Its Friday Night and you and your girlfriends are going out for a girls night out on the town. You’ve got on that dress that you’ve been waiting to wear that makes you feel sexy. You got to your favorite vibe in the city and capture the attention of a wandering eye. He approaches you and offers to buy you a drink. At the bar he begins to caress you and attempts to put his hand on your behind. You politely wiggle out of it to which he replies “What, you got a man or something?”
For so many men and women, this is a traditional theme when going out or even in a professional setting. No longer can you confidently wear what makes you feel good without taking the blame for unwanted attention. According Take Back the Night, 1 in 3 women worldwide experience some form of sexual violence or intimate partner violence.
For Atlanta Fashion Designer and Creative Director, Marie Antoinette, it happened on a podcast she was asked to guest star on. After being persuaded with alcohol and multiple unwanted touches, things escalated to a surprise kiss on the corner of her mouth.
“You gonna mess around and go to jail, because you don’t know when to stop,” she warned him. When Marie sternly asked the creep to back up to which he replied “What, you got a man or something, why can’t I touch you?”
“I don’t have to have a man because I don’t want you to touch me,” she affirmed.
It was situations like this that dawned on Marie. It was time to take her power back and make a statement. What better way than with the second installment of Sapphire Diamonds, Sapphire Diamonds Streetwear.
Marie Antoinette is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, fashion designer, and author, based in Atlanta, and has focused her work on social justice issues around colorism with her book and documentary, MELANIN. This October, Marie will release her streetwear fashion collection, at the Sapphire Diamonds Streetwear Fashion Reveal, Award Show, and Fundraiser, as a way to raise awareness about harassment and sexual assault.
“I knew I wanted to partner with an organization that works in this space, to raise awareness about experiences I, and many individuals, have had to face in life. I want to use my creativity to stand with organizations like Take Back The Night to help individuals who have experienced sexual violence or harassment find their power again and shatter their silence. The Sapphire Diamonds Streetwear Fashion Reveal, Award Show, and Fundraiser will honor Katie Koestner, the founder of Take Back The Night Foundation. Katie's impactful work to shine a light on issues around sexual violence has made an incredible difference for so many individuals - but there is still so much work to be done and we all have to play a part and help in this work. It is especially encouraging to me, as a designer and entrepreneur, to see big cable channels like Lifetime, also help raise awareness around these efforts,” said Marie Antoinette.
Lifetime has recently partnered with the Take Back The Night Foundation in association with two new original movies inspired by Mary J. Blige’s biggest hits, Real Love and Strength Of A Woman. https://deadline.com/2023/03/mary-j-blige-two-new-original-movies-lifetime-2023-1235308192/
In her second collection of Sapphire Diamonds, the Streetwear Collection was designed as a beacon of hope for anyone who has ever been a victim or put in a position where they felt diminished or had their power taken away. With phrases on the designs, like “Kiss Me” and “Why Did You Wear That?’, Marie Antoinette has empowered anyone who wears her collection to turn words – that are often used as negative connotations – into a powerful battle cry against bullies and abusers. The colorful collection is emblazoned with graffiti, symbols, and impactful words.
“I chose graffiti as the inspiration for my design because of the legacy of the art form. Graffiti, at the end of the day, is a violation and form of vandalism, and yet it is one of the most powerful and beautiful forms of art and expression today. It transcends pain, politics, race, and gender. It is artful activism that people around the world can connect with and understand.”
Earlier this year, Marie Announced the upcoming collection as a way to kick of Sexual Awareness month and highlight Take Back The Night Foundation and their efforts to curb the chilling statistics below:
• 1 in 6 men experience sexual violence. • 2 in 3 transgender people have been sexually assaulted. • People in the LGBTQIA+ community are more likely to experience sexual violence. • Less than 50% of victims report these crimes.
“It was vital to me, as part of my creativity, art, activism, and work, in honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, which starts in April, to announce my new, Sapphire Diamonds Streetwear Collection. This fashion line was designed with a specific focus on helping anyone who has ever been a victim to find their voice and power again by expressing themselves through bold, colorful, wearable art.”
Featuring sounds by DJ Tee Y and hosted by Actress and Singer, Chrissy Collins, the event is sure to be a night of awareness and glam with VIP Tickets offering access to cuisine from culinary artist, Chef Ontae, signature cocktails, early access and balcony seating in the Atlanta Arts Center.
tickets for the October 1st Sapphire Diamonds Streetwear Fashion Reveal, Award Show, and Fundraiser event are now available and will be held at the Atlanta Event Center from 6 – 10 PM. To learn more about how to support the event, sponsorship opportunities, and tickets, visit: https://sdstreetwear.eventbrite.com/.