Sunday, 27 February 2011

Love/hate, once again

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I found this very interesting article about Urban Outfitters and its founders, and I thought you would enjoy it as well. I'm not very good at writing opinion pieces as I usually try to see and explain all sides of the matter, but I really wanted to share my thoughts with you so please excuse the holes in my argumentation.

So... the article validates my reticence to shop at UO while confirming how well their marketing tactics work, as they sell items that appeal in design to consumers who tend to be more liberal/leftists while keeping prices very high, quality often low, and producing in sweatshop factories.
I was a bit surprised to see how the chain started out, in 1970, as a modest thrift store named The Free People's Store which even had a charity bin containing free items. It was more of a community, student store while today, it has become a capitalist enterprise with no social goal. I think that what is bothering me the most in the light of my knew knowledge is how UO exploits (fashionable?) leftism as means to make a capital, and that we all fall for it: the artsy, vintage aura of the company is only a cover, a marketing technique that still keeps appealing to informed customers. But Urban Outfitters is not responsible for all the moral challenges they create; yes, I do feel manipulated by the fact the company produces items that appeal to my aesthetic tastes and sells them in a somewhat misleading environment, but I am still responsible for my purchases. I'm under the impression I would find this situation much less challenging morally if the company and its president, Richard Hayne, were upfront with their Republican and capitalist ideals (see the last page of the article for examples) while now I feel cheated by myself, divided between my love for pretty fabrics and my ideals.

Obviously, I am no saint and continue to purchase items from chain stores, made in poor working conditions, but I still make a point of being fully aware of what surrounds my consumerism. I do not think I'll stop buying from Urban Outfitters anytime soon -they ironically (I mean, they are not being ironic on purpose haha!) have sales at thrift store prices (my latest purchase being a Madras silk skirt for 6$, yes), making them fulfill once again their initial purpose amongst students...- but I am glad to be much more aware of what I am doing.

Let me know what you think of all this!

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Talkies

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Not too long ago I finally did something I hadn't done in about two years: I visited one of those big cinemas, the ones that screen the most recent movies. I had forgotten about so many things, such as all those previews, the sound in 'super' stereo, and how big the screens are... Well, it's good to step away from things in order to appreciate them more: it nearly felt as if it was my first time at the movies.
The film I went to see was the Coen brothers' True Grit, and I decidedly did not regret my choice. I am yet to see the John Wayne version so I cannot provide you with comparisons between both, but from what I've heard, the initial version was more of a family adventure movie while I found that the Coen version is closer to classic -Sergio Leone- westerns such as The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly and Once Upon a Time in the West.
If you haven't seen it yet, please do, I highly recommend it!

***
Il n'y a pas très longtemps, j'ai finalement fait quelque chose que je n'avais pas fait en deux ans: j'ai visité un de ces grands cinémas, un de ceux qui projettent les films les plus récents. J'avais oublié un grand nombre de choses, telles que les bandes-annonces, le son en 'super' stéréo, et la taille gigantesque de l'écran... Eh bien, il est bon de prendre un peu de recul par rapport à certaines choses afin de les apprécier davantage: c'était presque comme si c'était ma première fois au cinéma!
Je suis allée voir True Grit, des frères Coen, et je n'ai décidément pas regretté mon choix. Il me reste toujours à voir la version avec John Wayne, je ne peux donc pas vous fournir de comparaisons entre les deux. Néanmoins, d'après ce que j'ai entendu, la version initiale était plutôt du type film d'aventure familiale alors que j'ai trouvé que celle-ci était plus proche des westerns classiques -de Sergio Leone- tels que The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly et Once Upon a Time in the West.
Si vous ne l'avez pas encore vu, allez-y, je le recommande fortement!

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Can we talk?

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Can we talk? Can we have a bit of a silly, fashion-related discussion?

The time has come again for me to buy new jeans. I dread buying jeans so much that I usually wear my favourite pair until holes appear in places where they are no longer 'charming' (i.e. when there are chances my underwear might be seen). As I wear jeans on a practically daily basis, choosing the perfect pair is no light business, and my last purchase was the most satisfying I have experienced so far in my jean conquest: dark blue, skinny, high-waisted Cheap Mondays and I am currently inclined to try to find the exact same pair.

BUT... As much as 'I dress my own way' and all that, the one trend I usually follow is the flare of jeans, and I'm mostly fine with the look of any type of flare as long as the waist hits around my natural waistline.
And...
-I've been seeing more and more beautiful and impractical (but what wouldn't we do in the name of fashion/have you ever tried to ride a bike wearing them?) 70's inspired flared jeans;
-I've been collecting (a very small collection of...2 pairs) second-hand Levi's 501s that I usually wear during summer, with rolled hems, but that might or might not eventually transit into my all-year wardrobe...
-The option I find the most appealing (and neutral) would be to get cigarettes jeans, but they are quite difficult to find.

In other words, what I am afraid of is that if I buy the same pair again, my favourite jeans will seem out of date before they start wearing holes.
Dear readers, what do you think?
Are we seeing the decline of skinny jeans, or can tight and flared co-exist, or should I simply only wear skirts from now on instead of worrying?

Photos: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Not too crazy

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I'm not too crazy about Valentine's Day. There, I said it. I'm in a very happy relationship and all that, and I do enjoy being surrounded by little heart decorations and flowers everywhere I go but I think that Valentine's Day and I are not made for each other. Why show your love only one day a year? Or why not use that day to show your love as well as all the other days? Well, it's more that I dislike optional celebratory days, they can get very awkward when it comes to decide whether or not to celebrate them. Discussing all the reasons for joining the celebration or not complicates things as well, and while Valentine's can be seen as a commercial holiday, sometimes I think any good occasion to celebrate should be welcomed, and other times I tell myself I'm this "cynical, modern woman" (hum-hum haha!) who doesn't need official show-your-love days.
I had a lovely date at the movies last Friday (I hadn't gone to a big movie theatre in about three years, I'll tell you more about that later!) but when I woke up on this 14th of February, I simply wished I could skip to the next day.

But let's not leave things like this; to end on a happier note, I hope YOU had a lovely day! xo

Photos: 1?, 2?, 3, 4?, 5?.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Happy things

Happy things at the start of February...


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-The beautiful midday light that shows Spring is on its way;
-My new Audrey Cantwell turban that makes me want to go outside just so I can wear it (One of her acquaintances stopped me in a café of my neighbourhood a few nights ago to tell me she lives a few streets away from me, how funny is that?);
-Reading Jacob's Room by Virginia Woolf;
-Finding a forgotten coat at the bottom of a box (which happens to be the same as this one but in navy);
-Just thinking about Spring in general!;
-Going to DJ nights where I can't stop exclaiming my love for the music played;
-Thinking about learning a new language (I am yet to decide which one... maybe German?);
-Barley-cabbage-tomato-lentil soup with feta topping.

What helps you keep your spirits up these days?

***
-La superbe lumière de mi-journée qui montre que le printemps s'en vient;
-Mon nouveau turban Audrey Cantwell qui me fait vouloir sortir juste pour le porter (Une de ses connaissances m'a abordée dans un café de mon quartier la semaine dernière pour me dire qu'elle habitait à quelques rues de chez moi!);
-Lire Jacob's Room par Virginia Woolf;
-Trouver un manteau oublié dans le fond d'une boîte (qui se trouve à être le même que celui-ci, mais en marine);
-Juste penser au printemps en général!;
-Aller à des soirées DJ où je ne cesse d'exclamer mon amour pour la musique jouée;
-Penser apprendre une nouvelle langue (je n'ai pas encore décidé laquelle... peut-être l'Allemand?);
-Soupe orge-choux-tomates-lentilles garnie de feta.

Qu'est-ce qui vous fait garder le moral ces jours-ci?

Photos: 1 (Jess Gough), 2 (me!), 3, 4, 5 (Siri Thorson).