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Culture Makes the World Go Round

Publisher's Note: Art & Style Issue 2015

by Lisa Burwell

Beauty Is Inspiring

So, what do art and style have to do with culture? Quite a lot, it seems, as they are influenced by and reflect the collective mind-set of the day. When we are constantly bombarded by hopeless talk of war, economic woes, terrorism—and more recently the resurgence of racism and class feuds, and the insanity of how some cities now declare it illegal to feed the homeless—we feel it both consciously and subconsciously. While I try to avoid the futile exercise of taking political stands, I would like to shine a light on the good news, the good ideas, and the good deeds that people are doing in the world to quash the negativity. There really is a lot of goodness out there, just not enough people or media platforms shouting it from the rooftops.

The essential thing that defines a culture is what its people will and will not accept, so my hope is to sound the call that complacency shouldn’t rule our lives. If something is wrong and unjust, we should speak up. Naomi Campbell is doing just that. On the cover of this issue, she walks the catwalk for her Fashion for Relief charity, which she founded in 2005. By using her talent, notoriety, supermodel good looks, and powerful sphere of influence, she combats problems—big problems—and is doing something good! The best part of becoming famous isn’t the money or the fame: it’s the opportunity to have a platform to bring about change for good. To whom much is given, much is expected, and so we give Naomi a collective and resounding standing ovation. It takes a lot of time and effort to make things happen like she has done, and you can learn more about her good deeds around the globe in “Queen of the Runway” by Jordan Staggs.

Lisa and Gerald Burwell at Hotel Café Royal in London Photo by Abigail Ryan
Lisa and Gerald Burwell at Hotel Café Royal in London
Photo by Abigail Ryan

Each new year seems to have its own theme for me, and this year it’s been travel, travel, and more travel. New adventures for work were included in some of the jaunts, and my personal trips involved too many funerals but also graduation celebrations for my nieces, so life goes on, as the saying goes. We opened an office in Ireland last year with the intention, at least in part, of growing our publishing company, The Idea Boutique. We are proud to announce the launch of our inaugural Irish magazine, Connemara Life. An area rich in beauty and culture, western Ireland evokes a time gone by when life seemed simpler, which is, for me, one of the main attractions of that glorious place. We hope you feel as though you’ve taken a journey there while immersed in the pages of our newest publication.

The VIE team at Girl Redesigned in NYC
The VIE team at Girl Redesigned in NYC: Lisa Burwell, Jordan Staggs, Anne Hunter, Aranka Israni, and Allyson Longshore
Photo by J.D. Hollis

We’ve not only traveled to Ireland this year, but we also attended London Fashion Week in February to discover the latest fashion inspirations from across the pond. Then in May, we hit the skies again as we traveled to New York City to cover the grand finale event of Girl Redesigned—an after-school program created for middle school girls by the Sports and Arts in Schools Foundation of New York to showcase their creativity and talents in the areas of fashion, dance, music, and film. Though I was one of two key speakers invited to present words of inspiration to the girls that night, it was they who inspired me with their talent, hope, and courage. I had the great privilege to meet and spend time with many of the students of the program, including Genesis Rosario, who was invited to write a column about her personal experience with Girl Redesigned. The story “Beautiful Imperfections” is her firsthand account of what it means to girls like herself, given the opportunity and means, to explore talents and dreams that would otherwise remain undiscovered, undeveloped, and unrealized. You can read the uplifting story about VIE’s trip of discovery in “Girl Redesigned” by Anne Hunter, to whom I am immensely grateful for providing such an incredible opportunity.

Lisa Burwell and Gentle Meg in Connemara, Ireland Photo by Gerald Burwell
Lisa Burwell and Gentle Meg in Connemara, Ireland
Photo by Gerald Burwell

How are we going to get to a place of living in peace with one another and enjoying this great world together? Love. There is no other way to get there.

The legendary songwriting team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David said it best: “What the world needs now is love, sweet love”!

To Life!

— Lisa

— V —

This issue is dedicated to my late father, John B. Ryan, and I thank him for helping me grow into the person I am today. He would always tell my five siblings and me—as he pointed to his heart—that without the “Big D” (meaning desire), you would not succeed at anything. He instilled in me a desire to accomplish things; the inspirations and ideas sometimes come out of nowhere, but the desire to see them through and succeed is always there.

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