Thursday, July 31, 2014


When I ponder how many hours I've spent trawling online stores, clicking from one item to the next, attempting to decide between colours that are so similar they are basically the same, trying to decipher what the name of a coat or pair of jeans actually means and adding copious amounts of items to my wish list that I will NEVER buy, I'm slightly terrified. I could have read the entire works of Shakespeare and written a 100,000 word thesis, stress the could have.  

This short film from New York-based writer, Katherine Bernard, pokes fun at this notion of consumerism and online shopping that is now so entwined with our lives. And the result is this wickedly humorous four minutes of brilliance aptly titled Thirsty. 

Thirsty is two women talking shop while online shopping. The hilarious conversation points not only to our online shopping addictions, but also to the absurd way fashion is labelled and sold to women, naming dresses Cameron and using terms like boyfriend denim, for instance. 

As the writer herself says:

'As a fashion writer, it's bothersome to think about the collective female mind power wasted on "What sandals should I buy?" and "What is my body type?" and I wanted to flesh out that default content - the way we describe clothes for women - and work it over with comedy.' (Via Dazed)

Despite the thought provoking points (well I'm doing some 'thoughting' over here) there are some cracker lines that really need highlighting - in bold on this blog, obviously. 

'I think every woman just needs a good sweater to, like, carry her through her day' - As satirical as this film may be, I really can't fault that. Especially if said sweater features an ironic slogan, a print from an eighties film or television show or a knitted Santa Claus - right?

'I don't like the slits though. I actually fucking hate the slits' - Ugh, right? Slits are the worst, man. Seriously though, those shirts that might be tunics but aren't dresses that have those stupid slits really are the worst. 

'Point sur slim stacker Japanese selvedge jean in klutely wash' - WTF?? 

'Tool retro hipster flare with low emissions sequins in my beautiful dark twisted fantasy floral in over confident coral blush with criss cross straps' - Somebody please do this, I'll wear it. 

And my absolute favourite line?

'The wicked logic that renders the expensive sacred' - This might be my new motto. But it explains the current fashion-o-sphere in eight words more succinctly than anything else, ever. I mean, do you really love those Chanel sneakers? Like, really?


kb xx

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

this week #2

I'll be honest, I was concerned this week's this week would not actually make it into the right week. And my concern has been realised, perhaps I should call it this fortnight? Full time study and nearly full time work do make a negligent blogger of me; but, there are some brilliant things I want to share with you this week.

The New Yorker has thrown open their archives for the next three months before a paywall goes up. Run, don't walk to your nearest wifi connection and start perusing. I'm already there, will report back. Feel free to leave links to your favourites in the comments.

Came across these illustration by Brazilian graphic design Carol Rossetti, and I've found myself back here a few times since. Something about the simplicity of the design, the diversity of the messages, the reality of the situations drawn. I mean, a women's freedom to be in control of her own body, behaviours and identity - isn't that what feminism is all about?

How much would it cost to buy everything in an issue of American Vogue? Just a tad under $350K according to American journalist, Noah Veltman. Veltman tallied up the cost of all the products featured in ten major American magazines and Vogue beat out its nearest rival by nearly two hundred thousand dollars. Talk about aspirational. I have to wonder at what point it gets ridiculous though?

Commencement speeches generally result in a plethora of blog posts, news articles, tweets and retweets, Facebook status' and a host of other information spreading, inspiration instigating rubbish, basically. But I quite liked this one by Neil Gaiman from 2012. Especially his points about the possibilities that are open when you don't know what's impossible, the way a creative life is like sending out messages in bottles and hoping for a response and that if you're making mistakes it means you're out there doing something - and that is a good thing. 

I'm a sucker for a bookstore (and a library too - basically anywhere with books) and this list from Buzzfeed featuring fourteen independent bookshops in London has me champing at the bit to get back to the English capital and explore.

kb xx

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 

Tuesday, July 08, 2014


Have you ever started something without really knowing where you were headed?

Recently, it occurred to me that that's kind of how I operate. I dive in head first and cross all my fingers and toes (not really - I can't cross my toes) hoping that I'll come up for air at some point. The same point at which the way forward will (hopefully) be clear. Inevitably, I do break the surface and gasp for air but it's not necessarily clear; often it's just as fuzzy as when I dived in.

For a long time that fuzziness bothered me. Mostly because it's so easy to compare yourself to other people through the wonder that is social media and the internet and it always seemed like everyone else had their shit sorted. Of course, as a general rule, they don't. And neither do I.

When I started this blog I'm not exactly sure what I had in mind. Inspired by the various fashion blogs I was reading, some of which I still drop by, I figured it was a good opportunity to merge my two great loves: words and fashion. It has sort of moved along, perhaps limped is a better word, for a couple of years and to be honest I've spent most of this year experimenting with the format and wondering what I can do with it. Because, the idea of being a fashion blogger is less and less appealing to me. Or perhaps more accurately, the idea that by calling myself a fashion blogger I limit what this space is for is less and less appealing.

Right now if you stick your head into the fashion blogging world it is a cacophony of voices. It's often overwhelming and sometimes difficult to sustain your own voice amongst the noise. Don't get me wrong, many voices and lots of thoughts are great and wonderful and something I wholeheartedly support - but there is a sense of consumerism and materialism that underscores some notions of fashion blogging that increasingly sit uneasily with me. Plus, there are a great many things I like to ponder and discuss and debate and with such a specific focus those things get lost. 

So, what am I saying? I'm saying the experiments will continue. I'm saying this space is not reserved for sartorial discussions only. I'm saying things might get a little strange, because I'm a little strange and this is my space so I can be a little strange here.

I'm saying sometimes life opens a big door and you'd be mad not to jump right through, head first and worry about the fuzziness later.

kb xx