable price tag – our shoe choice for this season has got to be Chinese Laundry. With groundbreaking styles season after season, it is no surprise that this brand is also celebrity approvedBlake Lively and Miley Cyrus among the list – featuring trendy designs as well as refined classics perfect to transition from day to night. On Wednesday, we got to preview the new Chinese Laundry summer and fall collections at JuneShine, paired with hard kombucha and a floral arrangement session.

With the cutest balloon arch entrance set up, we were welcomed with hard kombucha and charcuterie boards along with the prettiest decorations. As I arrived ahead of time (in my Summer Rayva Sandals), I got the opportunity to mingle with the team and talk more about the current summer launch and upcoming fall collection, a mix of styles and trends ideal for today’s fashion-forward landscape.

If you’re new to Chinese Laundry, they have been in the shoes business since 1971. Growing to become a globally recognized fashion footwear distributor, the brand has now expanded into a family of four unique brands:

  • Chinese Laundry – Styles range from dress heels to casual flats, all designed to meet the season’s most desired trends
  • Dirty Laundry – Designed with edge in Los Angeles. Dirty Laundry is casual and vintage-inspired, with a twist of California rocker-cool. Iconic designs and bold silhouettes embody the brand’s timeless collection.
  • CL By Laundry – Responds to trends in the market and translates designs into affordable, easy-to-wear styles. The collection transitions seamlessly from work, weekend, and everything in between.
  • 42 Gold – Destined to elevate any look for the busy on-the-go woman. Indulge in luxury inspired designs without breaking the budget. Quality craftsmanship and versatile silhouettes are designed to meet the needs of a modern lifestyle. Jamie Chung collaborated with them in 2019 for a 12-piece shoe collection launch.

In the mini preview we saw, Chinese Laundry has proven to us yet again that their style is on point. Their new collection of shoes ranges from classic formal to trendy, offering a great array of styles. With so many options to choose from, you’ll be sure to find something you love for the next season! As more guests started to trickle in, we decided to look around the space and found the entire backroom filled with a gorgeous array of flowers – aided by florist Tess, we even got to make our own special denim bouquet.

With so many conversations and activities going on, it was time for some food and a second glass of kombucha. JuneShine is an all-natural, organic, gluten-free hard kombucha made from green tea and honey. The primary fermentation is done by pitching yeast and honey to create a probiotic kombucha, and more yeast and cane sugar is added during the secondary fermentation (which brings the kombucha to 6% alcohol). If the alcohol percentage is a little overwhelming for anyone, JuneShine also offers flights of three which allows you to get a little sampler of everything. They also serve good empanadas (chicken, beef, and caprese) and a really mean vegan pizza haute pocket. While there are no meal options, eating a couple of those empanadas will have you fuller than you expect!

By the end of the Summer Launch Party with Chinese Laundry, we had our bellies filled and hands busy with flowers, kombucha, shoes, and even a little gift bag filled with local and sustainable goodies such as stainless steel drinking straws and my personal favorite – Lotus and Luna bracelets. Discovering that Lotus and Luna takes pride in making accessories and committed to helping their Thai artisans escape the cycle of poverty by providing them a proper wage and housing made the gift bag from Chinese Laundry very special.

Knowing that Chinese Laundry is not just a one-stop shop for vegan and fashionable footwear but that they also support small socially responsible brands has just increased our love for this brand, and we can’t wait to style our new shoes!

Highlights: Grapefruit Paloma Kombucha, Chicken Empanadas, flower bouquets wrapped with sustainable denim, and of course, shoes!

About the Author:

Kai Yeo is from Singapore and has traveled on various occasions to Thailand since she grew up in the area.

Chinese Laundry Event photo by Kai Yeo for use by 360 Magazine

Chinese Laundry Event photo by Kai Yeo for use by 360 Magazine

Chinese Laundry Event photo by Kai Yeo for use by 360 Magazine

Chinese Laundry Event photo by Kai Yeo for use by 360 Magazine

Chinese Laundry Event photo by Kai Yeo for use by 360 Magazine