18th of December 2014
I came to Designers Against Aids to have a different kind of interning experience. I am currently studying at Central Saint Martins and for my placement year I wanted to take a break of London where my university is. After two years slaving away with university assigments, assisting in fast-paced fashion endeavours and living in London, Antwerp has been a breath of fresh air. I have definitely been happy here in Belgium, too. There is just more space and air to breathe and also all my favorite fashion designers.   For the past ten weeks, I have explored the city, made new friends and worked on various Designers Against Aids projects with my fellow Spanish interns. I've dipped into webshop marketing, interviewed Honest By designer Bruno Pieters whom I admire and promoted Raf Simons-donated book and the Eastpak Artist Studio 2014 collaboration. We had workshops with Carlo from Eastpak who taught us marketing on social media which was eye-opening and extremely useful. I've done photography, been a hand-model and also one time helped to fill a bath-tub with expired condoms for a photo-op. Every day has been a little bit different with ups and downs like life usually is. As I am going to Paris to continute my placement year and returning back to the cut-throat fashion business, I am grateful for this experience and want to thank everyone on the DAA team: Ninette, Jean-Yves and Peke and my fellow interns Saleta, Rafa and Guillermo. It's been a blast!   Oh and yeah, I also learned that AIDS actually kills. Before coming here I knew it was a problem but not that in my age group, it's the second most common cause of death globally. Reading this simple and cold fact is just mind-blowing. And the figures of new HIV infections have actually gone up in the past years. I can see it especially comparing my two home countries, Estonia and Finland. There is just a gulf between the countries but Estonia has the worst HIV/AIDS statistics in Europe with Ukraine and Russia. It's not even about it being important to acknowledge the facts, you just have to. These things don't just magically disappear away but they don't surface from nothing either - we have the power to change them.  
18th of December 2014
When I found out about the Designers Against AIDS project, I knew immediately that this was a good opportunity to contribute to a good cause by offering my knowledge, my hope and my desire to cooperate. I also thought that the project was perfect for me, because their work and objectives are matters that I have developed in my career and in my degree in Audiovisual Communication. This experience has made me learn a lot about how to be a better communicator and how to help to prevent AIDS. Also I learnt a lot about Belgium. I have known its culture, its people, its landscapes, I drank its wonderful beer and I have learned a little of the two languages that people spoke here. All experiences and emotions that you can imagine I've had here, some good and some not so good, but I've always been able to get useful things of this adventure.   I have to thank Ninette, Jean-Yves and Peke who have allowed me to join the team and welcome me. I hope you have good luck in all projects that you undertake! To my fellow volunteers: Maria, Rafa and Guille, I have to say thank you for all the time we've spent together, which are many, and for all the funny moments and how we have laughed. I enjoyed a lot knowing them and I have made great friends. These months we have been a great family. Now I start missing you although I know I will see you soon! I would like to also thank Carlo Tinelli and Wessel Van Eeden for helping us with their knowledge, they were very helpful and motivating, and thanks Seija Mistiaen for coming to help and being so adorable. Christmas is coming soon so I hope all of you have a very happy and prosperous new year. I coming back to my homeland, Galicia, eager and full of energy. Thank to all of you very much!   Peace!  
16th of December 2014
I am leaving Antwerp soon and after ten weeks of living here, I have discovered some absolute gems worth sharing. I am going to miss this small and wonderful city that I first wanted to visit after cutting out an article about the city's fashion wonder when I was a teenager. I think I still have it somewhere. Pay close attention to the tips below if you are interested in fashion, art and good tea.   1. Stock SalesSo the fashion stock sales are not exactly cheap but if you are into Raf Simons, Ann Demeulemeester or any Belgian fashion designer, you need to check it out. The selections are huge so it's a great way to see past collections at once. Some of them sell also fabrics for a good deal. And on the last day there are usually reductions...   2. Kringwinkel Kringwinkels are the local recycling centres with just about everything from furniture to Christmas decorations. I found Olivier Theyskens pants from the sale rack (3,75 euros), so keep your eyes open.   3. MoMu + Copyright BookshopThe fashion museum MoMu with Copyright Bookshop is the perfect activity for a chill afternoon. If you're under 26 bring your ID to get a reduced price ticket.   4. FoMu + MaagdenhuismuseumAntwerp's photography museum FoMu has top exhibitions, the curation is spot on. Also check out Maagdenhuis, an historic girls orphanage turned into Antwerp's smallest museum that has an interesting social photography exhibition going on at the moment with works from Boris Mikhailov, Diane Arbus and more.   5. Cafe TinselTry the brownie. It's amazing. Located close to FoMu.   6. GrafixxAntwerp has different kind of festivals that take place in cool locations. In Grafixx, a graphic design festival, I ended up drinking Duvel and watching animation shorts in a dimly lit cinema room with inviting sofas.   7. TrixConcert venue with great variety of bands and reasonable ticket prices. There are also free gigs by up-and-coming Belgian bands at the cozy bar. In Belgium beer is cheap, so opt for that.   8. Qualitea TimeA tea shop with friendly staff who know how to make a great cup of tea. Great selection of teas to taste and buy to drink at home. Try Japanese Genmaicha tea with rice that leaves a sweet taste in your mouth.   9. ColruytColruyt is a supermarket with a confusing concept. It looks and feels like Ikea but there is always complimentary wine, coffee and different snacks free to take as much as you want. It's genius.   10. ZoeThe best second hand in town. Favorite finds include a Dries Van Noten skirt, Armani pants and a Brunello Cucinelli knit for 1-2 euros each. It's located in Turnhoutsebaan 10 and has limited opening hours: Mondays and Tuesdays from 10-12 and Thursdays from 9.30 to 13.   So that's my list. I hope to see you again one day Antwerp! Until then I will drink cherry beer and wear Raf Simons stock sale finds.
28th of November 2014
  During the last few weeks, the DAA Online Charity Shop has been given a small revamp. Take a look at our carefully handpicked selection of pre-loved, new and handmade pieces to score amazing finds that you don't have to feel quilty about - 100% of the sale proceeds go to our Education Center and DAA's new iniatives to raise AIDS awareness in Asia. We have eveything from those coveted Balenciaga bags and Maison Martin Margiela t-shirts to handmade pieces and Fashion Against AIDS classics that were modeled by Katy Perry, Leigh Lezark and Penn Badgley, Gossip Girl's Lonely Boy.   Our customized Hmong collection consists of special pieces handmade by a fashion designer in Antwerp who used vintage fabrics, some over 40 years old, made by Hmong people in Thailand and turned them into contemporary pieces like the beautiful jacket pictured. Hmong textile art has a rich history, it is traditionally embroidered and features bold patterns and contrasting colors. The vintage fabrics are combined with denim, leather and printed cotton in unique bags, accessories and skirts. Hannelore Knuts, the Belgian model and actress who has appeared on Vogue covers seven times (!), loved them.   New additions to the online charity store include a donation of unisex pieces by Naco-Paris that are super fun, like the brand itself. Naco-Paris once got one Karl Lagerfeld to wear a Karl Who? cotton shopper after they won a lawsuit by Chanel at court. Discover more of our selection at www.designersagainstaids.tictail.com to stock your wardrobe with perfect pieces that will help us to make a difference!  
25th of November 2014
Back in September of this year the Dazed Digital published some questions about sex habits online and in just over a week about 10.500 men and women from 114 countries had answered these questions. This way it became “the largest anonymous survey of what digital youth do in the bedroom and on the screen, ever”, according to Dazed Digital.     Technology   50% of the people have sent naked selfies. The ones who do, think that technology has made their lives more erotic. People who don’t send naked selfies see it as more neurotic. 16 to 20 year olds are the ones who send more naked pictures. Interesting: 50% of gay men use apps to hook up, while only 10% of heterosexual people use them.   Health   44% always uses protection   46% sometimes   10% never   Gay men are the most careful: 50% of them always uses a condom and less than 5% never uses one. Gay women are the least careful: two-thirds never using protection. Dazed also asked people how often they go to a STD clinic. The results proved that the ones who always use protection were the ones who would also be more likely to visit a clinic. As a DAA team, we encourage you to be part of the smart ones. Just use a condom and don’t play with the destiny. It’s easy as that. And if sending naked pics of yourself makes your relationship more exciting… why not? Just do it if you really trust the other person.    If you want to read more about the survey, check it out here.
24th of November 2014
“The time has come for my friends and fans around the world to know the truth and I hope that everyone will join with me in the fight against this terrible disease”.   And we join you Freddie. Now more than ever we are about to win. About to end this, and call the eradication of AIDS.   I think we are about to win this battle.   “The most important thing, darling, is to live a fabulous life. As long as it's fabulous, I don't care how long it is.” Check out the Mercury Phoenix Trust website:   “The Freddie For A Day initiative is a celebration of the life of the iconic Freddie Mercury, bringing people together to dress as Freddie to raise awareness and much needed funds to support the work of the Mercury Phoenix Trust – fighting AIDS worldwide”.
19th of November 2014
In a few days will be World AIDS Day (December 1st), the fight against AIDS continues in all fields from science to politics and of course in creative fields... In advertising they often play on visuals that would really make the message relevant and they can get very creative. Lots of campaigns have been made to date and they all say one thing, protect yourself and we would like to add you can do so easily. In the ones I have been looking at, I can categorize them in the following: 1- PROTECT YOUR SELF example1   example2 2-CONSEQUENCE example 3    example 4 3-POP CULTURE example 5    example 6 4-DANGER example 7    example 8  
14th of November 2014
A few months ago I was discussing with a friend about the last season of HBO's series 'Girls'. We both agreed that this season had lost its magic. He was arguing he couldn't put up with one more scene about the naked chubby body of Hannah Horvath (Lena Dunham's character), when I realised we weren't actually talking about fiction: we were having an argument about aesthetics and obesity. He doesn´t like Dunhams's breast 'not because of her being fat, but because her boobs aren't pretty', he said. But I've never heard him complaining about any tit he could ever seen in Game of Thrones. Later we talked about and celebrated the success of Uncut Girls Club, an Ethiopian initiative against female genital mutilation. It's not my intention to establish any comparison with violence against women in Africa, however it's clearly contradictory how our society understands physical aggressions as the crime they are, but justifies a natural way of disapproval towards the obese.   When some pictures of Scarlett Johansson's film 'Under the skin' were published and despite she isn't fat, she appeared completely naked, she was criticised for having curves. Judging someone according to the so-called 'lack of aesthetic' of being fat is not considered mean in terms of discrimination. Any erotic scene is commonly rejected if it isn´t about thin people, yet Rubens's paintings are still admired by the same people with this kind of prejudices. Overweight can be unhealthy, of course, but mostly of pressure is against anybody with some extra kilos, without taking into account health risks. I'd like to mention here the famous Truffle Shuffle Chunk's dance on the film 'The Goonies'. It´s difficult to see fat people like heroes in cinema or TV, in fact they usually have to play the funny, clumsy or lovable nerd stereotype. As every year, the spring heat will arrive... and you know what? Whether you like it or not, I'm getting ready to show my tummy rolls. The cult of thinness is not my cup of tea!   "A culture fixated on female thinness is not an obsession about female beauty, but an obsession about female obedience. Dieting is the most potent political sedative in women's history; a quietly mad population is a tractable one." Naomi Wolf, The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty are Used Against Women  
12th of November 2014
Philadelphia (1993) Tom Hanks plays Andrew Beckett, a hotshot Philadelphia lawyer who has been keeping his homosexuality, and the fact that he has AIDS, hidden from his conservative bosses. When he's suddenly and inexplicably fired, Andrew suspects that is because he has AIDS and is determined to fight in court, even as he is losing his battle against the disease. Beckett hires attorney Joe Miller (Denzel Washington) to represent him, but the lawyer must first overcome his own homophobia and fears. Director Jonathan Demme filmed this after winning the Oscar for SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. The amazing cast includes Antonio Banderas, Joanne Woodward, Jason Robards... who were joined by a lot of the cast from SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. Bruce Springsteen's haunting song "Streets of Philadelphia" plays over the memorable opening credits. This sensitive, moody film touches a vast array of subjects surrounding homosexuality, heterosexuality, family, death... without ever being sentimental or preachy, which is to its immense credit. An undoubted influence on society's growing acceptance of homosexuality, PHILADELPHIA reminds us how far we've come in that direction, and how far we still need to go. 2 Academy Awards: Best Actor (Tom Hanks), Original Song. 5 Nominations The Hours (2002) In 1951, Laura Brown, a pregnant housewife, is planning a party for her husband, but she can't stop reading the novel 'Mrs. Dalloway'. Clarissa Vaughn, a modern woman living in present times is throwing a party for her friend Richard, a famous author dying of AIDS. These two stories are simultaneously linked to the work and life of Virginia Woolf, who's writing the novel mentioned before. Academy Awards: Best Actress (Nicole Kidman). 9 Nominations   Dallas Buyers Club (2013) Based on the true-life tale of Ron Woodroof, a drug taking, women loving, homophobic man who, in 1986 was diagnosed with full blown HIV/AIDS and given thirty days to live. He started taking the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved AZT, the only legal drug available in the U.S, which brought him to the brink of death. To survive, he smuggled non-toxic, anti-viral medications from all over the world, but still illegal in the U.S. Other AIDS patients sought out his medications skipping hospitals, doctors and AZT. With the help of his doctor, Eve Saks and a fellow patient, Rayon, Ron unintentionally created the Dallas Buyers Club, the first of dozens which would form around the country, providing its paying members with these alternative treatments. The clubs, growing in numbers and clientele, were brought to the attention of the FDA and pharmaceutical companies, which waged an all out war on Ron. Won 3 Academy Awards: Incluying Best Actor (McConaughey) & Supp. Actor (Leto) In conclusion these stories not only talks about the disease, they also talk about people fighting for their rights and love of life, from DAA we say that the best way to fight this disease is to prevent it in the first place which can easily be done with a condom and knowing your status.    
10th of November 2014
HIV/AIDS has undoubtedly had the greatest impact in the twentieth century, affecting all parts of society. The new disease became source of artistic inspiration that included the film industry.By now it has probably become the most studied disease in the history of medicine and that has generated a great number of publications -print and electronic- in addition to novels, poetry, plays, essays, speeches, films and other manifestations of human feelings through art. This article is presented in two parts, in which I present the five most interesting films about HIV made in recent years. All films are based on real events. Precious (2009) In Harlem, an overweight, illiterate teen who is pregnant with her second child is invited to enroll in an alternative school in the hope that her life can head in a new direction. Clareece 'Precious' Jones (Gabourey Sidibe) is a high-school girl with nothing working in her favor. She is pregnant with her father's child-for the second time. She can't read or write and her schoolmates tease her for being fat. Her home life is a horror, ruled by a mother (Mo'Nique) who keeps her imprisoned both emotionally and physically. Precious's instincts tell her one thing: if she's ever going to break from the chains of ignorance, she will have to dig deeply into her own resources.This film won 2 Academy Awards: Best Adapted Screenplay and Supporting Actress (Monique). Yesterday (2004)The film reflects the plight of AIDS in South Africa. Yesterday is the name of a young South African (Leleti Khumalo) who lives with her daughter Beauty (Lihle Mvelase) in a village far removed from the city. Yesterday discovers that her husband (Kenneth Khambula), who works as a miner in Johannesburg, has been infected with HIV and realizes that her daughter will soon become an orphan. In December 2004, the year in which the movie was filmed in sub-Saharan Africa alone, 25 million people were estimated to be living with HIV. In the same year, around 2.3 million deaths due to HIV/AIDS were recorded there (the highest in the world). There are currently over 22 million people (adults and children) in Saharan Africa and South Africa, of which there are about 6 million people living with HIV and about 400 000 HIV-related deaths per year. Nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Picture. Tomorrow I will present the other 3 movies  
5th of November 2014
Brandon LaGanke, one of the film makers of the new video 'Drone Boning', has said: "If you can't masturbate to it, man, it's not a good pornography film." The film makers added that their work has social and artistic intentions too- you decide what they are. The film features heterosexual, gay and lesbian people having sex in lots of beautiful places in nature - and unlike other porn movies, much of the sex is simulated. You can watch the full video on the page Ghost + Cow Films, or here. Needless to say that it's sexually explicit, but only if you have very good eyes. First one to see if anybody is using a condom- as they should- wins a prize!
4th of November 2014
Being gay is not viewed as a natural thing in Russia as we know. A Russian company called ZEFS has ordered to dismantle a statue of the iPhone that was placed in a university campus as a memorial to Steve Jobs.  This is what the company has to say about the event:  “In Russia, gay propaganda and other sexual perversions among minors are prohibited by law. After Apple CEO Tim Cook publicly called for sodomy, the monument was taken down to abide to the Russian federal law protecting children from information promoting denial of traditional family values.” Politican Vitaly Milanov claimed that he wanted to ban Tim Cook from Russia forever. He said, ”What could he bring us? The Ebola virus, AIDS, gonorrhea? They all have unseemly ties over there”. Another interesting and shocking fact about anti-gay propaganda in Russia is that the computer game The Sims was considered too gay to be played by youngsters. I wish there was a solution to this problem; I can't think of any. Except education- again and again and again.
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IHAEC blog

Enter the student's territory and follow the days of their lives at DAA's International HIV/AIDS Awareness Education Center (IHAEC).
On this page the students of the Education Center will tell you everything about their stay at DAA, from the things they learn and the campaigns they create to what they have for breakfast, this blog will be their online diary: an opportunity for them to share their experiences and to give you a sneak peak into the life at DAA IHAEC.
Enjoy the ride!

 

 

 

 

 

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