new fashion paper doll series

paper dolls — Danielle on July 26, 2011 at 4:46 pm

It has been far too long since I’ve done a paper doll series, eh? The first part of the process is developing a new croquis, or figure. I selected a simple, versatile pose that will also allow me to do shoes in side view, and hats in three quarters, which is a bit more exciting than full frontal. I want to focus on creating more accessories this time around.

So, what sort of theme should this series be built around? Designers again? I would like to focus on something more enduring than seasonal collections this time. The dolls could be based on specific muses or models or actresses, film or literary characters, or they could represent various style tribes, eras, etcetera…

Your ideas are welcome. Leave a comment and let me know what sort of doll you would love to dress.

 

both a curiosity and a threat – in defense of teenaged fashion bloggers

blogging,thinking — Danielle on July 25, 2011 at 12:26 pm

For young adult fashion bloggers like myself, who have spent the past few years eking out small niches, figuring out the conventions of a new medium without a rule book, and investing time into things that seemed impossible to develop a living out of, watching the meteoric rise of teenagers on the same trail we had to blaze can be unsettling.

It bothers me more though, when I see dismissive and condescending posts about the teenaged fashion bloggers. It is ironic that the same bloggers who held the standard that online was the future and print was the past, are so unprepared for their own inevitable obsolescence. It is a huge mistake to dismiss the younger bloggers – they have a lot to teach us about the future of our chosen medium.

Bright, visually articulate teenagers have significant advantages when it comes to fashion blogging. They have the free time to dedicate themselves to it wholly – and so do their audiences. They don’t have to worry about lame stuff like monetizing their efforts. They had the luck to be born in the first generation of digital natives – so they’ve already passively absorbed the inherent quirks and conventions of internet communication. They’re beautiful and young, so of course fashion adores them. They’re both a curiousity and a threat to the relatively new fashion blogging establishment. Yeah, they’re going to bury us, just as they in turn will be buried by their younger counterparts.

Once, I was a precocious, articulate, creative teenager, trapped in a small town with no way to find anyone who was like-minded. It wasn’t until I was 23 that I discovered fashion blogging, and as soon as I did, I knew that I had been waiting to find this outlet my entire life. When I see teenaged bloggers now, I see the (im)possibility that I missed just by the unfortunate fact of being born a few years too early. Rather than being threatened by them, I find myself identifying with them, and I admit, not without a bit of bittersweet longing.

I was inspired to write this post after discovering the phenomenon that is Bebe Zeva. My initial response to her unflattering New York Times profile was just speechlessness. I couldn’t tell who was having on who, though I could tell that her existence converged on a few themes I find fascinating. I did some more reading, and it was strangely satisfying to be gradually disenchanted with my own initial negative reactions.

Bebe Zeva isn’t the new Tavi Gevinson. Superficially, they share some things in common – intelligence, and significantly, somewhat condescending profiles in the New York Times. Though they both strike fear into the hearts of un-precocious adult journalists and middle-of-the-pack fashion bloggers, they are quite different phenomenon.

Gevinson (who I am a huge fan of) represents the end of an era when it was still possible to start a blog without ulterior motivations. Her guilelessness is un-calculated – her memedom is unintentional, and she is just as ambivalent, as she is ambitious. Zeva contrasts with utter, obsessive dedication – self-manufactured with careful consciousness, artfully contrived. If Zeva is to be compared at all, she is the Lady Gaga of fashion blogging.

Gaga is the only mainstream celebrity Zeva professes admiration for, and the parallels are vivid. Both never dress to the same theme two days in a row, and never dress down. Both adore their fans and have their fair share of detractors. Both adopt titles that evoke destiny (Fated to be Hated and Born This Way), contrasting against their carefully crafted personas. Both seek the holy grail of eternal relevance and love, and express their goals with bravado. Most interesting from a cultural perspective, Zeva and Gaga both represent effort and sincerity. They are trying to be famous, and admit as much. No wonder they inspire such ire, in a culture that reveres so-called ‘effortlessness’.

In Zeva’s case, candour and raw emotion is pure rebellion because she’s taking on the nexus of disingenuous youth culture from the inside out. Don’t be fooled by the vestigial quotation marks in Zeva’s oeuvre, when she says she seeks relevance, she is 100% serious. When she adopted the hipster lifestyle, she did it totally and without reservation or distancing – which is why she isn’t a hipster at all, but something new and more interesting.

Zeva is both a curiousity and a threat to old-fashioned hipsters in denial - because she means exactly what she says. She’s post-ironic, forward-gazing, and self-aware. You may or may not find what she is doing to your taste – but I think she will be successful on her own terms. She is at the vanguard of an emerging attitude.

project – Jabberdust results

illustration,projects — Danielle on July 20, 2011 at 3:24 pm

 

The much anticipated finished samples of the Jabberdust project have arrived in Toronto, been photographed, and on the suggestion of Leah, I fitted them on illustrated models. Are you a retailer or an individual interested in purchasing any of these beautiful, hand-embellished accessories? Contact leah@jabberdust.ca for more information.

 

 

These are based on ideas I proposed, which Leah then developed. If you’re interested in the process of creating these designs from pencil scratch to embellished sample, check out these posts.

mutual portraiture with Paola

blog friends,drawing,live drawing — Danielle on July 14, 2011 at 9:43 am

Had another opportunity to drink and draw with a fellow fashion blogger – this time the petite and poised Paola of The PvdH Journal and her adorable puppy Dedal. Paola is an avid artist and enthusiast designer who loves the creative process, meeting her inspired me to revisit some ideas for making things that I’ve not yet pursued. Her blog is wonderful – showing her ideation and sketches, sharing her inspirations and her finished designs incorporated into outfits.

click click – 12-07-11

click click — Danielle on July 12, 2011 at 10:50 am

Welcome to click click, the sporadic review of what I find worth clicking on the internet.

The two images on this post come from I left my heart in Vietnam – I like a bit of art that evolves to converge on two themes that are currently on my mind – hope/lessness and the transience of styles. Aside, I now walk daily past a Banksy on my way to the office.

Sweet karma for hanging out on the internet with me –

  • Flight Fashion – I was invited to offer comments on airline uniforms, with some other lovely fashion bloggers.
  • Rachel’s Studio“FINE ART, PRINTS, GICLÉES, AND MORE…”
  • Style Bubble – Susie called this post ‘wonderful’ and made my week.
  • Anna Goense“Dit is het weblog van Anna Goense”
  • Fira&Capa – didn’t realize that this doll was inspired by the lovely Pippa, that’s a bit of PR sparkle isn’t it?
  • Kira Fashion“jornalista e apaixonada por três coisas na vida: moda, viagens e línguas.”

what I wear – genuine boyfriend jeans

what I wear — Danielle on July 11, 2011 at 9:35 am

 

Rarely do outfit posts anymore because I left my tripod behind in Canada, but this thrift find was too good to forego documentation. Boyfriend jeans… with provenance. Scroll on…

I’m also feeling pretty well because I’ve just made a life-changing decision last week. I’ve decided to rent desk space, so I’m no longer working in my bedroom. I’ve been keeping a diary for a side project, and it was strange to read in so many words where my headspace is really at – I was feeling isolated and confined. So over the weekend, I split my life into two spheres, two categories of possessions, with a pleasant 5 minute walk in between. My tiny room feels much more spacious, and I have a nice big chair and desk in a shared office. The feeling is an expansive one, and I’m hoping the division will be worth the expense.

I also recently bought the perfect summer sandal. I’ve been on the hunt for these for a while. I need something solid enough to stand daily wear and walking, look cute but not too girly or too trendy. Everywhere I looked, I found paper-thin soles, ubiquitous trend-victim gladiator styling, fussy details, fake leather. There is an abundance of cheap and tacky on the high street. Then I went into Ecco, a store full of awfully dowdy, if sturdy, shoes, and there were my lovely sandals! Bought them without regret and my feet have been happy ever since.

Anyway, the jeans. They look well enough on. When I saw them in the charity shop, I was like – oh, there’s a very decent pair of men’s Levi’s – classic 505, thick denim, real wear but not overly destroyed, and just small enough to fit me with a belt. But what made me had to have them was the provenance – I found two notes in the pocket. One was a love note, indicating that these jeans were indeed once worn by someone’s boyfriend. That’s as close to truly authentic boyfriend jeans as a single girl is going to get.

I showed these notes to a couple of guys who instantly scoffed at the quality of this love note. “Not all shoes need laces, this is not accurate! Woop woop?” – so I guess if you’re going to send a guy a love note, perhaps its good to know that they’re fact-checking it.

The best part was the other note, which listed a few potential job leads and a takeout order. It sort of gives a picture of the kind of boyfriend (or girlfriend maybe, the documents are gender-ambiguous) who wore these jeans.

the aesthetics of scarcity

thinking — Danielle on July 5, 2011 at 10:16 pm

In the midst of unprecedented abundance, nothing captures the imagination quite like the idea of scarcity. Even the name of this blog – Final Fashion – is a nod to the contradictory idea of a post-fashion future, something I believe is impossible in reality but fascinating in theory.

The intersection between money and fashion is one I like to explore, and in this post, I inadvertantly coined a phrase (at least, it was previously un-googleable) – the aesthetics of scarcity – that provided the title for this post. So what are the aesthetics of scarcity? From my readings, there are two significant angles – affected scarcity and actual scarcity – and the more provocative question is how they might indicate a future of fashion, when the abundant tide of high street fashion inevitably dries up, and what we may be left with.

1. affected scarcity

Nostalgie de boue – Marie’s Milkmaids

The it girl we’ll never get over no matter how many centuries pass, Marie Antoinette remains inextricably linked with the concept of “Nostalgie de la boue”. Her hobby farm, Hameau de la Reine, was a place where she and her court would go to “slum it”, an idealized version of a peasant farm. The fashion for simplicity that went with it, a direct reaction to the excesses of rococo, was weirdly prescient: the filmy, classical muslin anticipating the post-revolutionary Merveilleuses.

Punks & Westwood’s Nostalgia of Mud

Vivienne Westwood referenced the idea of romanticizing the exoticism of poverty in 1983. Placing her finger on a potent nerve with signature guilelessness, she sought to abandon the intramural nature of British street fashion up to that point. Taking more worldly inspiration and expanding on a newly fashionable interest in the plight of the Third World was very prescient as Live Aid was to come in 1985.

Nostalgia of Mud also signalled the end of the creative partnership between Westwood and Malcom McLaren, a team that exploited – perhaps even manufactured – one of the most significant signposts of affected scarcity – punk.

Oogles & Crust Punks

Punks, more than any other street style movement, are obsessed with the idea of authenticity. In this post, I posited that this was because it had to do with “poor dressing up as poor”, but the more I investigate, the more it seems that the lady doth protest too much. The idea of punk as an indigenous proletariat style movement dissolves under scrutiny. The fashions in SEX were expensive, designer clothing – and the look was so successful that the clothing was sub-licensed to a high-street shop called Boy. The lack of ethnic diversity in the early movement suggests that its members were not demonstrably disenfranchised at all.  Most damning of all, the aesthetics of punk has much more to do with bourgeoise concepts of poverty than actual poverty itself, as scrolling down will show.

Modern subcultures of punks – Oogles and Crust Punks – appropriate the most lingering middle-class preconception of poverty – hygiene. The image above of “crust pants” is an example of the uniform of modern punk – these pants are meant to appear as if they are never washed and rarely removed – though of course the reality is not so rigorous.

Homeless Chic in fashion

Every so often, for reasons that its perpetuators seem to be unable to articulate, fashion turns to the visible homeless for inspiration. The resulting controversy always seems to take fashion’s muddy nostalgists by surprise. In recent memory, there was Galliano’s FW 2000 menswear collectionWestwood’s FW 2010 menswear collection, this Meisel editorial for Vogue Italia June 2010, Erin Wasson telling Cory Kennedy her SS 2009 style inspiration, this Sartorialist post from August 2009, and of course “Derelicte” from the hilarious 2001 fashion parody, Zoolander.

What is it about the visible homeless that inspires such tasteless homage by fashion influencers? Perhaps there is a hunger for what is unaffected, a scarcity of novelty. Modern street style is so quickly corrupted by fashion – grunge was appropriated and rendered toothless within a year, and modern style trends are so quickly sucked into the well oiled consumer feedback loop that they never seem to develop lasting significance. Taking inspiration from foreign locales is perceived as colonialist and outdated and besides, globalization has rendered foreign locales virtually indistinguishable in reality from the local. Sick of cannibalizing itself, fashion has to resort to extremes for novelty and relevance – whether on the street or or on the runway.

This Orwell chapter is well worth a re-read – once again, the last visceral shocker left to fashion is olfactory. This is why crust pants, whether affected or actual, seem to represent fashion’s last stand.

2. actual scarcity

Teddy Boys

Perhaps the only modern style tribe with a truly indigenous origin in poverty, the Teddy Boys are a potent demonstration of how the bourgeois conception of the aesthetics of poverty are so vastly off the mark. These weekend warriors dressed in homage to the leisure class, a statement that was about personal pride. These boys may have slept four to a room in squalid council estates, but in public they visibly proved they were dignified.

This BBC documentary about the slums of Mumbai discusses some of the parallels between post-war Britain and the modern Third World, and its host comments on the striking appearances of the slum-dwellers – they may sleep on dirt floors at night, but during the day they wear crisp school uniforms and brightly coloured, embellished saris.

Sapeurs

Perhaps the most famous modern version of this phenomenon is the Sapeurs of the Congo. The affectation of the clothing and manners of a privileged class mirrors the punks, both in extremity and a hunger for authenticity.

The Teds and Sapeurs visibly defy the idea of poverty, but the reality is that most poor people just look like ordinary people.

Any close examination of the poor in any country reveal that they are almost indistinguishable from any other class. The effects of fast fashion have succeeded in achieving an uninspiring aesthetic equality for all. But what about those who conform to the fashionable idea of poverty? The visible homeless?

Perhaps the most famous of the visibly homeless, Brother Sharp has strode his way into internet meme-dom. His look is iconic vagrant-chic – all layers and insouciance and mystery.

But the reality is unfortunately unromantic necessity. From The Joys of Being Homeless:

You ever wonder why lots of homeless people wear so many layers of clothes? Here’s a few obvious and not so obvious reasons;

1… It gets cold out at night (duh) even in the summer.

2… Sooo many pockets- next best thing to a pack of some sort.

3… This way nobody can steal them from your “campsite”.

4… Much easier to conceal a weapon, just make sure you can easily access it.

5… Excellent protection from slashing knife attacks and good padding for the times you find yourself being clubbed.

The author goes on to discuss appearances:

In the “big” city or inner cities, where the homeless populations can be substantial, I found that it was to my advantage to look pretty scruffy. One reason is that it saves the good clothes you might have from damage when you’re dumpster diving, picking through the trash and other things that might cause you to get messy. Also, the average citizen tends to ignore you, and the criminal elements don’t readily target you as a mugging opportunity unless you openly display some form of wealth.

The reasons why the appearance of the visible homeless is so unusually unaffected is because the considerations are anything but aesthetic. This is the final aesthetic of scarcity left, the one that fashion by its very nature has always failed to appropriate. Hopefully, it never will.

What does all of this suggest for a possible future of fashion, one where there isn’t so much available to everyone? A Mad Max style, post-punk tribalist world seems a very unlikely, bourgeois fantasy. Perhaps the blurred line between rich and poor will be become sharper again. What do you think that would look like?

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