Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Feminsit Fashion: What about the workers?

I stumbled upon the old post from Feministe entitled Lipstick Feminism and Dressing the Part Which discuses beauty and fashion as it tends to be debated amongst feminists and others:

"Beauty as power is something that is taught to every young girl. Common adjectives that are used to compliment girls often refer to how pretty, sweet, or kind that they are. Very seldom do we reward girls for their intelligence, assertiveness, or passion. As a child becomes a woman she internalizes the idea that is what is most valuable about her, is her physical appearance."

"Feminism has engaged with beauty on many levels. Some feminists feel that performing beauty even to gain personally is internalizing the male gaze. Others feel that the daily ritual is a sign of their autonomy in that they actively chose which beauty procedures that they will adhere too and which they will reject based on personal desire. The debate between the lipstick feminists and the I will not subject my body to social discipline feminists has been waged since the 1970′s.

What is beauty without the finery and the flash? Each season the fashion industry deploys an army of models to inform us how to best maximize on our feminine whiles. One simply cannot be caught wearing the wrong shade, or sporting a purse that is the wrong size. On the other side of the equation, you have women that are blissfully unaware of the fashion trends and dress for comfort over style. These are the “utility women,” who find power in thwarting the seasonal call to the mall. Utility women take pride in dressing only in what makes them feel comfortable, while at the same time voraciously attacking their dolled up sisters as patriarchal dupes."

However then the piece goes on to note that this debate ignores the greater implications of fashion and beauty - whether one chooses to buy designer or shop at a retail discount store they are still participating in the impoverishment of other women who work in the factories where these goods are produced.

"When women who are middle/upper class engage in a debate as to whether an article of clothing, or makeup is suitably feminist what they are ignoring is that they are in a position to engage in this particular conversation, because they exist with class privilege."

According to The Feminist Majority Foundation, “Women make up 90 percent of sweatshop laborers. Women are paid as little as six cents an hour and work ten to twelve hour shifts. In many instances overtime is mandatory. In some cases, women are allowed only two drinks of water and one bathroom break per shift. Sexual harassment, corporal punishment, and verbal abuse are all means used by supervisors to instill fear and keep employees in line.

Many of the companies directly running sweatshops are small and don’t have much name recognition. However, virtually every retailer in the U.S. has ties to sweatshops. The U.S. is the biggest market for the garment industry and almost all the garment sales in this country are controlled by 5 corporations: Wal-Mart, JC Penney, Sears, The May Company (owns and operates Lord & Taylor, Hecht1s, Filene1s and others) and Federated Department Stores (owns and operates Bloomingdale1s, Macy1s, Burdine1s, Stern1s and others).

Several industry leaders have been cited for labor abuses by the Department of Labor. Of these Guess? Clothing Co. is one of the worst offenders – Guess? was suspended indefinitely from the Department of Labor’s list of “good guys” because their contractors were cited for so many sweatshop violations.

Other companies contract out their production to overseas manufacturers whose labor rights violations have been exposed by U.S. and international human rights groups. These include Nike, Disney, Wal-Mart, Reebok, Phillips- Van Heusen, the Gap, Liz Claiborne and Ralph Lauren.

The argument is clearly more important than whether one is dressing to please oneself or others. There is no denying that basically any purchase you make comes at the exploitation of women. Why is this dialogue missing from both the feminist and style communities when we talk about fashion?

Monday, November 7, 2011

I got my first sewing project from school finished and graded, it was to make an apron. I made it in a dinosaur print with green pockets for Morgan. I think it turned out pretty awesome, but man those straps were a pain to sew.

Also, bonus peak into Morgan's room which I finally painted this weekend. This is a picture of the stripped wall, look how straight they turned out! The other two are just gray and on the 4th wall, my friend and I will be painting an underwater themed mural. The paint looks kinda blue in this picture because I took this picture in low light, but it is possibly the best shade of gray - empire state

Thursday, October 6, 2011

French Style

A great little read on French style and aesthetics
French women do not dress for men. “French women don’t dress to be sexy. Of course we do dress to seduce — that’s different from trying to ‘catch’ a man by wearing flamboyant clothes. The basic attitude is different. A French woman never feels she’s offering herself. There’s never a sense of surrender, but an attitude of ‘I belong to me’.”

I think thus is a great quote and a great attitude one should have told fashion in general. Rather than surrendering oneself to the current trend or in the interest of garnering someone's gaze, it's important to rock what looks good on you and most importantly what makes you feel good.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Fall Sewing - Colette Patterns

Colette's new fall patterns are now available for sale and they all look fantastic.

I'm digging both the blouse and these cigarette pants.

Also, this version of the with it's fitted sleeves and tie-neck would make a great fall wardrobe addition as well.

This would make a great cocktail dress pattern, I'd like to do it in a jewel-toned silk fabric.

And this version is very fun, very 1960s. It reminds me of something out of Woman is a Woman.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Fashion, although inspiring and seductive, can also be downright ridiculous. The avant-garde clothing. The obsession with youth. Now one artist is drawing attention to fashion's love for impractical mannequin-like stances.

"'Poses' is a direct criticism of the absurd and artificial world of glamour and of fashion that magazines present. Specifically, the highly-distorted image of women that they transmit through models that do not represent real women and that avoid all those who are not within their restricted parameters.

Using these impossible stances of the fashion publishing houses as a symbol of how grotesque and unreal this industry is, a group of real women transfer these poses to daily scenes: the queue of a museum, the supermarket or the bus stop, sparking off the reaction of the spectators (on the other hand, regular consumers of these images).

The aim: to make it clear how ridiculous, and at times harmful, it can be to follow these models that the world of glamour impose on us."

Friday, August 26, 2011

1920s Jazz Age Lawn Party Style

Pictures from the 2011 Jazz Age Lawn Party on Governors Island in New York. Here are a few of my favorite shots, more can be found at the above link.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Birthday Poem

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You have only to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile, the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting --
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

– Mary Oliver, Wild Geese

Friday, July 15, 2011

Friday link

Another great process video by Product by Process. Watch Helen Rodel’s process of creating beautiful fashion pieces with yarn, thread and a crochet hook.

Documentário Helen Rödel - Estudos MMXI (english subtitles) from Helen Rödel on Vimeo.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

“If it looks like a duck and walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, but you think it’s a pig … it’s a pig.”

A great article on a great woman and feminist icon "On Her 77th Birthday, Seven Things I’ve Learned from Gloria Steinem" . This got me to thinking about feminism and fashion. Gloria Steinem --the feminist in a miniskirt, who worked undercover as a playboy bunny in the early 1960s to write about how women are treated at those clubs. Yet, like many other second-wave feminists, Steinem often avoided discussion of women’s bodies for decades to come. Steinem herself could never leave behind those photos of her in the bunny suit, and it was upsetting to her that her looks and her body were often so commented on. It was not until 1981, with the publication of her essay “In Praise of Women’s Bodies,” that she really began to discuss the relationship between societal pressures and how women view themselves.

The pressure on women to have it all, and do it all, can manifest itself in our relationships with our bodies, as much as it does on us to have both a promising career and domestic stability. To quote Ms. Steinem, “Women are told they can have it all, that they can do anything, as long as they also keep doing everything else they were doing before.”

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Style Inspiration

Gay icon, screen siren, devastator of men, Elizabeth Taylor passed away today. A true Hollywood legend who grew up on the screen, becoming a child star after making "National Velvet" and continuing to grow as an artist as she got older. A classic bombshell, Elizabeth Taylor was quite the style icon.

I think I'll watch "A Place in the Sun" today in honor. The scene between her and Montgomery Clift were she pulls him close after he exclaims "If I could only tell you how much I love you. If I could only tell you all", and says "tell mamma, tell mamma all", is beyond sexy.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Happy Monday!

Some Nina Simone for your bluesy Monday.

The little one hit the 3 month old mark this weekend and slept through the night last night without waking up to eat once. About 10 hours of blissful freedom and much needed sleep. I don't want to get too excited, because tonight he may resume waking up every 2 hours to eat....but... I kind of feel like I'm living this Nina Simone song today and decided maybe I would finally start this little here blog that I've been wanting to work on for some time.

Danielle at Sometimes Sweet posted about 5 goals to work on for the week and inspired me to come up with a list of my own. The categories are nutrition, exercise, relationships, creativity, and me-time. This last one has proven especially difficult with a new baby, but everyone knows happy parents are the best parents, so I'm going to try to squeak in some time for myself every day.

Nutrition: Make a plan for the garden we're going to do in our backyard and begin to get plants in the ground as soon as the rain stops. That way we'll have fresh vegetables, herbs and fruit all summer and hopefully beyond.

Add some in every day, the rain has made getting out for walks every day a little difficult, but when baby is napping I try to throw in some weight lifting.

Help foster my partner's creativity and goals as well, he has been really amazing at working to give me some breaks to do things I love and he deserves the same in return.

Sewing. It's been ages.

Read more, maybe try hitting one of the meetings of book clubs whose reading selections I've been eying for awhile.