OUTRAGE | Zara's Holocaust Tee

No one wants to be reminded of grim times, and many Zara shoppers were shocked to see an innocent kids t-shirt reflecting the ignorance the design team possesses. The t-shirt is scarily similar to uniform worn by Holocaust prisoners of war during the height of the regime in the late 1930's-mid 40's. 

The brand did not intend for the garment to cause offence, and was supposedly inspired by the Wild West, hence the star embellishment on the breast. But the insignia with the word "Sheriff" can only be seen up-close, contributing to the misinterpretation by shoppers, thinking it was the infamous Yellow Triangle badge. 

Since the social media backlash by many offended members of the public, particularly on Twitter, the brand has recalled the shirts and repeatedly apologised for the mishap. The root of the problem is that Zara's clothing is designed by a team, who are obviously unaware of the mega-following and ultra-aware market the brand targets, and is questionable as to how this design ever was approved without proper research.

Source: BBC News


OUTRAGE | Ferguson Protests Supported By Model

On August 9th, in Ferguson, Missouri, USA, an 18 year old African American man named Michael Brown, was shot and killed by someone who should've been protecting him - a police officer named Darren Wilson. What's worse? It was done in cold blood, in broad daylight, with no attempts to take the grim site of the body away from the public. The local population's blood boiled as bystanders witnessed a lifeless body representing the racist mentality and misuse of power of the local police force.

Protests against the inadequate police force within the area have taken place since then, and these events are not separate from the eyes of national pop culture icons. The American model and singer, Sky Ferreira, has come out as the only fashion figure to show her support for the Ferguson protests via her Instagram. Coincidentally, her posts have been uploaded a week after the condemnation of White American musicians such as Iggy Azalea, Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus who emulate the ethos of African American popular culture, for not joining in the cause. Effectively, Sky may influence other White Americans to speak up and voice their stance on the matter.

Recently, the Dream Defenders Executive Director, Phillip Agnew, commented that the event is a reflection of "a culture where one race is allowed to kill, and the other is not". This begs one to question, is the hesitation of influential members of the culture to defend African Americans a sign of hidden racial intolerance? Or a sign of their wanting to retain their reputation in times when their voice is needed to fuel change and progression in society?...

Images: ABCDazed Digital, NBC and MSNBC

OUTRAGE | Cultural Offence on The Catwalk

Trelise Cooper has been the subject of unwanted negative attention when she released models on the catwalk wearing Native American Head Dresses at her New Zealand Fashion Week show. Her intention was to reflect the beauty of the headwear, but ignorantly missed the fact that debasing deeply spiritual and sacred items for the sake of fashion goes over the line of risqué.

An overwhelming backlash against the designer's poor choice was seen throughout various social media networks. Most were an attack on how she labelled the look as "'70s bohemian vibes" on Instagram, satirising her blindness to the racist overtones, despite her later apology upon realising the offence she has caused

But, as someone who produces and distributes products that are supposed to be a reflection of society and culture, she has not done such a thing. As avant-garde and daring as some designers are, you still have a responsibility of being aware of the good and bad implications of your work, and hopefully Dame Trelise will completely avoid Racist Road again.

Images: Buzzfeed, Steph Adams and TVNZ


Shoes For A Better Future

A relatively young shoe label is fast becoming a sought after essential for fashion enthusiasts, and not in a place you'd necessarily think fashion is one. Aurora James, the Creative Director of Brother Vellies, is on a mission to preserve the ancient methods of shoemaking in Africa, and also bringing the African population to appreciate what has been lost in the ages and nurture their sense of style.

Inspired by her vacations in Africa and conversations about fashion with locals she met along the way, Aurora set out on a mission to fuse the old and new for African locals who wanted fashionable footwear. Producing shoes that skew the functionality and look of the modern day and trendy Desert Boot and Sandal, the materials used to create the shoe are a stand out compared to other fashion labels. Patent cork, recycled tyres, denim off-cuts and holographic leather are what comprise the set of unique footwear. 

Dedicated to providing functional yet individually stylish footwear and job opportunities for local populations, Aurora regularly flies between the workshops set up in Kenya, Namibia and South Africa, working with the artisans themselves. Her work has not gone unnoticed, with a previous collaboration with New York designer William Okpo, selling in Moda Operandi and an upcoming pop-up at Nordstrom.

In a multitude of ways, Aurora has silently blown many fashion labels out of the water, and I hope her work will be known and supported by the population at large. I mean, how can you not when her shoes are giving the locals more so than she intended to give? 

To check out and support the charitable label, head to www.brothervellies.com


The Masters of Fashion

Oscar de la Renta

The hub of fashion film, ShowStudioand the luxury London department store of Selfridge & Co. has unveiled a collaborative campaign which pays homage to the 12 most accomplished fashion designers of our time. The video campaign features pieces from all of the designers and labels from The Masters project - a six month creative exploration of these dictatorial designers and the timelessness of their work.

Paul Smith 

Set in a plethora of different environments that symbolise a different fashion master, each scene centres on the specially designed garments for the project. Although illusive as to which scene represents which designer, a keen fashion enthusiast would definitely seek out whose is whose. I admit, I jumped with glee when the Dries Van NotenPaul SmithRick OwensStella McCartney and Yohji Yamamoto caught my eagle eye.

Marc Jacobs 

These designers are the dictators of what is worn, the trendsetters of what is liked and loved in the moment, the most revered fashion forces in the world. Ok I'll stop with the over-admiration. But, it can't be helped when the campaign is this visually pleasing and targeted right at those who appreciate the work of these designers.

 Azzedine Alaia

All outfits and pieces featured in the film are available on www.selfridges.com


Images: ShowStudio
Source: ShowStudio


Elderly Woman Makes Dresses for Children in Poverty

Lilian Weber, an elderly woman from Iowa, USA, spends her days in retirement tirelessly creating dresses for the charity, Little Dresses for Africa. Working much like an atelier, she personalises each and every dress, to make sure each girl feels uniquely beautiful when worn - a luxury less experienced by young girls living in Africa.

At an age where most in the same time of their life would plug off from the stresses of their work lives, this woman's desire to continue doing so for a humanitarian cause is admirable. To date, she has produced 840 dresses, and all by hand, and aims to keep going until she reaches 1000. 

It's wonderful when the discovery of rarely publicised Good Samaritans have their moment of fame, and hopefully her dresses will continue to clothe and bring happiness to the needy.


The Designer Feeding Selfie Addiction

Timur Kim, a graduate from the widely acclaimed Central Saint Martins College, is now designing tees for the technologically adept and self-absorbed. Selfie addicts worldwide can now purchase shirts that guarantees, by Timur's perspective, more likes, follows, comments and a one-up in social media stardom. 

Neck bound graphics are the common motif throughout the pieces, which allow only what matters within the frame of the picture. No doubt, these tees are indefinitely going to nurture the narcissism of these selfie kings and queens, as they are all unisex. But, contrary to the purpose of his collection, Timur himself admits "I like to keep to myself, and I don't like to be photographed". 

Alas, the real message behind the collection is revealed - to comment on and raise our awareness of the increasing blur between self-respect and self-love that is being fuelled by social media addiction. Smile in front of the mirror and camera for yourself, not the appreciation of people who don't know you.

Images: Timur Kim and Oyster
Source: Oyster

Karl Lagerfeld shoots Conchita Wurst for CR Fashion Book

In an elegantly sultry editorial for the latest edition of CR Fashion Book, legendary fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld photographed the current European pop darling, Conchita Wurst. Accompanied by the mother-to-be model, Ashleigh Good, the pair stylishly challenge the unbreakable standards of beauty and intolerance of the LGBTIQ community.

Dressed in clothing reflective of the distinguishable allure of Golden Hollywood starlets, the two supersede the stereotypical image of a successful and beautiful woman. Karl is no stranger to colliding with conformity, and this shoot grants him yet another gold star on his body of work within fashion and beauty.

WISHLIST | "You First" Sweatshirt by Acne Studios

"You First" - a phrase that is unfortunately rare nowadays. It seems as though most of us are out there purely for ourselves, and never take the time to perform random acts of kindness to strangers. Strangers, what an insidious word to use, let me correct myself - people. Let them go first, give that change in your pocket to a donation box, get up out of your seat for someone else. It all matters!

Shop more Acne at www.oki-ni.com


Haircuts for the Homeless

A Filipino-American hair stylist, based in New York City, has been giving homeless people throughout the metropolis a touch of style, and all pro bono. The Grooming Good Samaritan, Mark Bustos, makes time every Sunday approaching the homeless with a simple yet powerful phrase - "I want to do something nice for you today". By giving these people a haircut in open spaces, he continuously spreads the message of giving to any passersby. 

His humanitarian venture dates back to his days cutting the hair of the unfortunate since visiting his home country in May 2012, which fuelled his desire to bring his mission to The Big Apple. We all want to look and feel good about ourselves, and when one is dire straits, a simple haircut or mini-makeover maybe all we need to conjure the courage to live on.

Follow Mark Bustos on Instagram (@markbustos) for updates on his charitable work.

Images: Instagram

Rain, Rain, Go Away


OUTRAGE | North West Debut Modelling Controversy

Everyone's up in arms over the debut model shot of North West wearing Chanel in the latest issue of CR Fashion Book, and once again, the heated debates over whether children should be modelling or not have erupted. The shot of the baby girl only says one thing to me - style does not choose age. You may or may not be fans of Kanye West or Kim Kardashian's work, but their fashion forwardness is obvious, and their keen eye for style is undoubtedly going to transfer to their offspring. What is fuelling the debate as to whether the shot is appropriate is the fact that the shot endorses mature style on young children, even though at first it may seem as an innocent photograph of a baby playing with her mother's bag. I have no problem with the editorial, as this is more a subtle approach to marketing the product, and embodies Karl Lagerfeld, the famous Creative Director of the label, philosophy of "It's Never Too Early to Care About Fashion"

What are your thoughts? Is this shot deceivingly inappropriate, or is it a tribute to the continuity of the West family's fashion sense?

Image: Stylelist


WISHLIST | Freedom shirt by Moschino

Freedom. A word that sparks a myriad of emotions that sway from anger to frustration to bliss. And now it's slapped on repeatedly throughout a shirt that can sometimes be perceived as a symbol of restriction and corporate control. Seeing this during my boredom induced dose of online shopping reminded me how I have a knack for skewed pieces of design. Subverting the meanings of design pieces which they are usually associated with is a tough gig, so I applaud Jeremy Scott from Moschino for producing a garment that is tacky, yet undeniably inspiring.


The Model Rejected Because of Who She Is

Shocking isn't it? This beautiful model and blogger, Nikia Phoenix, is being dropped from shows purely because of her race and unbelievably, the freckles on her face. Under the external glamorous image many people see, the fashion industry is unforgiving, but being racist is a completely different issue. 

As stated in the incredibly successful Beyond Blue campaign shown throughout Australian screens, "Nobody should be made to feel bad just for being who they are", and this woman isn't letting the remarks and rejections she often faces demotivate from achieving her best in the cruel fashion industry. Her positive attitude despite all the prejudice has made her much more beautiful than she already is, with Phoenix once saying "I know I'm not perfect. I have these spots all over my face... but I'm glad I stand out... I've learned to love what makes me me."

We should all take note of Nikia's inspiring self-accepting attitude and apply it to ourselves. Look in the mirror and smile, be yourself and love yourself!

Check out Nikia's blog at www.modelliberation.com


Embracing the #Fatkini

Accepting one's body, no matter what shape or size, is not easy for some of us. But now, there is a border-crossing social media movement of body confident women the world over who are showing off their voluptuous figures to make this possible for "plus-size" women. The hashtag that is accompanying these pictures, #Fatkini, and is a taunt at the aspiration of many women to acquire the "bikini bod" we are exposed to on a regular basis. 

 Gabi Fresh (left), an advocate for fashionable women blessed with curves

As per usual, public debate has revealed what people think of this body-loving protest. Some say it's an ode to a time when a woman's curves were glorified, others say it's just subverting the problem of obesity into non-existence. All in all, it's obvious these women do not care what we think and are purely doing this to inspire other women not to hide and show off their body. All the power to them! Be body confident everyone!

Source: Oyster


The New Renewable Energy Source is Us

Imagine being able to harness your bodily energy to power electronics? Well, Naomi Kizhner has now made that possible. These pieces from the "Energy Addicts" collection of the designer are capable of converting body movements, including blinking, into an electrical current. 

As creepily beautiful as they are, the catch is that these devices are invasive, and have to be inserted into the skin to conduct electricity from the wearer. Nonetheless, this designer has ensured herself as a lead into the future of fashion, technology and environmentalism. As time goes by, the technology she has integrated into these pieces may spread throughout many other designers' collections, so that fashion enthusiasts the world over can contribute to the resolution of the energy crisis.

Images: Ecouterre
Source: Ecouterre