Mu-Chieh Yun and Iliana Panameño

Elementary school friends Mu-Chieh Yun and Iliana Panameño never anticpated that their reunion through LinkedIn would lead to the creation of a game-changing fashion blog on Instagram.

Yun and Panameño have known each other for years but did not reconnect until recently. Yun had unexpectedly returned to Boston from New York and Panameño was here for grad school. Their reunion created something inspiring. 

Panameño is a 24-year-old Union College graduate and is a current graduate student at BU studying social work. Yun is a 24-year-old NYU graduate with majors in Art History and Social and Cultural Analysis. Yun worked in the luxury fashion industry and noticed social disparities between the two worlds of luxury and commercial fashion. It was important to her to diminish that disparity and work against it. It became apparent to her that she wanted to start a blog with Panameño. She presented the idea to Panameño, who was receptive and inspired by the project, and thus We, Ceremony was born in May 2015.  

We, Ceremony combines an interest in fashion with a social justice mission to create a space that promotes discussion on topics that are important to minority women. The company's Instgram account has created hot topics for debate. 

When coming up with a title, it was important that the word “we” was included because the founders wanted the site to be inclusive and celebrate different cultures. “Ceremony” was used to support “we” because it connotes celebration. On the account, the company posts pictures of fashionable, beautiful women of color with captivating captions that speak to issues of race and culture.

"[We, Ceremony] shar[es] the stories and experiences of women of color, and does so by using fashion as a gateway to discuss different topics that are essential to our identity,” said Yun and Panameño.  

There are two different features to @We_Ceremony: street features and a monthly spread called “You, Me, We!” Street features include pictures of women with captions that describe their thoughts on diversity, culture and race. The “You, Me, We!” spread features woman of color who are directly doing something for the community.

The duo did not know exactly what the blog was going to turn into during its conception. It was only when Yun and Panameño realized they could not find anyone they could relate to in the fashion realm that the blog really gained momentum. They wanted to do something positive, in a way that was “celebratory and not aggressive, but assertive." They desired to combine these aspects as a response to the lack of representation of women of color in fashion. Yun’s fashion experience was the perfect asset to the social justice piece that Panameño was passionate about. 

Not only does We, Ceremony demonstrate women of color in a positive light to combat their misrepresentation, but is a shared space to discuss issues that are relevant to women of color, a mentorship space between those women, and an interactive space that can provide registration support for voting, heathcare, college and other issues that benefit the community. The company will also be launching a website, but it is currently under construction. Currently, We, Ceremony supports community building by meeting with local non-profit groups in the area to form mutual relationships.  

We, Ceremony currently does not take suggestions on whom to post. It is important that they set the tone of what they want their account to be since it is relatively new. In the future, however, they could be open to suggestions about women of color to post about. 

Yun and Panameño are a force to be reckoned with, highligting an extremely relevent issue in a positive way that is inspiring to other women. Not only does We, Ceremony represent a marginalized community, but it breaks stereotypes that say minorities are only able to dress or look a certain way. It demonstrates that there is more than one way to look and that all of those ways are beautiful. It uses fashion as a means to discuss issues that are imperative to different cultures and identities.