In the weeks since the horrific collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory — and subsequent deaths of more than a thousand factory workers — we’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be a conscientious consumer. As Americans, we’re privy to more and cheaper goods than ever before — and as globalization spreads and the means of production move further and further away, we’re less and less connected to what we buy.
It’s pretty clear that something’s got to give.
Enter Elizabeth Cline. In her new book, Overdressed (
not out until the end of August already out, with the hardcover to be released in August), she delves into the rise of cheap, fast fashion, and — by traveling to China and Bangladesh — documents first-hand how our desire for more and newer clothing is impacting the environment, the culture and workers’ lives.
As style editors and fashion lovers, both Winona and I have grappled with wanting to give you, our readers, affordable, accessible options, while also honoring our desire to support fair worker practices and ethical businesses. In the coming weeks and months, we hope to bring you a lot more coverage on conscious, sustainable fashion, alongside some of our affordable shopping guides. There is no such thing as a “perfect” consumer, but we believe in giving you as much information as possible so you can make the decision that’s right for you.
After the jump, I talk to Elizabeth Cline about how we can be better educated and more conscious clothing consumers.
Keep reading »
Hard to believe, I know, but not every woman wants to be a girly-girl. While feminine fashions do it for many, some girls just wanna dress a little tomboy. Enter Wildfang.
Some of their styles mimic early Teddy Boy and Teddy Girl fashion (which I happen to think was the era for clothing), but all of the pieces are meant to show a different approach to women’s clothing. Launched by former Nike employees Julia Parsley and Emma McIlroy, the pair said they started the company because they hated “stalking items in the men’s department, trying them all on only to leave empty-handed because they didn’t fit us.”
“We created Wildfang for our friends and for their friends,” said McIlroy, “and for all the badass women we haven’t had the chance to meet yet. We think being a tomboy is just as much about attitude as it is about fashion, so in that sense we hope Wildfang will become the home for tomboys.”
The video above, features actress Kate Moennig (from “The L Word”), musician Hannah Blilie and soccer pro Megan Rapinoe. Check out a couple of stills from their video after the jump! [AfterEllen] Keep reading »
Artist Fraser Smith will carve you a whole outfit if if you let him. The Natchez, Mississippi-based master carver has a special skill set — he makes realistic-looking clothes and accessories out of wood. The 54-year-old has carved hats, basketball jerseys, even leather jackets out of basswood that’s stained with pigments to create trompe l’oeil wood sculptures. While you can tell the items aren’t what they seem from up close, Smith says that his items often confuse and bewilder viewers.
“They see it, and ask themselves, ‘Interesting coat, but why’s it hanging in the dining room?’ … A while later, they’ll learn what it’s made of, or bump into it, and realise it’s made of wood, and they’ll have to immediately change everything they thought of it. Some are excited, like they’d just seen magic.”
Check out more of Smith’s amazing clothing sculptures after the jump! [Daily Mail]
Oasis Clothing is synonymous with refined British style, and is one of our favorite imports from across the pond. Oasis’s style is classic and pretty, but never stuffy. We’ve picked ten awesome items from their latest collection, so you can dress like a classic British lass.
Some of us are not fans of Kate Middleton’s style, which Julie referred to as “on the mumsy, conservative ‘I shop at Talbots and Ann Taylor’ side.” I don’t dispute that characterization. But as someone who was weaned at a breast emblazoned with tiny whale appliqués, I find relief in Kate’s sartorial staidness. Thank God I don’t have to wear a plaid turquoise dashiki and pretend it doesn’t look moronic.
The U.S. is getting a little more Kate-ish today when an outpost of the preppy, European-based L.K. Bennett, opens in New York City. (Perplexingly, news reports say the store is in Columbus Circle but the company’s web site says it is in Bloomingdales. Fashion is so confusing.) The brand has five other shops around the country. Keep reading »
So much WTFery in one little flier: an elementary school class in Waxhaw, North Carolina, sent home this grammatically incorrect flier with students asking them to dress in “African American attire” for Black History Day on February 28. What exactly is “African American attire”? Well, that part isn’t clear. A Flava Flav grill, perhaps? Fur-lined Kanye West booties? (Something tells me it this teacher didn’t mean the J.Crew cardigan worn by First Lady Michelle Obama, a noted black person.) However, if students don’t have any “African-American attire” in their closet, the flier helpfully suggests kids come to school in animal print clothing or shirts with animals native to Africa like “zebras, giraffes, lions and elephants.” Nothing says Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. did not die in vain quite like a leopard-print dress or a shirt with a zebra on it, right? Keep reading »
This might look like a leftover from the costume department of a Capital One viking commercial, but it’s actually a “Peplum Waist Belt” by BCBG Max Azria. Apparently you’re supposed to strap it on over a simple dress for some instant peplum action. All we see is a glorified loin cloth. It’s on sale for 50 bucks, in case you’re into that kind of thing. [Lord & Taylor]
I’ve never been a woman who thought about my figure and how to flatter it. From puberty onward, I luckily had a slim frame and an hourglass figure that made dressing easy-peasy. I could literally wear — and eat — anything that I wanted.
I was, I realize, that bitch you hate.
Then, around age 23, that all changed. I suppose it was my metabolism slowing down: I began to gain weight for the first time in my life and it all seemed to be concentrated on my butt. Jeans, skirts and dresses stopped fitting around my belly, hips and ass. I swear you won’t believe me, but I remember sitting in an office chair one day and realizing my butt had gotten cushier! Twenty-three and 24 were hard ages for me to begin with because I struggled with a nasty bout of depression; my sudden, prepubescent-ish awkwardness with my body changing became a nasty icing on the cake. Keep reading »
So, let me get this straight: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is about a woman attempting to outrun a sadistic rapist and solve a murder, so naturally you’d want to design a line of clothing around her look. Well, not really. It seems that H&M’s “Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” collection is mostly a mish-mosh of faded and dingy colors, intentionally worn fabrications and rather impossible to wear stretch faux leathers. So yeah, I won’t be bothering with any of it. But what about you? Feeling the Lisbeth Salander look?
I have always been a hoarder at heart, prone to messiness and clutter. Remember on “Arrested Development” when Lucille Bluth is watching that news story about the mother who drove into a lake and she raises her martini glass and says, “Good for her”? That’s how I watch “Hoarders.” Some guy has collected thousands of Victorian hair wreaths? Good for him! Some lady hasn’t thrown out a Chinese takeout container in 50 years? More power to her!
When I moved in with my boyfriend I was forced to deal with my hoarding ways because they were threatening my relationship. I remember one night in particular when we were cleaning up the living room and I refused to throw away a little piece of torn cardboard. My boyfriend was sitting there saying, “Why do you need it?” and I was saying, “You know, for crafts?” and pretty soon he got annoyed and moved on to something else. I was curled up alone in a corner with my precious piece of trash feeling sort of victorious when I realized, dude, this isn’t normal. So I went to counseling and learned how to throw things away. Keep reading »