80s Shopping Bags

Rejecting disposable plastic bags never looked so chic. It began with the canvas tote, next the string bag, woven baskets, Balenciaga Bazar bags, and now the plastic basket. Fashion is obsessed with the 80s reusable bag. Why?

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SOURCES: 1 – Vogue, 2 – @fhlurs, 3 – @camillecharriere, 4,5,6,7 – lamignonette.tumblr.com

Why I Quit Snapchat

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First, I must acknowledged the silliness of the title’s gravitas, but this is a real cultural phenomenon and I must address it!

Secondly, I’d like to acknowledge how grateful I am to the app during my year abroad. It connected me with the faces of loved ones around the world for little 3 second moments I would have otherwise missed. Whether they were in other European cities, or back at my home university, I really did love the app for that reason.

So why did I quit? I still have friends scattered across the country–British Columbia, Alberta, Quebec– so why don’t I still appreciate Snapchat for the reason above?

tumblr_nysqceMQwR1qzx1tro1_500Because honestly, it was one more thing to keep me glued to my phone. Because I wouldn’t just look at the lovely photos from my friends, but I would also start checking the “stories” of extended acquaintances on their trips in Thailand, or obsessively check the “stories” of the celebrities that started to get the app.

Simply, it became too much.

Using my phone for work so often, I find I am less interested in it for personal use. The thought of turning it off and leaving it hidden in a shoe box for a week is often appealing, but because of work it is more often by my side.* (Which is why I bought a sweater on eBay while standing in line at a fashion show last week. Too easy!) (And I have long distance love, so texting is key.)

Another reason for my deleting it is, honestly, it was adding to my vain habits and that really sucked.Having three mirrors in my bedroom does that already, no need to be looking at my phone in selfie function. Enough said there.

And finally, after many months without the app, I attended Toronto Fashion Week last week and had the pleasure to sit in the first row for a number of shows (#FROW!!!). Without exaggerating, I was ECSTATIC. My first fashion week reporting as a journalist, and I sat front row!!!!!!!! Notebook in hand, I was thrilled for the show and when it started, everyone’s phones went up. Sure, sure, of course, they’re taking pictures. No. Everyone was on SNAPCHAT. Barely watching the show, only recording things for the instantaneous pleasure. I did not like that at all. It gave me the creeps. The beauty of watching a show in person is that you see things you won’t see on video. And every show is recorded and released the next day so don’t tell me it’s democratizing because that’s covered–with better quality– by the people who run the thing.tumblr_m29zmheEc81qbgyx2o1_500Do you know what the worst bit is? Snapchat won’t let me delete my account so I’ve had a number of friends think I was IGNORING their digital creations, while really I just hadn’t bothered to text ever single contact to inform them of my app departure.

So anyway, now I phone my friends around the world. I try to text as best I can, but honestly I am pretty crap at that too. And Skype. Oh dear.

What do you think? Am I crazy?

* I also still love Instagram–excuse me if I am the last one. Was recently informed it it no longer cool. So, what’s next?

Are We Adults?

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Adults: who are they and how do I become one? 

** Originally Posted on Into the Fold**

With the wine bottles breathing, and the cheese on a platter (a platter!), I am ready to receive my friends. I feel pleased with my charade of adulthood. And that’s all I think it is: a charade. Because really, I am inviting them over to my mum’s place and she has run to the movies for a few hours so I can ‘entertain.’ It’s the first Christmas holiday since we graduated from university and I have invited friends I’ve known since high school over ‘for drinks.’

When they arrive, I take their coats and place them on the bed. That’s the first clue. A whiff of my friend Paul’s cologne and five minutes in to the gathering, I am suspicious. Are we adults?

I look around. My friends brought alcohol with them, but not plastic bottles filled with cheap, hard liquor. They’ve brought bottles of wine…for me, their host. I look to the door where five pairs of shoes are neatly lined up on the mat. Struck into a daze from these subtle signs, I make my way to the living room to offer them drinks.

As we munch away on my prepared appetizers, we talk about the usual things: rent prices, annual salaries, finding work, and the latest movies. WAIT. What? When did those become the ‘usual things’? I rack my brain wondering exactly when that shift happened. Was it when we graduated university? Was it when we stopped saying ‘summer’ in front of ‘jobs?’ When did the conversation change?

I begin to doubt everything. Are crushes still a thing? I get new crushes all the time: a new person at work, a handsome fella on the metro, my barista. Is there a new expectation to keep that to myself now? In light of this newfound adulthood, crushes seem somewhat trivial. But I know my friends and I know we will talk about crushes until we are well into our eighties, getting all hot and bothered under our knitted floral jumpers. But I’m still confused.

So, this behavior is normal now? Organizing properly successful potlucks (not just biscuits and chips); planning dinner parties weeks in advance; meeting a professional to talk about ‘next steps’ over coffee; learning to schmooze at ‘industry’ parties: it’s all expected. It’s not pretending as I had thought, is it? If being a grown up means changing your behavior and topics of conversation, then certainly you can fake it. Do grown ups even exist? When do you know how to do life?

If I am honest, I have always considered myself more of a ‘gran’ than a party girl, often preferring a night in with a good movie to a raving dance party. I always assumed that transitioning into adulthood would feel right. It’s not as though I am Charlize Theron inYoung Adult, partying in my thirties and accused of being irresponsible. So, why the panic?

The anxiety comes from the fact that when my habits and my age suddenly aligned, I have never felt more immature. Having a wine night with my friends is no longer an anomaly among my peers. It is the norm. It feels like I’m trying on my mum’s shoes 24/7. Nobody questions me for wanting to be home by midnight. Instead of feeling like a gran in the crazy world of university, I feel oddly young compared to my friends. Some of them have full time jobs, I don’t. I live at home, while some of them live downtown in bachelor flats. I feel behind in the adult world I only now realize I am a part of.

Why? It’s taken a little while of feeling confused, but I’ve twigged that there’s no point in rushing into, perhaps former ideals of, adulthood. Why should fancy business people and dinner parties be my ideal of adulthood? My idol is Suzy Menkes and she’s famous for wearing a poof in her hair every day. Maybe it just feels like we’re pretending sometimes because we have to find our own type of adulthood.

We no longer live in a world where you graduate school, move out, find one career and one marriage for forty years, retire and boom that’s life. Adults today, I think, look like anything but men in suits. We are coffee shop owners, librarians, photographers, content editors, and mathematicians. Some of us adults like to gossip about crushes, some of us don’t. Some of us like wine at home, some of us like to party, some of us like tea, and some of us like to do it all. The point is, I don’t think being a grown up is reaching a point in life on a scale that only moves in one direction. Everyone is still figuring it out.

Am I a writer?

In my mind a writer is a very elusive figure. This figure comprises of a number of writers and clichés of writers that I have known growing up. I picture the beat poets, dressed in black and smoking. I picture Jane Austen sitting at her desk in her English country home. I picture journalists with their flip notebooks, in button down shirts and comfortable dress shoes. I picture Colin Firth in Love Actually, wearing an incredibly comfortable-looking knit sweater and poised by a typewriter in a romantic setting. I picture a team of writers in sweatpants at SNL at 4 am eating weird food. And yes, I picture Carrie Bradshaw, smoking outside her window while the cursor of her black MacBook blinks.

I do not picture myself.

Now that I am armed with an English degree, a Moleskine notebook, and the experience of writing for my university arts magazine and an online publication, am I a writer?

I like to watch people, observe their patterns and jot down notes. Does that make me a writer? (Or just a cliché?)

I’ve kept a diary since the age of nine, always resorting to writing down my thoughts as a therapeutic activity. Does that mean I am a writer?

To me, identifying as a writer feels like lying about being a member of an exclusive club. I’m wearing the dinner jacket, I’ve got my pin- Is this how it works?  If you can believe it, I am not actually a member of an exclusive club – but I do not possess the innate characteristics that my fellow members can detect is missing in me.

Identifying as a writer also reminds me of other momental events in my life that, when I first declared them aloud, felt foreign and wrong but were really dreams coming true. A moment like the first time I was going to live in Europe. Every time I told someone, I felt like I jinxed its reality. I thought there would be a cancellation that would prevent me from fulfilling this too-good-to-be-true dream. Another moment like this is the first time I introduced my boyfriend as “my boyfriend.” I felt like I was lying! All the build-up and years of teenaged pining for a boyfriend came true. It felt too easy to say. But I wasn’t lying. He exists. And I also made it to Europe.

Boyfriends, travelling…these were dreams of mine for a very long time. Unlike Joni’s belief, these dreams did not lose their grandeur coming true. They just felt…unbelievable. And when they did come true, they were an evolution of my imagined ideas of them. They included the indescribable, tiny, mundane details of their everydayness. That’s what made them real. And real is good.

Writing, always present in my life but never the career I pictured myself in, was perhaps a more secretive dream of mine. So yes, I guess I am a writer. Will this be my career? Maybe. Unlike a lawyer, where you pass your bar and get a big, fancy degree from law school, transitioning into a career as a writer seems less momentous and more like something you have to say to yourself repeatedly until it feels real. I guess that will have to do and I will just have to keep, well, writing!

Fashion Media’s Lack of Criticism for Valentino SS16

The theme of Valentino’s SS16 collection was “wild, tribal Africa.” Breaking down the meaning of this theme, it simply does not make much sense. Africa is a continent with many diverse countries and cultures. Calling the theme “wild, tribal Africa” is another problem. This equates tribal culture with being “wild,” as in untamed. The models in the show were almost entirely white (not unlike most of the other shows at the various the Fashion Weeks), and were wearing cornrows.

This is a problematic scene for a fashion show. Yet, the mainstream fashion community barely reacted to this show, barely challenged the very problematic theme. There seemed to be only praise for the show. The Vogue UK review dreamily states that the show is “an epic body of work that women, from Rome to Africa and beyond will all be wanting a piece of.” The Vogue review does not seem to see the issues with the collection or the theme. As a longtime fan of Tim Blanks, I  disappointed to read his reaction to the collection. Ever faithful to the beauty of the artisans, Blanks fails to address the cultural issues. Blanks states that there is no issue of “post-colonial cultural appropriation, or something like that.” Why? He cites Pierpaolo Piccioli’s “need to create a new balance between tribal cultures and our own.” If using fashion to join to cultures is the goal, I believe it was missed at this Valentino show. Calling the show “primitive, yet regal” might be the start of why I think that is.

I believe that the issues created by the theme and the treatment of diverse African cultures as one source of inspiration eclipses the mastery of the pieces. I don’t believe fashion can exist in a bubble where cultural, social, and political issues cannot touch it. These dresses are beautifully made, no one can deny the talent and hard work of the artisans of Valentino ateliers. This show simply crossed the line from appreciation to appropriation with little consequence from fashion critics.

Luckily, mainstream fashion magazines are no longer our only source of fashion review. Though traditionally less credible compared to fashion journalists of Vogue, I appreciate those who did choose to criticize this show. Publications like The Debrief and E News! were among the larger publications that chose to challenge the fashion house rather than only focus on the beauty of the dresses. Furthermore, people took to social media to post reactions to the show.

Like I said, fashion no longer exists in an elite bubble.

Click here for or more Twitter reactions to the show.

Learning to Chill?

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My whole life up until this point (post-grad) has been planned. I knew I would go from elementary school to middle school, through to high school and most-likely college or university. Being the luckiest daughter in the world, my parents saved up for my university education since I was born, so I was confident that if I wanted to do it, I could. And I did.

I’ve reached a point where I am done knowing the next step. I have my Bachelor of Arts, with a major in English and a minor in History, without much of a clue how to proceed to… life?

In my final year I decided to  to take this year as a “year off” to “figure out what I am going to do.”  This gives me a sense of purpose.

I have a vague idea of what I’d like to do. I’d like to pursue writing and learn a bit more about sustainable fashion; however, I am still in the headspace that figuring that part out is later down the road.

So when my friends offered me a place in their home in Montreal for the fall (now), I gladly accepted it. I worked in a restaurant all summer to save up and move to Montreal.

For the first time in a very long time, I don’t have many obligations. I can take time to read and learn about the world around me. I’ve given myself this time to reflect, to just be…and I don’t know how to do it! So accustomed to constant movement, scheduling, and sometimes stress, having time to relax has been so weird! It’s been amazing (SO AMAZING), but still something a bit foreign to me.

I remind myself that it’s going be okay! I will figure the next step soon enough and the time I have now may not come again. To be with my friends in a beautiful city at such a fantastic time in my life is so precious. Life is not about rushing, it’s about living. I must not forget how lucky I am to be here, at this time, without rushing into finding a career. A career does not mean life. This is life! And a career will come eventually. (I hope).

For now, I will learn to appreciate every day as it comes and be grateful for this magical adventure.

Simplicity in the Details

Cities, as beautiful and wonderful as they are, can be terribly overstimulating. Even as a born urban-dweller, I have moments where living in the city annoys me so much that I become overcome with grumpiness. The combination of constant constuction, screaming crowds on the sidewalk outside, and the humidity cause the lousy attitude that resulted in this article.

The solution to this problem, however, led to quite a cool aesthetic habit.

To reduce stimulants, I have muted my room of most colour–the walls and furniture are all white– and now I remove all labels on cosmetics and beauty products. The effect is quite nice, not unlike the aesthetic in Spike Jonze’s Her. 

Some beauty products, like perfume bottles are pieces of art and I enjoy their labels and packaging (heck, most of the time that is the sole reason for my purchasing them). Others, like deodorant, body butters and shower wash are generic.

Has being driven up the wall led you to discover a new aesthetic?