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Inside the issue

MICHÈLE
Partnership Coordinator
On slowing down & social distancing

What is the best thing to come out of the lockdown?

I think we can all agree that one of the best things to come out of the lockdown, is the fact that we were forced to finally slow down. To me, it felt like the vacation I didn't know I needed. In the first week, I definitely needed some adjusting to the idea that I had no place to go to. Offices, shops, restaurants, cafes, everything had closed. When you have a three-year-old at home and a baby on the way, you need that visit to the pastry shop around the corner. Or the Sunday morning brunch at ... with your husband. Sacred things! And then there was the news. Every day it was like it couldn't get any worse, and then next day's news would top it. It felt like a nightmare. But then you find your way in the lockdown. And I, like many others, found peace in DIY projects. I started baking (which my husband loved and took full advantage of), I took out my old painting kit (which had completely dried out so I had to order a new one) and I even started gardening (the garden has never looked better). We limited use of our mobile devices to a minimum every day and went out for a walk every day. There's something about being able to get back to the basics of life again. To breath, to let things run its course. And to find joy in those little things you often forget about. To me, the lockdown couldn't have come at a better timing for me. It was just what I needed.

How will the slowdown impact the world?

I think there are going to be changes that are going to happen gradually and some instantly. Like Eirign writes in The Future of Fashion, we are going to see a decline in fast fashion production. This is inevitable. I firmly believe that the fashion industry needs a change and has needed it for a while now. The way we manufacture clothes, the pace at which it happens, the abnormal quantities we're trying to consume and get rid of at the end of each season. It just isn't logical. Instead we need to focus on slow fashion and work with sustainable and honest processes. I think the slowdown will also impact our mental health. I think we're going to long for doing things we love again, instead of following society's demands. And we're going to keep things at our own pace more and more. And like Cynthia writes in Words, Stripes, Shapes, we are going to be much more in touch with ourselves or at least be aware that there's such a thing as mental health. We're going to look for the smaller things in life again and enjoy working with our hands and minds instead of staring at the screen all day. So the slowdown will have an effect on a broad spectrum of our lives.

Do you think we'll get back to 'fast living' again once the pandemic is over?

I don't think we are getting out of this situation any time soon. I'm afraid our lives have changed forever. So I sincerely hope that the 'slow down movement' will have a lasting effect on our lives. And I don't see it as a trend or a movement. It's going to be a new way of living.

How was social distancing for you?

Obviously we've had to socially distance ourselves for a reason. But there's one thing I have missed and still miss, which is personal contact. I feel like we human beings are creatures of affection and love. And while we've witnessed a lot of positivity and goodness of mankind these last couple of months, it feels like we're still missing our physical interaction. I'm French so I miss the faire la bise. I miss being able to hold my friends. I just miss contact. Greeting people now by standing 2m apart from each other is so unnatural for us.

Any piece of advice you've got at the moment?

Take your time. It's okay to not be okay. And this too shall pass.

ROSALIE
Contributor
On the pandemic

How has COVID-19 influenced your life?

In ways I could never have imagined. I contracted the virus while I was on vacation in Austria. With a group of friends, we went skiing. When I came back to France, I started showing symptoms of the virus. We had to go into quarantine. Those weeks may have been the worst I have ever felt. It's an unnatural thing for me to feel weak and helpless. I am young, I eat healthy, I exercise three times a week and I don't smoke or drink. I've always prided myself on having a strong body. But this was something out of the ordinary. I knew immediately it had to be the coronavirus. I had never felt this small before in life. It's not a feeling I'd like to experience again.

How do you think the world is responding to the pandemic?

I think the response in Europe especially has been quite well. Governments were quick to take action and generally people followed the quarantine rules quite well. I do think the world has become divisive about the virus. There's clearly two groups of people: those who do everything they can to protect themselves and those who carry on like nothing has happened and who often don't even believe the virus can hurt them in any way. For someone who has been through hell and back with the virus, that is unsettling to see. And obviously when I look at the US, I see an incompetent president who would better take example from other countries on how to handle a national crisis. Just when you think it cannot get any worse, the next day he goes and says something even more stupid.

Do you wear a mask in public?

When we go out for a walk in the park, I don't. But when I go to public spaces, where I know there's a risk it can become crowded, I definitely do. But in general, I try to avoid public spaces now. I'm not trying to scare anyone with this. This is mainly due to my personal experience with the virus. I am much more cautious now.

Where do we go from here?

I think we are going to see a lot of changes in society. People are going to have to change the way they operated before. I see restaurants who are coming up with apps where you can order food and you can pick up your dish at the counter and take with you to your table in that restaurant. I even see Michelin star restaurants coming up with full menus and instructions on how to finish the dish. It's amazing how much creativity some chefs have. The only way for entrepreneurs to survive this crisis is to innovate, be flexible to the changes and stay ahead of the game.

WOUT
Make-up artist
On racism

Have we progressed since the start of Black Lives Matter (and how)?

We have progressed in the sense that Black and Indigenous People of Colour (BIPOC) their experiences are finally being shared and amplified. Where, however baffling that may be, a lot of people still weren't aware of the scale of unequal treatment that the majority of BIPOC people have been subjected to worldwide, now a lot more people are. The lid has been blown off and minorities can start talking about their experiences instead of keeping them to themselves out of fear. We have progressed in the sense that minorities are aware that being 'tolerated' is not enough, and that being accepted and celebrated is what we need to demand. And while a lot of people might feel hopeless because they are witnessing a strong counter-movement against this, know that whenever oppression is happening, change can't be made without a sense of discomfort in the dominant party.

What do need to stop doing for the debate to really progress?

Let me start by saying that I am not a BIPOC person, and that I am fundamentally aware of that whenever speaking on this subject. We need to stop getting defense and we need to stop centering ourselves as white or white-passing folks, know that your discomfort is not what is important right now. We need to start listening to BIPOC, and start with the amplification of BIPOC' voices on this matter. We don't know what their experience is like. We need to stop talking about this with the intent to 'discuss', or viewing it as a 'debate', and start talking about this with the purpose of listening. When we talk on this specific subject it should always be an extension or amplification of the voices of BIPOC. That being said, first and foremost we need to stop viewing racism as a matter of good and evil. It is not that either one is racist, which makes them an inherently terrible person, or either one is not. Racism is not only 'hating someone because they are black' or actively pursuing racist actions. It is also internalized actions and monologue/conclusions that lead to the different treatment of minorities. Racism is a system that we are being thrown into. In a racist society that is historically built on the exploitation of black and indigenous people, of which we still benefit (we are not responsible for the actions of our ancestors, but we still benefit from them), it is impossible not to be racist. We are born into it. We all have prejudice, that is not our fault. But it starts being our fault when we become aware of that and do nothing. I have prejudice too. I catch myself making mistakes. The only way to change that is to be honest, critical, and reflect on that.

What is still left undiscussed that we need to discuss?

That combating racism and oppression, is often viewed as a task of the minority group targeted. It is not. BIPOC are tired, Queer people are tired. Women are tired. Underprivileged groups are tired. This is emotional labour for them. Don't ask them to do the labour for you, we live in the age of information, educating yourself takes energy but is not complicated. We know you mean well, but here is something to keep in mind: there is a difference between Intent, and Impact. You can mean well but still do harm. It is the job of the people in privileged positions to educate themselves and make sure that the environments that they create are suitable and sustainable for every human being on this planet, not just white, able-bodied cis-hetero men.

What changes do we need in society?

You can really only ask BIPOC. Follow BIPOC. Make an effort for your circle to not be white-only from your crib to your coffin. We need to be more critical and self-reflective of the internalized implications behind our actions.

LING
Contributor
On Hong Kong

How do you feel about the situation in Hong Kong?

It's unsettling. I read the news about the daily events of Hong Kong on Twitter. It's probably not the best way to keep up with the news (or maybe it is) but it's a way for me to read about personal events from the journalists and activists there that usually aren't published in the paper. I feel sad about the decline of Hong Kong's culture and history. For years I've seen Hong Kong change into a place I don't recognize anymore. Hong Kong used to be free and transparant. I feel we are losing every bit of our freedom every single day.

Does your family share your views?

A part of my family views it as a change that was bound to happen. They feel that Hong Kong belongs to China and that this is simply our transition to going back to our home country. And while I agree with that, I think it is happening too quickly and too aggressively. And that is how another part of my family views it as well.

What do you think has to happen next?

I feel like there's little we can do now. Laws are already being approved. And I think we've all learned that there's little you can do against a super power like China.

EMMA
Creative Coordinator
On working on Issue I

How was working on issue I behind the scenes?

Back in October, Igrien first brought up the idea of this magazine that would be 'inspiring' and 'innovative'. If you know Igrien at all — she is a creative genius. Very rarely will you find someone who is as intelligent, well-read and creative as Igrien. So it made absolute sense for her to start Currant. We drafted our first plans in February — and then the pandemic hit the world. It was as if the world stood still for a moment and all we could do was stand still with it. I think we all took a break from that moment, as we had no idea what the foreseeable future was going to look like. We went back to planning again in May, when the lockdown rules had somewhat been relieved in our countries. And from then on, it was just going head on at full speed. And suddenly we found ourselves in Zoom calls every few days to keep each other updated.

What was that like?

I wasn't the biggest fan of Zoom. Especially during the lockdown, I liked doing things in my own comfort, at home, in my pyjamas, with a cup of tea. So when it was suggested we do video calls, I protested with all my power. Imagine doing Zoom calls, with Igrien always looking fabulous and Michèle just being her stunning French self. No wise woman would agree to be in that company. But I had no option but to dress up a bit as well. When this is all over, I suggest we forget about Zoom once and for all. We delete it from our phones, dictionary and history. And go back to just emailing. Or actually meeting face-to-face. With a glass of wine or two. That i'd dress up for.

What was the most challenging thing working on the inaugural issue?

It would be obvious to say the pandemic and lockdown. And it definitely was a challenge. I mean, try starting a magazine in a time when the world is in panic and chaos. But I think the real challenge was trying to find a place in a market that is already overly saturated. In this time, everyone can start a website and call it a magazine. During our research we've weeded through almost all kinds of magazines you can find on the internet. And there's loads of magazines out there. From the get-go, Igrien had a vision for Currant and knew what she did and did not want for the magazine. From there we shaped it, reshaped it

What is in the works for the future?

We're going to start rolling out the first issue this month and after that we'll be full on in production mode for the second issue. The next issue will have a fashion focus. It will be our first September issue. It is daunting to be working on something like that but I'm quite looking forward to setting up all the work for that. We're bursting with ideas and that's because there's this amazing energy we all have. To create something that isn't out there yet, to tell stories we find are often left untold and to open our doors for people no matter their skin color or look. As long as there's a story to tell. And we find that there always is.

IGRIEN
Creative Director & Editor-in-Chief
On racism

What are your personal experiences with racism in the Netherlands?

These past couple of months I have wondered about the racism I have or may have experienced myself. I have had encounters of all kinds in the past with people making remarks about my ethnicity, culture, often passed off as 'jokes'. I've also had encounters as lowly as people mimicking the way they think Chinese people sound. Some of this behavior I witnessed from 'kids' on the street, who I can only assume still need to be educated. But I was most surprised when I found the most offensive experiences to have come from a workplace. The same mimicking and derogatory remarks, coming from people in leading positions where you would expect better educated people. These remarks were always brushed off as, again, mere 'jokes. But what shocked me most was perhaps a policy of upper management to bar people of color to ever grace the cover of their magazine, under a marketing ploy that I cannot begin to explain. It all makes BIPOC feel isolated in the workplace. Racism is everywhere in the Netherlands, but what is even worse is the denial in which it happens.

How has Black Lives Matter impacted your views on racism?

It has changed my belief in what is racist and what isn't. I have often found that European values (or Dutch values for that matter) are different than American values. The racism discussion here has always been directed towards people who mean to do you harm or purposefully disparage you through a superiority belief. This has never sat well with me but I could never fully put into words why. I now believe that in a way, whether we mean to belittle or not and whether we think we're superior or not, we all base our views on prejudiced thoughts. And if we make remarks based on that, we are being racist. The point is that we have to realize that and learn to listen to the feedback from people around us. Only then can we change.

Where do we go from here?

White people need to start listening to people of color. Even now, I hear white people brush off white privilege arguments with 'I have suffered too' or 'but we are all the same'.. But it's not the same kind of suffering and in a way history has made us turn out not to be or be treated as the same. And while I'm happy with recent changes in work placements of people in color or organizations vowing to change their hiring culture, because it's a start, I don't think it's the right answer either. In the ideal world, we aren't barred or selected on our color but we are selected on our capabilities. And that starts with organizations taking a better look at their senior management and take active responsibility on why it's not a reflection of society. With that, we not only create a safer work environment for people of color, we also enable the change that is needed in society at the moment.

Inside the issue

MICHÈLE
Partnership Coordinator
On slowing down & social distancing

What is the best thing to come out of the lockdown?

I think we can all agree that one of the best things to come out of the lockdown, is the fact that we were forced to finally slow down. To me, it felt like the vacation I didn't know I needed. In the first week, I definitely needed some adjusting to the idea that I had no place to go to. Offices, shops, restaurants, cafes, everything had closed. When you have a three-year-old at home and a baby on the way, you need that visit to the pastry shop around the corner. Or the Sunday morning brunch at ... with your husband. Sacred things! And then there was the news. Every day it was like it couldn't get any worse, and then next day's news would top it. It felt like a nightmare. But then you find your way in the lockdown. And I, like many others, found peace in DIY projects. I started baking (which my husband loved and took full advantage of), I took out my old painting kit (which had completely dried out so I had to order a new one) and I even started gardening (the garden has never looked better). We limited use of our mobile devices to a minimum every day and went out for a walk every day. There's something about being able to get back to the basics of life again. To breath, to let things run its course. And to find joy in those little things you often forget about. To me, the lockdown couldn't have come at a better timing for me. It was just what I needed.

How will the slowdown impact the world?

I think there are going to be changes that are going to happen gradually and some instantly. Like Eirign writes in The Future of Fashion, we are going to see a decline in fast fashion production. This is inevitable. I firmly believe that the fashion industry needs a change and has needed it for a while now. The way we manufacture clothes, the pace at which it happens, the abnormal quantities we're trying to consume and get rid of at the end of each season. It just isn't logical. Instead we need to focus on slow fashion and work with sustainable and honest processes. I think the slowdown will also impact our mental health. I think we're going to long for doing things we love again, instead of following society's demands. And we're going to keep things at our own pace more and more. And like Cynthia writes in Words, Stripes, Shapes, we are going to be much more in touch with ourselves or at least be aware that there's such a thing as mental health. We're going to look for the smaller things in life again and enjoy working with our hands and minds instead of staring at the screen all day. So the slowdown will have an effect on a broad spectrum of our lives.

Do you think we'll get back to 'fast living' again once the pandemic is over?

I don't think we are getting out of this situation any time soon. I'm afraid our lives have changed forever. So I sincerely hope that the 'slow down movement' will have a lasting effect on our lives. And I don't see it as a trend or a movement. It's going to be a new way of living.

How was social distancing for you?

Obviously we've had to socially distance ourselves for a reason. But there's one thing I have missed and still miss, which is personal contact. I feel like we human beings are creatures of affection and love. And while we've witnessed a lot of positivity and goodness of mankind these last couple of months, it feels like we're still missing our physical interaction. I'm French so I miss the faire la bise. I miss being able to hold my friends. I just miss contact. Greeting people now by standing 2m apart from each other is so unnatural for us.

Any piece of advice you've got at the moment?

Take your time. It's okay to not be okay. And this too shall pass.

ROSALIE
Contributor
On the pandemic

How has COVID-19 influenced your life?

In ways I could never have imagined. I contracted the virus while I was on vacation in Austria. With a group of friends, we went skiing. When I came back to France, I started showing symptoms of the virus. We had to go into quarantine. Those weeks may have been the worst I have ever felt. It's an unnatural thing for me to feel weak and helpless. I am young, I eat healthy, I exercise three times a week and I don't smoke or drink. I've always prided myself on having a strong body. But this was something out of the ordinary. I knew immediately it had to be the coronavirus. I had never felt this small before in life. It's not a feeling I'd like to experience again.

How do you think the world is responding to the pandemic?

I think the response in Europe especially has been quite well. Governments were quick to take action and generally people followed the quarantine rules quite well. I do think the world has become divisive about the virus. There's clearly two groups of people: those who do everything they can to protect themselves and those who carry on like nothing has happened and who often don't even believe the virus can hurt them in any way. For someone who has been through hell and back with the virus, that is unsettling to see. And obviously when I look at the US, I see an incompetent president who would better take example from other countries on how to handle a national crisis. Just when you think it cannot get any worse, the next day he goes and says something even more stupid.

Do you wear a mask in public?

When we go out for a walk in the park, I don't. But when I go to public spaces, where I know there's a risk it can become crowded, I definitely do. But in general, I try to avoid public spaces now. I'm not trying to scare anyone with this. This is mainly due to my personal experience with the virus. I am much more cautious now.

Where do we go from here?

I think we are going to see a lot of changes in society. People are going to have to change the way they operated before. I see restaurants who are coming up with apps where you can order food and you can pick up your dish at the counter and take with you to your table in that restaurant. I even see Michelin star restaurants coming up with full menus and instructions on how to finish the dish. It's amazing how much creativity some chefs have. The only way for entrepreneurs to survive this crisis is to innovate, be flexible to the changes and stay ahead of the game.

WOUT
Make-up artist
On racism

Have we progressed since the start of Black Lives Matter (and how)?

We have progressed in the sense that Black and Indigenous People of Colour (BIPOC) their experiences are finally being shared and amplified. Where, however baffling that may be, a lot of people still weren't aware of the scale of unequal treatment that the majority of BIPOC people have been subjected to worldwide, now a lot more people are. The lid has been blown off and minorities can start talking about their experiences instead of keeping them to themselves out of fear. We have progressed in the sense that minorities are aware that being 'tolerated' is not enough, and that being accepted and celebrated is what we need to demand. And while a lot of people might feel hopeless because they are witnessing a strong counter-movement against this, know that whenever oppression is happening, change can't be made without a sense of discomfort in the dominant party.

What do need to stop doing for the debate to really progress?

Let me start by saying that I am not a BIPOC person, and that I am fundamentally aware of that whenever speaking on this subject. We need to stop getting defense and we need to stop centering ourselves as white or white-passing folks, know that your discomfort is not what is important right now. We need to start listening to BIPOC, and start with the amplification of BIPOC' voices on this matter. We don't know what their experience is like. We need to stop talking about this with the intent to 'discuss', or viewing it as a 'debate', and start talking about this with the purpose of listening. When we talk on this specific subject it should always be an extension or amplification of the voices of BIPOC. That being said, first and foremost we need to stop viewing racism as a matter of good and evil. It is not that either one is racist, which makes them an inherently terrible person, or either one is not. Racism is not only 'hating someone because they are black' or actively pursuing racist actions. It is also internalized actions and monologue/conclusions that lead to the different treatment of minorities. Racism is a system that we are being thrown into. In a racist society that is historically built on the exploitation of black and indigenous people, of which we still benefit (we are not responsible for the actions of our ancestors, but we still benefit from them), it is impossible not to be racist. We are born into it. We all have prejudice, that is not our fault. But it starts being our fault when we become aware of that and do nothing. I have prejudice too. I catch myself making mistakes. The only way to change that is to be honest, critical, and reflect on that.

What is still left undiscussed that we need to discuss?

That combating racism and oppression, is often viewed as a task of the minority group targeted. It is not. BIPOC are tired, Queer people are tired. Women are tired. Underprivileged groups are tired. This is emotional labour for them. Don't ask them to do the labour for you, we live in the age of information, educating yourself takes energy but is not complicated. We know you mean well, but here is something to keep in mind: there is a difference between Intent, and Impact. You can mean well but still do harm. It is the job of the people in privileged positions to educate themselves and make sure that the environments that they create are suitable and sustainable for every human being on this planet, not just white, able-bodied cis-hetero men.

What changes do we need in society?

You can really only ask BIPOC. Follow BIPOC. Make an effort for your circle to not be white-only from your crib to your coffin. We need to be more critical and self-reflective of the internalized implications behind our actions.

LING
Contributor
On Hong Kong

How do you feel about the situation in Hong Kong?

It's unsettling. I read the news about the daily events of Hong Kong on Twitter. It's probably not the best way to keep up with the news (or maybe it is) but it's a way for me to read about personal events from the journalists and activists there that usually aren't published in the paper. I feel sad about the decline of Hong Kong's culture and history. For years I've seen Hong Kong change into a place I don't recognize anymore. Hong Kong used to be free and transparant. I feel we are losing every bit of our freedom every single day.

Does your family share your views?

A part of my family views it as a change that was bound to happen. They feel that Hong Kong belongs to China and that this is simply our transition to going back to our home country. And while I agree with that, I think it is happening too quickly and too aggressively. And that is how another part of my family views it as well.

What do you think has to happen next?

I feel like there's little we can do now. Laws are already being approved. And I think we've all learned that there's little you can do against a super power like China.

EMMA
Creative Coordinator
On working on Issue I

How was working on issue I behind the scenes?

Back in October, Igrien first brought up the idea of this magazine that would be 'inspiring' and 'innovative'. If you know Igrien at all — she is a creative genius. Very rarely will you find someone who is as intelligent, well-read and creative as Igrien. So it made absolute sense for her to start Currant. We drafted our first plans in February — and then the pandemic hit the world. It was as if the world stood still for a moment and all we could do was stand still with it. I think we all took a break from that moment, as we had no idea what the foreseeable future was going to look like. We went back to planning again in May, when the lockdown rules had somewhat been relieved in our countries. And from then on, it was just going head on at full speed. And suddenly we found ourselves in Zoom calls every few days to keep each other updated.

What was that like?

I wasn't the biggest fan of Zoom. Especially during the lockdown, I liked doing things in my own comfort, at home, in my pyjamas, with a cup of tea. So when it was suggested we do video calls, I protested with all my power. Imagine doing Zoom calls, with Igrien always looking fabulous and Michèle just being her stunning French self. No wise woman would agree to be in that company. But I had no option but to dress up a bit as well. When this is all over, I suggest we forget about Zoom once and for all. We delete it from our phones, dictionary and history. And go back to just emailing. Or actually meeting face-to-face. With a glass of wine or two. That i'd dress up for.

What was the most challenging thing working on the inaugural issue?

It would be obvious to say the pandemic and lockdown. And it definitely was a challenge. I mean, try starting a magazine in a time when the world is in panic and chaos. But I think the real challenge was trying to find a place in a market that is already overly saturated. In this time, everyone can start a website and call it a magazine. During our research we've weeded through almost all kinds of magazines you can find on the internet. And there's loads of magazines out there. From the get-go, Igrien had a vision for Currant and knew what she did and did not want for the magazine. From there we shaped it, reshaped it

What is in the works for the future?

We're going to start rolling out the first issue this month and after that we'll be full on in production mode for the second issue. The next issue will have a fashion focus. It will be our first September issue. It is daunting to be working on something like that but I'm quite looking forward to setting up all the work for that. We're bursting with ideas and that's because there's this amazing energy we all have. To create something that isn't out there yet, to tell stories we find are often left untold and to open our doors for people no matter their skin color or look. As long as there's a story to tell. And we find that there always is.

IGRIEN
Creative Director & Editor-in-Chief
On racism

What are your personal experiences with racism in the Netherlands?

These past couple of months I have wondered about the racism I have or may have experienced myself. I have had encounters of all kinds in the past with people making remarks about my ethnicity, culture, often passed off as 'jokes'. I've also had encounters as lowly as people mimicking the way they think Chinese people sound. Some of this behavior I witnessed from 'kids' on the street, who I can only assume still need to be educated. But I was most surprised when I found the most offensive experiences to have come from a workplace. The same mimicking and derogatory remarks, coming from people in leading positions where you would expect better educated people. These remarks were always brushed off as, again, mere 'jokes. But what shocked me most was perhaps a policy of upper management to bar people of color to ever grace the cover of their magazine, under a marketing ploy that I cannot begin to explain. It all makes BIPOC feel isolated in the workplace. Racism is everywhere in the Netherlands, but what is even worse is the denial in which it happens.

How has Black Lives Matter impacted your views on racism?

It has changed my belief in what is racist and what isn't. I have often found that European values (or Dutch values for that matter) are different than American values. The racism discussion here has always been directed towards people who mean to do you harm or purposefully disparage you through a superiority belief. This has never sat well with me but I could never fully put into words why. I now believe that in a way, whether we mean to belittle or not and whether we think we're superior or not, we all base our views on prejudiced thoughts. And if we make remarks based on that, we are being racist. The point is that we have to realize that and learn to listen to the feedback from people around us. Only then can we change.

Where do we go from here?

White people need to start listening to people of color. Even now, I hear white people brush off white privilege arguments with 'I have suffered too' or 'but we are all the same'.. But it's not the same kind of suffering and in a way history has made us turn out not to be or be treated as the same. And while I'm happy with recent changes in work placements of people in color or organizations vowing to change their hiring culture, because it's a start, I don't think it's the right answer either. In the ideal world, we aren't barred or selected on our color but we are selected on our capabilities. And that starts with organizations taking a better look at their senior management and take active responsibility on why it's not a reflection of society. With that, we not only create a safer work environment for people of color, we also enable the change that is needed in society at the moment.

Inside the issue

MICHÈLE
Partnership Coordinator
On slowing down & social distancing

What is the best thing to come out of the lockdown?

I think we can all agree that one of the best things to come out of the lockdown, is the fact that we were forced to finally slow down. To me, it felt like the vacation I didn't know I needed. In the first week, I definitely needed some adjusting to the idea that I had no place to go to. Offices, shops, restaurants, cafes, everything had closed. When you have a three-year-old at home and a baby on the way, you need that visit to the pastry shop around the corner. Or the Sunday morning brunch at ... with your husband. Sacred things! And then there was the news. Every day it was like it couldn't get any worse, and then next day's news would top it. It felt like a nightmare. But then you find your way in the lockdown. And I, like many others, found peace in DIY projects. I started baking (which my husband loved and took full advantage of), I took out my old painting kit (which had completely dried out so I had to order a new one) and I even started gardening (the garden has never looked better). We limited use of our mobile devices to a minimum every day and went out for a walk every day. There's something about being able to get back to the basics of life again. To breath, to let things run its course. And to find joy in those little things you often forget about. To me, the lockdown couldn't have come at a better timing for me. It was just what I needed.

How will the slowdown impact the world?

I think there are going to be changes that are going to happen gradually and some instantly. Like Eirign writes in The Future of Fashion, we are going to see a decline in fast fashion production. This is inevitable. I firmly believe that the fashion industry needs a change and has needed it for a while now. The way we manufacture clothes, the pace at which it happens, the abnormal quantities we're trying to consume and get rid of at the end of each season. It just isn't logical. Instead we need to focus on slow fashion and work with sustainable and honest processes. I think the slowdown will also impact our mental health. I think we're going to long for doing things we love again, instead of following society's demands. And we're going to keep things at our own pace more and more. And like Cynthia writes in Words, Stripes, Shapes, we are going to be much more in touch with ourselves or at least be aware that there's such a thing as mental health. We're going to look for the smaller things in life again and enjoy working with our hands and minds instead of staring at the screen all day. So the slowdown will have an effect on a broad spectrum of our lives.

Do you think we'll get back to 'fast living' again once the pandemic is over?

I don't think we are getting out of this situation any time soon. I'm afraid our lives have changed forever. So I sincerely hope that the 'slow down movement' will have a lasting effect on our lives. And I don't see it as a trend or a movement. It's going to be a new way of living.

How was social distancing for you?

Obviously we've had to socially distance ourselves for a reason. But there's one thing I have missed and still miss, which is personal contact. I feel like we human beings are creatures of affection and love. And while we've witnessed a lot of positivity and goodness of mankind these last couple of months, it feels like we're still missing our physical interaction. I'm French so I miss the faire la bise. I miss being able to hold my friends. I just miss contact. Greeting people now by standing 2m apart from each other is so unnatural for us.

Any piece of advice you've got at the moment?

Take your time. It's okay to not be okay. And this too shall pass.

ROSALIE
Contributor
On the pandemic

How has COVID-19 influenced your life?

In ways I could never have imagined. I contracted the virus while I was on vacation in Austria. With a group of friends, we went skiing. When I came back to France, I started showing symptoms of the virus. We had to go into quarantine. Those weeks may have been the worst I have ever felt. It's an unnatural thing for me to feel weak and helpless. I am young, I eat healthy, I exercise three times a week and I don't smoke or drink. I've always prided myself on having a strong body. But this was something out of the ordinary. I knew immediately it had to be the coronavirus. I had never felt this small before in life. It's not a feeling I'd like to experience again.

How do you think the world is responding to the pandemic?

I think the response in Europe especially has been quite well. Governments were quick to take action and generally people followed the quarantine rules quite well. I do think the world has become divisive about the virus. There's clearly two groups of people: those who do everything they can to protect themselves and those who carry on like nothing has happened and who often don't even believe the virus can hurt them in any way. For someone who has been through hell and back with the virus, that is unsettling to see. And obviously when I look at the US, I see an incompetent president who would better take example from other countries on how to handle a national crisis. Just when you think it cannot get any worse, the next day he goes and says something even more stupid.

Do you wear a mask in public?

When we go out for a walk in the park, I don't. But when I go to public spaces, where I know there's a risk it can become crowded, I definitely do. But in general, I try to avoid public spaces now. I'm not trying to scare anyone with this. This is mainly due to my personal experience with the virus. I am much more cautious now.

Where do we go from here?

I think we are going to see a lot of changes in society. People are going to have to change the way they operated before. I see restaurants who are coming up with apps where you can order food and you can pick up your dish at the counter and take with you to your table in that restaurant. I even see Michelin star restaurants coming up with full menus and instructions on how to finish the dish. It's amazing how much creativity some chefs have. The only way for entrepreneurs to survive this crisis is to innovate, be flexible to the changes and stay ahead of the game.

WOUT
Make-up artist
On racism

Have we progressed since the start of Black Lives Matter (and how)?

We have progressed in the sense that Black and Indigenous People of Colour (BIPOC) their experiences are finally being shared and amplified. Where, however baffling that may be, a lot of people still weren't aware of the scale of unequal treatment that the majority of BIPOC people have been subjected to worldwide, now a lot more people are. The lid has been blown off and minorities can start talking about their experiences instead of keeping them to themselves out of fear. We have progressed in the sense that minorities are aware that being 'tolerated' is not enough, and that being accepted and celebrated is what we need to demand. And while a lot of people might feel hopeless because they are witnessing a strong counter-movement against this, know that whenever oppression is happening, change can't be made without a sense of discomfort in the dominant party.

What do need to stop doing for the debate to really progress?

Let me start by saying that I am not a BIPOC person, and that I am fundamentally aware of that whenever speaking on this subject. We need to stop getting defense and we need to stop centering ourselves as white or white-passing folks, know that your discomfort is not what is important right now. We need to start listening to BIPOC, and start with the amplification of BIPOC' voices on this matter. We don't know what their experience is like. We need to stop talking about this with the intent to 'discuss', or viewing it as a 'debate', and start talking about this with the purpose of listening. When we talk on this specific subject it should always be an extension or amplification of the voices of BIPOC. That being said, first and foremost we need to stop viewing racism as a matter of good and evil. It is not that either one is racist, which makes them an inherently terrible person, or either one is not. Racism is not only 'hating someone because they are black' or actively pursuing racist actions. It is also internalized actions and monologue/conclusions that lead to the different treatment of minorities. Racism is a system that we are being thrown into. In a racist society that is historically built on the exploitation of black and indigenous people, of which we still benefit (we are not responsible for the actions of our ancestors, but we still benefit from them), it is impossible not to be racist. We are born into it. We all have prejudice, that is not our fault. But it starts being our fault when we become aware of that and do nothing. I have prejudice too. I catch myself making mistakes. The only way to change that is to be honest, critical, and reflect on that.

What is still left undiscussed that we need to discuss?

That combating racism and oppression, is often viewed as a task of the minority group targeted. It is not. BIPOC are tired, Queer people are tired. Women are tired. Underprivileged groups are tired. This is emotional labour for them. Don't ask them to do the labour for you, we live in the age of information, educating yourself takes energy but is not complicated. We know you mean well, but here is something to keep in mind: there is a difference between Intent, and Impact. You can mean well but still do harm. It is the job of the people in privileged positions to educate themselves and make sure that the environments that they create are suitable and sustainable for every human being on this planet, not just white, able-bodied cis-hetero men.

What changes do we need in society?

You can really only ask BIPOC. Follow BIPOC. Make an effort for your circle to not be white-only from your crib to your coffin. We need to be more critical and self-reflective of the internalized implications behind our actions.

LING
Contributor
On Hong Kong

How do you feel about the situation in Hong Kong?

It's unsettling. I read the news about the daily events of Hong Kong on Twitter. It's probably not the best way to keep up with the news (or maybe it is) but it's a way for me to read about personal events from the journalists and activists there that usually aren't published in the paper. I feel sad about the decline of Hong Kong's culture and history. For years I've seen Hong Kong change into a place I don't recognize anymore. Hong Kong used to be free and transparant. I feel we are losing every bit of our freedom every single day.

Does your family share your views?

A part of my family views it as a change that was bound to happen. They feel that Hong Kong belongs to China and that this is simply our transition to going back to our home country. And while I agree with that, I think it is happening too quickly and too aggressively. And that is how another part of my family views it as well.

What do you think has to happen next?

I feel like there's little we can do now. Laws are already being approved. And I think we've all learned that there's little you can do against a super power like China.

EMMA
Creative Coordinator
On working on Issue I

How was working on issue I behind the scenes?

Back in October, Igrien first brought up the idea of this magazine that would be 'inspiring' and 'innovative'. If you know Igrien at all — she is a creative genius. Very rarely will you find someone who is as intelligent, well-read and creative as Igrien. So it made absolute sense for her to start Currant. We drafted our first plans in February — and then the pandemic hit the world. It was as if the world stood still for a moment and all we could do was stand still with it. I think we all took a break from that moment, as we had no idea what the foreseeable future was going to look like. We went back to planning again in May, when the lockdown rules had somewhat been relieved in our countries. And from then on, it was just going head on at full speed. And suddenly we found ourselves in Zoom calls every few days to keep each other updated.

What was that like?

I wasn't the biggest fan of Zoom. Especially during the lockdown, I liked doing things in my own comfort, at home, in my pyjamas, with a cup of tea. So when it was suggested we do video calls, I protested with all my power. Imagine doing Zoom calls, with Igrien always looking fabulous and Michèle just being her stunning French self. No wise woman would agree to be in that company. But I had no option but to dress up a bit as well. When this is all over, I suggest we forget about Zoom once and for all. We delete it from our phones, dictionary and history. And go back to just emailing. Or actually meeting face-to-face. With a glass of wine or two. That i'd dress up for.

What was the most challenging thing working on the inaugural issue?

It would be obvious to say the pandemic and lockdown. And it definitely was a challenge. I mean, try starting a magazine in a time when the world is in panic and chaos. But I think the real challenge was trying to find a place in a market that is already overly saturated. In this time, everyone can start a website and call it a magazine. During our research we've weeded through almost all kinds of magazines you can find on the internet. And there's loads of magazines out there. From the get-go, Igrien had a vision for Currant and knew what she did and did not want for the magazine. From there we shaped it, reshaped it

What is in the works for the future?

We're going to start rolling out the first issue this month and after that we'll be full on in production mode for the second issue. The next issue will have a fashion focus. It will be our first September issue. It is daunting to be working on something like that but I'm quite looking forward to setting up all the work for that. We're bursting with ideas and that's because there's this amazing energy we all have. To create something that isn't out there yet, to tell stories we find are often left untold and to open our doors for people no matter their skin color or look. As long as there's a story to tell. And we find that there always is.

IGRIEN
Creative Director & Editor-in-Chief
On racism

What are your personal experiences with racism in the Netherlands?

These past couple of months I have wondered about the racism I have or may have experienced myself. I have had encounters of all kinds in the past with people making remarks about my ethnicity, culture, often passed off as 'jokes'. I've also had encounters as lowly as people mimicking the way they think Chinese people sound. Some of this behavior I witnessed from 'kids' on the street, who I can only assume still need to be educated. But I was most surprised when I found the most offensive experiences to have come from a workplace. The same mimicking and derogatory remarks, coming from people in leading positions where you would expect better educated people. These remarks were always brushed off as, again, mere 'jokes. But what shocked me most was perhaps a policy of upper management to bar people of color to ever grace the cover of their magazine, under a marketing ploy that I cannot begin to explain. It all makes BIPOC feel isolated in the workplace. Racism is everywhere in the Netherlands, but what is even worse is the denial in which it happens.

How has Black Lives Matter impacted your views on racism?

It has changed my belief in what is racist and what isn't. I have often found that European values (or Dutch values for that matter) are different than American values. The racism discussion here has always been directed towards people who mean to do you harm or purposefully disparage you through a superiority belief. This has never sat well with me but I could never fully put into words why. I now believe that in a way, whether we mean to belittle or not and whether we think we're superior or not, we all base our views on prejudiced thoughts. And if we make remarks based on that, we are being racist. The point is that we have to realize that and learn to listen to the feedback from people around us. Only then can we change.

Where do we go from here?

White people need to start listening to people of color. Even now, I hear white people brush off white privilege arguments with 'I have suffered too' or 'but we are all the same'.. But it's not the same kind of suffering and in a way history has made us turn out not to be or be treated as the same. And while I'm happy with recent changes in work placements of people in color or organizations vowing to change their hiring culture, because it's a start, I don't think it's the right answer either. In the ideal world, we aren't barred or selected on our color but we are selected on our capabilities. And that starts with organizations taking a better look at their senior management and take active responsibility on why it's not a reflection of society. With that, we not only create a safer work environment for people of color, we also enable the change that is needed in society at the moment.

Inside the issue

MICHÈLE
Partnership Coordinator
On slowing down & social distancing

What is the best thing to come out of the lockdown?

I think we can all agree that one of the best things to come out of the lockdown, is the fact that we were forced to finally slow down. To me, it felt like the vacation I didn't know I needed. In the first week, I definitely needed some adjusting to the idea that I had no place to go to. Offices, shops, restaurants, cafes, everything had closed. When you have a three-year-old at home and a baby on the way, you need that visit to the pastry shop around the corner. Or the Sunday morning brunch at ... with your husband. Sacred things! And then there was the news. Every day it was like it couldn't get any worse, and then next day's news would top it. It felt like a nightmare. But then you find your way in the lockdown. And I, like many others, found peace in DIY projects. I started baking (which my husband loved and took full advantage of), I took out my old painting kit (which had completely dried out so I had to order a new one) and I even started gardening (the garden has never looked better). We limited use of our mobile devices to a minimum every day and went out for a walk every day. There's something about being able to get back to the basics of life again. To breath, to let things run its course. And to find joy in those little things you often forget about. To me, the lockdown couldn't have come at a better timing for me. It was just what I needed.

How will the slowdown impact the world?

I think there are going to be changes that are going to happen gradually and some instantly. Like Eirign writes in The Future of Fashion, we are going to see a decline in fast fashion production. This is inevitable. I firmly believe that the fashion industry needs a change and has needed it for a while now. The way we manufacture clothes, the pace at which it happens, the abnormal quantities we're trying to consume and get rid of at the end of each season. It just isn't logical. Instead we need to focus on slow fashion and work with sustainable and honest processes. I think the slowdown will also impact our mental health. I think we're going to long for doing things we love again, instead of following society's demands. And we're going to keep things at our own pace more and more. And like Cynthia writes in Words, Stripes, Shapes, we are going to be much more in touch with ourselves or at least be aware that there's such a thing as mental health. We're going to look for the smaller things in life again and enjoy working with our hands and minds instead of staring at the screen all day. So the slowdown will have an effect on a broad spectrum of our lives.

Do you think we'll get back to 'fast living' again once the pandemic is over?

I don't think we are getting out of this situation any time soon. I'm afraid our lives have changed forever. So I sincerely hope that the 'slow down movement' will have a lasting effect on our lives. And I don't see it as a trend or a movement. It's going to be a new way of living.

How was social distancing for you?

Obviously we've had to socially distance ourselves for a reason. But there's one thing I have missed and still miss, which is personal contact. I feel like we human beings are creatures of affection and love. And while we've witnessed a lot of positivity and goodness of mankind these last couple of months, it feels like we're still missing our physical interaction. I'm French so I miss the faire la bise. I miss being able to hold my friends. I just miss contact. Greeting people now by standing 2m apart from each other is so unnatural for us.

Any piece of advice you've got at the moment?

Take your time. It's okay to not be okay. And this too shall pass.

ROSALIE
Contributor
On the pandemic

How has COVID-19 influenced your life?

In ways I could never have imagined. I contracted the virus while I was on vacation in Austria. With a group of friends, we went skiing. When I came back to France, I started showing symptoms of the virus. We had to go into quarantine. Those weeks may have been the worst I have ever felt. It's an unnatural thing for me to feel weak and helpless. I am young, I eat healthy, I exercise three times a week and I don't smoke or drink. I've always prided myself on having a strong body. But this was something out of the ordinary. I knew immediately it had to be the coronavirus. I had never felt this small before in life. It's not a feeling I'd like to experience again.

How do you think the world is responding to the pandemic?

I think the response in Europe especially has been quite well. Governments were quick to take action and generally people followed the quarantine rules quite well. I do think the world has become divisive about the virus. There's clearly two groups of people: those who do everything they can to protect themselves and those who carry on like nothing has happened and who often don't even believe the virus can hurt them in any way. For someone who has been through hell and back with the virus, that is unsettling to see. And obviously when I look at the US, I see an incompetent president who would better take example from other countries on how to handle a national crisis. Just when you think it cannot get any worse, the next day he goes and says something even more stupid.

Do you wear a mask in public?

When we go out for a walk in the park, I don't. But when I go to public spaces, where I know there's a risk it can become crowded, I definitely do. But in general, I try to avoid public spaces now. I'm not trying to scare anyone with this. This is mainly due to my personal experience with the virus. I am much more cautious now.

Where do we go from here?

I think we are going to see a lot of changes in society. People are going to have to change the way they operated before. I see restaurants who are coming up with apps where you can order food and you can pick up your dish at the counter and take with you to your table in that restaurant. I even see Michelin star restaurants coming up with full menus and instructions on how to finish the dish. It's amazing how much creativity some chefs have. The only way for entrepreneurs to survive this crisis is to innovate, be flexible to the changes and stay ahead of the game.

WOUT
Make-up artist
On racism

Have we progressed since the start of Black Lives Matter (and how)?

We have progressed in the sense that Black and Indigenous People of Colour (BIPOC) their experiences are finally being shared and amplified. Where, however baffling that may be, a lot of people still weren't aware of the scale of unequal treatment that the majority of BIPOC people have been subjected to worldwide, now a lot more people are. The lid has been blown off and minorities can start talking about their experiences instead of keeping them to themselves out of fear. We have progressed in the sense that minorities are aware that being 'tolerated' is not enough, and that being accepted and celebrated is what we need to demand. And while a lot of people might feel hopeless because they are witnessing a strong counter-movement against this, know that whenever oppression is happening, change can't be made without a sense of discomfort in the dominant party.

What do need to stop doing for the debate to really progress?

Let me start by saying that I am not a BIPOC person, and that I am fundamentally aware of that whenever speaking on this subject. We need to stop getting defense and we need to stop centering ourselves as white or white-passing folks, know that your discomfort is not what is important right now. We need to start listening to BIPOC, and start with the amplification of BIPOC' voices on this matter. We don't know what their experience is like. We need to stop talking about this with the intent to 'discuss', or viewing it as a 'debate', and start talking about this with the purpose of listening. When we talk on this specific subject it should always be an extension or amplification of the voices of BIPOC. That being said, first and foremost we need to stop viewing racism as a matter of good and evil. It is not that either one is racist, which makes them an inherently terrible person, or either one is not. Racism is not only 'hating someone because they are black' or actively pursuing racist actions. It is also internalized actions and monologue/conclusions that lead to the different treatment of minorities. Racism is a system that we are being thrown into. In a racist society that is historically built on the exploitation of black and indigenous people, of which we still benefit (we are not responsible for the actions of our ancestors, but we still benefit from them), it is impossible not to be racist. We are born into it. We all have prejudice, that is not our fault. But it starts being our fault when we become aware of that and do nothing. I have prejudice too. I catch myself making mistakes. The only way to change that is to be honest, critical, and reflect on that.

What is still left undiscussed that we need to discuss?

That combating racism and oppression, is often viewed as a task of the minority group targeted. It is not. BIPOC are tired, Queer people are tired. Women are tired. Underprivileged groups are tired. This is emotional labour for them. Don't ask them to do the labour for you, we live in the age of information, educating yourself takes energy but is not complicated. We know you mean well, but here is something to keep in mind: there is a difference between Intent, and Impact. You can mean well but still do harm. It is the job of the people in privileged positions to educate themselves and make sure that the environments that they create are suitable and sustainable for every human being on this planet, not just white, able-bodied cis-hetero men.

What changes do we need in society?

You can really only ask BIPOC. Follow BIPOC. Make an effort for your circle to not be white-only from your crib to your coffin. We need to be more critical and self-reflective of the internalized implications behind our actions.

LING
Contributor
On Hong Kong

How do you feel about the situation in Hong Kong?

It's unsettling. I read the news about the daily events of Hong Kong on Twitter. It's probably not the best way to keep up with the news (or maybe it is) but it's a way for me to read about personal events from the journalists and activists there that usually aren't published in the paper. I feel sad about the decline of Hong Kong's culture and history. For years I've seen Hong Kong change into a place I don't recognize anymore. Hong Kong used to be free and transparant. I feel we are losing every bit of our freedom every single day.

Does your family share your views?

A part of my family views it as a change that was bound to happen. They feel that Hong Kong belongs to China and that this is simply our transition to going back to our home country. And while I agree with that, I think it is happening too quickly and too aggressively. And that is how another part of my family views it as well.

What do you think has to happen next?

I feel like there's little we can do now. Laws are already being approved. And I think we've all learned that there's little you can do against a super power like China.

EMMA
Creative Coordinator
On working on Issue I

How was working on issue I behind the scenes?

Back in October, Igrien first brought up the idea of this magazine that would be 'inspiring' and 'innovative'. If you know Igrien at all — she is a creative genius. Very rarely will you find someone who is as intelligent, well-read and creative as Igrien. So it made absolute sense for her to start Currant. We drafted our first plans in February — and then the pandemic hit the world. It was as if the world stood still for a moment and all we could do was stand still with it. I think we all took a break from that moment, as we had no idea what the foreseeable future was going to look like. We went back to planning again in May, when the lockdown rules had somewhat been relieved in our countries. And from then on, it was just going head on at full speed. And suddenly we found ourselves in Zoom calls every few days to keep each other updated.

What was that like?

I wasn't the biggest fan of Zoom. Especially during the lockdown, I liked doing things in my own comfort, at home, in my pyjamas, with a cup of tea. So when it was suggested we do video calls, I protested with all my power. Imagine doing Zoom calls, with Igrien always looking fabulous and Michèle just being her stunning French self. No wise woman would agree to be in that company. But I had no option but to dress up a bit as well. When this is all over, I suggest we forget about Zoom once and for all. We delete it from our phones, dictionary and history. And go back to just emailing. Or actually meeting face-to-face. With a glass of wine or two. That i'd dress up for.

What was the most challenging thing working on the inaugural issue?

It would be obvious to say the pandemic and lockdown. And it definitely was a challenge. I mean, try starting a magazine in a time when the world is in panic and chaos. But I think the real challenge was trying to find a place in a market that is already overly saturated. In this time, everyone can start a website and call it a magazine. During our research we've weeded through almost all kinds of magazines you can find on the internet. And there's loads of magazines out there. From the get-go, Igrien had a vision for Currant and knew what she did and did not want for the magazine. From there we shaped it, reshaped it

What is in the works for the future?

We're going to start rolling out the first issue this month and after that we'll be full on in production mode for the second issue. The next issue will have a fashion focus. It will be our first September issue. It is daunting to be working on something like that but I'm quite looking forward to setting up all the work for that. We're bursting with ideas and that's because there's this amazing energy we all have. To create something that isn't out there yet, to tell stories we find are often left untold and to open our doors for people no matter their skin color or look. As long as there's a story to tell. And we find that there always is.

IGRIEN
Creative Director & Editor-in-Chief
On racism

What are your personal experiences with racism in the Netherlands?

These past couple of months I have wondered about the racism I have or may have experienced myself. I have had encounters of all kinds in the past with people making remarks about my ethnicity, culture, often passed off as 'jokes'. I've also had encounters as lowly as people mimicking the way they think Chinese people sound. Some of this behavior I witnessed from 'kids' on the street, who I can only assume still need to be educated. But I was most surprised when I found the most offensive experiences to have come from a workplace. The same mimicking and derogatory remarks, coming from people in leading positions where you would expect better educated people. These remarks were always brushed off as, again, mere 'jokes. But what shocked me most was perhaps a policy of upper management to bar people of color to ever grace the cover of their magazine, under a marketing ploy that I cannot begin to explain. It all makes BIPOC feel isolated in the workplace. Racism is everywhere in the Netherlands, but what is even worse is the denial in which it happens.

How has Black Lives Matter impacted your views on racism?

It has changed my belief in what is racist and what isn't. I have often found that European values (or Dutch values for that matter) are different than American values. The racism discussion here has always been directed towards people who mean to do you harm or purposefully disparage you through a superiority belief. This has never sat well with me but I could never fully put into words why. I now believe that in a way, whether we mean to belittle or not and whether we think we're superior or not, we all base our views on prejudiced thoughts. And if we make remarks based on that, we are being racist. The point is that we have to realize that and learn to listen to the feedback from people around us. Only then can we change.

Where do we go from here?

White people need to start listening to people of color. Even now, I hear white people brush off white privilege arguments with 'I have suffered too' or 'but we are all the same'.. But it's not the same kind of suffering and in a way history has made us turn out not to be or be treated as the same. And while I'm happy with recent changes in work placements of people in color or organizations vowing to change their hiring culture, because it's a start, I don't think it's the right answer either. In the ideal world, we aren't barred or selected on our color but we are selected on our capabilities. And that starts with organizations taking a better look at their senior management and take active responsibility on why it's not a reflection of society. With that, we not only create a safer work environment for people of color, we also enable the change that is needed in society at the moment.

Inside the issue

MICHÈLE
Partnership Coordinator
On slowing down & social distancing

What is the best thing to come out of the lockdown?

I think we can all agree that one of the best things to come out of the lockdown, is the fact that we were forced to finally slow down. To me, it felt like the vacation I didn't know I needed. In the first week, I definitely needed some adjusting to the idea that I had no place to go to. Offices, shops, restaurants, cafes, everything had closed. When you have a three-year-old at home and a baby on the way, you need that visit to the pastry shop around the corner. Or the Sunday morning brunch at ... with your husband. Sacred things! And then there was the news. Every day it was like it couldn't get any worse, and then next day's news would top it. It felt like a nightmare. But then you find your way in the lockdown. And I, like many others, found peace in DIY projects. I started baking (which my husband loved and took full advantage of), I took out my old painting kit (which had completely dried out so I had to order a new one) and I even started gardening (the garden has never looked better). We limited use of our mobile devices to a minimum every day and went out for a walk every day. There's something about being able to get back to the basics of life again. To breath, to let things run its course. And to find joy in those little things you often forget about. To me, the lockdown couldn't have come at a better timing for me. It was just what I needed.

How will the slowdown impact the world?

I think there are going to be changes that are going to happen gradually and some instantly. Like Eirign writes in The Future of Fashion, we are going to see a decline in fast fashion production. This is inevitable. I firmly believe that the fashion industry needs a change and has needed it for a while now. The way we manufacture clothes, the pace at which it happens, the abnormal quantities we're trying to consume and get rid of at the end of each season. It just isn't logical. Instead we need to focus on slow fashion and work with sustainable and honest processes. I think the slowdown will also impact our mental health. I think we're going to long for doing things we love again, instead of following society's demands. And we're going to keep things at our own pace more and more. And like Cynthia writes in Words, Stripes, Shapes, we are going to be much more in touch with ourselves or at least be aware that there's such a thing as mental health. We're going to look for the smaller things in life again and enjoy working with our hands and minds instead of staring at the screen all day. So the slowdown will have an effect on a broad spectrum of our lives.

Do you think we'll get back to 'fast living' again once the pandemic is over?

I don't think we are getting out of this situation any time soon. I'm afraid our lives have changed forever. So I sincerely hope that the 'slow down movement' will have a lasting effect on our lives. And I don't see it as a trend or a movement. It's going to be a new way of living.

How was social distancing for you?

Obviously we've had to socially distance ourselves for a reason. But there's one thing I have missed and still miss, which is personal contact. I feel like we human beings are creatures of affection and love. And while we've witnessed a lot of positivity and goodness of mankind these last couple of months, it feels like we're still missing our physical interaction. I'm French so I miss the faire la bise. I miss being able to hold my friends. I just miss contact. Greeting people now by standing 2m apart from each other is so unnatural for us.

Any piece of advice you've got at the moment?

Take your time. It's okay to not be okay. And this too shall pass.

ROSALIE
Contributor
On the pandemic

How has COVID-19 influenced your life?

In ways I could never have imagined. I contracted the virus while I was on vacation in Austria. With a group of friends, we went skiing. When I came back to France, I started showing symptoms of the virus. We had to go into quarantine. Those weeks may have been the worst I have ever felt. It's an unnatural thing for me to feel weak and helpless. I am young, I eat healthy, I exercise three times a week and I don't smoke or drink. I've always prided myself on having a strong body. But this was something out of the ordinary. I knew immediately it had to be the coronavirus. I had never felt this small before in life. It's not a feeling I'd like to experience again.

How do you think the world is responding to the pandemic?

I think the response in Europe especially has been quite well. Governments were quick to take action and generally people followed the quarantine rules quite well. I do think the world has become divisive about the virus. There's clearly two groups of people: those who do everything they can to protect themselves and those who carry on like nothing has happened and who often don't even believe the virus can hurt them in any way. For someone who has been through hell and back with the virus, that is unsettling to see. And obviously when I look at the US, I see an incompetent president who would better take example from other countries on how to handle a national crisis. Just when you think it cannot get any worse, the next day he goes and says something even more stupid.

Do you wear a mask in public?

When we go out for a walk in the park, I don't. But when I go to public spaces, where I know there's a risk it can become crowded, I definitely do. But in general, I try to avoid public spaces now. I'm not trying to scare anyone with this. This is mainly due to my personal experience with the virus. I am much more cautious now.

Where do we go from here?

I think we are going to see a lot of changes in society. People are going to have to change the way they operated before. I see restaurants who are coming up with apps where you can order food and you can pick up your dish at the counter and take with you to your table in that restaurant. I even see Michelin star restaurants coming up with full menus and instructions on how to finish the dish. It's amazing how much creativity some chefs have. The only way for entrepreneurs to survive this crisis is to innovate, be flexible to the changes and stay ahead of the game.

WOUT
Make-up artist
On racism

Have we progressed since the start of Black Lives Matter (and how)?

We have progressed in the sense that Black and Indigenous People of Colour (BIPOC) their experiences are finally being shared and amplified. Where, however baffling that may be, a lot of people still weren't aware of the scale of unequal treatment that the majority of BIPOC people have been subjected to worldwide, now a lot more people are. The lid has been blown off and minorities can start talking about their experiences instead of keeping them to themselves out of fear. We have progressed in the sense that minorities are aware that being 'tolerated' is not enough, and that being accepted and celebrated is what we need to demand. And while a lot of people might feel hopeless because they are witnessing a strong counter-movement against this, know that whenever oppression is happening, change can't be made without a sense of discomfort in the dominant party.

What do need to stop doing for the debate to really progress?

Let me start by saying that I am not a BIPOC person, and that I am fundamentally aware of that whenever speaking on this subject. We need to stop getting defense and we need to stop centering ourselves as white or white-passing folks, know that your discomfort is not what is important right now. We need to start listening to BIPOC, and start with the amplification of BIPOC' voices on this matter. We don't know what their experience is like. We need to stop talking about this with the intent to 'discuss', or viewing it as a 'debate', and start talking about this with the purpose of listening. When we talk on this specific subject it should always be an extension or amplification of the voices of BIPOC. That being said, first and foremost we need to stop viewing racism as a matter of good and evil. It is not that either one is racist, which makes them an inherently terrible person, or either one is not. Racism is not only 'hating someone because they are black' or actively pursuing racist actions. It is also internalized actions and monologue/conclusions that lead to the different treatment of minorities. Racism is a system that we are being thrown into. In a racist society that is historically built on the exploitation of black and indigenous people, of which we still benefit (we are not responsible for the actions of our ancestors, but we still benefit from them), it is impossible not to be racist. We are born into it. We all have prejudice, that is not our fault. But it starts being our fault when we become aware of that and do nothing. I have prejudice too. I catch myself making mistakes. The only way to change that is to be honest, critical, and reflect on that.

What is still left undiscussed that we need to discuss?

That combating racism and oppression, is often viewed as a task of the minority group targeted. It is not. BIPOC are tired, Queer people are tired. Women are tired. Underprivileged groups are tired. This is emotional labour for them. Don't ask them to do the labour for you, we live in the age of information, educating yourself takes energy but is not complicated. We know you mean well, but here is something to keep in mind: there is a difference between Intent, and Impact. You can mean well but still do harm. It is the job of the people in privileged positions to educate themselves and make sure that the environments that they create are suitable and sustainable for every human being on this planet, not just white, able-bodied cis-hetero men.

What changes do we need in society?

You can really only ask BIPOC. Follow BIPOC. Make an effort for your circle to not be white-only from your crib to your coffin. We need to be more critical and self-reflective of the internalized implications behind our actions.

LING
Contributor
On Hong Kong

How do you feel about the situation in Hong Kong?

It's unsettling. I read the news about the daily events of Hong Kong on Twitter. It's probably not the best way to keep up with the news (or maybe it is) but it's a way for me to read about personal events from the journalists and activists there that usually aren't published in the paper. I feel sad about the decline of Hong Kong's culture and history. For years I've seen Hong Kong change into a place I don't recognize anymore. Hong Kong used to be free and transparant. I feel we are losing every bit of our freedom every single day.

Does your family share your views?

A part of my family views it as a change that was bound to happen. They feel that Hong Kong belongs to China and that this is simply our transition to going back to our home country. And while I agree with that, I think it is happening too quickly and too aggressively. And that is how another part of my family views it as well.

What do you think has to happen next?

I feel like there's little we can do now. Laws are already being approved. And I think we've all learned that there's little you can do against a super power like China.

EMMA
Creative Coordinator
On working on Issue I

How was working on issue I behind the scenes?

Back in October, Igrien first brought up the idea of this magazine that would be 'inspiring' and 'innovative'. If you know Igrien at all — she is a creative genius. Very rarely will you find someone who is as intelligent, well-read and creative as Igrien. So it made absolute sense for her to start Currant. We drafted our first plans in February — and then the pandemic hit the world. It was as if the world stood still for a moment and all we could do was stand still with it. I think we all took a break from that moment, as we had no idea what the foreseeable future was going to look like. We went back to planning again in May, when the lockdown rules had somewhat been relieved in our countries. And from then on, it was just going head on at full speed. And suddenly we found ourselves in Zoom calls every few days to keep each other updated.

What was that like?

I wasn't the biggest fan of Zoom. Especially during the lockdown, I liked doing things in my own comfort, at home, in my pyjamas, with a cup of tea. So when it was suggested we do video calls, I protested with all my power. Imagine doing Zoom calls, with Igrien always looking fabulous and Michèle just being her stunning French self. No wise woman would agree to be in that company. But I had no option but to dress up a bit as well. When this is all over, I suggest we forget about Zoom once and for all. We delete it from our phones, dictionary and history. And go back to just emailing. Or actually meeting face-to-face. With a glass of wine or two. That i'd dress up for.

What was the most challenging thing working on the inaugural issue?

It would be obvious to say the pandemic and lockdown. And it definitely was a challenge. I mean, try starting a magazine in a time when the world is in panic and chaos. But I think the real challenge was trying to find a place in a market that is already overly saturated. In this time, everyone can start a website and call it a magazine. During our research we've weeded through almost all kinds of magazines you can find on the internet. And there's loads of magazines out there. From the get-go, Igrien had a vision for Currant and knew what she did and did not want for the magazine. From there we shaped it, reshaped it

What is in the works for the future?

We're going to start rolling out the first issue this month and after that we'll be full on in production mode for the second issue. The next issue will have a fashion focus. It will be our first September issue. It is daunting to be working on something like that but I'm quite looking forward to setting up all the work for that. We're bursting with ideas and that's because there's this amazing energy we all have. To create something that isn't out there yet, to tell stories we find are often left untold and to open our doors for people no matter their skin color or look. As long as there's a story to tell. And we find that there always is.

IGRIEN
Creative Director & Editor-in-Chief
On racism

What are your personal experiences with racism in the Netherlands?

These past couple of months I have wondered about the racism I have or may have experienced myself. I have had encounters of all kinds in the past with people making remarks about my ethnicity, culture, often passed off as 'jokes'. I've also had encounters as lowly as people mimicking the way they think Chinese people sound. Some of this behavior I witnessed from 'kids' on the street, who I can only assume still need to be educated. But I was most surprised when I found the most offensive experiences to have come from a workplace. The same mimicking and derogatory remarks, coming from people in leading positions where you would expect better educated people. These remarks were always brushed off as, again, mere 'jokes. But what shocked me most was perhaps a policy of upper management to bar people of color to ever grace the cover of their magazine, under a marketing ploy that I cannot begin to explain. It all makes BIPOC feel isolated in the workplace. Racism is everywhere in the Netherlands, but what is even worse is the denial in which it happens.

How has Black Lives Matter impacted your views on racism?

It has changed my belief in what is racist and what isn't. I have often found that European values (or Dutch values for that matter) are different than American values. The racism discussion here has always been directed towards people who mean to do you harm or purposefully disparage you through a superiority belief. This has never sat well with me but I could never fully put into words why. I now believe that in a way, whether we mean to belittle or not and whether we think we're superior or not, we all base our views on prejudiced thoughts. And if we make remarks based on that, we are being racist. The point is that we have to realize that and learn to listen to the feedback from people around us. Only then can we change.

Where do we go from here?

White people need to start listening to people of color. Even now, I hear white people brush off white privilege arguments with 'I have suffered too' or 'but we are all the same'.. But it's not the same kind of suffering and in a way history has made us turn out not to be or be treated as the same. And while I'm happy with recent changes in work placements of people in color or organizations vowing to change their hiring culture, because it's a start, I don't think it's the right answer either. In the ideal world, we aren't barred or selected on our color but we are selected on our capabilities. And that starts with organizations taking a better look at their senior management and take active responsibility on why it's not a reflection of society. With that, we not only create a safer work environment for people of color, we also enable the change that is needed in society at the moment.

Lotte Schriek

Life in the time of corona