We usually utilise this space to talk about our upcoming designs, announce a competition, or to highlight the work of one of our many wonderful collaborators but today we wanted to focus on something a little more important, an issue that is very dear to our hearts.
On March 2 nd we received a post to our Facebook page that deeply affected the team at Erstwilder HQ. Belinda Steele, an Erstwilder fan, wrote to tell us about her daughter Lilia who is being bullied at school for being ‘different’. What is different about Lilia? At just 16 years old, Lilia strongly identifies with a 1950’s influenced style, a style which includes proudly wearing Erstwilder’s vintage inspired brooches. And it is because of this that she is being bullied, on a daily basis.
Unfortunately, as most of us are all too aware, there are some people in this world who fear those who are different and expresses this fear through bullying.
Impressively, Lillia refuses to give in and continues to express who she is, in part, through her Erstwilder designs.
Lilia’s mother Belinda explains the situation her daughter has had to deal with best, the email she sent to us on Thursday March 3 rd 2016 is included in full below:
“Hi Erstwilder Team
So I am touching base as you guys requested about my daughter Lilia and the Facebook post about how she is being bullied about the brooches.
Lilia is a shy, very quiet, intelligent, high achieving young lady who uses her style to express her personality.
The background I guess is Lilia was sick with glandular fever so as a little treat and pick me up I bought three beautiful brooches (after seeing them in fuller figure fuller busts Georgina Hornes’ blog). A lion and two dinosaurs... The lion to commentate our trip to Africa in September and the dinosaurs as she wants to be a paleontologist.
When she was feeling better (literally about a week ago) she went to school and to feel a little more cheerful and brighter she wore the lion on her school jumper thinking nothing of it.
Unfortunately, she was teased about it. Lilia was understandably upset when she came home from school but the next day she decided that she would wear another one as she liked them and in part to not give into the bullying.
Again she was teased - with comments likes they were "grandma" brooches and ugly etc.
Lilia had always been an individual and as she has gotten older (she is 16) she developed her own style heavily influenced by 1950's fashion and have never deviated from owning her style and who she is.
Lilia tried to explain that she likes the brooches and that they make her feel good and she is wearing them for herself.
It is obviously taking a toil but she is adamant that she won't be pressured into conforming and wants to express who she is. - brave at 16!”
Are you as amazed as we are?
The confidence and courage of this young lady is astounding and needs to be acknowledged. It is important to us at Erstwilder that we contribute to positive change in the world wherever we can, and see this as a real opportunity to raise awareness about the larger, universal issue of bullying and, at the same time, show some real support for Lilia.
AND HERE'S WHERE YOU COME IN...
We’re calling on you all wonderful people to band together to take a stand against school bullying (and bullying in all its forms), show your support for Lilia and allow her to see that she is part of a wonderful community of confident women who all own their style.
IT'S EASY TO GET INVOLVED. ALL YOU NEED TO DO IS...
- Take a photo of yourself wearing your favourite Erstwilder brooch
- Post this to Instagram (and/or Facebook)
- Post your picture with the hashtags #MYSTYLEISMYCHOICE & #BRAVEAT16
- Encourage your friends and family to do the same
If you have any messages of support for Lillia (as well as anyone who has been subjected to bullying) or you have your own story to tell, please feel free to share your comments here and on our Facebook page.