This is West Queen West S.O.S.

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You know the one, the dress you copped at Nordstrom Rack while you were on vacation with your cousin in Florida. It was 80 per cent off, Diane Von Furstenberg, and after wearing it to a few weddings, lives in the forgotten abyss of your closet. I have pieces like this, ones I adore, but neglect.

Until April 28 with Jonathan and Olivia, you can breathe new life into these much-loved pieces with the help of the folks at CAMH. Suits Me Fine is a program within the centre allowing clients to pick out clothing free of charge for job interviews, special events, and of course day-to-day life. You can be a part by bringing your gently used designer pieces by J+O who will then bring the haul across the street to CAMH. In exchange for your piece, the store will grant you a 10 per cent discount for the entire week of the drive.

I am completely enamored by the work Suits Me Fine does. For 20 years the boutique has offered free clothing and personal items to CAMH clients. To top it off, red carpets roll out each year for their fashion show featuring 25 clients donning outfits they’ve styled themselves with their looks from Suits Me Fine. Their celebration of individuality is contagious. As someone who has worked in retail and aesthetics, I know the power clothing can have in shifting someone’s energy from trying on a new piece. Those who donate to the program can feel lucky to be even a small part of someone’s feeling of transformation.

I’ll be donating a floral Betsey Johnson summer dress and a bobbled Marc by Marc charm bracelet … so far. How about you?

Visit the Jonathan and Olivia boutique, 49 Ossington Ave., from Monday April 22 to Sunday April 28 to add to the clothing drive. Keep in mind Suits Me Fine accepts all types of clothing donations whether designer or not throughout the year. Please feel free to stop by CAMH with gently used items at any time.

Photo courtesy of Jonathan and Olivia

LVMH Prize for Young Designers

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Since first announcing their Prize for Young Designers in November of last year, luxury mega conglomerate LVMH has been narrowing down competitors in the highly publicized lead up to their final decision this May 2014. From an original pool of 1,200 applicants, first 30 semifinalists and now 12 finalists have been chosen. The competition pits young under-40 designers who have at least two ready-to-wear collections under their belts against each other for the chance to win the approval of a jury comprised of the Creative Directors of eight of LVHM’s fashion houses and its corporate executives (read: a pretty tough crowd). The winner also gets 300,000 euros and a year of mentorship under the gilded wings of the LVMH empire. The benefits flow both ways, though, as the prize is an undoubtedly philanthropic way for LVMH to discover and lay claim to the best and brightest up-and-coming designer talent. Unlike other fashion prizes, LVMH’s contest was held online and was open to applicants from around the world. After the 30 semifinalists presented their lines to jurists like Raf Simmons and  Nicolas Ghesquière and fashion-minded celebrities like Kanye West during Paris Fashion Week, only 12 finalists remain. With a few of The Pack’s fav designers up for the prize (Hood By Air ; Jacquemus; Simone Rocha) it’s hard to pick sides, but check out our listing and place your bets…

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Franca Sozzani for Vogue Italia, April 2014

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This is the #1 question running through my mind as I took in the grisly images pulled from the April 2014 cover spread for Vogue Italia. No stranger to controversy, the editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia (as well as Conde Nast Italia), Franca Sozzani has been applauded for tackling big issues—and criticized for doing it badly—between the pages of Vogue. What’s making people take notice is the fact that fashion isn’t typically thought of as the appropriate arena for frank discussions on race, women’s rights, environmental issues, plastic surgery, and substance abuse. How can it be when the primary goal of fashion is commerce, and when the industry itself is rampant with privileged elites and out-of-touch millionaires? As much as we believe fashion is art and that at its best, it has great potential for change, there’s something really distasteful about piggybacking on the hot topic of the week for the purpose of moving subscription numbers and increasing ad revenue. Sure, fashion subsists on trends. But for the people who must live through these disturbing “trends” year after year, maybe it doesn’t feel that great to know your pain is helping rich editors and designers get richer. Perhaps it’s an especially low blow to see an itemized list of what the models who are portraying your struggle are sporting in the images, the costs of these items completely unattainable for average and below-average groups.

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The thing I always found interesting about Franca Sozzani is her non-fashion academic background. Studying philosophy and Russian and German theology in university, Sozzani has been unrelenting in her push to spotlight issues of “substance” inside the world of fashion. In interviews, her passion to increase awareness and inspire debate is admirable and her motivations seem pure. But she is a product of her environment, and it’s no coincidence she’s from a country notorious for its sexism. During her interview with The Independent, I was struck by how casually she shrugged off the problematic implications of having a male photographer shoot female victims of violence. It makes me question how deeply she considered public perceptions of this editorial, or more importantly, how sensitive she is to the feelings of victims of domestic violence. She might think by having a domestic violence photo shoot take on the feel of a horror film, she’s calling attention to the horrors of real life. I would argue that by making it cinematic, it lends the images an element of cartoonish fantasy, thereby robbing it of a very necessary sense of realism. After all, it’s a lot easier to ignore the seriousness of something when there’s a perceived distance between it and reality.

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Sozzani has stated that the purpose of this editorial is to bring awareness. How’s that for useless? Domestic abuse exists, guys. I doubt you can find a single doofus who isn’t aware of this fact. If she wanted to bring awareness to the horrifying statistics of how many women die each year in Italy from domestic abuse, she would have had to do more than just dress a few screaming models in Prada and fake blood. Perhaps it would have made a more positive impact if she’d donated her earnings from the April issue to a domestic abuse non-profit. 

Additional research by shhrug

Jacquemus SS14 Lookbook

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Jacquemus‘s SS14 lookbook takes us on a visual holiday to the South of France as our heroine  experiences her first love. A palette of white and powder pink looks ideal in the summertime glow of the images, captured by long-time Jacquemus collaborator, Bertrand Le Pluard. Click after the jump for more images and the companion film.

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Anyone can sit Front Row

Layout 1I came across Shanghai’s Front Row Shop on one of my favourite fashion blogs: The Haute Pursuit. Vanessa Hong, the mastermind behind the Vancouver style blog, kills it on the regular with her sexy sporty relaxed looks, so obviously I was on the lookout for the source of her swerve. Who knew it would be at such a reasonable price point and with free shipping too! An afternoon of browsing through their online collection revealed lots of outerwear in neoprene, cozy & chunky footwear, plus mesh-layered everything. Click after the jump for even more pieces made from drool-worthy fabrics like organza, leather, denim, and holographic sheaths.

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Copy Cat

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Chanel’s giant pearl chokers are the statement neck bling of the season. You heard it here first, guys. Just look at how quickly Zara’s manufactured an inferior copy! The ethics of fast fashion copies make me a little bit queasy, but obviously not queasy enough to abstain from buying said copycats. Not all of us are millionaire pop princesses or uppity movie stars so shout out to Zara for constructing an under-$30 accessory that’s vaguely reminiscent of the Chanel original, but not too much to get Mr. Lagerfeld’s tie in a bunch. Available for a very limited time—the only reason why I even have one is because I put myself on a waitlist. For Zara. Yeah, let that sink in for a sec.

lindsey-wixson-sasha-luss-chanel-2014-campaign-4-e1389016881451chanel-ss2014-details-079_110024303603Pics via Chanel