Getting Ready for Winter Break

With finals just around the corner and December SATs over, you can soon finally take a breather from academics! But how do you spend the best winter break while your schedule is, unfortunately, packed with hagwons? With vibrant shopping scenes, iconic sightseeing, and extensive food culture, there is a limitless list of places to go. But, with limited time (and budget), where do you start?

  1. COEX Mall

Screen Shot 2018-12-10 at 9.01.12 PMLocated near Korea’s World Trade Center, COEX is loaded with both local and international chain stores, MEGABOX theatre, Starfield library, arcade, casino, and even an aquarium. You may have visited for MUN or mock trial events because there are huge convention and exhibition centers. COEX mall not only attracts its title as the largest shopping mall in the country but also the largest underground mall in Asia! COEX is serviced by Samseong Station on line 2 and Bongeunsa Station on line 9 of the Seoul Subway. Screen Shot 2018-12-10 at 9.02.00 PM.png

The Don Quijote of Korea, they call it. “삐에로쑈핑” is the biggest miscellaneous store where you can browse through millions of products in one place. You can purchase unique–albeit useless–items that are very affordable.

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2. Underground Shopping

Hiding below the streets of South Korea is the underground shopping malls. As this shopping lane in Korea is a growing culture that showcases a plethora of retailers in cosmetic, clothing, accessories, and more. This would be the best fit for you if you’re on a tight budget! The underground shopping area in Subway Line 2 Gangnam Station perhaps offers the most dynamic experience. You will be mesmerized by such culture. 

3. Garosu-gil

Latest fashion trends with chic boutiques, aesthetic cafes, and renowned restaurants are some aspects you can expect at Garosu-gil. Located along the promenade of the tree-lined road, Garosu-gil is one of the most attractive point-of-interest for Korean teenagers and young adults.

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  • C27
  • Dore Dore
  • The Alley
  • SikMulHak
  • Sona
  • Gentle Monster
  • Aland

4. Rodeo  (Apgujung)

Just a short walk away from Garosu-gil, the Rodeo street located in Apgujung is also a popular choice for many young adults. Across the main street, you can find Galleria department store, where you can afford designer labels.

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You’ve probably already heard about MyeongDong as it is, undeniably, the most famous shopping area in Seoul. With a fusion of both Western and Eastern fashion style, MyeongDong provides mouth-watering street food, well-known shopping stores, and jaw-dropping street performances. Screen Shot 2018-12-10 at 9.20.32 PM.png

Recommendations:

  1. Myeongdong Kyoja
  2. Style Nanda Pink Hotel
  3. Street food

Evidently, South Korea is a heaven from shopping fanatics, so put some festivity in your weekends this winter with my guide to the best cafes and other points-of-interest around Seoul. Don’t just live through the mundane routine of going back and forth from hagwons studying for SATs and APs. Instead, feel the magic of holiday shopping with your family and friends! Enjoy!

– Jennie Yeom (’20)

Featured Image: Shutterstock

 

Eco-Friendly Fashion: To What Extent is it Necessary, and Effective?

Whenever we mention global warming, or pollution, what comes to mind first?

Whenever we mention global warming, or pollution, what comes to mind first? Factories, cars, technology, trash dumps; the most commonly known sources of carbon dioxide and the growing issue of climate change.

However, there’s one aspect of today’s fast-paced, consumerist society that is one of the most toxic yet stealthiest contributor to global warming: fashion.

One may ask- how? How can an innocent, clean white tee that I bought for so cheap in Gangnam Station be so detrimental to the environment? In fact, the fashion industry is the third most polluting industry, not far behind oil and agriculture. To grow, dye, and process the cotton used for your beloved Levi’s jeans, requires up to 500 gallons of water, and deadly chemicals like carcinogens are released into our waterways everyday. The textile industry isn’t exploitive of just the environment, but of workers as well. While it’s a 3 trillion dollar a year business, only 2 percent of apparel companies pay their workers a fair wage. These giant companies don’t even flinch at a wagging finger, simply denying their knowledge of factory conditions and detaching themselves from the responsibility of looking after their workers.  

“Fast fashion” is appealing because it allows consumers to hop on ever-changing trends without making a big dent in their wallets. It is easy to forget, when browsing the racks at stores like Zara and Forever 21, that while the effect on your wallet is low, there is a much steeper price. That’s why five years ago, in 2011, Greenpeace launched a campaign to lobby fashion brands such as Burberry, Nike and others to detox their supply chain in an ethical fashion push. Claiming victory, Greenpeace noted in a blog post that it “was a massive step when Adidas, Puma and Nike promised to go toxic-free by 2020.” And last spring, Levi’s converted 3.5 million water bottles into premium high-quality jeans- more and more sustainable brands are emerging and for once, it seemed like the industry was taking a turn.

But now, 16 out of 19 fashion and sportswear brands that are not advancing fast enough in Greenpeace’s view, including Nike, China’s Li Ning, Esprit and Victoria’s Secret, which all placed in the “Faux Pas” category. A dozen brands have called in the middle of the pack, dubbed the “Evolution Mode”, which are on their way but are being urged to accelerate changes to achieve a 2020 goal of clean fashion—a group that includes Adidas, Burberry, Levi’s, Valentino, UK retailer Primark and Puma. At the bottom of the list are the laggards that Greenpeace is calling “Toxic Addicts” — including Armani, Bestseller, Diesel, D&G, GAP, Hermes, Christian Dior, and Versace.
And it may be just my sardonic, over-critical self- but I can’t help but wonder how much of a difference it’ll really make for H&M to proudly claim themselves as environmentally-conscience, when in reality, their “Conscience” label is nothing more than lies plastered onto name tags. Is it enough to change the industry, one brand at a time- or is it too late?

 

-Seiyeon Park ’17

Featured Image: Eco Home Ideas

Fashion Week 2017 Recap

While the temperatures have just begun to rise, designers are already thinking ahead to the next snowfall. Check out what trends will be hitting the streets this F/W season.

It’s that time of the year again- when bloggers and celebrities fly across the globe to see the latest trends that designers have put out- Fashion Week. This time, Blueprint has hunted down the five most common trends at New York, Paris, and Milan runways- fashionistas, take note.

 

  • Large & In Charge

–  It’s all about the pantsuit this autumn. But instead of squeezing into form-fitting blazers with too tight shoulders, borrow from the boys (literally) and embrace the oversized look. Models at Alexander Wang, R13, Victoria Beckham, and Calvin Klein shows were all seen wearing this mix of laid-back and formal. With a simple tee and jeans, it pulls together the best put-together look.

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Casually in charge, as seen at the Alexander Wang show. (Image: Yannis Vlamos)

 

  • All Caught Up

–  Conspicuous? Scandalous? Perhaps. But this winter, designers have styled the eye-catching fishnets with more delicate silhouettes and brighter colours, even creating fishnet tops. Make the most out of the pattern by pairing them with skirts or shorts, as seen in the Simon Miller and Dennis Basso shows.

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Pair the pattern with shorter hemlines, as seen in the Simon Miller F/W 2017 Show. (Image: Simon Miller)

 

  • Crushing on Velvet

– At your next formal, switch out from traditional silky thin fabrics and instead give a shot at velvet- preferably in deep jewel tones, to give off a rich, luxe vibe. For a more wearable look, take a velvet blazer and pair it with any t-shirt and jeans combo for a quick glamorous look.

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Take a note from Self-Portrait’s latest collection and try velvet separates for a more street-appropriate look. (Image: Umberto Fratini)

 

  • Red is the Warmest Colour

– The most sensual colour out of the ROYGBIV palette, red has been flooding the runways across the globe. Embrace the bold hue in a carnelian one-piece, or go monochromatic by layering different tones from head to toe.

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The monochromatic look a bit too extreme? Choose one crimson piece instead to be the highlight of your look. (Image: Indigital.tv)

 

  • Making a (Literal) Statement

– This year, the designers haven’t been afraid to state their political beliefs. At New York and even in Milan, designers from Versace to Creatures of Comfort were clear to state their opinions, directed at America’s current political situation. 

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Wear your pride on your sleeve- or in this case, on your entire torso. Brands such as Creatures of Comfort slapped slogans onto tops, accessories, and one-pieces to make their statement. (Image: Creatures of Comfort)

 

Do you plan to take any of these trends to the streets? Let us know what other trends caught your eye in the comments below.

-Seiyeon Park (’17)

 

Featured Image: Molly SJ Lowe

A Walk to Remember: Anjali Lama

Transgender model Anjali Model makes strides in the fashion industry.

Born in Nepal, Nabin Waiba grew up as a young boy who was often bullied for his “feminine” and “girly” tendencies, and was criticized by classmates and family alike for preferring women’s clothing and having mostly female friends. Several years later, Nabin, now known as Anjali Lama, is strutting down the catwalks of Lakmé Fashion Week in Mumbai, amongst India’s most acclaimed models. The first transgender model to grace India’s grandest fashion event, Lama marks a change in history with every step she takes.

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Source: Anjali Lama Official

Lama was the fifth son in a farming family in the rural district of Nuwakot. Back then, she had never even dreamed of becoming a model, and only knew that “even as a child that [she] didn’t like being a boy, wearing those clothes,” (CBS News), describing her attempts to conform to the gender stereotypes as “mental torture”. Even after she moved to Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital, to attend college, Lama continuously struggled with her identity and was even fired from her job working at a hotel. “They said I made the customers uncomfortable,” she told CNN. It wasn’t until she discovered the Blue Diamond Society- a support group for Nepal’s LGBTQ community- that she was able to come to terms with her identity and finally come out to her friends and family as transgender.

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Source: Elle India

To further overcome her identity issues, Lama, with the encouragement of her friends, decided to consider a career in modeling. After numerous small gigs she made her first break by landing the cover of Nepali magazine Voices of Women, but still struggled to develop her career in her home country- thus deciding to try her luck in India’s fashion industry. After two failed auditions, Lama finally made the cut in December 2016 and was able to walk her first major runway in 2017.

While the appearance of a new model may not seem like much, Lama’s success is one of the many of the industry’s beginning steps to opening up to diversity and inclusivity. According to the Spring 2017 diversity report by The Fashion Spot, more than 70% of the models cast for New York, London, Paris and Milan fashion weeks were white- and that’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the industry’s lack of diversity. To see the value of such steps made forward in the industry, Blueprint decided to ask Sara S. Kim (’18), the founder of the Social Justice League, a few questions.

BP: Why is it important that we see figures like Lama in industries like fashion and the media?

Sara: Positive representation of minority in mainstream pop culture and media is one of the key steps in achieving social acceptance of differences. One of the struggles that many marginalized communities face is the lack of positive role models. With the favorable spotlight given to someone like Lama, I’m sure there are many others who would gladly identify with her and be able to own their identity with pride.

BP: Have you seen Korea make similar efforts in opening its doors to the LGBTQA community?

Sara: There are many pop and amateur artists in the Korean LGBTQ community that has been trying to start interactive projects. Unfortunately, they haven’t been gaining enough, or the right kind of attention. I think that comes with persistence and moderation to a degree. Korea is definitely making this cultural progress, but what we have right now is not enough. What we could do could be as simple as being open-minded.

It is thanks to models such as Ashley Graham and Anjali Lama that society has begun to challenge the traditional perceptions of beauty regarding race, body shape, sexuality and age, and help people around the world embrace their identities. In a growingly dark world with figures like Trump who oppose racial, gender, and LGBTQA equality, we need such mark-makers to prove that there is beauty in diversity, all of which should be celebrated and respected.

-Seiyeon Park (’17)

Featured Image by Hannah Kim (’19)

 

First Lady Fashion Icons

With the recent inauguration of Melania Trump, how has First Lady changed over the years?

The spotlight is on the historical First Ladies of the United States as several recent events bring attention to their fashion choices. The movie Jackie, released on December 2, 2016 (USA) starring Oscar nominee Natalie Portman, brought back the memories of former First Lady, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. First Lady of the US from 1961 until her husband John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963, she has been hailed as a global fashion icon with her signature look of white gloves, tailored skirts, and perfectly coordinated pillbox hats. Channelling this Jackie O vibe, the current First Lady Melania Trump wore a specially designed piece from her collaboration with designer Herve Pierre for her inaugural wardrobe. Scroll through to learn more about some of the most fashionable First Ladies throughout history.

 

Anna Eleanor Roosevelt

A feminist, politician, mother, and activist, Eleanor Roosevelt is famous for dressing practically, accessorising her outfits with selections of fur and mid-calf length dresses. Moving away from the conservative and often restrictive Victorian clothing, her dresses called for feminism and well represented her independence.

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As the longest-serving First Lady in history, she had several inaugural ball dresses. In this picture, she is wearing a floor-length rose-white satin gown designed by Arnold Constable for her third inaugural ball in 1941.

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

With her timeless outfits and signature hairstyle, Jacqueline Kennedy is still a global fashion icon today. Her signature pieces include oversized sunglasses, pearls, shift dresses, and,of course, low, block heeled Roger Viviers. In addition to her frequent purchase of pieces displayed on the Paris and Milan catwalks, she worked closely with designer Oleg Cassini, the official designer of her White House wardrobes, to create her personal, all-American style.

In the picture below, she is wearing the historical navy trim collared strawberry pink, wool Chanel suit.  This is November 22, 1963, the day her husband John F. Kennedy was assassinated. This suit has been frequently copied throughout American fashion and film industries, even being recreated by Italian designer Giorgio Armani. Today, the suit is kept somewhere in the National Archives in Maryland, although its specific location remains secret.
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Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama

Just like Jackie O, Michelle Obama was another First Lady with a distinct fashion sense that represents her persona. Mixing both high-end and street fashion brands, she showed her down-to-earth personality combined with formality in her always put together and polished look. One of her trademark looks was her sleeveless dress which received harsh criticism at first, many deeming her attire to be inappropriate. Yet she stuck to her style and along with her 50s style prom dresses, she showed women how to confidently wear dresses that society considers to be for the young.

The picture below shows the First Lady wearing a navy lace Jason Wu dress. As the man who designed both of her Inauguration Ball dresses, most notably her white one-shoulder gown that she wore back in 2009, and the dress she chose to wear last as a First Lady, Jason Wu’s pieces on the former First Lady holds great significance.

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Melania Trump

Moving away from her usual style of European designer pieces and sky-high stilettos, Melania Trump wore an extremely elegant, somewhat unexpected dress for her first inaugural wardrobe. Her designer Alice Roi revealed in an interview to Cosmopolitan magazine that despite recent media coverage, Melanie prefers a fifties, retro style that involves pieces such as black cropped cigarette pants, black heels, and a black shirt.

As for her inaugural ball dress, she collaborated with Frenchman Herve Pierre who moved to New York and is currently the creative director of Carolina Herrera. After designing Melania’s “architectural off-the-shoulder white crepe column” dress “with a thin burgundy ribbon as a belt”, the designer has now become an overnight sensation.

So far, Melania seems to have outfit choices that very closely resemble Jackie Kennedy’s. Will she be the future Jackie Kennedy? We’ll have to wait and see.
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Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pink_Chanel_suit_of_Jacqueline_Bouvier_Kennedy

http://www.vanityfair.com/style/photos/2017/01/memorable-first-lady-fashion-moments

http://www.wsj.com/video/first-lady-fashion-in-the-melania-trump-era/49F82723-727D-401E-A828-04D58FE86D57.html

http://www.harpersbazaar.com/fashion/trends/news/g8013/best-first-lady-fashion-moments/

http://www.allure.com/gallery/first-lady-inauguration-ball-gowns

http://time.com/4636471/first-lady-inaugural-dresses-trump-inauguration/

 

 

Supreme: Fashion and Exclusivity

Why is Supreme so expensive?

With its much-anticipated uncovering at Paris Fashion Week, the FW collaboration of NYC street label Supreme and French luxury house Louis Vuitton has thoroughly enraptured souls of many. Deemed a new era in fashion history, the coalescence of the two discrete worlds of street and luxury has been said to represent an unexpected coming together of the looks of the uptown and downtown. Emma Hope Allwood, Fashion Features Editor of Dazed Magazine, described the collaboration to be “At first, a kind of surprised disbelief…But the more [she] thought about it, the more it made sense.”

Despite the Supreme x Louis Vuitton collection not due to release until July, a rumored jaw-dropping price list (shown below) for the collection items has surfaced online. A denim jacket adorned with the famous LV and Supreme stamps is expected to cost around $2,000 USD, and a leather trunk also embellished with the two labels is expected to retail for more than $68,500 USD.

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Rumored Price List (PC: Nice Kicks)

For those loyal hypebeasts out there, the big-budget costs are conceived, for the prices for Supreme products have never been so friendly. However, many have expressed their dismay—how can a street brand cost a fortune?

With its founding year traced back to 1994, Supreme has established itself as a stalwart street brand garnering much notice among the fashion industry. Ever since, the label has proved its success, demonstrated through its frequent collaborations with renown brands such as Thom Browne, Vans, and Stone Island.

A reason for its steady success can be searched for in the surface—hype. Hype is the instant boost of publicity. Let’s say, Kanye West or Rihanna, idol of many, is spotted wearing a Supreme box logo tee. That’s surely cool and so is the T-shirt; that’s why such exposure encourages people to forage for the same item.

Charles Park (‘20), an avid follower of fashion labels at KIS had his say, attaching a widely different reason to its popularity, one conceivably many fellow hypebeasts would agree with:

“I like Supreme because of their general character as a brand. The unique attitude and voice that comes out with every season is what I’m attracted to. I think that the reason why Supreme is loved by so many and has stood the test the time in terms of trends, is that they’re not afraid to try something new. Many of their items appeal to different demographics, which is how I think Supreme was elevated from a small New York skateshop to a icon in streetwear and street culture. To put it simply, I like Supreme because as a brand, their political messages, their skate references, and their musical influences have been authentic and true to itself.”

Yet, the ultimate and the true key to success of Supreme, throughout its 23 years has been consistent—exclusivity. By making a limited amount of product for every release, Supreme plants exclusivity. Although the online shop selling out in minutes after a new release and resellers mass purchasing products, Supreme never fails to keep the supply low. The demand is yet more or less assumed. That brings us to buying director of concept store MACHINE-A, Stavros Karelis, who left a rather interesting yet questionable comment that the Supreme x LV collaboration, “from a retail and marketing point of view, I find it brilliant!”

It seems to be Supreme’s cerebral play of economics—supply and demand—that has fueled its sustained successes and has allowed it to stay high in budgets all throughout. The exclusivity and rareness, which people naturally seek to differentiate themselves, have led to its unfailing popularity and attention.

– Yoo Bin Shin (‘18)
Featured Image: Highsnobiety

Sources:

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/supreme-and-the-psychology-of-brand-devotion

https://www.businessoffashion.com/articles/fashion-show-review/louis-vuittons-protean-new-york

http://www.highsnobiety.com/2017/01/24/supreme-louis-vuitton-reactions/

 

The 21st Century Definition of “Supermodel”

Do we need to rethink our definition of modern “models”?

Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner, Hailey Baldwin- all three are names impossible to not recognize, faces not to recall. On all forms of social media possible – from Facebook to Twitter to Instagram – one can’t scroll past for more than a minute without having these recently raging models pop up on their screen. They’ve starred on the covers of well-respected magazines such as Vogue, opened and closed the runways of brands worth millions of dollars, like Chanel and Calvin Klein, rising to success after what seems like a mere week.

However, a “prank” (more like a borderline assault) on Gigi Hadid called into question the legitimacy of their sensation. On September 22, 2016, former Ukrainian television reporter and infamous celebrity prankster Vitalii Sediuk grabbed Gigi Hadid from behind and lifted her into the air, before being elbowed in the face and running off. Not long after the incident, Sediuk replied in a response to The Hollywood Reporter, saying that while he considered Gigi Hadid beautiful, “she and her friend Kendall Jenner have nothing to do with high fashion”. He instead wanted the fashion industry to use “true talents” rather than “well-connected cute girls from Instagram.” He additionally titled his actions as “a wake-up call for Anna Wintour, who turned Vogue into a tabloid by putting Kardashians and other similar celebrities on a cover of a well respected magazine”.

This isn’t the first time the validity of today’s models careers have been called into question. Earlier, in April 2016, former model Rebecca Romijn called the new generation of models “not true supermodels,” saying that she was “disappointed that fashion magazines” such as Vogue were “supporting this trend of social media stars to set our style standards”. Also, in June 2016, Stephanie Seymour, one of the six most iconic models of the 90s, claimed that Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid did not deserve the title of supermodels and instead were “b*tches of the moment”. Many have criticized modern-day models for having it easier, with the ability and comfort of rising to fame by snapping a few stunning selfies in their luxurious homes, while those like Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell had to rush between shows, putting in hours of networking and working before landing a gig with a brand.

However, while these models may have not had to go through the same struggles of the models of the past, one can’t deny that their long, lithe figures and steady gazes contain the same allure that Gisele Bündchen held in the early 2000s. As social media platforms are clearly beginning to hold larger and larger roles in the determination of popularity of models, is it really the models to blame? Or society’s growing focus on simply what the media puts out for us?

-Seiyeon Park (’17)

Featured Image: TODAY News

How to Transition Your Wardrobe Effortlessly From Fall To Winter

Is it too cold yet? Is it only a little chilly? It’s a good idea to pay attention to this guide for f/w wardrobe transition.

Even state-of-the art weather forecast apps aren’t accurate enough for Mother Nature’s whims, just like every one of you who probably stepped out in a lightweight fall ensemble the very day it decided to switch to winter. Without warning, a silk scarf, a skimpy corduroy mini skirt, and a denim jacket wouldn’t cut it — even if the combo is #OOTD gold. Because thin, barely-there layers won’t stand a chance against the thick sweaters and fur coats as we start plowing through the chilling months, it’s time to bulk up your arsenal with winter-proof upgrades, and ditch the classic fall standbys. Once you start incorporating these seasonable wardrobe changes, you’ll be ready to face winter’s most frigid days while still being able to remain chic as ever. And fortunately, it only takes a few key pieces of clothing accessories to easily make that fashion transition. Who said change is hard?
Out with: Thin pullovers
In with: Chunky sweater
Leave light layers behind in favor of lush, chunky sweaters – it’s now cold enough to stash all your sheer, thin clothing in the back of your closet. If cotton frocks are your go-to, consider swapping in the dresses with a more substantial texture, like velvet or corduroy.

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PC: https://ohmaidarling.com/tag/chunky-knit-sweater/

Out with: Flimsy sandals
In With: Chelsea boots
It’s time you put away your thin, sleek ballet flats for lace-up oxfords or even better, black ankle boots that will prep you to deal with slick, icy street grounds. They can range from thick Doc Martens to clunky steppers – everything that you own from the autumn season already!

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PC: http://www.footwearpedia.com/chelsea-boots-jeans-women.html/chelsea-boots-jeans-women-cdyqc

Out with: Warm Earth Tones
In with: Deeper Color Palate
The warm earth tones of fall are typically replaced during winter with deep indigo, crimson, shimmery gold and crisp iPod-white to complement the season. Add a charcoal gray wool tunic, a navy blue peacoat or a pair of orchid-purple pumps to your wardrobe to represent the current color trends and to get through the winter blahs.

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PC: http://www.fashiontrendsetter.com/v2/2016/02/12/pantone-fashion-color-report-fall-2016/

Out with: Single-piece Cardigan
In with: A Staple Statement Coat
Much of your wardrobe works for both seasons, but your winter coat is your statement piece and serves as a canvas for broadcasting your personal style, so take full advantage of it. Unlike fall when you can get away with donning a lightweight knitwear or cardigan on colder occasions, you probably need a proper coat that is wearable everywhere even in the coldest months. Opt for a neutral shade that goes with everything, such as matte black or slate gray, or take this chance to sprinkle some color over your normally muted winter wardrobe, such as indian pink or a toned down mustard.

2013 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
PC: https://kr.pinterest.com/katchavez1696/grande-coats/

Whenever the seasons shift, the vast majority of us find ourselves fumbling through our closets, plagued by confusion, not sure whether we should dress for the current season, the upcoming season, or some weird hybrid of the two (if that is even possible). Because transitional seasons are always so difficult, we always come up with a series of questions: do you dress for the weather or the season? How do you look fashionable and timely when the temperature and season of the year seems to be clashing? Don’t sweat it, mind your fabrics, work those wool, and say goodbye to fall. After all, a smooth transition to winter comes down to identifying how you want to spend your time and creating wise new style habits for the next four months.

– Ashley Kim (’18)

PC: Lady.Day.az

A Face on a Billboard, A Step Forward for Millions

Many of us pass by billboards, barely taking notice of the faces depicted on them. But it’s time we started taking notice not only of the visages, but the changes that they represent.

November, 2015. Vogue Italia releases a sneak peek of its November issue, with Gigi Hadid staring steadily with stunning blue eyes. The problem? The obviously fake and electric blue afro, the strategically overdrawn lips, the tanned skin.

Valentino, Spring/Summer 2016. Flowy, ankle-grazing silk. Studded leather paired with black lace. Intricately hand-painted and beaded bags. The only thing keeping the public from appreciating the rows and rows of beautiful gowns- the utter lack of black models strutting on the runway, the cornrow buns, and the title of “wild, tribal Africa”.

Cultural misrepresentation has always been present in the fashion industry. From the domination of white models on runways and cover stories, to the outrageous treatment of ethnic styles as “trends”, the industry never seems to learn.

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Graphic by Crescentia Jung

Just last week, Khloé Kardashian made the mistake of trying out the “hottest beauty trends” from the Spring runway shows, which included the much controversial, pastel-coloured dreadlocks worn by white models at the Marc Jacobs show.

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Marc Jacobs SS17 (Credit: IMAXTREE)

Completely ignoring Rasta culture, the Kardashian instead noted how she “[despised]” the look on herself, and praised her younger sister, Kendall Jenner, for wearing the look. And this isn’t the only time that the reality TV personality has been accused of cultural appropriation. On one episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Khloé was spotted wearing Bantu knots in her hair. It’s not that other ladies aren’t ever permitted to wear these styles- that’s perfectly fine. But the fact that figures like the Kardashians take hairstyles like Bantu knots, completely ignore how they’ve been worn by Black ladies for years, and call them their own original style is unacceptable. 

What stars and public influencers like Khloe Kardashian and Marc Jacobs are completely forgetting is that culture is not a fashion trend. It never was and never will be acceptable for people to wear dreadlocks without acknowledging the Rastafari movement, or the style’s historical significance in counterculture movements in the 70s, and then to mark themselves as “trendy” or stylish” because they’re white. It never will be okay for designers to claim that they were inspired by Africa, only to label an entire continent as “wild” or “tribal”, and hire 8 black models out of a total 87 who would go on the catwalk.

And so when on November 1st, US-based makeup brand Covergirl announced its #LashEquality campaign in part of the promotion of the “So Lashy” mascara, thousands cheered. This isn’t any campaign- it’s a movement featuring seven brand ambassadors, all of different races, striving for diversity in beauty- even for genders, with the brand’s first ever #CoverBoy James Charles. One of the ambassadors is beauty blogger Nura Afia- a Muslim, hijab-wearing woman- a huge step in representation for Muslim girls. In an interview with CNN, Afia was clearly excited about the campaign, saying that it was an opportunity for “little girls that grew up like [her]” to “have something to look up to”. To some, Afia’s feature on a Covergirl ad may be nothing more than another pretty face; but to millions, people like Afia represent a step towards proper representation of all cultures, all ethnicities in entertainment and in society.

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Credit: Covergirl

While so many disregard fashion as a shallow topic, the industry holds a far greater effect on our mindsets than we think. Without showing more body types or skin colours in magazines, on TV, or on posters, children can’t help but grow up feeling insecure or insignificant about themselves when society tells them that they aren’t the norm.  

– Seiyeon Park (’17)

Featured Image: Nura Afia’s Instagram- @nuralailalove

Spring Summer 2017 Fashion Month Recap

Recapping the brands that stood out the most to Blueprint in this year’s SS 17 Fashion Weeks around the world.

While many of us have started switching out our shorts for our denim, our tank tops for our sweaters, others have laid out their warm weather wardrobes already. What time is it? It’s Fashion Month.

Fashion Month is a term coined for the long stretch of time (typically a month, hence the term) over which the “Big Four” fashion capitals of the world hold their seasonal fashion weeks. The “Big Four”, receiving a majority of the press and commercial light, are New York, London, Milan, and Paris.

Though New York was the first city to begin holding seasonal fashion weeks in 1943, the concept of the fashion show itself arose, not surprisingly, in Paris. Starting from the 1850s, French “haute couture” (high fashion) houses began holding private shows for their most prized clients. These often involved “parades” in which models formed in lines to exhibit the salon’s newest garments. In fact, fashion week are still called “défilés de mode” today- meaning parades of fashion.

After Eleanor Lambert put together the first New York Fashion Week (then called Press Week) in the middle of World War II, other cities started to catch on, from London to Milan to Seoul.

Now that we have a bit of context of the runway and its origins, let’s go through the most stand-out show of the “Big Four”’s Spring/Summer 2017 Fashion Weeks.

  1. Kenzo
  • Kenzo’s SS 17 show this fall was particularly hard to forget- as it began with an installation of performance artists who posed like marble statues, painted in chalky hues. This season’s line featured embellished slip and tank dresses, balanced with utilitarian outerwear such as military raincoats, parkas, and oversized denim jackets.
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Photo: Indigital

2. Off-White

  • A rising name in streetwear, the brand Off-White featured a variety of styles this season, starting with classic blue-striped shirts and girl-boss red suits, followed by a mix of sporty and feminine, with dresses flooded in ruffles and racer back tanks paired with fluffy tutu skirts.
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Photo: Marcus Tondo

3. Preen by Thornton Bregazzi

  • Already nicknamed the highlight of London Fashion Week, Preen is bringing back the 70s, constructing gowns and mixing in a casual preppiness with polo tees made from glitter, chiffon, flower prints, velvet and embroidery. Along with their makeup, the models looked ethereal and witchy in their get-ups.
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Photo: Yannis Vlamos

4. Marc Jacobs

  • Full of ruffly, sheer dresses, embroidered coats, camo patterns and massively padded shoulders all in shining metallics, this season’s clothing line was reminiscent of a vintage store, continuing Jacob’s signature style of whimsical and playful.
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Photo: Umberto Fratini

 

5. DKNY

  • As the brand was recently handed over to Maxwell Osborne and Dao-Yi Chow as it was sold to the G-III Apparel Group, many were wondering how the new creative directors would take on the brand. This season’s futuristic theme was coincidentally fitting, and held a blend of edge and comfort. 
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Photo: Luca Tombolini

 

What brands stood out to you the most this season? Let us know in the comments below.

-Seiyeon Park (’17)

Featured Image: Getty Images