Sunday, July 25, 2010

another summer day

These shoes are so clunky and pretty much impossible to walk gracefully in, but they are surprisingly comfortable for cheap-ass Le Chateau circa 1996. I added the turquoise tie.

Sometimes I feel kind of awkward at work when a client complements me on something that I got at a thrift store. Like with this outfit yesterday, this client was going off about how much she loved my shoes, how they "made the outfit", and I couldn't tell her they were from Value Village. She's totally chic and stylish and obviously spends good money on high-quality clothes, and I almost felt like I would be making fun of her or something if I told her. Like, ha-ha, you would have paid hundreds of buck for someones cast-offs. Last week a different client was saying how cute I looked and asked where I buy all my great clothes, or do I make them all. I had to admit that they were mostly thrifted and she's was incredulous, and I got a hint of an idea that she thought it was a little dirty... Not me, just the concept of second hand clothes. Maybe I feel like a traitor to my industry: shouldn't I be buying into all the buying? Hey, I would if I could afford it. That's the paradox of the fashion industry - most people can't afford the stuff they make!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Big Ups

It sucks when I want something I'll just never have. This week's complaint: big hair. I'm loving these big, messy, modern updos, almost beehives, some of them. I just don't have the locks for the look though. No matter how long I grow it, it's fine. I don't have much confidence in my back-combing skills and I certainly don't own enough bobby pins. That didn't stop me from trying today, and someone even complimented me on it; asked if I'd had it "done". But it's not big enough. Maybe I'll practice a little. And buy some hairspray? I guess that would help.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

New Perspective

Why did it not occur to me until today that finding new places to take outfit pictures is as simple as moving my tripod stand (cat pedestal + shoe box) off the porch and into the front yard? Oh well. I love this grey camisole. I probably got it at Value Village, and I rarely wear it, but it's so pretty. It silk and the nude lace is so finely applied it's insane! I should have taken a close up shot. The label says that it was made in Paris. Whenever I'm shopping in thrift stores I look at where things were made. I'm wearing a tank top right now that was made in New Zealand. I love buying things that were made in Canada - it's such a luxury now. I guess anything not made in a developing nation is becoming pretty rare.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Days Gone By

Remember when jeans came in cuts other than skinny? These bad boys are probably almost ten years old, and somehow when it's hot out even the limited ventilation offered by a flare is a relief. The shoes are probably the same age, and who can even guess the age of the two thrifted tops? I copied Kara's scarf-hairstyle for the bottom pictures. I'm usually pretty clueless as to what to do with pretty scarves, but I loved this idea.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Full Colour

I can't remember if I posted this picture already - I hope not. Anyway, I love her colouring and accessories. It's such a myth that redheads shouldn't wear red or pink. I know I rarely do, but maybe I should after looking at this picture. Look at that necklace: isn't it amazing?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


But I'm back now, reluctantly. The long weekend Karl and I spend on Quadra Island is always the best weekend of the summer for us. This time we had four full days of sunshine, swimming, eating, boating, reading and spending time with my parents. And a couple of breakfasts under the grape leaves with this little guy:

We wondered if this averaged out to a hundred mile meal. The rice is from California, but all the veggies are from less than 100 meters, as is the apple cider. The prawns, cod and scallops are all from the local waters, and the butter is from Vancouver Island. We were too busy eating to get out a calculator, of course!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


This video is really worth watching.

I read this really interesting post about copyright laws and fashion the other day on The Vancouverista, and I've been thinking about it ever since. Clothing is utilitarian and you can't copyright a design; you can only get a logo trademarked which is why there are knockoff logo purses getting busted at the night market, but it's okay for H&M etc. to be full of designer impostors. The point that is made in the video is that this is best for the industry as it forces designers to constantly innovate and push fashion further. I do agree with that. The video focuses on high-end luxury labels though, and makes the point that the Gucci customer is not shopping for knockoff on Canal Street. Of course.

Several people I went to school with work as "designers" for clothing companies and a big part of their job is travelling to New York and buying all the seasons trends at Barney's etc. and bringing the clothes back to be copied. Not just used for inspiration, but taken apart to make patterns, sent to factories overseas so the fabric and trims can be matched, and referred to as "the Chloe top" or "the Acne jacket". It's a reality of the business, but I feel a little bit sorry for these employees who got a job thinking that they were going to be designing clothes!

Where I think that it gets a little more confusing is when a mass-market retailer blatantly copies an independent, emerging designer. It's pretty common - Urban Outfitters is a repeat offender(repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat) and as a designer, I think that's pretty low. I'm sure Urban Outfitters etc. employs plenty of designers - let them design.

But I wonder how different my job is. Clients bring me pictures everyday of dresses they want made. Sometimes it's a bunch of "inspiration" pictures that capture a feeling, sometimes it's one dress that they just want copied. I'm happy to work from existing dresses to get an idea of what a client wants, and I think that my creativity comes into play when I can suggest options that might work better for them, and some clients are great: the literally want me to design something for them. It does bug me though when I get a sense that someone just wants a knockoff or that they want that $10,000 gown for a quarter of the price. When I sense that I say "Well, if you want exactly that dress, you should buy that dress. If you want a dress that is similar to that but fits you and is suited perfectly to you and uses that dress as a starting point - that's what I can do."

A couple of times I've had customers, generally ones who want a knockoff, ask me if there are any legal or ethical "issues" with me copying a dress. I tell them that there are no legal issues, and ask if they have an ethical issues with asking me to make a copy. That usually shuts them up!

I'd be really interested to know what you think. Is it a good thing that fashion is free for the copying? Would you buy a knockoff? A fake Chanel bag?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Pretty.... Lazy

I love this picture - I wish I was a great photographer and could make everything right in an image like this.
This weekend I was feeling blog-lazy. Karl worked a bunch of night shifts, so he slept in the day which encourages me to nap, and I'm reading a great book. It was just kind of an unproductive couple of days, but on the upside, I didn't spend much money. Except for property tax today I guess!
We're going up to Quadra Island for our "summer holiday" this Thursday. It's for an extra-long weekend, but it's supposed to be sunny and we intend to really make it count!

Friday, July 2, 2010


Finally a little sun. Yesterday was Canada Day and we had a bunch of friends over for a barbecue. It was really fun, but it took a lot of effort to sit outside on a damp, chilly night. I felt like we should have been serving hot chocolate instead of lemonade, but rumour has it summer may be making an appearance next week.