Newsletter Signup
Add my email address to the selected mailing list(s):

by on February 1, 2012

The 99% showed up to the Bowery Hotel on Jan. 31st and camped themselves on the second floor. But if this crowd wanted to occupy, they might’ve easily bought room nights for the masses. This part of the 99% encompassed models, editors, artists, well dressed experts-in-their-fields, The Balkan Beat Box, as well as a small handful of top occupiers. This was part of The Awareness Experiment. While Alexa Chung and Penn Badgley helped host the event by introducing key speakers; those speakers then transformed into discussion facilitators, where they asked these creative working minds to help solve issues like how to make a democratic yet refined space, or learn about consciousness and the environment. And so the night was spent in conversation with beautiful strangers about politics, teachers unions, environmental issues, media, consciousness, evolution, war and drugs. Lindsey Wixon and I ruminated the state of televised news. Sean Lennon spontaneously launched into a terrifying tirade on the realities of Wall Street. Each attendee was encouraged to wear a name tag with a skill/trade and a question, my question naturally was fashionably inclined. Fascinating answers ensued.

Occupy Bowery Hotel with the Glamorous 99%

My question was: “What piece of clothing makes you feel best about the world?” 

Penn Badgley: “The ethics of manufacturing – it’s a grey area that I know nothing about. So I’m gonna have to say my Calvin Klein underwear.” Nothing comes between them.

Alexa Chung: “My mum gave me some trainers. Sneakers.” #Mummysgirl

Paul Manza, Yogi:Under-onesies. Why should you be restricted around the waist? It’s bad for digestion and internal organs. There are many ways to keep your pants up that don’t constrict the waist.” He is currently developing these under-onesies for production, I’ll keep you posted. For now, check out his yoga studio The Clearings.

Shanee Pink, Musician: “I always love the story about jeans, how Levi created them for workers but it became a fashion basic that everybody has. I like when fashion is not that distant. I like people on the street with all their layering. So jeans was a grass roots movement that happened. But I barely wear jeans. I like TOMS because they make you have a purpose with you fashion choice. It’s the future. Why this party is such a cool thing is because it has purpose.” Now, listen to her croon with her electric guitar and rad band.

Some other responses from the crowd included little bracelets from Costa Rica that cost nothing here and yet provide a livelihood for someone across the world. Another likes to buy things from people in the streets, because it’s a better gig than begging. Sweaters help one guy feel better about the world, while his friend makes the argument for shoes. He also alleges that scarves are the least useful things. I asked one of the night’s coordinators, Sarabeth, her item? “Scarves. Especially this chiffon one right here. They are versatile and can travel anywhere.” It was a night of confronting differences, and embracing them.

Lindsey Wixon and I did not address my question. She did, however, tell me her favorite news source: BBC. She likes that they actually send reporters on location to report back with real footage. It’s not local, petty, cats-and-celebrity news at BBC; it covers real world issues.

Sean Ono Lennon meanwhile, has been doing his due diligence to learn about the issues on Wall Street. He expounded the inner-workings of artificial inflation, and that the state of corporations in this country is equivalent to a plutarchy, among other unjust notions. In that time he recommended two books: Temple of the Center of Time by David Flynn and Currency Wars by Song Hongbing. More than just a little night reading.

One of the deepest messages of The Awareness Experiment seemed to be to talk, engage and share with one another. Ask questions. Get into deep conversations with new acquaintances, let ideas bounce around, and leave your mind open to change. When we’re all open to listening to one another, we will evolve and make change happen.


Contributed by Jessica Lapidos

I impart my daily love of light layering, thick-as-thieves platforms and undiscovered fashionable gems. I love to turn a phrase, and in truth I'm a designer at werq.