Fashion as Art: Salvage Beauty

I hope many of us visited the Met this spring/summer to view the exhibition organized by the Costume Institute showcasing many of Alexander McQueen’s famous runway masterpieces. I believe that Lee Alexander McQueen was an art but instead of painting he expressed himself through clothing. Often his works were based on historical events as well as political and sociological views.

Here is a link that does a walk through of exhibit just in case you missed it:


News | UK | This Britain The fur trade: Bloody fashion

In 1994 Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington, Claudia Schiffer, and Ell Macpherson were all considered to be at a celebrity status and joinded together in the anti fur protests of the time. The act of wearing fur became a social crime and those deemed guilty risked being abused by strangers on the street. What I find very interesting is that the only model out of these five that has not returned to wearing and promoting fur is Christy Turlington. In the 1990’s, Britain’s fur industry was almost driven out of existence completely and now today is back and thriving more than ever before. An investigation by the Independent has revealed that more than a thousand tons of fur came into Britain just last year.

In many cases, most customers don’t realize that what they are buying is actually real fur and would be completely horrified if they realized the suffering and murder that was involved in killing the animal that is on the trim of their designer coat. Also in many cases fur that is advertised as fake fur is indeed real fur. Major retail store, Forever 21 was caught selling dog fur as fake fur. As stated by Stella McCartney,

“ There’s nothing fashionable about a dead animal that has been cruelly killed just because some people think it looks cool to wear. The continuing use of fur iis still a real problem in the fashion industry and there is an issue with people out there assuming that fur trim is fake when most of it is real.

More than 50 million animals will be killed for their fur this year, most of which will have spent their short lives in miserable conditions on fur farms before they are killed, sometimes being skinned while still alive. The conditions in which these animals live and the ways that they are brutally murdered are devastating. Karakul lambskin (worn by stars such as Keira Knightley), are killed just days after birth or even taken from the womb.


Nicole Richie and the rabbit fur jacket

WHERE AND WHEN: Book signing in New York, 2005

WEARING: Grey rabbit fur jacket

COST: Estimated £1,000

CRUELTY FACTOR: Rabbits are farmed in terrible conditions. A large proportion are bred and killed purely for the fur and the RSPCA says that people should not assume that rabbit fur is automatically a by-product of meat. In the wild, rabbits are roaming social animals that live in burrows. In a cage on a fur farm they are denied this freedom and are usually killed by having their necks broken. The use of rabbit fur in costume is first recorded in 13th-century literature.


Dita Von Teese wears mink

WHERE AND WHEN: Rodeo Drive Walk of Style Awards, Beverly Hills, March 2006

WEARING: Mink cloak

COST: Anything up to £8,000

CRUELTY FACTOR: About 85 per cent of all mink are farmed, something that is incredibly stressful for these wild animals. They live for just six or seven months before being killed; common methods include gassing, electrocution or beating them to death. They are perhaps best known for their dark brown fur, which turns white at the chin and runs to black at the tips of their tails. It takes 60 to 80 minks to make a fur coat. Young tend to be born in May. They are dead by December.

Kate Moss’s seal boots

WHERE AND WHEN: Leaving a London restaurant in March 2004

WEARING: Mukluk boots

COST: About £200

CRUELTY FACTOR: Mukluks are a soft boot made of reindeer skin or sealskin and worn by Inuit. The sealskin is taken from seals that are clubbed to death at two weeks old.

Sophie Dahl chooses mink and white fox

WHERE AND WHEN: Fragrance Foundation Awards, New York, April 2005

WEARING: White mink coat, fox fur collar

COST: Estimated £7,000

CRUELTY FACTOR: Millions of mink and fox endure terrible conditions in fur farms, where they live their short lives in cages so small that they can barely turn around. White foxes that are caught from the wild in steel-jaw traps are in so much pain that some bite off their limbs in order to escape. Many die horrible deaths before the trapper arrives to kill them. Those on farms are gassed or killed by electrocution: electrodes are clamped in the mouth and the rectum.

News | UK | This Britain The fur trade: Bloody fashion

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The world’s most popular male model is not only modeling men’s wear but is also modeling women’s wear. He is known for his androgyny, modeling for designers like Marc Jacobs and Jean-Paul Gaultier. Showing off his talent in both the women’s and men’s wear. Andrej is a chameleon of sorts pertaining to his talents. At the young age of only seventeen years old Andrej was trying to get by like every other high school student in Australia. He worked at a local McDonalds to earn some money and on what he thought was a regular day he was discovered by a talent scout that happened to run inside for a quick lunch.
Andrej has the body type to be ideal for both men and women fashion models. The ideal of having the same model for both lines made designers want him as their model. In this interview Juju Chang finds out about his modeling career and where he stood on his sexuality and his gender preference.
Andrej Pejic has a unique look and it does not concern me whether he is a man or woman or a transgender. In Juju Chang’s interview, I feel that she is questioning his gender preference more than anything, when she should be interviewing him as a successful model. It is amazing how well Pejic is making a name for himself in the modeling industry and it gives transgenders an opening to the fashion world.
Today, people want are interested in knowing what someone’s sexual preference is and/or their gender, and Pejic is one who does not want to be defined as one or the other, he just wants to be himself. Why do we care wherther some one is a man or woman? Why do we have to know whether they are this and that?
This brings me to thinking about how clothing is segregated into men’s and women’s sections. Is this just mainstream culture that is keeping gender this way? It would be interesting to see more lines that are unisex and play with the ideas of unknown gender.

Children in Fashion

My Personal Response to “The Poignant Legal Issues about Children Fashion Models”

Many of the girls we see walking down the catwalks and displayed inside the covers of magazines aren’t even legally able to drink, smoke, let alone drive, but they sure could have fooled us. Yes, fashion is about fantasy, but when does the fantasy go too far? Where should the line be drawn?

As children most of us enjoyed playing dress up and pretend, but the innocent notion of dress up is not so innocent in the fashion world. Many of the underage models in the fashion industry are dressed and styled sometimes in very sexually suggestive clothing, clothing that in some cases would be inappropriate for even a grown woman to wear in public. Not only is the clothing suggestive of behavior that a young girl shouldn’t be advertising, but the staged scenes and photographed postures are also sometimes very suggestive. This continued use of sexualized poses in fashion makes me consider how much influence the porn industry actually has on mainstream culture. It also makes me question this idea of whether or not these sexualized images of young girls could be considered child pornography. Apparently, under federal law these sexualized images of young girls do not fall under the legal definition of child pornography, but I personally feel that they walk a very thin line.

In our culture this idea of wanting to grow up fast, and become adults is very prevalent among young Americans. This desire to be older than you are is constantly being advertised to the youth culture in the United States, especially by the Fashion Industry. The Lingerie sector of the Fashion Industry has always been targeted to grown women, but now some companies are designing lingerie targeted towards children. Strange? Yes, but what is even stranger is that there is a market for it.

At the end of the article some very interesting questions where posed.  The author asks, “If it is legal for adults to dress up as minors and pose in sexually suggestive photographs, why would it be illegal for minors to dress up as adults and do the same?” I personally don’t agree with adults dressing up as children and posing in sexually suggestive photographs, because it gives the illusion that it’s okay for people to think of children in a sexual way, which it is not. Legal issues regarding minors dressing as adults, should be enforced to stop minors from being in a position where they have to pose in sexually suggestive, and/or explicit photographs.  The problem in both aspects of this question boils down to this term sexual. Children and the idea of children should in no way, shape, or form be associated with anything sexual.

– Chelsi


link to article



Vegetarian Fashion


I found this article in Vogue and thought it was pretty interesting. It talks about Arden Wohl and how her vegetarian and animal supporting lifestyle led her to give away all her leather shoes, bags, and high couture items. If i was a vegetarian, I don’t think i would be able to give up what she did, especially an Alexander McQueen dress. Wohl also convinced her friend Victoria Barlett to create a vegan shoe collection called VPL Vegan for Spring, which features eco and animal friendly footwear made sustainably.

Dealing with animals in fashion has always been a common issue and can be most commonly seen in advertisements made by PETA, which is known for its campaigns on fur and animal skins featuring celebrities.

Photoshopped or Not?

Photoshopped or Not? A Tool to Tell

From left to right, photographs show the five levels of retouching in a system by Hany Farid of Dartmouth. The effect, from slight to drastic, may discourage retouching. “Models, for example, might well say, ‘I don’t want to be a 5. I want to be a 1,’ ” he said.


Published: November 28, 2011

The photographs of celebrities and models in fashion advertisements and magazines are routinely buffed with a helping of digital polish. The retouching can be slight — colors brightened, a stray hair put in place, a pimple healed. Or it can be drastic — shedding 10 or 20 pounds, adding a few inches in height and erasing all wrinkles and blemishes, done using Adobe’s Photoshop software, the photo retoucher’s magic wand.

Joseph Mehling

Hany Farid, a computer science professor at Dartmouth.

“Fix one thing, then another and pretty soon you end up with Barbie,” said Hany Farid, a professor of computer science and a digital forensics expert at Dartmouth.

And that is a problem, feminist legislators in France, Britain and Norway say, and they want digitally altered photos to be labeled. In June, the American Medical Association adopted a policy on body image and advertising that urged advertisers and others to “discourage the altering of photographs in a manner that could promote unrealistic expectations of appropriate body image.”

Dr. Farid said he became intrigued by the problem after reading about the photo-labeling proposals in Europe. Categorizing photos as either altered or not altered seemed too blunt an approach, he said.

Dr. Farid and Eric Kee, a Ph.D. student in computer science at Dartmouth, are proposing a software tool for measuring how much fashion and beauty photos have been altered, a 1-to-5 scale that distinguishes the infinitesimal from the fantastic. Their research is being published this week in a scholarly journal, The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Their work is intended as a technological step to address concerns about the prevalence of highly idealized and digitally edited images in advertising and fashion magazines. Such images, research suggests, contribute to eating disorders and anxiety about body types, especially among young women.

The Dartmouth research, said Seth Matlins, a former talent agent and marketing executive, could be “hugely important” as a tool for objectively measuring the degree to which photos have been altered. He and his wife, Eva Matlins, the founders of a women’s online magazine, Off Our Chests, are trying to gain support for legislation in America. Their proposal, the Self-Esteem Act, would require photos that have been “meaningfully changed” to be labeled.

“We’re just after truth in advertising and transparency,” Mr. Matlins said. “We’re not trying to demonize Photoshop or prevent creative people from using it. But if a person’s image is drastically altered, there should be a reminder that what you’re seeing is about as true as what you saw in ‘Avatar,’ ” the science-fiction movie with computer-generated actors and visual effects.

The algorithm developed by Dr. Farid and Mr. Kee statistically measures how much the image of a person’s face and body has been altered. Many of the before-and-after photos for their research were plucked from the Web sites of professional photo retouchers, promoting their skills.

The algorithm is meant to mimic human perceptions. To do that, hundreds of people were recruited online to compare sets of before-and-after images and to determine the 1-to-5 scale, from minimally altered to starkly changed. The human rankings were used to train the software.

His tool, Dr. Farid said, would ideally be a vehicle for self-regulation. Information and disclosure, he said, should create incentives that reduce retouching. “Models, for example, might well say, ‘I don’t want to be a 5. I want to be a 1,’ ” he said.

Yet even without the prod of a new software tool, there is a trend toward Photoshop restraint, said Lesley Jane Seymour, editor in chief of More, a magazine for women over 40.

Women’s magazine surveys, said Ms. Seymour, a former editor of Marie Claire and Redbook, show that their readers want celebrities to “look great but real.”

“What’s terrific is that we’re having this discussion,” she said. But readers, she added, have become increasingly sophisticated in understanding that photo retouching is widespread, and the overzealous digital transformations become notorious, with the before-and-after images posted online and ridiculed.

“Readers aren’t fooled if you really sculpt the images,” Ms. Seymour said. “If you’re a good editor, you don’t go too far these days. If you give someone a face-lift,” she said, adding, “you’re a fool.”


VS Angels vs. Runway Models

The 2011 Victoria’s Secret Fashion show was aired last night on CBS. 35 models were chosen to walk down the glittery runway, however, were some too skinny?