Sunday, June 28, 2015

The True Cost

Two thousand and fifteen is proving to be an excellent year for fashionable films. So far there have been stories of haute couture, stylish icons who collect jewelry, and now a film about the clothes we wear and the people who make them. Over the last couple of years, I've read several books about ethical production and sustainability, but none of them have had the visual impact that this does. After watching THE TRUE COST I only had one question. How has something as necessary and beautiful as fashion become so ugly? 

Fashion is a $3 trillion dollar industry with one 1 in every 6 people alive in the world today working in some part of the global fashion game. This makes it the most labor dependent industry on earth. The economic and social importance can not be denied and shouldn't be thought of as trivial. 

Fast Fashion however, is a culture of disposable excess. Companies knowingly distribute poor quality merchandise at low prices in hopes that you will buy more. This type of excess has produced landfills full of non-biodegradable waste, contaminated water supplies, and poor working conditions in developing countries. In 2013, Bangladesh suffered the worst garment factory disaster in history. Unsafe working conditions at Rana Plaza cost over 1,100 people their lives. This is a price that no one can afford to pay. 

Directed by Andrew Morgan and produced by Livia FirthTHE TRUE COST is a powerful documentary that will help everyone understand the perils and realities associated with fast fashion's abuse of cheap labor. The plain truth is fashion isn't always pretty, but we can no longer afford to continue turning a blind eye and absolve ourselves of any responsibility. Become an educated consumer and learn to be more discerning with your purchases. It's okay to care about the people who make your clothes and the impact it has on our environment. This isn't just a film for fashion people, this is a film for anyone who puts on clothes in the morning. This means you. 


Sunday, May 31, 2015

Chanel N°5 In A New Light

Chanel recently held an amazingly fragrant art exhibit in New York City to celebrate the new EAU PREMIÉRE, a modernized version of the classic N°5. Originally created in 1921Chanel N°5 has long been an iconic scent with an instantly recognizable bottle. Housed in a corner space in the Meatpacking District, the exhibition was broken down into five distinctive parts: Creation, Cultivation, Composition, Abstraction, and Revelation. Upon entry, you are greeted with a whispered recording of Coco Chanel. She strongly believed in the scent and in the number five. As fragrance wafted through the air, you were invited to explore with interactive screens covered in digital flower petals and hanging abstract art. 

The tour ended with one long table covered with paper and multiple rubber stamps. We all took our seats enthusiastically to decorate white postcards illustrated with the classic perfume bottle. This was my very favorite part and I could barely contain myself. As I entertained my inner artist, I happily stamped four postcards of which I intend to frame and create my own piece of fashionable art. 

Even though I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, some will be shocked to learn that I don't actually wear perfume myself. I have what I would call a sensitive nose and for me, most perfumes are heavy and distracting. I find that throughout the day we encounter so many scents and smells that it all becomes a potpourri of... confusion. Although I don't indulge in the use of fragrance myself, I'm not opposed to it and I found the N°5 quite pleasant. 

Smell is said to be the sense with the strongest link to memories. The nose is apart if the limbic system, an area closely associated with memory in the brain. The reaction is almost instantaneous. When you first smell something new, your brain will associate it with a person, place, or thing and forge a lasting connection. Perhaps Chanel knew this and in creating this perfume endeavored to cement the luxury and liberated spirit of her brand into every woman's mind. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015


Last year I saw a trailer for a documentary about a New York based nonagenarian known for her bold sense of style and clever one liners. Her name is Iris Apfel and she is the subject of one of Albert Maysles' last films. Now showing at the Film ForumIRIS is a personal narrative of her fashionable life and loves told through her own words and pictures. Being immersed in the world of fashion, I had definitely heard of Apfel before, but I was soon to learn that there was so much more to her. That underneath the multiple large necklaces and layers of scarves was a truly extraordinary woman.

The first thing that you discover about Apfel is that she is funny. Funny and extremely witty. At 93 years old she has had and continues to lead an interesting life by embracing her uniqueness and channelling her creativity into her work. Apfel has been an interior designer, ran a successful textile company, and a passionate shopper. In IRIS, as you watch her sort through flea markets and haggle for a better price, you clearly see that she takes both pleasure and solace in the activity. Having spent a lifetime traveling the world, Apfel has amassed a sizable collection of clothing, home goods, and jewelry housed in multiple homes and a storage loft. To say that her collection is large is a gross understatement. It's one of those things you have to see to believe.

IRIS is so many things. A devoted wife, a consummate businesswoman, but I think the most interesting thing about her is that she is brave and unafraid. Apfel has had the audacity to live a life true to herself. One of individuality and eccentricities where you wear round eyeglasses everyday and more is always better. For nearly a century, she has dressed in a style that is uniquely hers whilst inspiring many people along the way. In 2005, The Metropolitan Museum of Art honored her with a retrospective entitled "Rara Avis: The Irreverent Iris Apfel." A rare bird indeed.

One thing that really stood out for me was Apfel's choice to not have children. Even though Apfel has donated and sold an extensive amount of her collection, there is still more than plenty left. I wonder what will happen to all those special pieces she's collected over the years, all those pieces that she's loved and can't bare to part with? One of the main purposes of this blog is to preserve the memories, to preserve the love. While I do not have any children, I do hope to have them in the future. My children will inherit my entire wardrobe along with a well documented account of stories and pictures. My dream is that when they wear the clothing and carry the bags, they will feel the love I once had for them. I shop to make my dreams come true...