Mustache Mystery Solved!

January 26, 2009 in Craft and Art, Design by Analogue Chic

I've been following the mustache trail for a couple of months now, pondering as to the whys and wherefors of the mustache crop taking over the handmade crafts community.  Today I stumbled across this subliminal message:

It seems that mustache-clad robots have been observing the activities on our little planet, and decided that we could all do with a lot more 'stache.

But don't worry, they're very friendly and industrious, and I'm sure they have lots of other good advice to dispense.

You heard it here first, folks!

Images courtesy Anatomy of a Skirt

Meet the bots! Robot A Day.

Thanks to A Dress A Day for the link. <3

Rock Solid Fashion

January 25, 2009 in Craft and Art, Design, Fashion, Textile Addiction by Analogue Chic

 Thanks, once again, to the ladies of Coilhouse for proof that the world is still magical and that there are still unjaded, loving, creative people all around us.

This time, it’s the artwork of Hirotoshi Itoh, a Japanese artist and stonemason.

At first glance, his smiling rocks and rocks-turned-to-items-of-everyday-life may seem merely cute or kitschy, a very clever visual pun perhaps.  But a deeper exploration of his work reveals a much more profound vision.  And the technical skill involved in creating these pieces is nothing short of magical.

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He gives us toothy stone companions, juicy-looking steak dinner, as well as the remnants of a fellow citizen escaping to a parallel world.

The feeling I get from  viewing these pieces, even simply as web images, is the same as the imperceptible slide into another world one takes as a child when you’re completely engrossed in make-believe.  It is a visual, tactile magic realism that is entirely believable.  It gives a resuscitating jolt to your sixth sense, the sense of wonder, that is somehow eradicated upon reaching adulthood.

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As a textile addict, I suppose until now I rarely considered stone as a textile.  But now I am convinced.  I am amazed by his marble interpretations of t-shirts and pullovers.

Images courtesy Keiko Gallery and Hirotoshi Itoh via Flickr.

Belated Inaugural Fashion

January 23, 2009 in Costume, Fashion, Fashion Anthropology by Analogue Chic

 Since our man in Washington was inaugurated (twice) this week, and everyone and their mother blogged about "Inauguration Fashion," I guess I’ll add my thoughts– really just a collage of tidbits I’ve gleaned recently.

This was definitely my favorite analysis of the First Lady’s wardrobe on 1/20.  I don’t watch TV, so I don’t have a first hand opinion, but I generally agree with Erin’s analysis on anything she writes about, so it’s good enough for me.

A local radio show had a conversation last week with Eugenia Paulicelli (author of Fashion under Fascism), in which they discussed a lot of the fashion aspects of the presidential campaign.

NPR had a beautiful story about some other first-rate ladies preparing for and attending an inaugural ball.  This piece touched me emotionally, but I also filed it away as evidence for the profound social and psychological effects of fashion.  One of the ball invitees concluded, "Nobody knows who we are […] all they know is we got on a gown, we’re in this crowd, and we’re with the best of the best right now, and what a feeling that is."  It’s the power of the costume change…

 

The Importance of the Package

January 23, 2009 in Design, Fashion, The Business of Fashion by Analogue Chic

 "Brown paper packages tied up with string…"

Alright, Julie Andrews.  That’s enough.

Yesterday, I was scrolling through some tips on Etsy— oh, you know, just for general information…*eyes shift suspiciously*– and came across an interesting article on the importance of packaging.  Having recently received packages from 2 different Etsy sellers, it was interesting to note the subtle differences, and think about what I would do if, hypothetically, I were to open an Etsy shop…

Today I received a new pair of sunglasses– OK, they are Proenza Schouler, tortoiseshell, lovely French-made things (not these) but I’m not telling where I got them (at a ridiculous discount)– and the packaging was high-class.

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The outer box was smooth, thick cardboard, obviously well-engineered, and opened smoothly.  Inside, a very nice sturdy glasses case (with the glasses plus cleaning cloth inside).  Also inside the box was a small sleeve with a plastic card inside for you to record the purchase details for warranty purposes, and also a mysterious black envelope… which contained the warranty booklet.  So mundane, but really, really classy. 

Not having ever owned anything from a high-end designer, I felt very self-conscious, but also appreciative of the attention given to the package.  At the same time, since I am starting to explore the business side of the fashion industry, I completely understood the motive and the necessity for it.

I am really interested by branding now, since I am in the process of establishing "Analogue Chic" as a brand– through this blog, and the rest of my web presence, and my other endeavors.  In this modern business environment, where every industry is so so so competitive, your marketing and branding are almost more important, in terms of making the sales, than your product.  And I think psychologically it has a lot to do with how we, especially women, are attracted to certain products, and make certain purchases– we like to look and touch and feel something substantial with a nice texture.

This clearly applies to personal branding as well, i.e. our clothing choices and general appearance.  We choose different types of clothes for different occasions, and I believe most people consider their choices by the message they want to project.

I will be exploring this further in this blog, so stay tuned.

WordPress Fashion Blog Roundup

January 18, 2009 in Design, Fashion, Fashion Anthropology by Analogue Chic

 

There has been a lot of fashion synchronicity in my life lately.  Themes and images I’ve been thinking about keep popping up in everything I look at.  A peep at my WordPress colleagues’ output this morning yielded a boatload of juicy fashion tidbits.  For your review:

High-end t-shirt reconstruction, via Circus of the Stars

Disposable culture from a design perspective, via DesignZen

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(Sculpture images from the National Museum of African Art at the Smithsonian Institution, here and here.)

OMG, female archetype footwear from Dior, via Choogal’s Blog.  Don’t be fooled by your Google search, these are not based on Greek sculpture (which you would know at first glance, if you weren’t sleeping in History of Western Art I).  They are inspired by African art, from the mouth of Mr. Galliano himself.  You can see the whole "tribal" show here.  OK, I totally frigging love this idea, altho the shoes are actually kind of ugly, to my taste.  I love when fashion and other visual arts cross in such a blatant way.  And if they can incorporate women’s history and mythology, like this lingerie line, I’m just enraptured.  Gads, I love fashion.

 

 

Serious Thoughts About Craft & Sustainability

January 16, 2009 in Fashion Anthropology by Analogue Chic

 

I’ve recently found a couple of very good blog posts relating craft to environmental and social sustainability.  I think anyone who thinks about it long enough would agree that "green" living, or whatever you want to call it, is both about the natural, non-human environment, as well as the global social environment.  From the first day of craft (which was probably the first day of human existence), it has been inextricably involved with using and re-using resources efficiently to improve one’s standard of living, whether through basic needs, like warmth and protection from the elements, or aesthetic needs (and I’m not assigning a higher or lower value to either). 

I have many more thoughts on this, but not the time at the moment to elucidate them.  I don’t think I have anything to add to what the following posts are saying, so I’ll just recommend that you follow the links.

Craft in the New Economy

The mass-produced clothing and craft supply chain, etc. – this article is really fermenting in my brain right now and pushing me in a more resolute direction…

And that article reminded me of a reader’s letter I saw in Vogue, September 2008, commenting on this article about fashionistas slumming in Mali.  Mind you, I have no problem with slumming in Mali– I’ve been dying to go to the Festival in the Desert for at least 5 years (I can afford it now even less than I could have 5 years ago).  What bothers me is the wide-eyed, "oh isn’t that wonderfully ethnic!" fashion commentary devoid of the context of reality as referenced in the article above…

Window Dressing: a series

January 15, 2009 in Costume, Design, Fashion, Fashion Anthropology by Analogue Chic

{This is my latest adventure in window dressing.  I’m really proud of this one, especially the t-shirt gowns.  I have so much fun doing this, I get such a creative high I can work for hours without a bathroom or lunch break.  The following is a sort of artist’s statement I wrote up, just as a practice exercise for myself as I’m trying to be more professional with my creative output, and build up my portfolio.  As always, all feedback is very welcome.}

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My latest window installation at the local Salvation Army store has a CandyLand theme.  I wanted a unique and uplifting look to take the window from the holidays through the rest of winter, without latching on to cliché images of Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day, nor a Currier & Ives/winter sports theme.  I chose bright colors with a lot of contrast, mixed with white, to reference the ongoing winter season while also being cheerful.   

 

The backdrop is a gradient of royal blue to white, with the fabric draped to imitate snow banks or a horizon.  The 3 female mannequins are dressed in outfits constructed entirely from draped and pinned t-shirts.  Each one presents a gradient of color contrasting with white– blues, pinks to red, and greens—referencing peppermint candies, as well as other seasonal images.  The blue-white figure was influenced by the Frost Princess of the original CandyLand game, as well as Frosta of the She-Ra franchise.  The pink/red/white figure is a representation of Valentine’s Day and the traditional red and white Starburst mints.  The green/white (inadvertently) refers to St. Patrick’s Day, as well as spearmint candies.  The male mannequin is dressed in a vintage button-front shirt in medium brown, with a red t-shirt draped like a scarf, representing chocolate covered cherries or strawberries.  The metal frame mannequins are dressed in solid t-shirts with a contrasting white t-shirt draped like a scarf, serving as background figures.  There is also a tableau of shoes reflecting the same range of candy colors (pink, royal blue, white, gold), and brightly colored handbags hang on the backdrop.  Throughout the display are interspersed paper snowflakes and spirals, and foam flowers and shapes all in bright, contrasting colors.

 

 The placement and size of the access door continue to be a challenge for me—it is difficult to conceal while still allowing access for safety reasons.  The mannequins are in rough shape, and the lack of spotlighting in the window limits its visibility and attraction for shoppers.  Ideally, I would like to find some suppliers to donate in-kind services to clean the store, wash the windows and line them with UV-protective finish, and refurbish and install lighting in the display window.

 

I think that this display is a drastic improvement from the last one, although it is maybe not appropriate to compare because the styles are very different.  The all-fabric background in bright colors is a big enhancement, an interesting but not distracting foundation for the scene in front.  I’m very proud of my use of t-shirts as costume material—they have flexible drape, saturated colors, and interesting shape, allowing for an infinite range of designs.  This is also a subtle commentary on the unsustainable excess of “disposable” clothing production and the use of the t-shirt as a “free” giveaway at events, a very costly waste of resources.

 

What's in the bag?

January 15, 2009 in Craft and Art by Analogue Chic

We’re having a great discussion over at CT Green Scene about reusable shopping bags.  They featured a number of links where you can buy ready made bags, which make great gifts, and should really become a part of your daily life.  While they do present some ecological and social concerns, I think the widespread use of these bags is definitely a big step in the right direction.

Since this is, ostensibly, an environmentally-conscientious blog, I wanted to follow up on the issue of reusable bags with links  for crafty green-folks, or green craftspeople, whatever you call yourselves, to make your  own market bags, in a variety of craft media.

 

For Knitters

A string bag.  The original pattern link seems not to be working.

A felted bag.

 

For Crocheters

Another string bag.

Another one, by Vickie Howell

The CTGreenScene article referenced MyRecycledBags.com, which offers many crochet patterns for different styles of bags.  And she sells her products here, if you’re not a crafter.  Buy handmade!

 

For Sewers

I think this is my favorite.

A bag based on the traditional plastic bag.

This awesome bag folds into its own zipper case.

 

As convenient as it is to buy a 99-cent polyethylene bag at the supermarket, it’s much more responsible to make your own, if you can, and make it from recycled materials.

The Internet has many, many, other patterns and inspirational ideas for bags in any style, made of any material you can think of.  Craftster, again, is a great resource for ideas on making bags and other stuff-for-carrying-stuff from recycled materials.  And if you’re more into buying handmade than making things by hand, there are lots of offerings on Etsy.

When I was "fabric shopping" at my parents’ house, I found this unfinished project from pre-2003, a tote bag knit from recycled plastic bags, cut into strips.  It’s been stowed away for so long, I have no idea where the pattern is.  Luckily, it’s knit in garter stitch, and I know I have to knit 3 pieces and that it’s shaped basically like a cereal box, and I’ll have to devise some handles for the top.  I’m slowly working on it….

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Mustachioes Update

January 11, 2009 in Craft and Art, Design, Textile Addiction by Analogue Chic

Some more ‘stache-themed goodies I’ve seen recently:

This fabulous onesie, incidentally made by one of the ladies in my craft group.  Shop here.  Because babies need disguises too?

And this awesome fabric– would be great for a lining.

What is it about the ‘stache?!

A Cinematic History of Reconstructed Clothing

January 9, 2009 in Costume, Craft and Art, Design, DIY, Fashion, Fashion Anthropology, Sustainability, Textile Addiction by Analogue Chic

We who are blazing the fashion paths into the future would do well to remember and honor our forebears.  And so, in the spirit of respecting the resourceful crafters and costume designers who came before, I present you with this exhibit on the Cinematic History of Reconstructed Clothing. 

Gone With the Wind (1939) – The curtain dress

The Sound of Music (1965) – Curtain playclothes for the children.

Pretty in Pink (1986) – The prom dress

Crossroads * (2002)  – Recon'd t-shirts; the woman behind the t-shirts, Barbra Horowitz 

Enchanted * (2007) – Another curtain dress

*Apparently.  I have not watched these movies, so I cannot confirm that said costumes are in fact reconstructed from other materials.  Anyone with conclusive information, please contact me.

Please email me or post in Comments if you are aware of any other examples not listed here– I'm sure there are more. 

Update, February 2011: Here is a much more exhaustive (and obscure) list of TV and movie characters improvising clothes from curtains and other items.

This seems to be a rather common element in many films about independent young female characters we are meant to admire… contrary to a societal disdain for "homemade" and "secondhand" clothing (oh, the schoolyard teasing we endured).  Happily that is starting to change, it seems– vis. Etsy and TryHandmade.com.

Little Suzy Homemaker: Interior Decorating

January 9, 2009 in Design by Analogue Chic

Yes, I love it.  If I could, I would spend a lot of energy and resources making my space magazine-shoot worthy.  But, as it is, I do put a lot of effort into a few little corners and some temporary, seasonal things.

Like these:

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First there is my ‘shabby chic’ jewelry display, a monochromatic assortment of some new and some vintage pretties draped on a reclaimed coffee pot.

For the holidays, rather than getting a tree (which we don’t have room for), and dealing with lights and glitter, and the ensuing storage, I bought some pre-packaged pine branches and arranged them like flower bouquets.

In my "spare time", I would love to do an apprenticeship as a photo stylist, and learn how to do this professionally.  Next life.

I

January 8, 2009 in Costume, Design, Fashion, Uncategorized by Analogue Chic

Whilst cruising the world of WordPress the other day, I came across this very succinct and correct (in my opinion) post by the ladies at Three in a Crowd about Madonna’s new ad campaign for Louis Vuitton.  But, who cares about the bags?!  LOOK at the piping on her tops!!!  For more on my love of piped trim, see here.

Also, take a look at this gorgeous, crisp period costume a fellow Craftster made, here.

OK, moving on…