New trends in online fashion shopping – Part 3

Paris: April 30th, 2015

by: Yana Blumenthal

Like the idea of getting dressed by the independent, emerging designers? Well, you are in luck once more, because there is a website for that! notjustalabel.com

NJAL brings collections from over 18,000 emerging designers around the world, available to buy before they are seen anywhere else. This is really artsy approach and in the process you may feel empowered too, because nothing is going to be cleverly marketed to you by the Big Brands.

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Choose for yourself and the product will be dispatched to you directly form the artist’s studio. You may receive an item within 48 hours or customize it and get it within three weeks. Designers guarantee the highest quality of materials, free worldwide delivery and outstanding personal customer service, thanks to NJAL’s curation.

The result is a win-win situation, you get an original item of clothing and the emerging designers will be able to master their craft. The NJAL shop puts the power — and the profits — back into the hands of young designers.

This unique concept cuts out the middle-men, creating a direct link between shopper and designer. 70% of your spending directly funds the designers’ progress and businesses worldwide.

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“It’s not your usual online shop, but a real up-to-date guide to discovering talent.”

NJAL in the Press — Vogue Italia

If you like this, please read more blogs about cool online shops, next!

à bientôt

Yanainparis

New trends in online fashion shopping – Part 2

Paris: April 30th, 2015

by: Yana Blumenthal

Calling themselves a revolutionary e-commerce concept shop, farfetch.com is yet another innovative method of shopping – nicely done!

Farfetch brings the world’s best independent fashion boutiques to an International audience. Launched in 2008 in LA, the business has grown into a global company, with offices in London, New York, Los Angeles, Porto and São Paulo, the last one is impressive, because of the hight importation taxes in Brazil.

How it works – Farfetch has a global community of over 300 visionary fashion boutiques. Visionary, meaning, conceptual and generally cool.  If you are not an International jet-setter, but fashion-forward individual with a soft spot for something new and unreachable, you are in luck. These are carefully selected independent boutiques with forward-thinking attitude and unique brands that were selected just for you.

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The network of boutiques are located everywhere from Paris, New York and Milan to Bucharest, Riyadh and Seattle, but united in one e-commerce website. When you order through Farfetch, your order is delivered directly from the boutique to your door.

If you like this, please read more blogs about cool online shops, next!

à bientôt

Yanainparis

New trends in online fashion shopping – Part 1

By Yana Blumenthal

Fashion is a $1 trillion global industry. Thanks to globalization and digital innovations, it is now moving online and has become the driving force for many luxury brands.

Migration to cyberspace has started, the territory is vast and is up for grabs. Let’s have a look at some innovative ways to spend on fashion and how retailers are finding their niche in cyberspace.

New trend alert! Get luxury items before they arrive to the stores. Lets have look at two websites that offer this service:  ModaOperandi.com and PreCouture.com

These luxury e-commerce sites offer hundred of designers straight from the fashions shows and available for pre-order. Basically, before the collection hits the stores you can be a happy owner of a haute couture item. It is, of course, for serious fashionistas, confident women, who are not afraid to drop several thousand of dollars on an item they haven’t even tried on.

Well this is the future of fashion and the proof to that are millions of dollars raised to service these sites. They already show an enormous growth and the expansion is just an inevitable fact.

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Moda Operandi, for example, offers a personal stylists services, VIP loyalty program, and Vintage pieces from an iconic fashion houses. Aiming higher — to the highest-end retail experience out there.

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PreCouture.com claims that they have an expert eye on the fashion and emerging trends, as they focus on the cult designers, such as Alexander Wang, Matthew Williamson and Carven. Buying things you see on the catwalk before anybody else can be exiting and expensive, but if you want to be noticed, staying ahead of the trends is a must.

Both sites operate in the principle of a trunk show, the sales are for limited time, usually for ten days. The focus is on impeccable customer service and that’s no-brainer, as an average order  ranges between $5,000 and $7,000.

As the business continues to expand, it spills over to mobile and all of the above is now available on your very-smart phones, just download the apps!

If you like this, please read more blogs about cool online shops, next!

à bientôt

Yanainparis

Eyeliner and Cigarettes

Born and raised in Paris – and in the true French tradition – I started smoking at the age of 14. Four years later, when I moved to England for my studies, I had to kick the habit. This wasn’t out of sheer willpower, mind you, but because of my scarce student budget: a pack of fags cost approximately £8 (around 12 euros) and the choice between food and tobacco seemed fairly obvious at the time. Now that I have relocated to the French capital, I am forced to admit that old habits do indeed die hard.

So what is it about Paris that encourages its inhabitants to light up? And how is the tendency intrinsically linked to fashion?

Before the First World War, smoking was largely regarded as a masculine behaviour and regarded as taboo for women. Just like wearing trousers, smoking would be seen as a transvestite performance during the course of the 19th century. The only social crowd that would dare to engage in this type of gender-crossing activity, so as to titillate, were the sexually promiscuous: desirable courtisanes. Therefore, to a great degree, puffing has always been sexy – and linked to fashion as a culture.

By the 1920s, the tobacco industry saw an opportunity in the ever-increasing emancipation of women to market cigarettes as a commodity. This led to one of the most controversial campaigns in the history of advertising: “Reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet”, which effectively marked the foundation of the relationship between cigarettes and feminine beauty.

Image courtesy: tobacco.stanford.edu

Image courtesy: tobacco.stanford.edu

The use of cigarettes as appetite suppressants is also inherently related to the pressure French girls endure to stay slim starting at a very young age. Think the Lucky Strike ad was shocking? A couple of years ago, the French diet guru Pierre Dukan (who sold 4 million copies of his method, by the way) suggested that teenagers who managed to maintain their BMI between 18 and 25 during high school should be rewarded with extra points on their baccalauréat diploma. He didn’t advertise cigarettes as such, of course, but it just goes to show that the diktat of slenderness is still extremely relevant, nearly a century after the Lucky Strike campaign. And why do we want to stay slim? Well, that links us right back to the theme of fashion.

Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”, said famously Kate Moss, who lit up a cigarette as she strolled down the catwalk during Paris Fashion Week 2011. This also shows that there is more to smoking than numbers on the scales: cigarettes look cool. The glamour and poise of smoke-exhaling lips on camera are undeniable, and the French stylist and ex-model Valentine Fillol Cordier conveyed this impression perfectly:

“Fashion loves to go back, to reference itself. And smoking helps: it says history, and style, and it works well for what it says in two dimensions. It’s a bit dreamy, a bit intellectual, it gets smoky and it fills the screen. But it’s in films, in stills, in photos, in something that happened before. It’s in two dimensions. That’s what we love. In all dimensions, in real life, well… you know, it actually stinks. It smells. And it kills. I was a smoker, hell yes. When I was a model – and the people who have a go at models who smoke, well, it kept our weight down. But it has always been far more cool on the screen than in real life. It just works better there.”

Image courtesy: parlourmagazine.com

Image courtesy: parlourmagazine.com

Back to 2015. Almost half of the French population aged between 18 and 34 smoke – and 37% of 11 to 15 year olds say they can’t cope without a cigarette. Our parents smoked. Our grandparents smoked. Our idols smoked (and some of them still do). A few weeks ago, French MPs voted for the neutralization of cigarette packaging starting next year and I wonder how effective this strategy will prove to be, compared to a drastic price rise for example. Besides, cigarettes are associated with so many facets of our culture, the war would have to take effect on a variety of fronts – from the thinness concern to the on-screen visual appeal.

Why haven’t we done more, yet? Is it because we don’t reaaaally want to quit? E-cigarette shops in France are biting the dust and progressively closing down, one by one. They just don’t look as good as the real deal. But there’s also some kind of national pride in the image of the French smoker; the picture of the slender-looking and charismatic smoking Parisian isn’t the worst stereotype we could have been stuck with, to be honest.

— Olivia Kutxi

Paris vs. London fashion myths & truths

La Parisienne has been the object of every fashionistas’ affection for a couple of centuries now. She has reached a mystical status as a fashion figure and has remained in this strong position, even within the context of an increasingly globalised world. But Paris is currently at war with a few other cities, trying to defend its eminent title of fashion capital of the world: New York, London, and Milan have never been this eager to get to the throne (although some would argue that The City Of Light has already been overthrown). As an ex-inhabitant of London and French citizen, I have decided to cautiously delve into the hitherto greatly unchartered waters of London vs. Paris style to offer an insider perspective.

Inès de la Fressange (image courtesy: rdujour.com)

Inès de la Fressange
(image courtesy: rdujour.com)

If you ask Google: “comment s’habiller comme une Parisienne?”, you’ll immediately get propelled in a Pinterest world of breton stripes (I know, SHOCKING) and little black dresses. The archetype, usually incarnated by Inès de la Fressange or Jeanne Damas more recently, is usually defined by the perfect combination of natural and sophisticated. She’s neatly neglected: it looks like she’s just woken up and threw some clothes on, but the final result is always meticulously polished.
Some of the essential garments include: a perfecto jacket, ballerinas, jeans, a blazer, a blouse, white sneakers and a mid-length skirt. All quite classic. De la Fressange observes that the secret to the recipe lies in the combinations: the high-end with the inexpensive, the new and the old, the Monoprix t-shirt, the precious bracelet, the Rondini sandals that can only be found in Saint-Tropez. These may seem like simple rules to follow, but there is a whole lot more to the Parisienne. The blogger Garance Doré asked her followers about their opinion upon the matter and the comments were quick: she’s nonchalant but passionate, smokes like chimney but has a flawless complexion, eats irrational amounts of croissants but looks fit as a fiddle. This otherworldly creature is the embodiment of almost every woman’s aspirations: she has achieved balance in every single aspect of her life.

The interesting thing is, la Parisienne is one singular and original character. She’s an idea. It is argued that she can be found in many locations other than Paris and notwithstanding her wide-reaching and international echelon, she remains a sole entity. The London girl, on the other hand, is a fashion schizophrenic.

First of all, the latter usually identifies with one of the cardinal directions: she’s North, South, East or West. You can tell where she lives or which area of the city her heart belongs to by looking at her outfit.

Camden Girls (image courtesy: cronkitenewsonline.com)

Camden Girls
(image courtesy: cronkitenewsonline.com)

In relation to the North, Camden Town immediately comes to mind. This is where the influence of punk and other anti-conformist styles never died. It’s the perfect place to go look for your Doc Martens, grab some studs for your leather jacket, get a dodgy tattoo, or find a cool gig. You’re allowed to wear pretty much anything, around here – most people do. The neighbourhood is also home to Cyberdog, which may just be the most surreal shop you’ll ever visit (unless you regularly hunt for fluorescent trance dance clothing – in which case it must look fairly standard).
The South is the more student-ey area, where the booze is cheap and your tobacco is rolled. The predominant fashion in this part of the city is therefore urban streetwear (who cares what you wear to uni?): a relaxed sweatshirt, a pair of Nike sneakers or army boots, and you might even dare to wear a snapback – or a beanie, if you are less adventurous.
In the West End, the dominating and all-powerful taste leans towards the elegant and the trendy. The W-postcode girl is the one that approximates la Parisienne the most, as a matter of fact. Skinny jeans, clutch bags and topknot buns would be regular visions in this part of the town. This is also where Oxford Street and Selfridges are located, so you’ll probably get to notice all of the Asian tourists leaving their all-time favourite luxury stores with huge shopping bags and satisfied smiles on their faces (but Heaven forbid you find yourself there around 6PM when all of the tourists and commuters collide and mayhem ensues).

East London (image courtesy: pinterest)

East London
(image courtesy: pinterest)

The geography of the East is a complex one, because it is home to a few distinctive styles – all of which could be classified under the all-encompassing yet grossly oversimplified label of “hipster”. Along with the North, this is where the most eccentric and colourful fashions are born, raised, and nurtured. The best vintage shops can be found in Brick Lane, which might give you an idea of how acceptable and welcome double-denim is (very, that is).

But overall, the Londoner is a lot more daring. This may be attributed to the amount of prestigious fashion schools in England, which leads all fashion aficionados to forever strive for originality and creativity. Perhaps this is why some of Jean-Paul Gaultier’s work, for instance, was inspired by the energy of the United Kingdom: “Britain represents iconoclastic creativity, individuality – things that we don’t know so much in France.”

Jean-Paul Gaultier's exhibition at the Grand Palais (image courtesy: Olivia Kutxi)

Jean-Paul Gaultier’s exhibition at the Grand Palais
(image courtesy: Olivia Kutxi)

My take on the Parisienne is that she probably won’t disappear. She’s a myth, and a cultivated one, which means that her position has been secured. The Parisian girls, however, aren’t trying to fit the mould as much as they used to anymore. So, yes, Paris might remain the capital for haute-couture fashion, but it definitely comes as no surprise that it has been allegedly dethroned in the prêt-à-porter industry. In a world where the local becomes global and the global becomes local, the endeavour for uniqueness and self-affirmation will hopefully prevail – but classics will always be classics.

Olivia Kutxi

Slut-shaming and why it isn’t fetch at all

I know exactly what you might be thinking right about now: “what does slut-shaming have to do with fashion?” – and you’re raising a fairly good point here. Slut-shaming as a subject doesn’t usually focus on clothes per se (it more frequently underlines the lack thereof, to be honest). I mean yes, I could talk about exceptionally plunging neckline dresses or your standard Coachella hot pants. However, I’ve decided to write about leggings – garments that cover the entirety of the leg but yet appear to be controversial in some schools.

Feminism 101 blogs define slut-shaming as “the idea of shaming and/or attacking a woman or a girl for being sexual, having one or more sexual partners, acknowledging sexual feelings, and/or acting on sexual feelings.” This therefore means that women who choose to wear seductive clothing can be (and often are, let’s face it) subject to slut-shaming: they are allegedly dressed like sluts and ought to be called so.
The problem is, women aren’t just the victims of slut-shaming: they are often the perpetrators as well. As our Lord and saviour Tina Fey says in the Bible (also universally known under the title Mean Girls):

Image courtesy: globalgrind.com

Image courtesy: globalgrind.com

So why do we keep on publicly or privately insulting each other? Is it the ingrained and implicit competition between women that causes them to slut-shame? The reasons are still somewhat inexplicable because of the depth of their roots, but it has been prevalently witnessed amongst teen and preteen girls. This is the age at which girls are most impressionable, which is also why cyber slut-shaming, for instance, is still trivialised in court as “puerile attempts by adolescents to outdo each other” according the University of San Francisco Law Review.

Last year, Dockterman wrote about dress codes on Time.com and how the latter encourage slut-shaming. She accounted for a protest in Haven Middle School, Illinois, and the arguments that were raised by 12 and 13 year-old girls regarding one of their favourite items of clothing: “not being able to wear leggings because it’s ‘too distracting for boys’ is giving us the impression we should be guilty for what guys do.” Instead of telling boys not to sexualise or make fun of a girl’s outfit, we tell girls that they are distracting the opposite sex and imply that boys can’t control themselves. To a great degree, this attitude promotes the transfer of the blaming towards the female victim, as opposed to the male executioner. The story naturally unfolds, and we come to assimilate these values as we grow up.
Yep. Here’s a taste of rape culture for you.

The contentious debate about wearing leggings as trousers has been going on for a few years now. “Is it ever OK?” asks Cosmo. The article gives tips on how to style an outfit with leggings, but the very fact that the working title allows for a negative response is slightly depressing.
The award for the most disastrous leggings-related article, however, goes hands down to The Huffington Post: “Do Straight Guys Think The Leggings As Pants Look Is Hot? We Asked Them!” (and yes, the content is just as cringe-worthy as the heading). Ever wondered if Prince Charming thought you looked like a streetwalker? This article will tell you!
(Thank heavens some random “straight dude” was there to endorse your outfit.)

As an ex-tomboy and someone who used to slut-shame myself to fit in with the male crowd at university, I genuinely hope that this unfortunately common mentality shifts in the near future. The relentless optimist in me looks forward to the day all women will look at other women and think: “You go girl, you dress like this if it makes you feel good [insert sassy hand movements here]. I’m so proud of you for having the confidence to wear this. And guess what? You look freaking flawless.” Females empowering other females is the first and foremost approach to reframing our existing mental models. Wanna wear leggings as trousers? I have two words for you: GO and ON. Nobody should ever have to feel ashamed about how they choose to dress.

Even Pippa Middleton is a slut. (Image courtesy: blog.newscom.com)

Pippa Middleton, you slut.
(Image courtesy: blog.newscom.com)

This article isn’t a hate message to men, parenthetically. There are changes to make in both camps, by all means, but this initial understanding ought to come from within. We’re also slowly but surely beginning to see the rise of celebrities telling us not to be afraid: Jennifer Lawrence refusing to lose weight for an acting role, John Legend telling all men they should be feminists, Patricia Arquette’s cry for wage equality during her Oscar acceptance speech… 2015 should be the year we start raising awareness regarding the stigmatisation and shaming of women for all of the rampant sexual double standards.
Easier said than done, of course, but if teenage girls in Illinois have come to realise that it’s time to fight for their right to wear leggings in school, then shouldn’t we all?

Olivia Kutxi