The Power of Glitters: Between Sparkling Symbolism and Industrial Shade

The Power of Glitters: Between Sparkling Symbolism and Industrial Shade

Un article de
Etienne & Sabrina

Let’s be honest, we all love glitters, we all want more of it, more colours, more sparkles, and we can’t get enough! Glitters are those amazing miniature shiny and colourful things that really make everything more glamorous. And we want our live to be shiny and sparkly, don’t we? We can use them as cosmetics, in arts and crafts, accessories, clothing, and so much more. Glitter ends up being difficult to remove, but that’s also what makes it charming.

However, it has a less glittering side. What really is glitter? Well, nothing good for our beloved planet: aluminium metalized polyethylene terephthalate. Read: petroleum product coming from fossil fuels, plastic, aluminium, metallization of aluminium, other reflective materials, and a very complex way of production. Ouch! And guess what, the plastic film from which most glitter is made takes about 1,000 years to completely biodegrade on Earth. Glitter is the sum of a juicy business, and as every business of its kind, lethal for the environment.

So, what are we going to do? Glitter is one of the symbols of LGBTIQ+ empowerment, becoming one of the symbols and tools against conservative misogyny and homophobia. As pointed out by an article published for Byrdie, "Glitter is intimately tied to the long legacy of queer nightlife and performance art, including the intersecting worlds of drag, burlesque, and cabaret. As glitter makes its way into our bedsheets and onto our carpets, it also makes its way across generations, connecting queer folks to other communities and to our predecessors."

Laura Dowrart, in her article published for Byrdie, shows that "wearing glitter is a way to signal our queer identities not only to ourselves but also to each other". She decided to interview several people of the queer community to understand more what glitter means to them. She shows that glitter as a symbol not only means euphoria and performance, but also protest and defiance. Glitter can be used as a way of celebrating one's queer identity instead of remaining silent, while defying social norms and expectations of the LGBTIQ+ community to not to do too much, to stay quiet, and eventually to be ashamed of themselves.

Glitter is intimately tied to the long legacy of queer nightlife and performance art, including the intersecting worlds of drag, burlesque, and cabaret. As glitter makes its way into our bedsheets and onto our carpets, it also makes its way across generations, connecting queer folks to other communities and to our predecessors.

Glitter can be seen asa medium to celebrate and love oneself, as LGBTIQ+ community's visibility in the society, as "a way to celebrate being "out" in a very public and consistent way, especially after years of restricting full gender and/or sexual identity expression to certain audiences", as points out Laura. In one of her interviewed folks' point of view, "queerness as a concept disrupts, challenges, and reclaims our collective conventions and expectations about gender". Nothing could illustrate it better than glitter, "which tricks the eye with its multifaceted shimmer". Glitter catches your eye, draws all the attention. Glitter is also artificial, and therefore becomes the personification of our society's constructions, of the "roles we play and social norms we often follow in terms of gender expression, sexuality, and relationship."

Karmaglitzer has decided to reconcile glitter's fabulous symbolisms to the well-being of the Earth. Karmaglitzer is Joyce's and Lara's start-up, and they are making glitter biodegradable. Last week Etienne had the opportunity to meet Joyce virtually. Here is the interview.

Hello Joyce, can you tell me more about yourself and your passion for glitters?

I am Joyce and I have started Karmaglitzer with my friend Lara who lives in Bern because we love to party, dress up and glitter make ups! It is like to go to another world and to make our daily life a bit brighter! But one day we found out glitter is micro plastic and because we both really like nature and we try to live the most sustainable life we can, we were really disappointed. Thinking that when going back home after the party, the glitter goes in the sink and ends in nature, we just stopped using it.

So then you started making your own biodegradable plant-based glitters, right?

Yes, one day we went for a hike and we figured we needed a solution because glitter just makes everything better! So we did our research and we found out a factory in Germany that makes biodegradable glitter and we condition every bottle by hand with love, here in Switzerland. It has been two years now we started, but we have created a registered firm just one year ago as our business got more serious.

Sounds cool! What advice can you share with our Bowie participants about making your idea come true?

Lara and I gained a lot of information during the process, so I always give the advice to just start and you will find you way. It is also really helpful to discuss with other young start-ups, especially from the same sector. But then again, everyone has their own way and you will find yours and you will learn a lot just by doing it. You know, Lara and I, we did not study economics marketing, management or something, we are both social workers, so we don't have a lot of knowledge in business but I think if you are passionate about something, you will be able to find it out!

What are your plans now to take your project to the next step? You were supposed to be partner with Zürich Pride soon...

Yes it is difficult now as all the summer festivals look to be cancelled, so we basically have to wait until the Corona crisis is more or less over. Then we have exciting projects to sell more in physical shops too!

Glitter has been associated with Drag and Pride, it was celebrated in Todrick Hall song"Glitter" or the French movie "Shiny Shrimps" (LesCrevettes Pailletées). Why the hell makes Glitter so Queer?

I think Queerness is about being bright and open, it is an "every colour allowed" thing. I also think Glitter is something you can light up yourself with and help you to be not only visible but to shine. It takes the focus and brings you attention and it helps people to be seen and people wants to be seen! I think it is very important for the Queer scene to be seen and to be visible in our society!

Karmaglitzer is produced sustainably and made from natural plant products such as eucalyptus cellulose. Discover Karmaglitzer collection and support Joyce here.

Joyce and Lara

Notes

  • Many thanks for your time and passion, Joyce!
  • Source : Byrdie's article and its extremely interesting information
  • Inspired by this project? Discover BØWIE, Be You Network's gender+ projects incubator. Get in touch with us or get more info here.
  • You can also joins us the May 16 and 17 for the BØWIE Virtual Launch Event. Share your thoughts, your tips and useful contacts: it will be highly valued for our participants ! You also might hear about opportunities to enroll in one of the projects' team. Dont' wait longer and join us on our Facebook event!

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