Eco-fashion tips, the personal fables, Uncategorized

Monte Carlo Fashion Week Highlights

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Chanel aka Epcot Center with barricades and a dry fountain.

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Intimate cocktail reception on the terrace above the Cafe de Paris, overlooking the Casino.

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Phone frenzy as the Princess of Monaco arrives to view the shows.

IMG_1455SPECIAL MCFW AWARD – ETHICAL FASHION BRAND – TO STELLA JEAN

The Chambre Monégasque de la Mode awarded Stella Jean for her engagement and contribution in the creation of an ethical and sustainable fashion brand. When accepting her award, Jean said, “We can make beautiful things, but we also have the chance to do so much more.”

 

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View from all the way up! in Beausoleil.

 

 

 

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the personal fables, Uncategorized

The Dance of Female Assertiveness

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When I was a child, I remember being told that a lady should be “Seen, and not heard.” So, my beauty pageant success soared as I waved perched from convertibles in all the local villages’ parades. I refused to sing along in my beginner ballet classes and when they prodded me, I silently mouthed the words.

Now that I’m an adult, I noticed situations sometimes turn out better for me when I am seen but speak less. I know I’m smart enough so that’s not the problem, so what is? Even males have criticized my behavior in situations where they would have felt comfortable being more brazen, but the truth is that I know better how it would pan out for me if I skip the formalities.

Fascinating behavioral studies covered by Danya Evans quoted Melissa J. Williams in this week’s New York Magazine help us see where the wage gap continues and why asking for a raise often doesn’t work out for women.

“When people see a woman asking for something, they may interpret her act of dominance as inappropriate, as out of bounds for women. Yet when people see a woman stand tall and speak loudly, they tend not to consciously label such behaviors as dominance — so they may not trigger outmoded reactions about how women ‘ought’ to behave.” link to the full article here. 

Below, Hillary celebrates her democratic nomination with a grand gesture. So what can we do to create equality? We need to take a look at the phrase, “asking for it.”

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Uncategorized, visual art

Manus, Machina, Matrimonium

In the statement issued by Conde Nast, the Metropolitan Museum Costume Institute Manus x Machina “exhibition showcases the traditionally opposing roles of hand and machine in the creation of haute couture and avant-garde ready-to-wear and explores the unification of the two through the evolution of technology.” When entering within the cathedral setting, and considering the heavy-handed selection of couture wedding gowns in this exhibition, you almost feel as if there is a rushed marriage occurring between Apple and Conde Nast.

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Exhibition entryway, House of Chanel (French, founded 1913) Karl Lagerfeld (French, born Hamburg, 1938) Wedding Ensemble Autumn/winter 2014-15, haute couture Courtesy of CHANEL Patrimoine Collection. 

The stunner, pictured above, when observed in profile: an extra-long train balances the proportions of what can only be described as Rotund silhouette.  Hushed whispers at the first viewing of this exhibition were wondering, was the bride expecting?

What I have to wonder is, how is there an entire wing of the museum dedicated to fashion and its history, yet in the United States we still cannot acknowledge that the works of these designers should be protected as their own highly valuable intellectual property?

Cultural Anthropologist Sondra Rapoport’s response to viewing the exhibition was that it “brought to light the complete circle that is the relationship between fashion and history. Long has fashion been an essential piece of the power of imagery. Use of color, quality of materials, level of detail has long been an indicator of power and prestige.”

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Mary McFadden (American, born 1938) Dresses 1908-1987 “Marii” machine-pleated, hand-stitched with hand-embroidered panels of polychrome sequins.

Rapoport says of the above pictured Mary McFadden dresses, “I was particularly interested to see fashion embracing both the past and the future. I saw dresses designed to resemble 12th century court wear.  Created using modern materials and methods, but keeping the traditional styling and therefore its connection to its history and its former significance.”

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House of CHANEL (French, founded 1913) Karl Lagerfeld (French, born Hamburg, 1938) Wedding Ensemble. Autumn/winter 2005-6, haute couture Courtesy of CHANEL Patrimonies Collection.

Powerful as the the clothing exhibited may be, who has the ultimate upper hand in the overarching relationship? Why does a would-be blushing bride have tears in her eyes? Apple’s sponsorship statement says “Ultimately, it is the amount of care invested in the craftsmanship, whether machine-made or hand-made, that transforms ordinary materials into something extraordinary.”  That sounds nice; however, I would like to add that if technology continues to overpower creatives by disseminating the designers’ work without any legal recourse, together we are witnessing in real life, how, what could have been a lasting marriage ends tragically.

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Eco-fashion tips, Uncategorized

Celebrating Earth Day Every Day

If You Care:

We can celebrate Earth Day every day by improving our dressing habits with consideration for the impact our actions have on the environment.

Care for your clothing responsibly. If your clothes have minor holes at the seam or hem, a tailor can easily repair them so you can continue to wear.

  • Hand Wash: Lingerie, nylon hosiery, slips.
  • Machine Wash: Towels, linens, socks & pajamas.
  • Organic Dry Clean: Coats, blouses, dresses, suits, outer wear.

With the best care, you will see that cost per wear go down significantly.

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Overabundance, what to do? 

Hand-me-down: when you are finished with a piece of clothing, pass it on to someone you know will wear it.

Road Trip: Gather wearable used clothing and take it personally to impoverished areas, especially those which are affected by harsh weather conditions. Be responsible!

Sunday Clothes: What do you do with the holey tee shirts? Use them to clean the floor or dust windowsills. Old tee shirts can be used to pack fragile objects for shipping or storage.

What you really need: 

Avoid future offenders: When shopping, check the content: Steer clear of microfiber, nylon, plastic, rayon, pleather, plush and synthetic fur.  NEVER shop at H & M, even when they pose as sustainable, because they are mis-allocating their colossal budgets to PR instead of being responsible.

Seek out natural fibers: opt for GOT Certified Organic Cotton, 100% silk, linen or clothing made from deadstock materials. If you can splurge, treat yourself to a piece of high fashion or something made from the raw materials.

Personalize: get clothing locally made just for you. Monograms or customized clothing is available in-store at I Love You Bedford.

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Get the best quality clothing possible and find styles you’ll want to wear numerous times. Just think about how you felt after the last time you ate fast food: Gross, am I right? Once you realize how good it feels to wear better clothing, you won’t even want to go back to wearing garbage.

 

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Image credits: Photos by Jammi York, model: Ilona MAJOR Model NY, Hair & Makeup: Rachel Lopez (c) 2016 Alisha Trimble

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Eco-fashion tips, Uncategorized

The Sustainability Scale

What makes sustainable fashion so difficult? This year, the garment industry went from top three to the Number Two source of pollution worldwide. Clearly we haven’t made any progress in the last year.  How come?

The reason is because the market isn’t supporting absolute sustainability. We know that in the current climate it cannot be profitable to go from one extreme to another with a quick solution. Green fashion is a work in progress, and while 100% sustainability is an excellent goal to work towards, let’s break it down into smaller choices we can each make in the progress toward sustainability.

Natural Fibers

Natural fibers are overall more sustainable options. The best ones are:

  • Cotton
  • Silk
  • Linen
  • Hemp
  • Wool

One thing to remember when selecting clothing made from natural fibers is that they are often created in a manner of “cut and sew” using woven fabrics.  Woven fabrics are lacking the versatility of a stretch fabric, making it more of a labor-intensive process to create a properly fitted garment. This is why clothing made from woven fabrics will cost more and take longer to produce.

The benefit to working with woven fabrics is that you can accomplish sophistication in silhouette. The result can look polished, professional, even formal.  The benefit to wearing well-made clothing is you look better. Whether you work in sales or in an office, or are a weekend socialite, a well-dressed professional will be more respected and overall more successful.

Bigger Strides toward Sustainable Options

Organic fabrics:

The popularity of organic cotton has fluctuated, mainly due to the observation that cotton (like most any fabric) is still treated with chemicals in the milling process. There are some who feel it is not worth using because it isn’t 100% sustainable; however, it is my opinion that small steps toward sustainability are always worth taking. The water used to grow the cotton will not be polluted and the people who pick the cotton and work with it in mills will be free of the health risk.  Look for GOT certification when selecting organic fabrics, such as the dress pictured below, available in store at I Love You Bedford.

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Raw Materials:

Silk, wool, mohair and other materials are workable in raw form.  We understand the concept of whole foods, how it is better to buy a whole potato than a bag of chips. Just like with food, the closer you can get to designers working with the raw materials, the bigger the impact it will have on sustainability. For example the wool vests available for purchase on my website were made by hand using the raw materials. An added benefit to purchasing clothing made this way is it is very difficult to copy, ensuring your investment is a valuable original.

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A Sliding Scale

It’s dangerous to look for absolutes when working towards sustainability.  Eco-friendly products have come a long way in other industries: for example look at our current easy access to recycled toilet paper, and our ability to recycle plastic and glass bottles with utmost convenience. We can reduce the harm caused by one of the top culprits currently destroying the earth, not by thinking in absolutes, but by taking small steps. Look for clothing made with 100% natural fibers, pay a better price for them, and don’t give up on organics.  If we were to create a Sustainability scale from 1-10, I would place 100% natural clothing at 5, organic cotton clothing at 6, and handmade clothing from deadstock and/or raw materials as a perfect 10.

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Eco-fashion tips, Uncategorized

The Worst Fabrics for the Environment

We know what we like to wear, but do we know how it’s affecting the environment? Remember, the way we dress today is the Number Two source of pollution worldwide. Let’s see what can be done better by knowing what to avoid.

The Worst Fabrics for the Environment Include:

  • Nylon — When Nylon is made, nitrus oxide is released into the air, a greenhouse gas 310 times more toxic than carbon dioxide. The cooling process of creating this fiber uses an excessive amount of water. It is also not biodegradable.
  • Acrylic — The synthetic material used in sweaters and faux fur is cancer-causing according to the EPA, specifically consisting of polycrylonitriles. It is also not biodegradable.
  • Polyester — Often blended with cotton into tee shirts and stretchy dresses, polyester is made from petrol chemicals, the residue which is absorbed into the skin. Often new garments made from this material give off a toxic odor. It is also not biodegradable.
  • Rayon — Made from wood chips, the creation of this fabric uses an excessive amount of chemicals in the process.
  • Plastics — This one should be obvious but isn’t. If you feel bad about throwing a plastic bottle in the garbage after you drink your Nestle water, then do not buy any clothing or accessories in vinyl, pleather, or otherwise plastic, regardless of how shiny and cool-looking it might be. It can not be recycled, and is destined for a landfill.

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What to Do?

Wear your nylons longer. It’s ok to keep wearing them even after they are torn.  Reuse your old nylons – be creative. They are great as a face mask for a costume. Always buy the best quality you can so they last longer.  The best pair (I’ve had mine for two years without any holes) are Wolford Velvet Deluxe and you can pick up a pair here.  Proper care also makes your clothing last longer, the best detergent to use for lingerie and hosiery or just about anything is Forever New. Just 15 mins in the sink and your tights are fresh again!

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Do not buy any more synthetic clothing.  Seeking out alternatives may feel like a difficult task at first, especially when brands make it so enticing to buy cheaply made clothes and it’s so convenient!  But together we must consider what it is doing to the planet and the public health worldwide. Instead of a faux fur jacket full of Nasty toxins, you can order a recycled silk fur piece from I Love You Bedford. There are also many pieces in the store made from Merino Wool sourced sustainably from carefully preserved quality deadstock so there is no need to wear anything acrylic.

Use your old tee shirts as rags for dusting. Give your old clothes to another person you know will wear them, instead of the charities which end up sending most of it to landfills.  Have a trusted tailor keep up your favorite garments with regular repairs.  Check the fabric that clothing is made from before you buy (or accept as a gift for my blogger pals) anything new to make sure it doesn’t have these toxic materials. By avoiding toxic fabrics and caring for our nylons so we can wear them longer, we can ensure the future generations will have cleaner air and water.

 

 

 

 

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shop, Uncategorized

Earth-Friendly Fashion Tips

greenwashing vs. commitment
There are several very small brands who have committed their practices to work towards sustainability.  Being locally made is one way a brand can be eco-friendly, because the carbon emissions from overseas shipping of the materials and garments is greatly reduced. On the other hand, big global brands use sustainability as  a title to stage another PR stunt to distract from their very questionable business practices. If these larger brands were truly interested in creating a sustainable product, they would show a commitment storewide. I am skeptical of the larger brands’ so-called sustainable side projects because they take credit away from the brands who have worked hard to make the commitment. Often undercutting the prices by using slave labor, the greenwashing actually makes it more difficult for the smaller brands to assert their sustainable products in the market at a fair price point.

Artisans- real vs. fake
How do you identify signs of real artisan-made details in clothing? Manufacturers have created machines to successfully mimic the effects of embroidery, appliqué, knitting, sequins and other embellishments originally done by hand.  What cannot be made by machine is crochet, beadwork, and draping. If something is in the former group, it my be mass produced at a lower price.  Generally, the poorer the quality, the shorter the lifespan of the clothing and the sooner it goes into a landfill. If you notice a technique that can only be done by hand, then the clothing is usually better quality, more valuable and the price will be higher.

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Local is Better
Mahatma Ghandi’s Swadeshi movement was devised to create a self-reliant local economy.
“According to the principle of swadeshi, whatever is made or produced in the village must be used first and foremost by the members of the village. Goods and services that cannot be generated within the community can be bought from elsewhere.”
One of the results of the movement in India was manual labor being respected, Swadeshi followers could weave their own cloth from a loom that was thought to be obsolete at the time. They set their own prices for the handmade cloth, and no longer needed to rely on Great Britain. Living the Swadeshi lifestyle also means eating locally sourced foods, and in that way it is a life that is in harmony with the natural world. It’s also very noticable that economics and eco-conscious often go hand in hand with this principle.

The Choice is Yours
On Earth Day and Every Day, you can choose better clothing for the earth by selecting clothes with artisan-made details. Steer clear of the PR circus and go for lesser known local brands that have chosen the high road to sustainability. Always buy something that was made nearby first before going to stores which carry imported clothes.  Last, make it a priority to buy quality items only to keep our clothing out of the landfills.

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