Shine a Light

unnamed unnamed-5 unnamed-4 unnamed-3 unnamed-2 AW15W48ELMBODY1A_12_0 AW15W48ELMBODY2B_12_0 AW15W48ELMBODY5B_12_0 AW15W48ELMBODY6B_12_0COS‘s Holiday lookbook is a lesson in how to do holiday-season style in a classic, minimal way. As they say, less is more. But many brands seem to have missed the memo when putting together their holiday campaigns. I like the subtle bits of shine seen throughout, whether it’s through the use of simple but bold accessories, or the soft metallic fabrics of their statement dresses. Although the forest green ensemble was an immediate favourite, I also liked their use of more unexpected colours like apricot, burnt sienna, and wheat, and not a single appearance of rhinestones or glitter. It means I can wear these pieces all year round, and I can live through this season without wearing any red or green. For those of us who prefer not to look like an ugly Christmas sweater party threw up all over us, thank god there’s COS.

Cos & Effect

10818347_905420909528351_8136143342511579058_o 12087032_905420916195017_5557642243691299594_o 12010548_905421006195008_2067799957163894547_o 12087268_905421092861666_228801423277828021_o 11999612_905421169528325_4808980681973746798_o 12087965_905421569528285_7842407672310570523_o 11049627_905421259528316_7231684127211950182_n 12052427_905421209528321_220688649072978374_o 12074570_905421632861612_4635624110581036151_n 12038392_905421369528305_6444751298045932513_nFast fashion giant H&M’s more elegant, more minimal, more me sister brand COS recently opened up its first Canadian locationin Toronto, with a second location in Montreal coming up shortly on October 9. While my wallet’s not exactly stoked on this, I personally can’t wait to check out the label’s quality fabrics and classic designs, which always strike the perfect balance between the feminine and the austere. Half Victoria Beckham, half nun.

Sadly if you live outside of Toronto or Montréal, you’re out of luck as the store currently does not ship in Canada. But for everyone else, you can peep their fall winter 2015 collection right now at participating Canadian locations.

Images via Cos

Peak Boho

TRF_01_1920 TRF_02_1920 TRF_04_1920 TRF_05_1920 TRF_06_1920 TRF_07_1920 TRF_08_1920 TRF_11_1920 TRF_12_1920 TRF_13_1920 TRF_14_1920 TRF_15_1920 TRF_17_1920 TRF_18_1920A lot has been written about the rise in popularity of 70s boho style, and it doesn’t look like it’s going away anytime soon. Zara recently released their fall womanswear campaign, and it was all bellbottoms, suede jackets, cropped jeans, and fur in rich fall shades. Not everyone is on board. And if I’m being real with you, even if I have been on board in the past, I’m not sure if I’m down with being inundated by all of this print-heavy, flowy clothing. Perhaps it’s because of the changing ways in which we consume fashion and trends, but with each passing season it feels like trends are becoming less and less diverse. Instead of labels sticking with trends that reflect their brand, every label, especially in the fast fashion world, are just going for the same thing. This makes shopping an extremely dull experience, and causes fashion-savvy consumers like myself to grow tired of trends much much faster. Of course there are things I will always love about 70s style, like the cozy long jackets, vibrant hues, and copious amounts of suede. (I hate the printed dresses) But when a trend is this reminiscent of pieces you can find at literally any vintage store in your city, I fail to see the appeal in purchasing it brand new and made with lower quality fabrics.

What do you think about 70s style?

Images via Zara

Vejas SS15

Untitled-3 Untitled-2 Untitled-5 Untitled-1 Untitled-4 Untitled-6Mark our words: boundary-pushing collections by up-and-coming NYC designers are likely preoccupied with post-gender and post-apocalyptic themes. Perhaps the art school kids are getting fed up with the oppressive effects of rigid gender roles and how clothes are often used to enforce these ideals. Perhaps they realize the world’s industries, including fast fashion, are causing irreparable damage to the environment, making the idea of a post-apocalyptic world not just science fiction.

New York designer Vejas Kruszewski, much like Pack favourites like HBA and Eckhaus Latta, is very much interested in these ideas. Perturbed by issues of inclusivity that have long plagued / been perpetuated by the fashion world, Vejas makes it a priority to work with transgendered models and models of colour. Her clothes are influenced by simplicity and multi-functionality, and they celebrate rather than shy away from nudity and impropriety. (Her FW205 collection was described by a journalist as having a “Farm Thot” aesthetic) Organic fabrics of leather and cotton in shades of black, grey, and beige dominate her SS15 collection, resulting in earthy looks that are protective and practical. Vejas is inspired by the notion of “the last girl standing”—women who are resilient and have probably seen some shit. So I suppose it’s no coincidence that the model in these shots is wearing a headdress like a tribal queen, and that certain pieces look like they can be worn in different ways depending on the situation.

Check out looks from her FW16 collection here

Images via Vejas

Eye Candy

laurabarcia1laurabarcia2laurabarcia3laurabarcia4laurabarcia5laurabarcia6laurabarcia9laurabarcia10laurabarcia11laurabarcia12laurabarcia16laurabarcia14laurabarcia13I’ve never been a particularly girly girl, but I’ve always been partial to pink. Being a fair-skinned Asian, I find it brings out the perfect shade of blush in my cheeks. It’s extremely versatile and looks great on blondes, brunettes, and yes, even redheads. Paired with neutrals, especially heather grey, it’s a subtle touch of femininity that I can definitely get with.

This editorial, appearing in a recent issue of Spanish fashion mag Veindoes a great job capturing that aesthetically-pleasing synergy between pale pink, light grey, and cream. What’s additionally appealing about this spread is that every garment in it is completely affordable and attainable. Pulled from retailers like H&M, Zara, & other stories, and the coming-soon-to-Toronto COS, the clothes manage to look modern without looking like it’ll fall apart in one wash. This has its downside, as it makes refraining from fast fashion all the more difficult for working girls like us.

Images via Vein mag

Shining 70s

WOMAN_01_1920 WOMAN_02_1920 WOMAN_04_1920 WOMAN_06_1920 WOMAN_07_1920 WOMAN_08_1920In case you missed the memo (that’s a nice rock you’re living under), #normcore is dead, long live the shining 70s. And there’s no bigger proof of this than the brand new Spring Summer 2015 campaign by Zara Woman. Remember the Chloé Pre-fall collection from a month ago? If you forgot, that’s ok, because the Zara design team is here to remind you, one suede skirt at a time. *cue Todd Rundgren track*

This, of course, doesn’t mean I’m ready to chuck my Nikes and go full boho. Trends are best implemented in baby steps, carefully selected and with care. Who’s got the benjamins to buy a new closet each season? Who wants to look like a walking trend report, devoid of any sense of personal style? No one from The Pack, that’s for sure.

By far my favourite elements of this campaign, and the 70s style in general, are dark and patchwork denims, rich-hued suedes, and pimped out shearling coats (which I’ve already begun searching for in vintage shops). I don’t want to say never, but you probably won’t see me in one of those long billowy dresses or the frilly white blouse.  The tan suede dress in the second photo? It’s got my name written all over it.

Images via zara.com

TRF AW 2014

zaratrf-aw14b zaratrf-aw14d zaratrf-aw14 zaratrf-aw14cSome of my favourite shots taken from the brand new autumn/winter lookbook by Zara’s casual line, Trafaluc (TRF). These looks really remind me of 60s French icons like Marianne Faithful and Françoise Hardy. I adore the cream faux fur coat and the awkward boyishness of the shrunken denim jacket, paired with the maroon corduroy skirt. ❤

Try as I might, I just can’t stop shopping at Zara. Their styling is always so on point and items are easily shoppable online. In an effort to condense my closet and be less wasteful, I’m attempting to curb my Zara purchases to three items or less per season. Please don’t ask me what number I’m at so far for fall/winter. It’s better left unsaid.

All images via zara.com

This Fall: Wear… anything!

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Above: No. 21 A/W 2014

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Above: Christopher Kane A/W 2014

It’s Fall! Everyone’s favourite cozy layering season and fashion media’s cue to dig deep, back into its collective memory to try and remember what went down the Autumn/Winter 2014 runways way back in early Spring. It used to make sense for the fashion-concerned to take care to follow trends, find It-pieces, and look forward to runway influences eventually trickling down to mass market retailers once the seasons had lapsed. I can remember a time not so long ago when fashion was slower and toed the line of designers’ visions and editors’ seasonal picks. Especially vivid is the stranglehold boho-chic’s particular vapidity  had on the fashion industry — I remember it so well because it coincided with the year I started my first real adult job. I saved a lot of disposable income steering clear of shop after shop filled with the same bland faux-hippie offerings. I remember wishing I had bought more basics during the seasons previous when mod reigned supreme at Club Monaco and on the sales racks at Holt Renfrew Last Call, worrying about the scarcity of miniskirts and turtlenecks in the brave new boho world.

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Above: Sharon Wauchob A/W 2014

Then the recession happened and the fashion industry catapulted into a fevered pitch of consumerism. Fast fashion picked up speed, online retailers started making their presence known, streetstyle photography and the proliferation of fashion blogs satiated the fashion-hungry masses, events called Fashion’s Night Out spread across big shopping cities around the globe, and all these moving parts contributed to the massive, churning contemporary fashion industry and what is too often coined its “democratization.”

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Above: Emilio de la Morena A/W 2014

Ceding power to mass retailers and hobbyist fashion enthusiasts did not bode well with industry insiders until they learnt to use amateurs to their advantage and made aspects of accessibility through social media and designer collaborations incredibly lucrative. At the height of recession panic, designers were interested in reforming the established fashion week schedule and the timing of retail clothing delivery to better coincide with consumers’ pace of consumption of not only goods, but also information about fashion.

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Above: Marchesa A/W 2014

Now half a decade since Donna Karan heralded the fashion industry’s own demise, you can really see the incredible changes that mass retailers have wrought on an unresponsive fashion establishment.  Just today, November 12, 2014, I received an email (that went straight to spam, mind you) from Style.com entitled “45 of Spring’s Best Accessories!” Ok, that exclamation was my own addition, but, seriously. 45 accessories for Spring [!]. Are there even enough days in Spring to wear all of the featured accessories? Do readers have enough untold millions to spend on them? Furthermore, unless the accessories you’re trying to hock via email in mid-autumn are keeping my cheeks from getting frostbitten, your content is utterly irrelevant and will be completely forgotten by Spring.

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Above: Tod’s A/W 2014

While the fashion industry continues its loopy scheduling, it risks being completely overshadowed by a maniacally efficient fast fashion industry that regurgitates runway looks and has garments in consumers’ hands before designers might even begin mass-producing pieces they’ve just shown. Zara stands out as the most monstrously zealous of all the fast fashion companies – it designs 40,000 new products annually and produces about 10,000 of those in a plethora of colours and sizes. While the fashion chain keeps prices relatively accessible, its constant pushing and pulling of products encourages impulse purchases and drives a kind of exclusivity — shoppers know items won’t be there long and opt to buy runway looks long before their mimicked original even gets to luxury department stores. The pace of fast fashion is what has perhaps most influenced fashion media and the inane “45 Best Summer Heels that go with the Season’s Hottest Hemline” listicles we read in the dead of winter.

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Above: Christian Dior A/W 2014

As a result of not only the current over-saturation of fashion marketing and commerce, but also the incredible lag in time between the presentation of designers’ lines and the seasons they’re meant to be worn in, the idea of any kind of definitive guide to fashion seasons has become obsolete. In my own attempt to look back at my meticulously plotted out Excel spreadsheets tracking trends from A/W 2014 fashion weeks, my efforts to put forth any kind of guide were quashed by fuzzy memories of lines I was surprised to revisit, it’d felt so long ago. Among my neatly kept list of favourites (all of which I’ve captured pictorially in this post) there is no real abiding trend or style. Bulky coats in every fabric under the rainbow is the closest I could come up with. How about “45 Bulky Coats in Every Fabric under the Rainbow for Fall” – damn, I could write content for Style.com!

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 Above: Anthony Vaccarello A/W 2014

Ultimately, in attempting to survey Fall trends we’ve ended up taking stock of the utter dysfunction embedded in an industry that attempts to court artists, but lets corporations get away with the merciless over-production of copied goods. And ultimately, I’ve surrendered: this Fall (and every season after), wear anything!

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Above: Honor A/W 2014

Credit: If you’re interested in the business side of fashion (as well as the history, culture, and theory that envelopes fashion), you would do well to subscribe to Jason Hirschhorn’s FashionREDEF daily newsletter. The impeccably curated links come to your inbox every morning and broach a range of subjects that inspired this post.

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Above: Zimmermann A/W 2014