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Supporting A Minor Consideration

$20 from every caftan will be donated to A Minor Consideration

Some of you may not know, but I was a child actor. I was on Australia’s highest rating, longest running sitcom, Hey Dad..! Like many child actors, the reality of working wasn’t as great as people thought. Before #MeToo was a thing, I sent my TV dad to prison for child abuse. Back then, the world wasn’t a kind place to people who spoke up about abuse. Thankfully, I found A Minor Consideration, and without them, I’m not sure I would have survived the whole ordeal of going public and the court case. These days, I’m part of the board, and I do their web/social media stuff. I’m a big fan of philanthropist clothing brands, and so for the month of June, I’m going to give $20 from the sale of every caftan to @aminorconsideration I’ll put links on the website to AMC and other ways you can help. . . #philanthropy #shopforacause #aminorconsideration #petitecaftan #caftan #kaftan #resortwear #charity #givingback #childactor #sarahmonahan #shrimptank

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A Minor Consideration is a 501c non profit created to help past, present and future child performers. You can read the official blurb at the website, but basically, it was founded by Paul Petersen, after seeing yet another former child star die.
People think child actors live a charmed life, the reality can be quite different. Child performers are exempt from child labor laws, there’s only four US sates that have enacted the Coogan Law, which ensures kids receive at least a portion of their earnings, and it might look fun, but the reality is that it’s still work. While most kids are out playing, kid actors and models are expected to behave like small adults, and work like them.

You can read about my own childhood on Australian TV in my book, Allegedly.

I found A Minor Consideration after going public with the abuse I went through on set, and Paul took me under his wing, introduced me to a group of other former child actors, and really helped save my life. My last day in court left me in tatters, and as I was looking at a bottle of pills and bottle of wine, my phone binged with a photo of our group, sending me their love, and it pulled me through.

Scott Ratner, Katy Kurtzman, Julie Dolan, Erin Murphy & Scott Schwartz

We’ve all been through bad days, and sometimes it just takes one person to give us life. I wish more people could have the same support system I had. The death of Kate Spade yesterday makes me very sad. She was in a very dark place, while portraying a happy exterior for her brand. While going through my own court case, publicly I was the face of the case, and had to be super strong for everyone. In reality, I was sad, scared and alone, especially since I was overseas and away from my husband. I wish Kate had had someone message her out of the blue when she most needed it.

I’m in an amazing place now, and feel like we all go through bad shit, but it does pass. You just need to hold on and ride it out. I want to make sure others are able to ride it out too, and that nobody thinks their only way out is suicide.

Erin Murphy, aka Tabitha from Bewitched in a Shrimptank Caftan while on vacation in Hawaii.

I want A Minor Consideration to be able to help other child actors like me. I want to help them fight to enact child labor laws. I want to make sure other kids are protected on set, and they have their money when they turn 18. I want them to know they’re not alone, and I want to make sure future kids aren’t abused on set, or put in dangerous situations.

Most of my caftans are made for petite ladies, but there are some longer ones for regular height people, or can be worn as cute tunics over shorts or pants. If a caftan isn’t your thing, but you’d still like to help, you can donate to AMC via paypal on their wesbite, www.aminorconsideration.org/fundraising/ or by using Amazon Smile and picking AMC as your charity. Read more about how that works here.

Thanks everyone.

Also, if you’re having a bad day, remember people love you. Whatever it is, it will pass. Hold on, be strong. Life will be wonderful again soon.

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When Fashion Kills

Fashion Designer Kate Spade

Yesterday we lost another great fashion Icon, Kate Spade

Kate’s designs were bright and happy, and people stated you couldn’t be sad walking into a Kate Spade store. She projected an image of happiness in all her interviews, but we’ve since learned that it was a carefully crafted image to maintain “the brand.”

It can be dangerous when a person is also seen to be a brand. The pressure to maintain an image, at the cost of personal health, both physical and mental, can be unfair. People expect a certain image from the founder, and the public isn’t always forgiving of a bad day or a need for a time out.

Double down the need to maintain a public image, with the pressure of the current state of fashion, and the need to launch a new collection every week, and it’s no wonder that many designers are breaking down or walking away.

My own father was a fashion designer. (He died at age 36 of a heart attack) Back then, there was pressure to make beautiful clothes, but there was still seasons. Summer, Winter, and Resort. Then the industry moved to Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter and Resort. Now, in our days of consumerism, and each brands need to keep it fresh, there are new clothes coming out every week. There is no longer distinct seasons, it’s just weeks.

I was going to launch a clothing line, and when I talked to a manufacturer, they asked where my next set of clothes were. I had designed a small capsule, because I honestly think you don’t need an unlimited amount of clothes. It seems like the more clothes people have, the more likely they are to say they have nothing to wear. The most important thing my Dad taught me was to dress for comfort, not for fashion. He believed in having a personal style, and that you should have beautiful basics, and you can add accessories if you wanted to be current. It’s better to invest in a few well made pieces, that are timeless, that fit well, and are well made, than buying some new cheap thing every week, that doesn’t fit well and will become landfill in a month.

Fast Fashion is bad for the environment, it’s dangerous for workers, and it’s stressful for the fashion houses and designers.

I urge everyone to watch the documentary The True Cost.

Look at your wardrobe, and make informed purchases. See what you have, what you need, and then just fill those gaps. Look for brands that are ethically made. Look for designers that pay their workers well, use sustainable fabrics or who give back to charity.

Buy clothes that fit well, and are timeless. There’s nothing worse than buying something you can’t wear again next year because it’s so trendy it instantly dated. You don’t have to stick to solids, there’s plenty of lifestyle brands that have prints that are still wearable season after season. Think Lilly Pulitzer, Island Company, Tommy Bahama. All bright and fun, all classic and wearable for years to come.

Living on a boat forces me to be really picky about my wardrobe. I’m not just a small person, but I also want to be Small on the Earth.

Lilly Pulitzer Summer new arrivals

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Small on the Earth

It’s not just what I am, it’s what I want to be.

As a petite person, I find it hard to find small clothes. There are so few people who cater to petites. Some department stores might have petite sections, but it’s all grandma clothes. Some other places have clothes for smaller women, but they’re generally fast fashion outlets that make cheap clothing that will fall apart in a couple of washes.

It’s not just petites that have problems. I know plus size girls also complain about being able to find things that fit that are also stylish. I decided to do something about it, and create my own line.

I discovered some horrible things.

Consumers complain they can’t get certain clothing, but we’re party to blame. As people increasing demand cheaper clothing, faster fashion, and constant variety, people who make clothing are looking for cheaper ways to make this clothing. They’re designing clothes to be disposable. They’re only making certain sizes, because now that they’re outsourcing to places like China, they’re obliged to make 1000 minimum item runs. That doesn’t mean that they make 1000 of a certain item. It means they have to make 1000 of each size, and each color.

So I want to make a 7 piece capsule wardrobe. If I want to be conservative, and make a couple of different color options, say white and blue, I then also have to work out how many sizes I want to make. Do I go with S, M, L or do size 0, 2, 4, etc. If I was to have my clothes manufactured somewhere like China, even if I only do two colours, and S, M and L, I am now looking at 4200 pieces I have to manufacture. For a start up line. How on earth would I sell 4200 items to petites? It’s insane. So if one tiny line has to make 4200 items, imagine what places like Zara or H&M are producing?

I don’t want to make disposable clothing. I want to go back to the days where you had a few beautiful items that you could wear over and over. Things that were slightly more expensive, but that lasted forever. Things that were timeless, and didn’t go out of fashion a week after you bought them. People make fun of preppies, but you’ve got to hand it to them. They’re pretty environmentally friendly when it comes to their wardrobe. They own staple items, and wear them for 20+ years. They mend things. They hand them down. Their stuff doesn’t go out of style. (Well, to them anyway) When my dad was a designer, there was a couple of seasons. Now there are 52.

As I was looking into where I could get small production runs, with high quality fabrics and manufacturing, and devoid of any type of sweatshop labour, I started knowing more and more that I didn’t just want to make small clothes, I wanted to be small on the earth.

There’s an amazing documentary on Netflix called “The True Cost‘ and it can explain the true cost of fashion way better than I can. I already knew I wanted to go small, make lasting clothes, and hopefully, manufacture right here in the US, but this doco reaffirmed everything for me.

Please watch it before you buy your next $5 t shirt.