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  • feedwordpress 09:01:45 on 2019/03/10 Permalink
    Tags: , clothes, , fashion, fast fashion, George James Symons;, , , , , ,   

    “You’d be surprised how much it costs to look this cheap”*… 


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    Fast Fashion

     

    Remembering that the world has roughly 7.7. billion inhabitants…

    In 2015, the fashion industry churned out 100 billion articles of clothing, doubling production from 2000, far outpacing global population growth. In that same period, we’ve stopped treating our clothes as durable, long-term purchases. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation has found that clothing utilization, or how often we wear our clothes, has dropped by 36% over the past decade and a half, and many of us wear clothes only 7 to 10 times before it ends up in a landfill. Studies show that we only really wear 20% of our overflowing closets.

    For the past few years, we’ve pointed the finger at fast-fashion brands like H&M, Zara, and Forever21, saying that they are responsible for this culture of overconsumption. But that’s not entirely fair. The vast majority of brands in the $1.3 billion fashion industry–whether that’s Louis Vuitton or Levi’s–measure growth in terms of increasing production every year. This means not just convincing new customers to buy products, but selling more and more to your existing customers. Right now, apparel companies make 53 million tons of clothes into the world annually. If the industry keeps up its exponential pace of growth, it is expected to reach 160 million tons by 2050….

    Churning out so many clothes has enormous environmental costs that aren’t immediately obvious to consumers. But it is becoming increasingly clear that the fashion industry is contributing the the rapid destruction of our planet. A United Nations report says that we’re on track to increase the world’s temperature by 2.7 degrees by 2040, which will flood our coastlines, intensify droughts, and lead to food shortages. Activists, world leaders, and the public at large are just beginning to reckon with the way the fashion industry is accelerating the pace of climate change…

    It’s not just our closets that are suffering: “We have to fix fashion if we want to survive the climate crisis.”

    The apparel industry is not, of course, unaware of all of this.  For a look at how they are responding, see Ad Age‘s “How Sustainability in Fashion Went From The Margins To The Mainstream“… and draw your own conclusion as to efficacy.

    [photo above: Flickr user Tofuprod]

    * Dolly Parton

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    As we wean ourselves from whopping-great wardrobes, we might spare a thought for a man who contributed t our ability to measure our progress (or lack thereof) in addressing climate change: George James Symons; he died on this date in 1900.  A British meteorologist who was obsessed with increasing the accuracy of measurement, he devoted his career to improving meteorological records by raising measurement standards for accuracy and uniformity, and broadening the coverage (with more reporting stations, increasing their number from just 168 at the start of his career to 3,500 at the time of his death).  The Royal Meteorological Society (to which he was admitted at age 17) established a gold medal in his memory, awarded for services to meteorological science.

    150px-GeorgeJamesSymons(1838-1900) source

     

     
  • feedwordpress 09:01:09 on 2017/01/11 Permalink
    Tags: , fashion, Francis Scott Key, , national anthem, , Star-Spangled Banner, , uniforms   

    “When you put on a uniform, there are certain inhibitions that you accept”*… 


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    What do Catholic school girls and Joseph Stalin have in common? They’ve worn a uniform to conserve their mental energy for a higher purpose than just fashion. Lately, this utopian ideal of dress has become trendy among busy and thrifty women in the rise of the work uniform. After all, sartorial sameness conveys gravitas in the office.

    In theory, we should all be wearing uniforms. Fashion is one of the world’s nastiest polluters, second only to oil. The rich wear intricate clothing to peacock their wealth, depleting the lower classes of their innate power and self-esteem. High fashion favors taut, unrealistic figures, leaving the rest of us with emotional complexes about our bodies. Uniforms could alleviate many of these problems.

    And yet, any attempt to standardize dress across an entire culture has failed…

    What does it mean to all dress alike? “A Brief Cultural History of Uniforms.”

    * Dwight D. Eisenhower

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    As we straighten our ties, we might spare a thought for Francis Scott Key; he died on this date in 1843. A lawyer, author, and amateur poet, he wrote the lyrics to the United States’ national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.”  Indeed, he wrote lyrics beyond those most of us have heard:  a pro-slavery, anti-abolitionist campaigner, Key wrote a (now mostly omitted) third stanza that promises that “No refuge could save the hireling and slave / From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave.”

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  • feedwordpress 08:01:54 on 2016/05/21 Permalink
    Tags: Capri, Capri pants, , fashion, , polka dot, Sonja de Lennart,   

    “Fashion changes, but style endures”*… 


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    Once upon a time, spotted prints went by a host of other names. Slate’s Jude Stewart provides an overview: in the 19th century, “Dotted-Swiss referred to raised dots on transparent tulle,” and in France, “quinconce described the diagonal arrangement of dots seen on the 5-side of dice.” Meanwhile, “[t]he large coin-sized dots on fabric, called Thalertupfen in German, got their name from Thaler, the currency of German-speaking Europe until the late 1800s.”

    But then came the polka, the dance so popular that mid-19th century Europe came up with the word “polkamania” to describe its own excitement. As the polka craze swept west across the continent, enthusiasts claimed the polka jacket, then the polka hat (neither of them spotted), and finally, the polka dot. There is only a tenuous connection between dot and dance, yet surely the two are linked—it’s possible that polka dots reflect the same regulated, short bursts of energy that inflect the polka itself. Regardless, we know that the American women’s magazine Godey’s Lady’s Book was the first to print the term, in an 1857 description of a “scarf of muslin, for light summer wear, surrounded by a scalloped edge, embroidered in rows of round polka dots”…

    More fashionable fun at “A Brief History of Polka Dots.”

    * Coco Chanel

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    As we avoid pairing with plaids, we might send elegant but perky birthday greetings to Sonja de Lennart; she was born on this date in 1920.  A fashion designer who began her career at the close of World War II, she created a wide-swinging skirt with a wide belt (which, as readers can see below, she modeled herself), a blouse, and hat–a collection that became known as the Capri Collection.  A couple of years later, in a move away from the wide and rather masculine trouser profile being worn by women of the day, she added a tighter, three-quarter length pant to the collection, the Capri pant.  Audrey Hepburn made the slacks famous, wearing them first in Roman Holiday, then Sabrina.  As a result, Edith Head embraced the entire Capri line’s look, and so they adorned Doris Day, Jane Russell, Katharine Hepburn, Gina Lollobrigida, Ava Gardner, Elizabeth Taylor, Jacqueline Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, Kim Novak, Sophia Loren, Anita Ekberg, and Mary Tyler Moore… along with black turtleneck-wearing Existentialists in Paris.

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  • feedwordpress 09:01:28 on 2015/11/11 Permalink
    Tags: Alexander Calder, , , fashion, , mobile, , stabile,   

    “The purest and most thoughtful minds are those which love color the most”*… 


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     click here for larger version

    For Lapham’s Quarterly‘s fashion issue, designer Haisam Hussein reinvents the color wheel to show where various shades of colors were invented—from Int’l Klein Blue (Paris) to Scheele’s Green (Sweden), Turmeric (India), and Mauve (London).

    Alongside the graphic itself are the origin stories for each color, which, as we’ve seen before, can be less than appetizing. White Lead, for instance, was created in Japan circa the year 700 by exposing lead sheets to vinegar and fermenting horse manure—then used by the elite class as face powder. Tyrian purple is derived from the secretions of sea snails, and Orchil (Florence) dye is made from dried and ground lichen that is activated with ammonia, such as that from urine.

    [via]

    Explore here.

    And on a related note: “Pantone: How the world authority on color became a pop culture icon.”

    * John Ruskin, The Stones of Venice

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    As we tackle tints, we might spare a thought for Alexander Calder; he died on this date in 1976.  A sculptor known for monumental stationary works called stabiles, he is also considered the father of the mobile (a type of moving sculpture made with delicately balanced or suspended shapes that respond to touch or air currents).

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  • feedwordpress 08:01:34 on 2015/07/11 Permalink
    Tags: American Gigolo, Armani, British Pathé, , fashion, fashion show, , Miami Vice, puppets,   

    “Over the years I have learned that what is important in a dress is the woman who is wearing it”*… 


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    email readers click here for video

    “Fabulously glamorous puppets model fashions and bewitch men at The Cypress Club in London, 1960″

    Part of Vintage Fashion, a subset of the 85,000 historical films available from British Pathé.

    * Yves Saint-Laurent

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    As we canter down the catwalk, we might send elegant birthday greetings to Giorgio Armani; he was born on this date in 1934.  A fashion designer probably best known for his mens line, Armani brought clean, tailored lines, natural fit, and subtle colors to his work.  While he was warmly received from his first collection (in 1975), Armani became a sensation in the 80s when his clothes were worn by Richard Gere in American Gigolo and by the protagonists of Miami Vice.  By the late 80s, his “power suits” had become a symbol of success.  Today, Armani’s brand adorns home goods, books, and hotels in addition to clothing; he’s widely regarded as the most successful Italian designer ever.

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  • feedwordpress 08:01:51 on 2015/06/01 Permalink
    Tags: couture, fashion, hosiery, , nylon, stockings, synthetic fibers, , Yves Saint Laurent   

    “In olden days a glimpse of stocking was looked on as something shocking but now, God knows, anything goes”*… 


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    The first pair of experimental nylon stockings made by Union Hosiery Company for Du Pont in 1937. (National Museum of American History)

     

    The quest to replace natural silk led to the very first fully-synthetic fiber– and revolutionized an extraordinary range of products on which we now depend: “How 75 Years Ago Nylon Stockings Changed the World.”

    * Cole Porter

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    As we adjust our seams, we might spare a thought for Yves Henri Donat Mathieu-Saint-Laurent; he died on this date in 2008.  Caroline Rennolds Milbank wrote, “The most consistently celebrated and influential designer of the past twenty-five years, Yves Saint Laurent can be credited with both spurring the couture’s rise from its sixties ashes and with finally rendering ready-to-wear reputable.”  From early in his career, he was known for his use of non-European cultural references and non-white models.  In 1983, Saint Laurent became the first living fashion designer to be honored by the Metropolitan Museum of Art with a solo exhibition.

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  • feedwordpress 09:01:00 on 2015/03/03 Permalink
    Tags: antiquity, , , fashion, , Hypatia, Pettit Mort, , roadkill,   

    “I think it’s cool to wear roadkill”*… 


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    Anna Paquin, modeling a piece from her line of “found fur” clothing and accessories

    Approximately 50 million animals are killed every year for their fur; by comparison, 1 million animals a day– 365 million a year– are killed on the roads of America.  As Culture Change puts it, “only meat-eaters take a larger toll than its motorists.”

    Where many animal lovers see, simply, tragedy, Anna Paquin sees opportunity as well.  Determined to create a clothing category that might sound oxymoronic– “ethical fur”– Paquin has founded Petit Mort, a company that recycles roadkill into fashionable clothing and accessories.

    Wrap yourself in Anna’s story at “One Woman Is Revolutionizing the Fur Industry. By Using Roadkill.”

    * Ke$ha

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    As we bundle up, we might spare a thought for Hypatia; she was killed on this date in 370 CE.  A mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher, she was the head of the Neoplatonic school at Alexandria.  She was murdered by a mob of Christian anti-pagan fanatics on the steps of an Alexandria church called The Caesarium– as a result of which, she has become a symbol of martyred Reason and of feminism. Stephen Greenblatt suggests that her murder “effectively marked the downfall of Alexandrian intellectual life”; Kathleen Wider proposes that her murder marked the end of Classical antiquity.

    Neo-platonism is a progressive philosophy, and does not expect to state final conditions to men whose minds are finite. Life is an unfoldment, and the further we travel the more truth we can comprehend. To understand the things that are at our door is the best preparation for understanding those that lie beyond.

    –Hypatia

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  • feedwordpress 09:01:57 on 2015/02/08 Permalink
    Tags: , , fashion, , Quentin Shih, Trinny Woodall, , What Not To Wear   

    “The ludicrous element in our feelings does not make them any less authentic”*… 


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    A Chinese photographer is making counterfeit luxury goods and knock-off designs look good. With a budget of just $9 per item, Quentin Shih, a photographer from Tianjin, held a fashion shoot in a small coal-producing city in Shanxi province that is best known for its choking air pollution.

    Counterfeit goods have been the focus of the government’s recent criticism of Alibaba, China’s biggest e-commerce retailer. And China leads the world in the sale of counterfeit goods—also known as shanzhai, meaning imitated or pirated brands—with its factories producing almost 70% of the world’s total supply, according to the United Nations.

    Shih takes a more positive look on these goods. His motive was to “explore typical small city lives” in central, poorer China. “I want to create some humor using fake luxury goods, and the vivid color of these goods is also what interested me, ” he told Quartz. “But the fake stuff is not the whole topic I want to explore—young people, life, portraits are what I’m looking for in this project,” he said….

    Read– and see- more at “A $9 fashion shoot in a Chinese coal town shows how beautiful counterfeit clothes can be,” and at Shih’s own site.

    * Milan Kundera

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    As we clear out our closets, we might send stylish birthday greetings to Sarah-Jane “Trinny” Duncanson Woodall; she was born on this date in 1964.  A fashion guru in the UK, she is best-known as the co-originator and co-star (with Susannah Constantine) of the television and print juggernaut What Not to Wear, a huge success first in the U.K., then in the U.S. and elsewhere.

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  • feedwordpress 08:01:00 on 2014/04/22 Permalink
    Tags: Bow Street Runners, fashion, Fielding, , Henry Fielding, , , Samuel Richardson, Tom Jones,   

    “I see that the fashion wears out more apparel than the man”*… 


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    From a delightful piece called the “Future Dictates of Fashion” by W. Cade Gall and published in the January 1893 issue of The Strand magazine. On the premise that a book from a hundred years in the future (published in 1993) called The Past Dictates of Fashion has been inexplicably found in a library, the article proceeds to divulge this book’s contents – namely, a look back at the last century of fashion, which, of course, for the reader in 1893, would be looking forward across the next hundred years into the future. In this imagined future, fashion has become a much respected science (studied in University from the 1950s onwards) and is seen to be “governed by immutable laws”.

    The designs themselves have a somewhat unaccountable leaning toward the medieval, or as John Ptak astutely notes, “a weird alien/Buck Rogers/Dr. Seuss/Wizard of Oz quality” to them. If indeed this was a genuine attempt by the author Gall to imagine what the future of fashion might look like, it’s fascinating to see how far off the mark he was, proving yet again how difficult it is to predict future aesthetics. It is also fascinating to see how Gall envisaged the progression of fashions across the decades – considering that, from our perspective now, his vision of 1970 doesn’t much look much different to 1920 – and to see which aspects of his present he wasn’t even able to consider losing to the march of time (e.g. the long length of women’s skirts and the seemingly ubiquitous frill). As is often the case when we come into contact with historic attempts to predict a future which for us is now past, it is like glimpsing into another possible world, a parallel universe that could have been (or which, perhaps, did indeed play out “somewhere”)…

    Read more (and see more) at “Fashions of the Future as Imagined in 1893.”  Then read a full transcript of Gall’s piece at Forgotten Futures or in its original context on Internet Archive.

    * Shakespeare: Conrade, Much Ado About Nothing, Act 3, Scene 3

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    As we worry through our wardrobes, we might send slightly subversive birthday greetings to Henry Fielding; he was born on this date in 1707.  Fielding began his literary career as a dramatist, writing plays savagely satirical of the government of Sir Robert Walpole– so critical, in fact, that they led to the imposition of the Theatrical Licensing Act of 1737– which effectively outlawed satire on stage, and ended Fielding’s career in the theater.

    Fielding became a barrister, but continued to pen satires of current politics and culture, first “printed plays” (published, but unperformed) like The Tragedy of Tragedies (for which Hogarth designed the frontispiece), then prose.  He wrote for Tory publications; then, in anger at the success of Samuel Richardson’s Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded, Fielding took to writing novels in 1741 and had his first major success– Shamela, an anonymous parody of Richardson’s melodramatic novel.  He followed up with Joesph Andrews.  But his greatest work was Tom Jones, the meticulously-constructed picaresque that tells the convoluted and hilarious tale of a foundling finding his fortune.

    Interestingly– and perhaps ironically– Fielding also has an important place in the history of law-enforcement, having founded (with his half-brother John) what some have called London‘s first police force, the Bow Street Runners, using the authority he gained when he was appointed a magistrate.

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  • feedwordpress 08:01:28 on 2014/04/06 Permalink
    Tags: , fashion, , , , , , , ,   

    “What you call love was invented by guys like me to sell nylons”*… 


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    The title of this post is one of the 365 fashion quotes paired with 365 fashion ads dating from the 1900s to the 1990s (the above quote went with a 1966 ad for Eye-catchers Panty Hose that was targeted towards teens) in Fashion Ads of the 20th Centuryby Jim Heimann and Alison A. Nieder.

    Because ads are created with wads of money, meticulous planning, and highly creative talent, the ads that color these pages make for a gorgeous, provocative book, and the accompanied quotes are clever, humorous, and revealing.

    But beyond the surface of beauty and frivolity, this collection of ads also gives us a glimpse of our changing cultural norms throughout the last century. For instance, up until the 1970s, the term girl was used frequently for woman, especially when referring to women as amusement for men, such as, “From morn, ‘til night, at work, at play, be a dream girl too, the Formfit way” (from a Formfit bra ad of 1942). And although not nearly as often, boys was used in place of men when referring to a gang of mischievous young lads out for a good time.

    In the 1930s, the Depression was reflected in ads such as the do-it-yourself Simplicity Patterns ad above, while by the 1980s we started seeing independent-looking women in business suits, or a suit-like dress with very wide padded shoulders. (Of course these more feminist-minded ads were overshadowed by sensual, nearly naked women in other ads). One of the biggest changes between pre-and post-1970s were the incredible number of ads that included both women and men who were sexually charged, wearing very little, if any clothes at all.

    Of course the differences in ads between the decades pale in comparison to the big similarity: sex, sex, sex. As the old saying goes, “Sex sells,” and that is pronounced over and over again as you flip through Fashion. Even though this isn’t new news, it’s fascinating when you witness the craft behind ads in such a visual compilation as this book…

    Read more about Fashion Ads of the 20th Century– which functions as either a coffee table book or an “undated calendar”/day book– at Wink Books… an invaluable site that celebrates “remarkable books that belong on paper.”

    * Don Draper (Jon Hamm) in Mad Men

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    As we contemplate our costumes, we might spare a pining thought for Petrarch (Francesco Petrarca); it was on this date in 1327, after he’d given up his vocation as a priest, that he first set eyes on “Laura” in the church of Sainte-Claire d’Avignon– an encounter that awoke in him a passion that spawned the 366 poems in Il Canzoniere (“Song Book”).

    Considered by many to have been “the Father of Humanism,” and reputed to have coined the term “Renaissance,” Petrarch was most famous in his time for his paeans to his idealized lover (who was, many scholars believe, Laura de Noves, the wife of Hugues de Sade).  But Petrarch’s more fundamental and lasting contribution to culture came via Pietro Bembo who created the model for the modern Italian language in the 16th century largely based on the works of Petrarch (and to a lesser degree, those of Dante and Boccaccio).

    Laura de Noves died on this date in 1348.

    Lura de Noves

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    Petrarch

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