Saturday, September 4, 2010

Style Profile #16: Reaux Flagg

Name: Reaux Flagg

Locale: Berkeley, CA

Favorite Shops/ Labels: St. Vincent DePaul Thrift Shop near downtown LA

Fashion Influences: Dandies, literary figures, my mom, antique shops, thrift stores, Will Oldham, found objects, the sustainability movement

Local Fashion Scene: Newish to Berkeley, but there are a ton of free piles appearing and leaving from which to gleam magical wearable artifacts. The free box on Channing at McGee in Berkeley is a gem.

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Trendspotting: Tom's Shoes

Love or Hate? Tom's Shoes

I recently decided to audit a class at a university for the summer. Ya know, get out, socialize, stimulate my brain - and, of course, scope out the fashion. I began to notice the prevalence of a beachcomber-esque canvas shoe line: Tom's shoes. A few weeks earlier, a couple of different friends had mentioned the shoes to me as well... and then I started to see them everywhere. Like UGGs and flipflops, Tom's shoes have been taken up by the collegiate set and seem to be spreading among students like bad beer at a kegger.

Bad fashion seems to thrive at universities, so it's only reasonable to be skeptical about Tom's. At first glance, they seem to have the same shapeless wonder of the much undeservedly-loved UGG and the simple, basic mass appeal of an item one might see at American Apparel.

However... there are definitely things to love about this little shoe. For starters, they actually do have far more definition than anything UGG can offer and the design, though simple, is pretty darn cute - in a way similar to Vans or Keds. And the casual look means they go with almost everything. Plus, after trying on a pair, I can testify that they are verrrrry comfortable.

Then there is the fact that the company is actually doing something other than just making money, with their One for One policy: for every pair you buy, they will give a new pair of shoes to a child in need. I don't know the details of this policy, but it sounds like a damn good one.

So what's the downside? Well, they are cloth shoes, which I generally avoid because you have to wash them to really keep them clean. But more than that is the general icky-ness I feel whenever giving in to a trend that looks to be going viral in its popularity. I cringe at buying anything people purchase simply because it's convenient and trendy - not because they actually like it. But the fact the company is doing a good deed with every purchase is a hard thing to argue with - especially when most of the shoes are priced under $50.

Whether or not I give in and buy a pair, what really interests me is how prevalent they are right now, and where. I have very little doubt Tom's is going to give UGGs a run for their money in the 'comfy shoe' category (is it too much to hope that Tom's will actually replace them?) and that if you haven't noticed them yet, you will. But where are they creeping up right now? Is Tom's only a college thing? A West coast thing?

I'm curious how this trend is spreading. So, I ask you: do you know Tom?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Style Profile #15: Christine Bowles

Name: Christine Bowles

Locale: Chicago, IL

Favorite Shops/ Labels: Actually I don't have one favorite store, shopping is a method of relaxation for me so I love to go all over - boutiques in tiny neighborhoods, big department stores on State St and Michigan Ave, thrift stores, street markets, etc. Wherever I can find a good deal. But I will say that had I to choose, Wolfbait in Logan Square is one of my favorite stores - I always spend twice as much as I should and never walk away empty handed. The added bonus about Wolfbait is that everything they sell comes from Chicago designers and I always love to give back to my own.

Fashion Influences: My influences come from all over: friends, magazines, rock stars, etc. But Chicago is probably my biggest influence. I love to people watch and always have an eye on what I think is cute or awful. I also like to mix and match my fashion. A fifties style dress matched with 80's style accessories and a little 90's style crocheted bag. Something like that. And I love color, I think everyone should always add a bit of color to their wardrobe.

Local Fashion Scene: Chicago is a great scene for fashion. They have so many different styles and personalities going on. In one neighborhood bar you can see the posh socialite to the little girls in grunge trying to bring back the 90's - I absolutely love it.
One thing about fashion is that you have to make it your own. You should be influenced by others around you, but never be a copy cat. Take an idea, twist it and turn it until something represents you. Remember fashion is two things: A way to express yourself and wearable art. Embrace it.

*Interested in being a Peach?*
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Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Trend That Wouldn't DIe...

Along with many other observations I've made about US fashion since coming back from overseas, I've come to notice that there are certain trends in US fashion that just never seem to die. Like the creature from a bad B-movie - or corn syrup in our diet - they insidiously creep up again and again, decade after decade. And I'm not speaking of the ubiquitous items like red high-heeled pumps or men's polo shirts, but rather a style that won't let go. What could it be? Ladies and gentlemen, I give you... the platform shoe.
Now, you might be thinking, 'Oh, come on. Platforms are so 1970's, no one ever really wears them anymore'. But I'm here to tell you, they are aaaaall over the place. Just in 2008 celeb ladies were sporting this look in 80s retro neon colors. Usually, however, the influence of the platform is more subtle, yet it's definitely there. Take, for instance, the cage heels that were so the rage recently. They usually had a chunky heel and a small platform in the front. Or take any wedge in the US for heaven's sake! They are all based on the platform style, with a huge wedge that stays just as wide at the top as at the bottom. Even US espadrilles, which are made to be light and sandal-like, are chunky like this. Or how about platform sneakers?

And the thing is, you just don't see this in other countries - at least not to this extent (definitely not in Japan). Trust me that, if you visit other countries, you'll see spiked heels, narrowed wedges, etc., but you won't see much of the wide, heavy, raised-at-the-front shoes you do here. And when you come back to the States, you'll look around and wonder if all the platform-like heels are made for American's larger feet - or if we're just following the new Hollywood formula of recycling the past in the absence of creativity.

As for me, seeing evidence of the platform heel everywhere just makes me realize how the US fashion industry clings to its roots. Like a 60 yr old woman who's been sporting the same dated beehive because she's still in love with it, the American woman has had a secret love affair with platforms - and all it's bastard children - since the 70's... and it doesn't look to be leaving us anytime soon.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Style Profile #14: Charlotte Gundmundsson

Name: Charlotte Gundmundsson

Profession: Illustrator

Locale: Brooklyn, New York

Favorite Shops/ Labels: If I have money or there's a sale going on, I love going to Opening Ceremony. Otherwise I love Inven.tory and Uniqlo (they hem your jeans for free!). One of my favourite places in Brooklyn are Malin Landaeus vintage on N. 6th street, and the Brooklyn Artist and Fleas for jewelry.

Fashion Influences: My identical twin sister Amanda is my biggest style influence. I also love the tough and girly 60's french yeh-yeh girls.

Local Fashion Scene: The fashion scene in Brooklyn can feel very uniform, almost institutional. Instead of paying too close attention to trends, I like to find clothes that fit perfectly.

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Spotlight: The Most Fashion-Forward Show You've Never Heard Of

In March of last year NBC launched a new, glittery, high-production (spent $10 million just on the pilot!) show that was profiled by Time, NPR, and widely acclaimed by critics... and you've probably never heard of it. It was called Kings and lasted only one season.

Why so short?

Well, I wasn't in the country to see it, but apparently the promos were terrible, and I can imagine that the premise--a modern retelling of the Biblical tale of David--didn't appeal to many. (Why Christian audiences didn't seem to tune in either is still a mystery.) It's a damn shame, too, since the show was actually original, well-produced, and very intelligent. Not to mention that Ian McShane's performance as King Silas (Saul) is one of the best prime time TV has seen in a loooong while. Also, the dialogue is at times casual and modern, and at others almost Shakespearean in its language, which might turn others off but which I adored for the fact that it assumed the audience could handle monologues more intelligent than something spouted by Spicoli (not that we don't all love Fast Times at Ridgemont High, but still...) In fact, much of the show has a Shakespearean feel, with highly potent symbolism running through the whole series while juxtaposed against the shiny New York-esque background of the capital city, Shiloh. Some might not think the balance is that well achieved between the ancient and modern, but I happen to think it works. And even if you don't agree, you have to give the show brownie points for ambition and scope.

Be all that as it may, it was something else that happened while I watched the show that gave me reason to ramble on about it here. I noticed that, episode after episode, the fashions I was seeing on the characters (from over a year ago!) were reflected in the new trends I was seeing pop up in stores. From the princess' 80's style waist pleats now in the Jean Paul Gaultier dresses at Target, to the bilateral ruffles on Katrina's dresses that are now all over H&M, to the prince's narrow, buttoned dress shirt collars which I just saw last week at Urban Outfitters!

Ok, so maybe the show wasn't 'forward' in an edgy, pushing-the-envelope kind of way, but it did a damn good job of being ahead of the curve. Moreover, a lot of these new trends don't look good on everyone, so what was even more impressive was the fact that designer Daniel Lawson costumed each cast member in the most flattering style for their size and type--and character for that matter. Even if the styles had not been right on the pulse of what's up and coming (and they were, though subtly), the fashion would still have you itching for your own royal tailor.

It's just the icing on the cake of what's already a stellar show. Too bad no one noticed it when it was actually on the air.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Style Profile #13: Elaine Hepburn

: Elaine, Lainey-lu, MissElaineia

Occupation: Charity Education Outreach Worker, Art Therapist in training, Singer, Writer, Artist (in the becoming!)

Locale: London, for now.

Favorite shops/labels: For day to day style and ease, I still love good old h&m, though I usually go for the clothes left on the sale racks that no-one else wanted. I've never had the money to experiment with expensive designer labels but would secretly love to, as I reckon they'd cut to fit really well. Otherwise charity shops anywhere and everywhere - especially in towns in the middle of nowhere and in posh areas of London (for amazing deals!). Fav highstreet shop at the moment is 'Pop Boutique', a vintage-inspired/homemade clothes shop to be found in the tangle of interesting streets in between Neal Street and Leicester Square:
Or Rag N Bone Vintage clothing in Deptford:
Or the fabulous 'Kitt's Couture' if you happen to be in Penzance, Cornwall!

Fashion Influences: My childhood, my ladyfriends, my Mum! The 60s/70s/80s and the collective unconcsious... (often my ideas come from seeming nowhere...) Working clothes- cowgirls, aprons, Japanese construction workers, India, Africa and countries where all sorts of patterns and styles are worn jostling along simultaneously. The odd glamour-puss; Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe; The Be-good Tanyas, Madonna (in the early years), Bjork.

Local Fashion Scene: London fashion is vast and eclectic, and multicultural - I love it. You can pretty much cater for any fashion whim you might have, it just takes you a while to work out where to find it. Currently I am stuck on Deptford - for its amazing African boutique/tailors, and the retro shops that are still chaff-and-grain, and still retro prices. I've heard there is a huge clothes mountain somewhere under one of the railway arches, where lots of vintage clothing outlets go to source clothes and get the deals, but I haven't quite mustered the energy to go find out for myself! Then there's Southall for anything Indian; whole streets of silks and sparkles, and then with the Indian restaurants, supermarkets, cinemas and Hindi signs, it feels like you are a hop and a skip from the sari emporiums in Chennai!

*Interested in being a Peach?*
Send 1) one full-length pic, 2) 2 to 4 other snapshots that capture your style, 3) your name, locale, fav shops, influences, the scene in your city, or any other pertinent info to