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Wonder Woman of the Week: MONICA BOȚA-MOISIN is a Cultural Intellectual Property & Fashion Lawyer and Cultural Sustainability Consultant

Working at the intersection of law, fashion, and intangible cultural heritage related to Traditional Knowledge (TK), and Traditional Cultural Expressions (TCEs), and biodiversity. Monica is the proponent of a soft law framework – The 3C’s Rule: Consent. Credit. Compensation©. It advocates for sustainable, fair, and equitable relationships between creative industry stakeholders and Traditional Knowledge Custodians (incl. craftspeople) who belong to Indigenous Peoples, Ethnic Groups, and Local Communities.

Monica is the founder of the Cultural Intellectual Property Rights Initiative® (CIPRI) and WhyWeCraft® designing benefit-sharing business models for the promotion of cultural sustainability in fashion. Additionally, creating legal solutions and advocacy tools for systemic change in fashion and law. Now, together with her team Monica travels in various geographies to conduct fieldwork and consultations with craft custodians and implement grassroots legal literacy programs under the 3Cs – Get Weaving! Campaign.

Moreover, In 2021, Monica and her team founded The Cultural Sustainability Academy – The Knowledge Hub for Cultural Sustainability® providing immersive experience-based education for culturally sustainable living and creation.

Wonder Woman of the Week: Monica’s Life Mission

Tammy: What were you put on this Earth to do? In other words, what’s your life’s purpose?

Monica: This is a deep question and one I have been contemplating for long. I was lucky to discover my mission early on in life, inspired by the life-stories and heritage of my maternal and paternal grandmothers. It is related to protecting and rewiring our connection with Nature and its wisdom – it is what nurtures us and keeps us thriving as humanity.

Tammy: What role does your work play in your life? How does it embody your values?

Monica: My mother always says she goes to play, not to work. After all, I learned from her that working should bring joy, fulfillment, a feeling of being of service. I see work as everything I invest myself in to leave to future generations. Just like my mother, I know I will never retire – not in the social security sense.

Wonder Woman of the Week: Monica’s Words of Encouragement

Tammy: What message would you like to give to other women?

Monica: Love, believe in, support, be an ally of, endorse, cheerlead, praise other WOMEN! We must know that we have EACH OTHER and the connections we weave are EVERYTHING!

Tammy: Tell us about your relationship with clothing. What do you think about the act of getting dressed? What role does clothing serve for you? Does it hold a certain meaning or significance? 

Monica: Clothing is identity. A means of expressing one’s values, One’s belonging, One’s journey, One’s story and One of the most intimate connections one can form in a lifetime.

Influence of Clothing

Tammy: How has your relationship with clothing changed throughout your career?

Monica: I grew up wanting to have more clothes, nicer clothes, fashionable ones. Basically, I grew up in a conflicted and – for a lack of a better word – unstable Romania. But again, my grandmother and my mother heavily influenced my relationship with clothes. Even today, 31 years after her passing away, I still wear the clothes of my maternal grandmother. After all, she was so elegant, attentive to detail, a lawyer herself but with a great eye for designing garments and creating outfits that would speak for her.

My paternal grandmother was the one who introduced me to traditional textiles and the clothes she had handwoven, handsewn, and hand embroidered. She was always so humble and quiet about the treasures coming out of her hands. Today, I see pieces of clothing as long-term investments. Now, I save to invest in unique pieces handcrafted by the craft custodians or the designers I meet and work with and who work in knowledge partnership with craft custodians.

Outfit that Empowers Me like Wonder Woman

Tammy: Describe an outfit of yours that makes you feel like Wonder Woman when you wear it.

Monica: I like to wear textiles that tell stories. And I build up every outfit from a story – one that is told by someone (the identified creator), or one that I imagine myself. Moreover, I like to build my outfits on knowledge – what is it made of, who made it, and where does it come from?

Thus, I started this practice in my last year of law school when I created my first sustainability in fashion project in Romania which I called ReaDress – it stood for Reading the Dress – what is the story of what we wear? If we do not know the story, clothing becomes just a disposable good.

But the outfit that inspired me to approach clothing from this angle and the first “outfit” I ever recall made me – and still makes me – feel like Wonder Woman is my grandmother’s traditional ceremonial outfit which she helped make as a teenager and which was one of her most cherished possessions. Made of hemp yarn, handwoven, handsewn, and hand embroidered.

It consists of a generous skirt, with pleats, a rich blouse we call “spătoi”, a sheep-skin jacket, colored and embroidered, and different textile accessories to cover one’s head and cover the front of the skirt. It follows the cultural aesthetic specific to Țara Beiușului, in Bihor County, Romania where our village Petrani is located.

Tammy: Is there any other information you want to share with the readers (or just me)?

Monica: You cannot imagine the power you have to change someone’s day! It does not come from grand gestures. It is more often than not, the little things that have an unexpectedly big impact.

Follow, Monica Boța-Moisin, Wonder Woman of the Week

Learn more about Monica, the founder of the Cultural Intellectual Property Rights Initiative® and WhyWeCraft®, which designs benefit-sharing business models for cultural sustainability in fashion. Monica also founded The Cultural Sustainability Academy®, which provides immersive experience-based education for culturally sustainable living and creation.

Follow Monica and her company Cultural Intellectual Property® and WhyWeCraft® on LinkedIn. Also, read the latest article on Cultural intellectual property rights is human rights to get more insight into its importance.

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