Once In a Lifetime OPERAtunity

There are plenty of people I know who have not attended an opera. Even more have not been to New York Fashion Week (NYFW). On Saturday, September 9, I had the opportunity to see both at the same time. Opera Carolina, founded in 1948 by the Charlotte Music Club, is known across the nation and does a phenomenal job of maintaining the integrity of the art form.

Opera Carolina’s presentation of “Opera Recycles” at the Crowne Plaza Time Square Manhattan hotel was not only artistic in nature, but designers Kristen Alyce, Emily Kramer, Sarah Danee McGee, Malou Cordery, Venie Tadeo, Lyndsee Hairston and Rocio Llusca brought a level of environmental awareness to the runway by creating couture fashion using its recycled printed materials. The fashion was not the only innovative component of this one-of-a-kind performance; Producer Jerome Jewetto created the runway music for Opera Recycles’ fashion show that incorporated hip hop and opera, including songs from “O Fortuna”, “Carmen”, and “The Marriage of Figaro.” Such fusion of opera, hip-hop, fashion, and recycled playbills embraces a cultural integration that, in recent history, would have been frowned upon by opera and fashion purists alike, but is now thought-provoking and impactful.

The ability of trained opera singers to not only sing but to properly represent the artistic views of the designers was awe-inspiring. As one who has been intrigued by fashion since my early days of undergraduate studies, but who also is constantly gaining an understanding of the need for sustainability, this performance illuminated both the right and left sides of my brain. I was able to appreciate the beauty in the designs as well as the musical selections while realizing the need for more sustainable sources of fashion. Will I be wearing all of my used bill envelopes to work tomorrow morning? Probably not. But why not, going forward, start patching up a hole in a pair of pants as opposed to going out to buy a whole new pair? I already thrift but could I do it more? Certainly. Sustainability in fashion set to a soundtrack of classic melodies and unconventional rhythms made an indelible impact on me.

When fashion, sustainability, and music intersect, they etch a memory into one’s mind and that memory creates dreams of what is possible if we think outside the box. It is not every day that you hear something that changes the world but, on September 9, 2017, I did. Opera Carolina’s “Opera Recycles” presentation was not only one of artistic excellence; it was a call to environmental action. That is certainly a melody that I will dance to.


Make having experiences and sustainability priorities.


Don’t Worry. I Got It.

Folks, stop printing things for people that you don’t have to print. Everyone doesn’t need a printout to read in a meeting (asking someone to edit something is different). Etiquette and tradition are often wasting resources that we need to focus on conserving so, though it will offend many who believe it proper to print copies for everyone to look at and eventually throw away, I suggest we figure out whether it’s actually necessary or just a comfort thing. I, personally, get upset when printouts are made for me of documents that I could pull up on the work iPad or even my phone.

The problem is, everyone thinks, “Well, my few sheets of paper aren’t going to have an impact on the environment and it’s the nice thing to do.” But then they print 20 copies of a five-page report (one-sided, of course) for the entire group and 85% of the group has access to the digital version and a pad they can take notes on so, at the end of the day, all they’re doing is wasting paper. Very Trumpesq, if you ask me, who is far less concerned with being genuinely nice and more concerned with what’s easiest for him.

Long story short, stop it. The earth is dying. And we’re contributing to it every time we assume that our teammates need an updated copy of every report printed every time you change “then” to “the”. If they want a printed copy, they can print it themselves.


Make saving the earth a priority.

Guilty of Murder

One thing that kills me is when people print out EVERYTHING eight times. Mind you, I know that sometimes, it’s easier to edit when something is printed. But 4 copies of a six page document printed out one-sided every time you update a draft is not only superfluous; it is irresponsible.

The earth is dying. To sit by and do nothing is murder.

Don’t print unnecessary stuff.



Make saving the world a priority.