Saturday, June 28, 2014

conscious style - righteous fur & pest control.

Environmental causes have always been near and dear to my heart.  Growing up with an awareness of the plants and animals around me, and an environmentally-conscious mom, I've always paid attention to the landscape and our impact on it.

I've been noticing a ton of "invasive species" lately where I live, non-native plants are taking over the landscape, choking out the native wildflowers.  The Japanese knotweed in my yard is terrible.  Chemicals are the only sure fire way to get rid of it, and since it's very close to the water, I am hesitant to do so. A tough, resilient, bamboo-like plant, I keep cutting it down, but it keeps growing back.  I've been thinking about hiring a herd of goats to come in and mow it down....
invasive Japanese knotweed, taking over the landscape.
native milkweed, which becomes a habitat for butterflies like the monarch. it used to grow in abundance along the landscape, but is slowly being choked out or destroyed by over-zealous landscaping.
Recently, I read about the organization "Righteous Fur", which deals with the nutria, an invasive beaver-like mammal destroying the wetlands of Louisiana,  in a unique and interesting way....

Yep. You guessed it.  Nutria tooth pendants, furs, and hats....

French accessory designer, Monika Jarosz, also takes a similar approach with a highly poisonous invasive species of toad, introduced to Oceania from South America.  A "non-protected species", animal advocates have recommended it be controlled and eliminated.  The designer has recycled its skin into bags, bracelets, even about a "conversation piece!"
Wearing fur or using animal products for fashion has always been considered something of a taboo in the past.  It caused the extinction or near-extinction of species, from beavers to birds, all for the sake of being fashionable and looking good.

It's interesting to me to see it now being used in the complete opposite of ways. It raises awareness of human impact on the ecosystem.  It shows how we cause great damage and harm to native plants and animals by mistakenly introducing non-native species into the environment. What do you think of this new trend? Ready to wear it or completely against it? I'd be curious to know.

Want to learn more about invasive plants?
Check out Righteous Fur's Design and Jewelry Collective here:
Learn more about Monika Jarosz and her work here:

Thursday, June 19, 2014

style icon of the year ! vote for me

I'm up for an award, "Style Icon of the Year" over at ASOS Fashion Finder, along with a whole bunch of super-stylish and creative ladies & gentlemen....if you like my work and style and think I deserve it, please vote for me! Also check out the other categories and vote for your faves...

Check out my profile

and don't forget to vote for me 


Thanks! xo

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

you better WORK!

Something I have noticed in fashion, lately, espeically after seeing Balmain's 2014 Resort Collection, was the influence of practicality and function in women's fashion.  Once the humble, oft-maligned daily dress of a Midwestern farmer driving a John Deere, overalls are now everywhere, having recently been given a luxurious upgrade:

Actually, this garment has a long history in women's workwear.  My mom is a bit of a history buff, and she recently got me into all of the TV shows and local slide lectures dealing with the 70th anniversary of D-Day. I started to get really interested in it, particularly in the roles of women during World War II, and World War I. I found that overalls and cover-alls were kind of standard fare for working women at that time:

unidentified Wisconsin auto factory worker, circa WW1, 1918.
The influence of this type of garment has inspired many fashion designers, including Issey Miyake:

What I really like about seeing all of these recent designers giving a nod to working women and uniforms is that these pieces are meant to be worn.  It implies a purpose and meaning beyond just hobbling around in 4" stilettos, with a designer bag draped from your shoulders.  Even if you're not working in a factory or a lumberyard, like these pioneers were doing, you can still feel comfortable in you clothes.

working women in overalls, WWII
women farm workers
African American women working in a lumberyard, circa 1920, dressed in men's clothes.

I find this trend so interesting and telling that women who wear designer clothing would want to embrace this trend.  You can find stylish overalls everywhere right now, in pretty much every form, including this one beautiful pair at APC, made from "caviar grade denim" (does anybody know what that means??)...and they are called the "Steinbeck" overalls...(hmm, if anyone knew how to write about the sufferings and plight of the common (wo)man it was John Steinbeck)

I'm loving this trend for several reasons: the equality that a pair of overalls or coveralls implies, the heritage from which it comes, and the ease with which it is re-created on the street.  You can probably find a pair at your local thrift store, (and don't forget to check the men's section).  I think wearing these types of garments really empowered women.  I think they figured "I'm not wearing a dress, I'm working like a man, so let me get equal rights, equal pay, etc."  It's kind of amazing what fashion can do, if you think about it.  Women's corsets had to be banished so that they could bend over to pick up heavy boxes and work with machinery, they had to wear trousers and overalls to protect themselves! It was freeing in more ways than one...

...Fashion as revolution? I'm all for it :)

Monday, June 2, 2014

photography: Jim Jocoy's Punk Rock

Recently I found out about this book: "We're Desperate: The Punk Rock Photography of Jim Jocoy SF/LA 1978 -1980", which chronicles the styles of the burgeoning Bay Area rock/punk scene at that time. What fascinates me was that this was a time of transition. Hippie-flower-child style was turning into black leather and combat boots, there was a real change in the culture at the time, reflected in music and fashion. 

Needless to say, I really identify with the fashion and personal style of the era. I like the in-your-face boldness of it, how it feels like personal armor, the rebelliousness and messy imperfection of it. There was a kind of originality and a " do - it - yourself " spirit (and one that wasn't packaged, branded, and sold in stores like Urban Outfitters). A lot of fashion today really takes inspiration from these roots.  But I find such an authenticity in these images that I rarely see in fashion and personal style today...

If you're interested, you can find the book Here. I think it's a must for the fashion & photography library!