In addition to my services in VISUAL STORYTELLING, PHOTOGRAPHY and SOCIAL IMPACT DESIGN I just launched MLE Empowering Apparel (www.mleempoweringapparel.com), a line of garments which is designed to empower YOU to show the world who YOU really are. In addition, 10% of each garment's profit help to EMPOWER a women entrepreneur in Africa to create/grow a sustainable business thru Microfinance. No donation, pure EMPOWERMENT! Here is the story behind my new brand's name:
ON RUSH HOURS, FOGGY BRAINS AND MAGIC BREAKS
It was one of those rainy, foggy fall days in DC. In my head I had that same rush-hour-chaos as on those streets around me. My thoughts were on a sort of rollercoaster in my brain and got jammed always on those same intersections. Why?
Because I needed a solution for this idea I had been obsessing over: I wanted – no, actually – I NEEDED to find an answer to the following question:
What was required to combine my two biggest passions - aesthetics and the social cause? How could I carry such a simple, but powerful message into the world? How could I inspire people to be their authentic selves and live up to their full potential?
That wasn’t clear at all on this foggy rush-hour morning.
But something was clear: if something could be helpful for this thought-jam, it was surely a comforting Latte at my favorite coffee place.
For years I’ve been celebrating breaks from life here as well as celebrating life itself. I love the atmosphere in which depending on your mood, you can immerse yourself in your work or have small talks, as you’d always find someone from the hood hanging around. I love the delicious smell of freshly brewed coffee, which you start smelling as soon as you set foot in the coffee shop, which even for the most foggy rush-hour-headed person, is a welcoming break.
But it didn't work on that specific day.
The noise and hectic atmosphere was the last thing my brain could tolerate, and the long line was the last thing I could afford to add to my already more than busy schedule. I was about to give up and turn around when there was a sudden pull ahead in the line. I checked my watch nervously, hesitated for a moment and made a deal with myself: if, within 2 minutes, it wasn't my turn, I’d leave. Promised.
Destiny was on my side: shortly after, the kind latino barista handed me the obligatory plastic cup, on which he had scribbled with the obligatory Sharpie, my obligatory name.
And all of a sudden it was there, the break.
Completely different than expected: all at once everything went quiet in me and around me. No fog. No rush hour. No noise. It was love at first sight. No, not with the barista (even though he had a nice smile), but with the three letters which he had written on my cup: MLE.
That’s how he understood my name. Or how he abbreviated it. Or how he perceived it. Whatever: those three letters were a gift. They were a feeling of joy and a sign. Suddenly I knew that this new MLE was part of my new ME.
The ME, who would combine my two passions – aesthetics and the social cause.
The ME, who would carry a simple but powerful message out into the world.
The ME, who would inspire people to be authentic and live their life to its fullest.
HOW I’d go about it wasn't clear right in that moment. It was only clear that I’d do it. It was the birthdate of my new brand, MLE. The birth wasn't accompanied with trumpets, but with a magic break. A moment of silence, which made the fog evaporate and the traffic jam in my brain disappear completely.