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Fashion With Purpose

We've Moved!

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By Laura Connell · September 7, 2010 · 0 Comments ·


For Those About To Shop has moved! Thank you so much for reading and I hope you will join me at my new site for continued coverage of local and global events, issues, and shows!

Toronto Fashion Gets Support

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By Laura Connell · September 1, 2010 · 0 Comments ·

Staging a runway show at Fashion Week can be expensive for emerging designers. With fees in the thousands just for the privilege of showing, not to mention creative costs, getting the word out to buyers and media about an upcoming collection can be challenging.

This Sunday September 5, the Liberty Group and C Lounge will support the local fashion community by giving designers like Zoran Dobric and Joshua Shier the opportunity to show their collections free of charge in an installation-type setting where models mingle with partygoers in a free-flowing format. Dobric wowed me last season at LG Fashion Week with his literary-inspired collection. (his showcase was one of my favourites) and Joshua Shier impressed with his exciting, bold and graphic womenswear line, Youth. In. Asia at Fashion Art Toronto last April.

Liberty Group and C Lounge played host last month to a A Midsummer Night's Dream, a similar fashion installation featuring legendary Irish-born designer Pat McDonagh who is reported to have stayed and cut up the dance floor until the wee hours! For more info call 416-260-9393.

Filed in: Events
Tagged with: toronto, couture, Fashion

Chloe Sunglasses Prove Point

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By Laura Connell · August 24, 2010 · 0 Comments ·

I was catching up on my Facebook tonight and noticed an interesting link posted by one of my Friends Selina. It was to an article in Scientific American entitled "Faking It: Why Wearing Designer Knockoffs May Have Hidden Psychological Costs".

I have yet to post about my aversion to fake designer merchandise here, but I have tweeted it on occasion. That's why I was intrigued to find scientific evidence backing up my belief in the inherent dishonesty of wearing inauthentic clothing and accessories.Those who buy fakes seem oblivious to any conflict: "It looks just like the real thing" they'll say. But the wearer knows it's not real and presenting the purse, garment, or other item as though it is authentic is untrue. Besides that, it represents a false sense of style, one that says only outward appearances matter, that what others think is more important than how you feel.

Besides being illegal, counterfeit items are made with inferior materials and their manufacture definitely doesn't support fair trade principles. Three scientists in the States have found that wearing them also compromises the owner's integrity. They gave a sample of women authentic Chloe sunglasses to wear, telling half of them that the pairs were fake. Then they asked the women to perform tasks that gave opportunities for lying and cheating. Guess what? Of the wearers of the "fake" glasses, 70% cheated, while only 30% who knew they were wearing authentic Chloes did.

The psychologists decided to go a step further. Could wearing fakes also affect the way we view others? The participants were asked to complete a questionnaire about "people they knew" and whether those people would do things like take too many items through the express lane at the grocery store or steal supplies from the office. Again, the fake wearers proved to be far more cynical (expect the worst from others) than those who knew they had on the real thing.

The conclusion of the findings? "Wearing counterfeit glasses not only fails to bolster our ego and self-image the way we hope, it actually undermines our internal sense of authenticity." Not only does it make the wearer feel like a cheater and act accordingly, she also assumes those character flaws in the people around her.

Do these findings change your attitude about knockoffs? If you've worn them in the past will you stop? Will you continue wearing them? Or, like me, does it simply confirm what you've suspected all along?

Filed in: Fashion
Tagged with: high-end, brand, couture, luxury, designer, Fashion

IFB's Links a la Mode Post Picks

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By Laura Connell · August 18, 2010 · 0 Comments ·

Links à la Mode: The IFB Weekly Roundup


Fast Forward to Fall

Edited by: Florrie Clarke of Intrinsically Florrie.
The trends for the coming months were dictated back on the catwalks in February, but now as September draws closer it’s time to get our teeth into them and have a good hard think about those all important autumn buys. Particularly seeing as while I type this the weather is strongly urging me towards a winter wardrobe.
This week’s links both look to winter and bask in the remaining sun. We look at a fashion interpretation of the current oil spill disaster (intelligent or tasteless?), are inspired by gorgeous fashion illustrations and a chain bag DIY, debate the history of the ‘prep’ look and think about how all our choices determine our body shape.

Links à la Mode: August 16th

  • a la modest: High-waisted jeans (a.k.a. mom jeans) are back in vogue!
  • Beautifully Invisible: Steven Meisel’s Water & Oil: Social Commentary or Tasteless Fashion?
  • Beyond Fabric: On men bags
  • Dramatis Personae: Gilda Su announce Revasseur & Pre-Fall 2011 Lookbook.
  • Embracing Style: How to make your own chain bag!
  • Fete a Fete: Review of Guerlain’s new 68 Champs-Elysees fall 2010 makeup collection:
  • For Those About To Shop: Katharine Hamnett is the mother of eco-fashion and believes consumers have the power to change the world
  • Independent Fashion Bloggers: Can you Kickstart a New Career With Crowdfunding?
  • Intrinsically Florrie: Dream dress and dream shoes- the fairytale look
  • Kyoto Maiko: You Can’t Buy “Prep,” But You Can Own It…
  • Miss Jones & Me: Roll into the Wild Woolly West: A focus on Fall transition pieces because the temperature can’t drop soon enough!
  • My Closet in Sketches: A hand drawn interpretation of the magic of white jeans (from the Gap men’s department, to boot!).
  • Vogue Gone Rogue: tuscan vineyards and teal rompers. A lighthearted outfit post inspired by Tuscan countryside and wine.
  • Rags to Reverie: Sarah Mower’s Fashion Illustrations for Vogue China and Vogue Nippon
  • Retro Chick: A very modern vintage manicure
  • Shoe Daydreams: Where do you draw the line with knocks-offs… what about when a blogger favorite retailer is doing it?
  • Shoeper Woman: Why does no one dress up any more?
  • Style Eyes: How to jump right out of a style rut – some ideas on how to look and feel great
  • Sweet Fancy Treat: Kristen McMenamy. Collages & trivia about a timeless fashion icon!
  • The Demoiselles: What would you sacrifice for a more “fashion-friendly” body?
  • The Simply Luxorious Life: A dream of a shopping list for the fall fashions – staples that will enhance any woman’s wardrobe.

Ethical Style

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By Laura Connell · August 10, 2010 · 0 Comments ·

When flipping through my recent edition of American Vogue (August, the Age Issue...I know it's late...and did you know Gwyneth Paltrow is 37?) I came across a picture of Blake Lively in an interesting sort of patchwork looking camel/beige parka. Blake's face always makes me pause: I find Ms. Lively's look intriguing--blond and not bland. However, this time it was also the coat that made me take notice. With an industrial, Preloved feel to the piece and a headline which shouted Style Ethics, I had a feeling before I read the copy that the garment was fashioned from recycled materials. I am a huge fan of this emerging artform: besides being in many ways the "truest" form of sustainable fashion, using what is already there also employs elements of folk art and celebrates history by bringing the past back for us to enjoy.

The coat in question was designed by Christopher Raeburn and made out of battle dress jackets found in storage in the UK which still sported packing labels from the 1950s. Besides reusing materials, Raeburn also uses organic dyes and produces his line fairly and locally with a Remade in England label to prove his commitment. Raeburn was one of ten designers chosen to receive the NewGen Men sponsorship by the British Fashion Council and will showcase at London Fashion Week.

Last season at New York Fashion Week's Green Shows, another UK designer--London's Gary
Harvey
--opened the event with a show dubbed Recycled Icons. Harveys whimsical and daring womenswear creations included a dress constructed completely from Financial Times newspapers, another from skin cream packages, and others which deliberately drew on iconic and timeless imagery like military jackets, white t-shirts, trench coats, checked shirts, and denim jeans. While preserving the past and the environment, he's making social commentary on the way these items may seem disposable but never go out of style. They go away for a while but inevitably make their way back. It's true we could save a lot of landfill if instead of buying these styles anew we use what's already there. Many would argue, though, that styles come and go precisely so the manufacturing wheels can keep turning, and the fashion machine can keep making money.

An amazing set of designers including Toronto's Julia Grieve of Preloved , are bringing recycled fashion to the mainstream. (Preloved showcased its collection at Toronto Fashion Week last season). Like other forms of sustainable fashion which might employ bamboo, organic cotton, peace silk, and tencel; clothing lines which recycle old garments are also being seriously considered by the fashion industry as we see with Raeburn's inclusion in the pages of Vogue. The Green Shows eco-friendly series of runway showcases has been an official part of the New York Fashion Week roster for the past three seasons and continues to mushroom. With the various ways to embrace environmentalism in garment-making, be it recycling or producing sustainably...will the day come when the whole of Fashion Week is a "green show" and we lose the label because that's just the way clothes are made?

Gisele Bundchen: Style Icon

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By Laura Connell · August 4, 2010 · 0 Comments ·

Gisele Bundchen is currently retracting statements she made to Harper's Bazaar about her belief that a worldwide law ought to be passed forcing new mothers to breastfeed their infants for at least six months. Before that, she was criticized for her claim that natural childbirth was painless for her. She used yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises to ease the process because she didn't want to be all "drugged up"and gave birth in the bathtub in her home. I can attest to the possibility of pain-free childbirth because my experience was similar. I believe it may have something to do with accepting rather than fighting discomfort and of course remaining drug-free and having lots of support in the form of a midwife or doula. However...that's not the reason for this post.

Gisele B has long been a style icon of mine and her big mouth is precisely part of the reason. I fell in love with her when a journalist asked if she was seeing an older businessman who was, well, no Tom Brady. Her response? "Please. Look at him and look at me." Gisele is not into false modesty. She doesn't apologize for her beauty or make herself small to please others.

Gisele is an athlete. Before being discovered at age 13, she was on her way to a career as a professional volleyball player. She remains active, participating in several extreme sports which she says help "keep her in the moment" and "get her out of her head". I can relate to this need for intense experiences, too. They make life worth living.

Gisele is a true natural beauty. When she appeared on the cover of Vogue ten years ago she (arguably) singlehandedly changed the standard of beauty. Of course, it's still not representative of most women--a beauty ideal never is. However, I believe Gisele represents a healthy embodiment of beauty. Pictures of Gisele when she's off duty reveal an unaffected athlete and bohemian. Little make-up, hair unkempt, half the time in track pants and runners. She is a real woman unobsessed with her appearance except when the job demands it. Her look off the catwalk is most often characterized by the pic above: chic scarf, blazer, well-fitted jeans, and boots with a modest heel. Comfortable, simple and sophisticated. That's why Gisele is my style icon.

Toronto House of Vintage Summer

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By Laura Connell · July 27, 2010 · 0 Comments ·

The last time I wrote about House of Vintage was here for the launch of its new location at 1239 Queen West, a little further along the strip than its previous locale. It was December-- chilly outside but warmest ever in the new store thanks to all the open-hearted folks, including owner Dennis Adamidis who generously provided drinks and snacks to all his lovely guests and opened up his space for a fun evening of unpretentious socializing and vintage browsing.

Walking into a House of Vintage party is like walking into a giant hug. Within seconds you are embraced and chatted up by almost every person you encounter. It's a rare and beautiful thing in a city where revellers can sometimes seem a little shy or stand-offish. When you enter a House of Vintage party, you leave your inhibitions at the door.

Now that the sun is out, Dennis is at it again, this time with last Thursday's summer soiree which again dished out customer appreciation in the form of complimentary hors d'oeuvres and drinks served by the lovely and hospitable bartender (pictured here with Dennis). In the vintage trade for over 20 years, Dennis has amassed one of the finest selections in the city. If you are in the Parkdale area, or even if you're not, check it out; it's worth the trip.

More pics at For Those About To Shop's FB Page

Ultra Toronto Hosts J. Lindeberg

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By Laura Connell · July 22, 2010 · 0 Comments ·

Stockholm designer J. Lindeberg brought its golf-inspired sportswear collection to Ultra's Katwalk series last night.

Specializing in menswear with a couple of womenswear looks thrown into the mix, the brand describes itself as "bohemian and not carefree" and it's an accurate description for the label which caters to those who seek an active lifestyle and a preppy collegiate feel to their sartorial choices.

Simple and clean lines appeared in a plain white shirt-dress for women and sharply tailored pants for men. The boho feel in some of the slouchy hats, pants, and jackets remained preppy in sensibility, sort of like the late JFK Jr. in Central Park on a Saturday.

For more runway pics, check For Those About To Shops FB Page.

442 McAdam @ Poor Little Rich Girl

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By Laura Connell · July 20, 2010 · 0 Comments ·

I stopped by Poor Little Rich Girl on Saturday to view Sarah Shell's latest handbag collection for 442 McAdam, and was pleasantly surprised by this cute little boutique at Yonge and Eglinton that seemed as though it had crawled inside my head and read my mind as to what a store should be: a girly girl's fantasy. Party dresses, ruffle tops, short shorts, and a word to the wise--BCBG at about 40% less. Before my visit was over, I had purchased a strapless tie-dyed silk party dress and salivated over a royal blue ruffle top and emerald-hued Kenzie skirt. I was trying to be good.

After my unexpected shopping expedition, I could focus on my reason for visiting: Sarah's handbags! Her latest collection features new finishes from a manufacturer who also works with a designer in Rome, so there is a definite Italian feel to the craftsmanship of the leather. All bags are rawhide except for the embellishment on one of the styles which is pigskin, and all are manufactured here in Ontario.

I see an evolution with 442 McAdam, a move toward something more sexy and edgy, and designer Sarah mentioned that the bags are also getting smaller, from large and over-sized to small and mid-sized. The pearl of the collection, what Sarah refers to as the Diva, or the crown jewel, is a little gem called Chappy. She has hand-folded pleats which cause much grousing from the manufacturer--high maintenance as a diva should be--and my favourite version is a dark green with pink metallic accent. She can be slung over the shoulder or carried by her shorter chain link strap. The name Chappy comes from a lyric in a Ratpack song; Sarah  liked the vintage connotation besides being a fan of the group.

Another bag called Marsha is named after Sarah's grandmother. Her grandparents photograph appears front and centre on the company logo and the name, 442 McAdam, has been the couple's address and place of residence in Winnipeg since 1954. When someone expressed concern that the name might bring unwanted attention to their home, Sarah replied, "They're hoping it will!"

Girls on the Run and EJF Surprises

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By Laura Connell · July 11, 2010 · 0 Comments ·

I believe the surprises in life are best of all and today I received two in the mail! From the Environmental Justice Foundation in London came a limited edition organic Indian cotton tote bag designed by Jade Jagger in commemoration of Carnaby Street's 50th anniversary. All profits from the sale of these bags (15 GBP) goes to EJF, a small charity "working internationally to protect the natural environment and the people and wildlife that depend upon it." Like Greenpeace, EJF eschews corporate sponsorship and accepts only private donations and grants.

Jade Jagger's own label Jezebel is inspired by the Ibiza sun and her design for this bag encapsulates Carnaby Street's anniversary theme "Summer of Love", a reference to its heydey in the 60s when mods, rockers and hippies shopped and played here. Although the street has evolved from its strictly alternative roots much the way Queen West in Toronto has become more gentrified, efforts have been made to keep out the big chain stores, and 60% of the boutiques along the 200 yards that comprise the length of Carnaby are still independent.

My second surprise was a gift package from Girls on the Run, the charity I am supporting while training for the San Francisco marathon two weeks from today! The nonprofit prevention program promotes self-respect and healthy lifestyles in preteen girls through running and addresses all aspects of girls' development including physical, emotional, mental, social, and spiritual well-being. My goal is to raise $2,500 for this amazing organization and thanks to everyone's generosity, I am going to reach my target. I am tremendously grateful for all the donations I have received and would like to thank those who gave $100: Zorica Vasic, Brenda Brazier, Fiona Keeshan PR, Dr. Cory Goldberg, Pilar Galiana, and my new EBay shop because I just donated $100 from the proceeds! Please go to my Giving Page and help me reach my goal. EVERY donation counts and is held in gratitude!