Monthly Archives: October 2009

City Style

Ella is a vintage-a-holic and has created a chiq and stylish outfit mixing charity finds with high street trends:

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Shoes: New Look

Black dress: Topshop

Beaded necklace: Oxfam

Coat: Primark

Flowery Belt: borrowed from another dress

Bag: free with Elle Magazine

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Ella is a magazine journalism student at Cardiff and her fashion is inspired by, Elle Magazine, Vogue and Dazed and Confused.

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Ella’s style icons are Alexa Chung and Scarlett Johansson.

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City Style

Fiona poses on the University Campus in a colourful, casual number….

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Dress: Gap sale

Pink shoes: Topshop sale

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Bangle: Found in a market in Madagascar

Rings:  A rare treasure from a market in France

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Bag: Lovely Laura Ashley

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Fi is not a huge fan of fashion magazines or following the latest trends, she prefers to shop around and find individual beauties and mix them with high street staples.

A regular reader of the Times Fashion supplement, Fi creates a uniquely stylish look and loves to wear men’s clothes.

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Sex and Ethical Fashion: A Match made in Capitalist Heaven?

It would appear so comparing American Apparel’s yearly profit with their famously errotic photo shoots.

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AA is the Starbucks loving hipsters’ heaven – it is edgy, sexy and ethical.  It has found a niche in the market and gone somewhere far beyond it’s less risqué Banana Republic style competitors.

Dov Charney, the creator – or the new Hugh Hefner as he has become, is surrounded by controversy and scandal. He has been sued numerous times, wonders around the LA factory in his underpants demanding sex acts from his employees, addresses female workers as ‘sluts and whores’ and yet the company was named retailer of the year in 2008.

AA’s famous soft porn advertising is intrinsically linked to Charney’s own character.

The Times reported last year that half-way through an interview with a female reporter from an American women’s fashion magazine, Charney loosened his Pierre Cardin belt, removed his trousers and pleasured himself in front of her “eight or so times” and then she witnessed him request oral sex from an employee, who obliged.

On another occasion, a female employee was called into his office and offered a vibrator, because “it’s great during sex”.

And proving that sex definitely sells, Reuters reported 2009’s profits measuring between $575 million to $600 million…

Sex is not a new marketing tool, but when you buy from AA you know your body-con dress has not been made by a 10-year-old girl in a sweat shop in Indonesia, being paid less per week than you fork out for a skinny mochachino.

The workers at the LA store are paid twice the minimum wage and receive huge benefits including full health insurance – a rare thing for the kingdom of capitalism that is America.

So what is the problem – workers are being paid way more than most and all they have to endure is a slightly crazy looking boss wondering around half-naked. Times journalist Giles Hattersley believes, “isn’t it much worse to have your T-shirt stitched by a child slave from Indonesia than a responsibly paid young woman who has to endure the occasional ignominy of her boss running round her workspace with his meat and two veg hanging out?”

But Charney is not just a sex crazed old man. He is a marketing genius. The entire ethos of the stores’ advertising campaign oozes controversy – something scenesters magnate towards.

The prime audience are cool, young, free thinking twenty-somethings with casual attitudes towards sex.

The  photo shoots are  never real models but staff at the store or their friends, creating a more ‘real’ image. This is a gold mine for an audience bored with the straight-laced,  run of the mill glossy model pictures.

The latest Lace  photo shoots(see above) are basically naked women, looking alluringly into a camera – something you could quite easily find in a porn magazine.  Guardian journalist Aida Edemariam responded to the campaign by mentioning a New York billboard showing a woman bent over double, wearing only tights with the text “I wonder why women get raped?” in big black letters over it.

In September 2009 an advert was removed by the Advertising Standards Agency as it claimed the pictures depicted a girl under the age of 16 undressing for a soft porn film. AA claimed it was a 23-year-old model and the emphasis was on the soft to touch material that should be worn in direct contact with your skin.

This advert appeared in Vice magazine as as blogger Stuart Smith points out, “Controversy, as the title suggests, is inherent in its nature. Sample of content: The Vice Guide to Shagging Muslims.”

Judge for yourself below…

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Some people believe AA’s images belong in a porn magazine, not a fashion shoot – but this is not a new thing for fashion. Fashion goes hand in hand with sex and controversy.

Charney has broken the market by mixing sex and ethical fashion. I wonder if his employers agree…

Shoreditchers are rejoicing in a label that is edgy, different, sexy  – and ethical, whilst Charney rejoices at the insurmountable wealth and recognition his store has created.

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All that glitters…

The 80s are well and truly back, we’ve had the leggings, leotards and lycra and now comes the glitter. The party season is almost here, so to get in the mood here is a sparkling of glittery delights …

peacocks £14A steal at £14, from Pri-mark’s not so well-known friend – Peacocks

asos £5

The online shop we love, ASOS, brings us this little head band of joy for only £5.00

mango £22

Also comes in white, Mango’s zebra style sequined t-shirt is a must at only £22

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Out of the budget but beautiful, ASOS, £75

french conn £155

One for the wish list, this French Connection is sequined dress is £155

£24 u outfitters

A little bit of luxurious extravagance but will definitely make work more fun, Urban Outfitters, £24

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French Vogue blacks up models – What were they thinking???

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Why oh why would this ever be a good idea. We know Vogue is edgy and likes to cause controversy but blacking-up a white model for the October issue has gone a step too far.

The photo shoot was designed by the magazine’s long-time editor, Carine Roitfeld.  In the past it has published similarly controversial images, including supposedly pregnant models smoking, but this seems one step too far.

Lara Stone, a 25-year-old Dutch Model,  was blacked up and dressed in an ethnic style for the magazine’s photo shoot.

This has caused mass criticism and confusion. There seems no logical explanation for this – why not hire Naomi Campbell, Jourdan Dunn, Chanel Iman or any of the countless other black models around?

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“It’s as if we’ve stepped back in time,” says Shevelle Rhule, fashion and beauty editor at black women’s magazine Pride.

“The image says we’d rather turn a European model white than hire a black model.” says Nana A Tamakloe, founder of Confidence Model Management.

The 13-page photo shoot featured in French Vogue was shot by Steven Klein.

US blog Jezebel have criticised the shoot, accusing the magazine of cultural insensitivity:

“France and Australia may not have the United States’ s particular history of minstrel shows but something about the act of portraying a white woman as black ought to sound an alarm, somewhere”

Were French Vogue trying to make a comment about racism in society? the difference between races? that black models are some how inferior to white? whatever their absurd reasoning this article is both racist and offensive.

The magazine is known worldwide for its innovative and confident photo shoots – so why do they need to go this one step further to sell copies?

French Vogue have failed to respond to media questions.

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Trafigura-gate continues…

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Multi-media corporations to newspaper journalists – beware. No longer can you get away with silencing the press and covering up corrupt or illegal actions. Whether you are a multi-national company, or a Daily Mail columnist – the audience is answering back.

The online world is expanding daily and currently 38% of all online users have a social networking profile and 41% are using networking sites daily. Facebook is the second largest site in the UK after Google with over 300 million users and the relatively recent Twitter now has 18 million users.

Everyone knows the story about Trafigura-gate. Triumphant newspapers and the twittershphere have been boasting (rightly so) about it all week.

In brief –  the super-injunction prevented the Guardian and other media outlets from reporting on the question asked by Paul Farrelly last week, and even from telling the public what it was forbidden to tell them.

On October 13th the Guardian printed a short front page article stating this, causing a frenzied rush of internet users to seek out the forbidden papers and splash them all over twitter.

Carter-Ruck withdrew its gagging attempt by lunchtime.

MPs have reacted with anger to the suggestion a law firm had tried to gag a newspaper from reporting parliament and demanded an emergency debate, being held today.

Injunctions have become one of the most effective tools powerful individuals and corporations can use for silencing the media.

Alan Rusbridger, said: “I’m very pleased that common sense has prevailed and that Carter-Ruck’s clients are now prepared to vary this draconian injunction to allow reporting of parliament. It is time that judges stopped granting ‘super-injunctions’ which are so absolute and wide-ranging that nothing about them can be reported at all.”

The Guardian (and everyone else) is still forbidden by the terms of the existing injunction, granted by a vacation duty judge, Mr Justice Maddison, to give further information about the Minton report, or its contents.

Last month, Trafigura agreed to pay more than £30 million in compensation and legal costs to 30,000 inhabitants of Abidjan in Ivory Coast, for “flu-like symptoms” they might have suffered following the dumping (the importance being on the word “might”.)

The oil traders continue to deny that the waste could have caused serious or fatal injuries.

Surely the question we should be asking is why Trafigura allegedly dumped the waste off the Ivory Coast. If this was some where slightly closer to home, for example: the west coast of Scotland – we would have definitely have heard more about it before now.

This is an example of a multi-national company trying to silence the media reporting on its immoral and inhumane activities.

I wonder how many other multi-national corporations have done similar acts around the world and obtained super-injunctions to silence their activities. Coca-Cola, Nestle, Shell…we all know they’re up to no good but there is never enough public attention on these companies – maybe because their actions are covered up so well.

Super-injunctions are not good – they silence free speech and allow people to hold anything they want back from the media.

This week the bloggersphere proved how effective it is and, combined with the Guardian, forced the super-injunction to be abolished.   A huge success for free speech.

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City Style

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The lovely Heather, 21, is wearing a selection of vintage and new clothes creating a trendy, chic style 018which anyone can achieve with some clever mixing.

Heather is a big fan of vintage and gets her style inspiration from many places including:

1) The legendary style queen Vivienne Westwood

2) Punk -rockerDavid Bowie019

3) Ultra Sassy Nylon Magazine

4) The woman who has redefined mix and match  fashion – Karen O (Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs)

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Floral dress: Vintage shop, ‘Cow’, in Sheffield

Leather, tan belt: Topshop

Black leggings: Tesco

Chunky pearls: Accessorize

White, patent flats: Aldo

Leather Jacket: Topshop

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