The Subtle Call for Women’s Equality You May Have Missed at the Oscars
Equality and representation were major themes at the Oscars last night. The awards have made some major strides towards inclusion, the most obvious example being Parasite’s big win for Best Picture, making it the first non-English language film to take home the night’s biggest prize. But as women directors and actors of color (save for Cynthia Erivo) were left out of the nominations altogether, it's clear there is much more room to grow.
Some women at this year’s Oscars made a statement calling for gender equality in the industry with their clothing or accessories, as has become ever more popular since Time’s Up launched on the Golden Globes red carpet in 2018. Natalie Portman supported women with her cape, which was elegantly stitched with the names of eight female directors who were snubbed at the Oscar nominations. Other women found subtler, though still powerful, ways to show support for their female peers — Cynthia Erivo, for example, wore stacked diamond-accented pinky rings that have a hidden message.
Each Duet Pinky ring, made by fine jewelry brand Shiffon Co., is meant to remind its wearer of a “pinky promise” to pay it forward. Two sustainably sourced white or purple sapphires or diamonds cap off each end of the spiral rings, which are available in sterling silver as well as 14k and 18k gold. The stones are meant to symbolize two women empowering each other — and the company puts its money where its mouth is. Shiffon Co. funnels half of each sale of its pinky rings (which range in price from $90-$640 each) as well as 10% of all other sales into seed grants for female-focused ventures.
Since launching in 2017, Shiffon Co. has caught the attention of celebrities like Michelle Obama, Nicole Kidman, Serena Williams, and Erivo, who was nominated for Best Actress for her role in Harriet and for Best Original Song for “Stand Up,” also from Harriet, which she performed at last night’s awards. Erivo has been a longtime supporter of the Shiffon Co., collecting at least four of the brand’s pinky rings so far. “I was told about what a benefit it would have for other women and I knew that it was created by a company of women and I loved that idea,” the actress told Shiffon Co. founder and 2019 InStyle Badass 50 honoree Shilpa Yarlagadda. “I wear mine almost every day.”
This month, the NYC-based jewelry company is donating 50% of sales to ReFrame, a nonprofit founded and led by the Sundance Institute and Women in Film Los Angeles to address systemic gender inequality in the entertainment industry. “I want to use fine jewelry to invest in women,” says Yarlagadda, who launched her brand while still a student at Harvard University. “Equal representation is something I’m passionate about and it’s really engrained in Shiffon’s mission.”
ReFrame executive director Alison Emilio is equally as pleased to collaborate with like-minded women. "It is a pleasure to partner with young female entrepreneurs whose mission and values are so closely aligned with ours," she tells InStyle. "Our hope is that the pinky promise will be a physical manifestation in support of ReFrame’s work to help shine a light on some of the blind spots when it comes to hiring and voting for women.”
Joining Erivo in the Shiffon Co x ReFrame #pledgeforparity were the producers of the Oscars, Lynette Howell Taylor and Stephanie Allain, Oscar nominee and 1917 screenplay co-writer Krysty Wilson-Cairns, as well as Oscar nominee and The Irishman costume designer Sandy Powell. “We’re excited to play our part in bringing gender equality to the industry with our partnership with ReFrame and Women in Film,” says Yarlagadda.
Women supporting women with bling — now that’s an initiative we can get behind.