Thursday, July 24, 2014

dame viv

Not unlike those weeks where you find yourself wearing the same sartorial gem over and over again, a kind of mini obsession that lasts until the next one comes along, I'm finding myself in mini obsession with Dame Vivienne Westwood. Again. 

I've never hid my appreciation for the often left of centre English designer, not just because of her rich archive of work - some of which I would kill to have in my wardrobe - but also because I find her honesty and willingness to include her other passions, like the environment, into her work. She doesn't pretend that fashion lives inside a bubble with no reference to the outside world. Plus, she's just so bloody cool.

The most fascinating discovery in this latest round of infatuation is this stellar three part series on YouTube, titled Painted Ladies. A discovery of fashion through art across centuries, and an insight into the influence of art on Dame Viv's designs. 

Well worth a watch: Part One, Part Two and Part Three

kb xx

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

this week #1

In the spirit of mixing things up 'round here, as mentioned previously, I'm starting a weekly (I hope it'll be weekly!) post of a random selection of links and information and just general stuff - some of which may, in fact, be nonsense. 

The past week has been just a little eventful for me, great wonderful things are beginning to happen - and not just my subscriptions to The Paris Review and the London Review of Books. In the interest of fabulous analogies; it's like those last few weeks of winter when the bulbs start waking from their hibernation and moving around under the dirt before slowly peaking their heads above the surface, drinking in the sunshine and rain as Spring moves in before bursting into the fresh air with all their glorious colour. I re-read The Secret Garden recently so that explains that. 

1) I'm suddenly quite into skincare. A recent occurrence which owes a lot to UK blogger and skin superstar Caroline Hirons. Over the past few weeks I've often found myself tucked up in bed, laptop in lap, trawling her archives - her 'cheat sheets' are brilliant. I've actually washed my face every night for the past three weeks because Caroline told me I should. Obsessed. And in light of the big ban, now have spare dollars to buy lots of lovely products!

2) Some fashion tips from uber stylish Frenchie Ines de la Fressange: If you love it, buy more than one, borrow from the boys, when in doubt, customise and take the good with the bad - de la Fressange claims that fashion and good taste are, like a good perfume, made with a little bad taste; a sentiment I wholeheartedly support and endorse more regularly than I'd probably like to admit!

3) As a journalism student and general appreciator/practitioner of writing, I'm always interested to hear words of wisdom, tips or just information from people with more knowledge or experience than me. This Storify titled 'Suzanne Moore's Guide to Journalism' is equal parts amusing and honest.

4) Work has a mixed CD that plays on repeat, which means multiple accidental listens of some truly annoying songs, but also regular appearances by The Spice Girls; which have no doubt been instrumental in my burgeoning re-appreciation for their music and just general girl power/feminism rocks vibe. Plus, this awesome piece from 1997 by US writer Kathy Acker. You're welcome. 

5) 'It might seem crazy wearing stripes with plaid. I Instagram every meal I've had...' Watch, if only for the gloriously bad taste fash-un - I wonder if this is the bad taste Ines was talking about?

kb xx

Sunday, July 13, 2014

the ban is on

Luckily I've recently moved away from being specifically a fashion blogger, because what I'm about to say would probably get me struck off some secret fashion blogger list: I'm quitting shopping.

It's a big statement I know, and also so hashtag firstworldproblems that it almost pains me to write it. But write it I did and doing it I am.

I can't pinpoint exactly when I decided that it was time to go cold turkey on stuffing my closet with anything that came with a swing tag, but I have my suspicions that the root of the decision can be found in Fashion Revolution Day and an increasing - at least on my part - awareness of the actual cost of fast fashion and a desire to further educate myself about the industry. FYI, those $2 t-shirts cost a hell of a lot more than the swing tag would suggest.

But I also think it has to do with feeling somewhat overwhelmed with the fash-uns, a feeling that sees me unsubscribing from mailing lists all over the place and deleting favourites from my bookmarks. If absence makes the heart grow fonder, then smothering must surely make it grow colder? Fashion has almost become work, not in the paid sense, but in the sense that this once fun environment has started to lose its sheen. The appreciation I have for the industry and for the actual garments themselves seems to have disappeared - or least taken an extended holiday.

My resolve to not buy any new sartorial items for six months is, therefore, bound in two seemingly different - though clearly linked - reasons. Firstly, a desire to educate myself about fast fashion and the realities of the fashion industry and secondly to take a step back and try to figure out why it is that I'm inexplicably drawn to fashion in an effort to claw back that sense of appreciation. I want it to be fun again, damn it!

My half year resolution has only come about in the past week so the details are a little sketchy but I've cobbled together a few 'rules' to abide by:
  1. Strictly no new sartorial items may be purchased (exceptions being socks, hosiery and underwear) until the end of the year
  2. If I make a purchase or decide I have to, I must write five hundred words outlining why I did or need to and post it here (which is possibly as much a punishment for me as it is for you)
  3. Op Shops, thrifting and second hand shops are perfectly acceptable, because they aren't new new
  4. No attempting to get around the rules by having people buy me gifts
I'm hoping this self imposed ban will result in a deeper understanding of where fashion really comes from, as well as a deeper appreciation for the glorious items that already live with me and a return to a time when fashion wasn't work, but just bloody good fun. 

Here's hoping. 

kb xx