Thursday, May 28, 2009

Fluevog: unique soles for unique souls, indeed

by frédérik sisa

It frustrates me to no end - insofar as as I really do get worked up about such things. Fluevog is one of my favourite shoe designers, but he offers zero, and by zero I do mean zip, sandals for men. If I liked wearing shoes, there would no shortage of unique soles to choose from. Fluevog is where I would turn to. The one pair I have, textured burgundy-coloured shoes from the Angel collection, has all the awesome I could want from footwear. And it lasts too. The soles are water resistant, acid resistant, and Satan resistant (big plus), and the the uppers are tough too - these babies have gone the distance. When they do expire, as all things must, it'll be straight to the nearest Fluevog store for a successor pair.

What makes Fluevog so noteworthy is that the designs have a signature style - spotting a Fluevog is almost as easy as spotting Louboutins, and this without the benefit of a repeated design feature like red soles - and have a quality of construction that justifies prices ranging from the hundreds to three-hundreds. In other words, you get what you pay for and it's worth it. As a bonus, they offer eco-friendly, vegan styles too, which demonstrates an uncommonly accommodating design platform, and a concept called Open Source Footwear in which we, the common people, can submit designs in the hopes of seeing them become bonafide production models.

They recently re-released a vintage shoe in honour of Fluevog's 40th anniversary, the Ask | Answer:
The solid strap slingback, the thick squeezed heel, the brass details...it's a beautiful take on the clog.

For guys, they're featuring the Resist | Derby, an ankle-high chukka boot of natural crepe and suede that, as the description so aptly, well, describes, offers a Fluevogian spin on the creeper. They have a neat yellow and grey version, but I'm partial to this brown and blue:

These Radio | CBC are snazzy too. I love the blue lining:
But please, Mr. Fluevog...how about some men's sandals? It's summer and who wants to keep feet locked up in shoes?

Okay, so now I'm whining. Complaints aside, Fluevog is one of the most consistent bang-for-the-buck shoe brands out there - distinctive and easily able to make a statement without throwing an ensemble off-kilter. Makes me wish I did like wearing shoes a little more.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

featured blogger: style klutz

Frédérik, here, with another entry in our Featured Blogger series. (Note: this isn't going to be a regular Wednesday event. It's just that when we come across something we like, well, we just gotta mention it, like, right now.)

This week, I'd like to introduce you to Trace, self-described "Style Klutz" and the newest addition to the list of fantastic fashionistas we like. Strictly by coincidence given last week's featured blogger, Style Klutz (styleklutz.com) is all about fashion and the curvy girl. In keeping with the ancient, time-honoured new tradition here at The Fashionoclast, I subjected Trace to the Dreaded Questions Three:

In a nutshell, tell us about Style Klutz.
Style Klutz is a blog that chronicles my adventures as a size 10/12, fashion-obsessed girl on a budget. I'm curvy, klutzy, and booty-blessed. I love clothes, but often have a hard time finding stuff that fits my body properly. I shop at Target, review gazillions of jeans, fall on my face - it's all there on Style Klutz. The readers are amazing, and the blog has truly blossomed into a place where curvy women of all ages can share information and support through posts and comments.

What inspires and influences your personal style?
Other bloggers! I love this little community we've created, and I love seeing what real women from all over the world are wearing on a daily basis. Learning tips and tricks, getting turned on to the latest sales, reading reviews - it's all inspiring to me. I've learned so much more from reading blogs than I've ever learned from any magazine.

And your plan for world domination is…?
I want to convince clothing designers to rid the world of waist gap in pants! And that premium denim should always go up to at least a size 32. And really, I just want Style Klutz to become an amazing resource for curvy women - a place to share information, styles, news, and reviews. Something that will help all of us in our quest to be comfortable and confident and happy. Thanks so much to The Fashionoclast for helping spread the word!

You're welcome, Trace!

So readers, after you've read the latest posts here at The Fashionoclast, how about mousing on over to Style Klutz?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

alternative outfitters and the dilemma of cruelty-free fashion

by frédérik sisa

In this increasingly complicated world, even fashion isn’t isolated from a context of social, political, and economic issues. Ethical issues, if you will, that raise questions as to the extent to which being a fashionista is limited to appearances. As a (b)vegan, I struggle with how best to transform my life from that of the classic consumer to something more enlightened and environmentally-attuned. When it comes to eating, the moral struggle is easy to tame; it’s possible to lay out general principles that are based in pragmatism rather than unyielding ideology. Clothing, however, presents a more difficult problem.

Whether vegan or not, there is good reason for everyone to be concerned about animal cruelty in the manufacture of the clothes we wear. Fur, for example, can entail heart-breaking and horrifying cruelty as animals are confined in tiny cages, beaten, and skinned alive. See this link on Chinese fur farms. The same applies to leather. In India, for example, PETA’s investigations documented illegal abuse of animals, a problem that co-occurs with unsanitary and polluting practices.

So what’s a fashionista to do? One option is to shop at stores like Alternative Outfitters, which sell cruelty-free, non-leather products. I recently visited their showroom in Pasadena (California). It’s the tiny, public face of the warehouse that stores supplies for their online store. As an overall experience, I admit I was a little disappointed. Perhaps it’s my own fault for expecting a warm-and-fuzzy from an internet-oriented store, but the service, though not at all unfriendly, was a tad indifferent. This was good in the sense of not being harassed by a sales clerk while browsing, but bad in the sense that it felt impersonal. Selection-wise, it should come as no surprise that Alternative Outfitters is an Oasis for women shoppers - my wife bought a very nifty tote featuring embroidered skulls - but a desert for us guys. The footwear selection is quite impressive, with non-leather shoes from brands such as Steve Madden, Chinese Laundry, Simple, and others, and they carry a good selection of apparel, accessories and cosmetics. The online catalog seems to be better than what they shelf at their brick-and-mortar. I can’t vouch for the online experience, but I have no reason to believe that customers would be disappointed with their orders.

Yet looking at all these products, the issues surrounding cruelty-free apparel and accessories comes into focus. Made in China. Synthetic materials. The picture is larger than cruelty to animals. With products manufactured abroad, we have to consider the environmental impact arising from the manufacturing process of synthetic materials such as PVC, as well as the potential health impacts of these materials, as well as carbon-emissions that come with the international transport of products. There are also labour considerations.

The challenge, of course, comes from prioritizing these various aspects of environmental responsibility. Is it better to buy a local animal-based product, thereby sustaining animal cruelty, or a foreign-made synthetic item with all its environmental impact? Would you be willing to pay more for a natural, environmentally sustainable, fair-trade or locally made piece of clothing? Would you be willing to have less selection but have that selection be fully ethical?

To illustrate the dilemma: I’ve been contemplating getting a pair of custom sandals made. Since I can’t find sandals in the style I want, I came up with a design and found a cobbler in the US who could make it. The problem, however, is that she hasn’t been able to find a non-leather material. In the bigger picture, relatively-local and hand-made but not leather-free isn’t too bad. Yet there is the question: do I really NEED this pair of sandals? If it’s just out of a kind of vanity and not genuine necessity, is there any reason to accept any moral compromise?

I suppose the ideal would be some sort of mass customization manufacturing process, locally implemented using natural, sustainable materials. Until we have that, though, we have to keep struggling with the balance between the elements of style and the ethics of production and consumption.

Rocking Shoes

Overturn Prop H8, support equal rights for all citizens.

By Aqua Catlin
Recently returned to the gym after 4 months, (long story). My abs feel like I was run over by a truck and my legs feel like they're still under it. Walking has been my only activity so I remembered that my legs could be getting double the tone with these monstrous things. I chose the Avon brand equivalent to MBTs (Masai Barefoot Technology) because their reviews are at 4.8 out of a possible 5 stars and the price was great for my first time purchase. Perfect for marching for civil rights in.

They claim, "...Sole ensures natural rocking movement, challenging muscles to strengthen. Helps improve balance and posture." Should be fun trying to roll up those hills. My order shipped and I will let you know how its going. Equal rights for all, CA!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Fancy Pants

By Aqua Catlin

Well, I doubted it for a while but its clear that it's worth spending the extra money for good designer denim that fits. The final test came last night.

Recently I purchased a simple pair of jeans - now my fave, they're also the least fancy looking I have. They're my beloved new skins: Serfontaine's "Fox Boot Leg". (I have another great Serfontaine pair too but don't know what they're called.)

They actually look a bit like jean's I'd have worn in the late 80's, a mere "5 year old" of course ; ). By that I just mean they refreshingly referencing a simpler time in denim. Thank goodness. The seams are all completely top-stitched in a large white stitch and the hem is a full inch. Remember that? The belt loops also 3/4". Yet they still are easy and simple to look upon. Fresshh... Yet familiar.

Mine are a light blue hue without all the over-done wash and distress details, rips, tears and the ever hideous shreds from thigh to ankle that have saturated the market. urgh.
I've been overwhelmed by the dirty direction of denim. I'm not a mechanic and I don't want it. God. I guess I should show you a visual of the distressing distressed pieces that they're selling us, but I can't bear to search for another bit of threads on some B-list blonde.

They're amazingly comfortable, yet flattering - not loose, make my legs look long, (actually they're barely a millimeter from being waaaay too long - the things almost get caught under 4" platform heels), and one of the nicest things about them is the easy pocket detail. Its a contemporary detail, but not an event. Symmetrical, unique, simple, it directs the eye where it belongs: UP, around, away. See it here.

The point is, that even though they look simple at first glance, clearly, they're a well designed, quality product. The iron-clad test I refer to? Even my ex-boyfriend, a lost in the forest of fashion, misguided sweetheart who thinks a pair of sneakers (which all look the same to me) and cotton shorts is what we should be born and buried in, was impressed without my telling him to be. His taste in wardrobe may be questionable but his eyes are working! He made me feel great saying, "Look at your $600 jeans. They look so nice, they must be new." : ) Thanks, can I get you anything?! How did you know they were expensive when they're so simple? Because simplicity is elegant and elegance is lux.

Another plus: My hips and thighs aren't what they were in the 80's. They're more. But my waist is small - so, if it makes it over the booty, usually there's a couple inches of ease around the waist.... try to pull off the sleek look with this going on. However, the Serfontaine have just a little ease - no belt required. (Yes, JuanJo, I guess it's a good problem, you're good for a girl's ego, thank you!)

And as its a relatively new brand I will be tracking them and I hope they stay out of the trend market. I can't wait to fill my closet with them and feel comfy, sexy and unique.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

featured blogger: the curvy fashionista

Frédérik, here. It’s a big Internet out there. With so many tubes to navigate, many of them rusted out and filled with gunk, it’s easy to get lost. But fear not, dear Reader, we at The Fashionoclast are here to help with our Featured Blogger series. Our goal: to steer you in the right direction and find out what other fashion-minded folk are talking about. Every time we add a link to our Fantastic Fashionistas list, we’ll post about it. But enough about us...

Introducing Marie Denee whose 11 years of retail experience and MBA degree have led her to create a blog focused entirely on one of the most glaring injustices of the fashion industry. I subjected her to the Dreaded Questions Three to get to the heart of fashionable endeavour.
In a nutshell, tell us about the Curvy Fashionista.
The Curvy Fashionista was created last year out of frustration for finding the latest high fashion, contemporary fashions for the Curvy.Confident.Chic. Fashionista. Through my research, I have found, and continue to find, designers who specialize in all things curvy! From there, I have set out to provide resources to all plus size women who have that discerning eye for high fashion!

What inspires and influences your personal style?
I love effortless chic. I read the same magazines as the straight fashionistas and draw my inspirations from them as well as international fashion. What hinders me to a point is that I have to be more resourceful in finding those items to interpret those fashions to my fashionable desires. It can be a daunting task, but I love a challenge.

And your plan for world domination is…?
To bring high fashion to plus size and plus size to high fashion, all while keeping it Curvy.Confident.Chic.
There you have it, folks. After catching up on all your Fashionoclast reading, mouse on over to The Curvy Fashionista.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

a cure for the common shoe - topless sandals

by frédérik sisa

The trouble with walking around barefoot is, of course, the gunk on the street – not to forget the pointies that will stick and jab at your soles. But what if what you want to keep your feet free in the open air, unconfined, and also keep your soles away from, shall we say, sin? The answer comes courtesy of the rightly named That’s Cool, Inc : topless sandals. These are soles that stick to the bottom of your feet with a skin-friendly adhesive, with no uppers or straps to “bind” the foot, thus leaving it – say it with me - topless. To add flair, the insoles are available in a cornucopia of colours and patterns. Very cool, indeed. Here’s a pic of what they look like off and on – and I promise this will be the last pic of my feet until the next time:


But do they work? And are they comfortable? The answer to both questions is a resounding yes. At first, it felt a little strange to have something sticking to the bottom of my feet. But after walking around in them for a while, I stopped noticing. Movement felt fine – all in all, these things were quite comfortable.

Style-wise, these things look as great as they feel in the paradoxical sense that it almost looks like you’re not wearing anything. To emphasize the effect, a stylish accessory is the foot thong (or barefoot sandal). I wondered initially why That's Cool only offered them individually instead of in pairs. But my contact at the company, Miriam VonStruble, offered a sensible explanation; wearing two makes the sandals look like flip-flops, while wearing one emphasizes their toplessness. How true it is. The foot thongs are light beads on an elastic string. A large beaded loop slips around the ankle while a smaller one loops around the toe so that the beaded strap rests on top of the foot. Although women are the ones who typically wear these, I don’t see a reason why men can’t too. (Miriam tells me that while foot thongs haven’t caught on as a trend with American men, European and Asian men will wear them.) As with any fashion item, it’s all about context.

However, I did notice that the adhesive weakened after some time (more or less; this was true of one sandal in particular). Some explanation is required: I wore these at the office for pretty much an entire day. Except for lunch break, when I took them off, I wore the sandals for 3-4 hours straight, mostly while sitting at my desk. I suspect that, in combination with the jeans I wore (the hems kept catching on the adhesive), I abused the sandals a bit. More walking, less intrusive jeans, and less fussing in general might have led to better results after a few hours of wearing. But even so, the sandals did stay on, and the lesson is a rather familiar one with shoes; wear the right shoes for the right occasions and purposes. It’s for this reason I don’t hold the lack of arch support against the sandals; they’re not designed for hiking. (I have to wonder, though, what would happen if we were to take a Vibram sole with a fabric insole and put on a replenishable layer of adhesive. Hmm.) These are shoes of leisure and, in that capacity, they are absolutely fun – a cure for the common shoe. I’m looking forward to wearing these again in a more active capacity. Heck, I might even get a few more.

Miriam tells me that the adhesive should last for 80-100 wearings provided the sandals are properly cared for. This means:
  1. Wearing them with dry, clean, lotion/oil-free feet.
  2. Not wearing them in environments filled with particles – e.g. sandy beaches, despite what the picture on the package might tell you. While the shoe is theoretically supposed to fit the foot as closely as possible, in practice there is some insole exposed, which means that sand and dirt will stick to it if you’re not careful.
  3. Treating the sandals like socks and washing them with soap and warm water using a soft-bristled brush; this reactivates the adhesive.
The sandals retail for about $10. The foot thongs go for $5. If you go to That’s Cool’s website, you can get for a list of retailers. Or, you can find online retailers easily by running a search for “topless sandals.”

Note: Many thanks to Miriam Von Struble for her assistance and for providing me with a free pair of Topless Sandals to review.

Monday, May 18, 2009

jeans in distress

by frédérik sisa

The LA Times has a small photo gallery on a "new" (yeah, right) trend courtesy of Balmain; distressed jeans. And yes, I am rather distressed at the trend. Call me crazy, but I think torn, shredded, holey jeans look the opposite of clean - unless you're punk, in which case it's totally cool. But this whole high fashion hijack of punk strikes me as conceptually confused and aeshetically clumsy. Of course, I don't say this to discourage anyone from doing the distressed thing if that's their, well, thing. But this whole idea of post-mugging jeans as a trend, especially when priced at $2,195, strikes me as a bit conceited.

Tune in tomorrow for a review of a rather unique kind of shoe.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Watch her

By Aqua Catlin

And for anyone who doubts Lady Gaga is an artist (modern day and commercial I admit),
you must see this. I'm not saying she's poetry, just that she's perfect pop and, there's something for everyone. I interviewed 4 lil rich girls. Early 20s at trendy Kitson on trendy Robertson Blvd, in trendy West Hollywood. They know what's good and what's coming and they all love Gaga and they can't all be wrong.
(Also, toe socks...no. queasy, gulp.)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

fine hair to Fine Hair

By Aqua Catlin

My hair is usually pretty straight, if not down-right flat. My stylist always laughs at me when I suggest new style/cut ideas he could try to give me some lift. He laughs really heartily - leaving me feeling naive, silly and disillusioned. Suggestions that maybe I could try growing it, then layered styles, are met with a counter instruction that I get extensions... : (
We have to fake any texture at all by putting darker lowlights through the blonde and underneath. (See the pic from 2 weeks ago in the MySkins post.) Lucky for me, he's a color genius and also does celebs and amazing shoots. I'd like to name-drop him but I'm not stupid...its hard enough to get an appointment time that works and if you want him bad enough you'll find him.

Recently in a fit of mutual hair frustration we tried one of his new hair products - meaning he helped create the collection for the salon where he's based, "Shorty's Barber Shop", in West Hollywood. He's independently there in a private room. Typically he's got a terror of putting much in my hair for fear of weighing it down. ha! But we keep trying.

The line of hair product is called "Shorty's" and the product we used for me is the "Sea Foam" a medium hold, foam forming mousse for contrast, body & lift. I decided to buy it on the spot ($16.95 + tax). He handed it over to me with a worried look and a thrice repeated instruction to put it on BEFORE I dry my hair... Because if I do it afterward, it could possibly get more flat?

Usually, as all women know, we can only achieve that salon-looking style at the salon, no matter how easy our stylists claim it is to do at home. But the mousse is working great, really great. I'm so happy with the results - definite improvement in overall look and texture - and staying power for the full day too. Its not exactly big, but its better. Also smooth and appears thicker and more styled.

To quote a complimentary comment from my blogging partner, I now have,

"A golden river of hair".

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Sock Dreams and the unsung heroes of the wardrobe

by frédérik sisa

This week's topic involves these bad boys:


No, not my feet - the socks. The toe socks, to be precise. For some reason, Aqua hates them. Her reaction on seeing them is just a notch below seeing a creepy-crawly stroll down her desk. I, on the other hand, love them. They're different, they come in all sorts of fun stripes and colours and, above all, they're comfy. The way I see it, why settle for ordinary sausage casings when you can have something with personality that fits like a glove? After all, we don't have potatoes for feet; we've got toes, and sometimes they just want to be free. And warm.

But I'm not using this post to sing the praises of toes socks, although if you feel compelled to give them a try on account of me, hey, go for it! Rather, I want to point out how socks are the unsung heroes of the wardrobe. As someone who prefers to go barefoot and whose footwear of choice is the sandal, I have to admit I never gave socks much thought until relatively recent. After all, they go over the foot, the foot in the shoe - really, who cares about socks, especially when one half of the pair inevitably proves faithless by running away with some no-good piece of knitwear? And yet, even here in sunny Southern California there comes a time when the sandals must stay in the closet and give way to shoes. Suddenly, the humble sock takes on a measure of importance. A flash of colour at the ankles, maybe some secret enjoyment at a hidden bit of fun, or maybe a conversation piece - who knew socks could lead to some kind of fashion glee? For me, it started with stripes. Black and white, of course, followed by black socks with ye olde jolly roger. Then I discovered toe socks and that was it; I found my personal style preference and got several pairs.

It's almost silly, really, but socks are the kind of unexpected detail that, when attended to, can surprise and delight. The problem is finding that pair of socks that scream "you" (or whispers if you don't want to be too conspicuous.) Ladies are fortunate in that most stores carry a respectable selection. Guys, of course, get a choice between the likes of navy, white, black and, if you're really lucky, off-black. Or maybe argyle. But for truly off-the-wall selection, the best option for everyone is either a sock store, of which there are few, or this place, open 24-hours a day for your online shopping pleasure: sock-dreams.com

Sock Dreams started off on the right foot courtesy of a girl who had cold feet. I’m not trying to get cute with the clichéd metaphors; Sock Dreams is really one of those small businesses that started with a simple idea, took off, and is a pleasure to support. I’ve been buying all my socks from them for the past, oh, year or so, and the secret to their success is straightforward – a dizzying selection of socks for all shapes, sizes, and tastes, from tabis and toe socks to lacy stockings and athletic wear (and so much more); efficiently processed orders; good prices; and a friendly vibe. You can’t ask for more.

Except, maybe, for a bonafide brick and mortar to visit.

As it happens, ducky, you’re in luck; Sock Dreams does, indeed, have a store. In beautiful Portland.

So that’s it. No more excuses now for boring socks.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

ain't coo-coo for gaga

Frédérik here, with a different (opposing?) viewpoint to Aqua’s in regards to Lady Gaga, which isn’t really much of a viewpoint since I generally couldn’t possible care less about a musician whose stage name is an infantile utterance. I mean, really. Gaga? Same goes for the generic po- po- pop music she puts out – just not my thing. It sounds like all the rest of the electro-tinged, lyrically inane mainstream. That’s just my opinion.

But as a sort of fashionista, or anti-fashionista, or wtf?-fashionista, the Lady deserves some respect for setting her own style and playing by her own rules, however inscrutable. If nothing else, she illustrates what I may have to egotistically refer to as Frédérik’s Fashion Rule No. 2: if you’re going to dress atrociously, you might as well be imaginative and fearless about it. See Bobby Trendy. As a music teacher of mine once said, the world loves a colourful person. And while I don’t know about the love part, the world certainly does remember a colourful person. Case in point: Bjork and the notorious swan dress designed by Marjan Pejoski. For Lady Gaga, I’m not sure about the whole 80’s leotard back-to-the-future thing, but, as they say, whatever.

The immoral of the story, then, is that Lady Gaga, whom I will not go googoo over, follows in the tradition embodied by everyone from David Bowie to Elton John, Cher to Gwen Stefani. Whether she stands or not is strictly a matter of opinion. If anything, though, it’s an opportunity to think about just how important fashion is to music. The concert, not merely notes strummed on a guitar or vocalized through a microphone, is of course a theatrical experience. I have to wonder, though, to what extend the need for reinvention, for stylistic mutability (to be highfalutin about it) creates and hinders a signature style. I risk digressing, though. The question is: how have your favourite musicians used fashion to enhance their musical career? Comments directly below.

For my answer, I turn to Chris Isaac, who is not only unafraid to wear pink suits and the like, but stops the show with a mirrored suit that makes him look like a walking disco ball. Brilliant. Memorable. Fun. Heck, it’s even stylish. I've seen other singers and bands, but it's the disco suit that stays with me.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Fab is God and Gaga is my Guru

By Aqua Catlin

Pop Artist, Musician, Art Installation, Fashionista, Lady Gaga is all artist. She's kind of a female counterpart to Brandon Flowers of The Killers in talent, fun, honest expression, performance value and especially in obsession with shoulder silhouette and embellishment. Is this a secret symbol for Pop Superheroism? She, takes it ever further with her “disco-stick”, a scepter ala royal [pop] coronation.

Sophisticated in her taste and art beyond what Britney and Jessica can everrr hope for, she glorifies the glorious, Symbols of wealth, femininity and strength, sex and most importantly, symbols of Fabulous. The God I, and hopefully you, worship.

Gaga moved out of her home at 17 to support herself as a stripper and artist in Manhattan and loved the independence that gave her. God love that Lady. She vows always to be honest, never lip-sync and her hope is that her work, “will always be beautiful and that it will change lives.” Well, I don’t know about that – its pop - but it is beautiful. Her brilliant use of color, her hard work and total immersion in the pieces she presents – whether it be the music (she writes her own and its pop perfection), the dance, the gorgeously stylized music videos and photo shoots or the costumes she designs herself – always stunning and visually delectable.

“She”, meaning Lady Gaga, not necessarily the “honest” 23 year old Stefani Germanotta hidden and kept safe under many many layers of wigs, makeup and clothes), is extremely feminine but seems to focus on the strength women can draw from slathering on the femme and its symbols, rather than just exposing themselves (Britney), or looking pretty, (Miley). God! Bow ties made of hair on top of her head and patent pink high heels in bed! Full length sheer catsuits with pasties over the nipples. What?! I love that she loves 50s silhouettes with mod updates ala the Poker Face video, where instead of the traditional flower at hip and hat, she chose a patch of mirrorball viking spikes yet the silhouette is the same. See it here

Always in a headpiece and knuckle cut-out gloves. Her face is always made-up not with plain old pretty makeup but dark glasses, heavy eyeshadow, lashes hiding her eyes and oft seen covering half her face - facepaint. Her exposing her face, midriff, hands or head – I’ve yet to see. She certainly doesn’t show the person behind the art. But its ok. We wouldn’t have cared about her without all this.

She’s creating herself. Its the ultimate imitation of and salute to the creator and makes me Gaga to take a ride on the disco stique too. She reminds me of me at her age, except she’s articulate, artistic and confident. She knows who she wants to be and that’s who she’s projecting. Gaga is my guru. She could be the new Cher, (but no one can ever replace you, Mamma.) She’s taking everything that’s come before her, somehow making it better, and selling it back to us. That’s fashion. She sells it. I’m buying it.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

"Sust" update

By Aqua Catlin

After a couple of correspondences with the Sust Co-Founder, she tells me the product "is made for real women," referring to the feminine shape and my request for a reader for them to produce larger sizes. She used the term "yet" so I'm hoping that as we support them and they become established, their line will include more shapely women. As Frederik pointed out, its the predominate market.

Its great that the company is young and excited enough to be open to input and I noted the email came to me in the 11pm hour last night - showing dedication and courtesy on their part.

Looking forward to their growth and workin' their looks!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

design for "plus size" women: it's not about the cookie from the cutter

by frédérik sisa
“…the average U.S. woman, who's 162.9 pounds and wears a size 14, is treated like an anomaly by apparel brands and retailers -- who seem to assume that no one over size 10 follows fashion's capricious trends.”
Thus writes Emily Vesilind for the LA Times, who observes with well-spoken acidity: “It often seems that it's easier to find and buy stylish clothes for Chihuahuas than for roughly half the country's female population.”Forget the capricious trends, though; what about finding a consistent wardrobe of staples – pants, skirts, blouses, and so on – that looks good and encourages self-confidence? It goes without saying that clothes are so intrinsically tied to identity and psychology that it’s stupid for an essentially elitist industry to wield so much power over people’s self-conception. Beauty is not runway-deep; it comes in all sorts of forms.

I’ve been thinking about ways to get past all that. Part of the solution may rest in the concept of mass customization. As a perspective, the idea is: you don’t fit customers into the clothes, you fit clothes to the customers. And where clothes fit, self-confidence and personal style is sure to follow. As a method, mass customization is all about leveraging industrial capabilities to manufacture customized apparel on a large, and therefore economical, scale. Examples include Converse, Café Press (not exactly “fashion” but...), and, although fairly pricey, IndiDenim. Of course, mass customization isn’t necessarily the right solution for everything – like highly artistic, idiosyncratic creations - but I’m not referring to these. I’m referring to the basics for any good wardrobe.

Even if a product isn’t set up for customers to choose details down to stitching colour and pocket style, it is possible to come close enough. Dickies, for example. Sure, it’s not the kind of brand that bedazzled label-mongers will name-drop as proof of their street cred, hence easy to overlook. But so what? We’re talking about an established brand that offers affordable, durable, and diverse products in different colours with an entirely respectable dose of style. (Example: when I had it in mind to find a pair of red pants, ’cuz I’m crazy that way, Dickies delivered. Oh, yeah. Eat your heart out, Levi’s. Red pants!) Finding a pair of Dickies pants that fit well and look good is easy. Choose your waist size, your inseam length (or get it unhemmed), your pant style and material and, yes, your colours – it really is as close to custom as it gets. For work-and life-friendly clothes that have an appealing, utilitarian chic (“proletarian” chic?) and come with really good customer service, Dickies actually has many so-called “designer” brands beat in both looks and quality.

But I digress. The life lesson from Dickies is that the ability to choose clothes that fit one’s measurements, that come with some amount of customer input, goes a long way to feeling better about what one wears. Mass customization, or at least a very good manufacturing process that gives customers options and variations, strikes me as good antidote to the current cookie-cutter view fashion has of customers. If, in addition, women’s clothes were measured directly, instead of weirdly numbered, I suspect that we’d be well on our way towards a fashion of self-confidence instead of a fashion that marginalizes and alienates. My feeling is that as mass customization takes hold of big brands, like Converse, there will come a point when designers won’t be able to cower behind the notion that designing for multiple body types is more “challenging” than merely designing for that broomstick in the janitorial closet; customization is all about the individual, not the cookie from the cutter. That should be the fashion industry’s mantra.

Monday, May 4, 2009

"Sust"ainable, Organic Fashions

By Aqua Catlin

Must see I found a wonderful ad for in my Dwell magazine: a sustainable, organic super-soft cotton clothing line. Made in San Franicisco, perfect for LA and perfect for the conscious, the trendite and those on a budget. Women's wear only so far but its a great resource anyway. Click
here for Sust. I can't wait to wear their "Hybrid Pant" and especially the "Classic Halter"shown in the ad. I will likely purchase very soon, yay!