June 22, 2013

This Fabric is a Dream

I have been meaning to check out Spoonflower.com for ages. I have been wanting to design my own fabric ever since I was a little girl, but was always told it was too expensive or that I'd have to get a special degree or job. I love that Spoonflower lets all of us fabric-designer wannabes have a chance and that there are no setup fees. The price for a yard of fabric sounds steep and it is, compared to buying a yard of, say, Moda fabric for $8.50. But, as gorgeous as that Moda fabric is, you didn't design it. So $15.75 for a completely custom yard really isn't that bad, especially if you are needing specialty fabric that nobody but you would ever make. Ballerina aardvarks dancing on giant pickles, for example, would probably be a hard to find subject for a printed fabric.

Anyway, now you know what Spoonflower is and why I've been so excited to look into it. But when I went to the website last night, I got sidetracked because there was a contest that let you vote. I don't know about you but I love voting! I will vote on anything at all if given the chance. In this case, voting turned out to be a joy, because the contest is to choose the best Midsummer Night Dream themed fabric!

The people at Spoonflower set up parameters for colours that the designers had to go by but after that they were given free reign. The results are 10 pages of beautiful swatches of fabric, some depicting scenes from Shakespeare's most delirious comedy and some more abstract florals and geometric prints.

You vote by clicking on the ones you like best, and they will be highlighted in green. At the end you have to confirm that you are not a machine a couple of times (gosh, that is getting old) but at least it isn't one of those hard-to-read captchas like I unfortunately have on my blog comment thing! (Sorry folks!)

Here are some of the choices you can make.

The last one is my husband's favourite, and I like how you can see a different character in each moon.

If you'd like to see the other gorgeous designs and vote on your favourites, click here.

June 21, 2013

Be the Buyer!

I have a confession to make. I almost never buy clothes anymore, and when I do, I usually get them from thrift shops. It is better for the environment and way cheaper for me. Plus, it is just so much fun because you never know what you'll find!

But that doesn't stop me from constantly checking out magazines, catalogues, and online shops. One of my favourite of the latter, modcloth.com, is so well-known you're probably wondering why I'm even bothering to mention it now. However, I am not here to write about the value, wearability, or ethical sourcing (I hope they're ethically sourced but doubt it) of clothes from ModCloth. After all, I've never actually *embarrassed cough* bought any. They're out of my price range.

What I want to talk about is ModCloth's fun Be the Buyer program, which lets normal people like you and even weirdos like me go through and look at items the company is considering purchasing. The customer gets to decide whether this item should be "picked" or "skipped" and explain their reasons why.

The process is very simple.

Click Here to Start "Be the Buyer"

This dress looks sort of okay...

Let's look at the back to make sure.

Yep, that really is the back of the same dress! And that is why I skipped that one.

Once you've made up your mind, you can express your thoughts. Do you think that the fabric looks cheap considering the price of the garment? Now's your chance to voice off. Concerned that your panties will show every time you move because of that skirt length? Say so. Love the shoe shape but hate that weird bird print on the toe? Preach it!
*Please note that the thoughts shown here are actually for a colour-blocked dress, not the one previously shown.

Today my favourite (which I picked of course) was a long, comfortable-looking, thirties-ish dress with slimming black insets in the sides and back. It's the sort of dress I can see myself living in (after I'd shortened it a little of course). Glamourous, it isn't. Comfortable with just enough style to keep from being dowdy it is. I would wear it with a big floppy hat.

The fun thing is that your picks really do influence whether an item is chosen for the store or not, and sometimes even comments make a difference! A skirt may be lengthened, a belt added, or a collar colour changed because enough customers pointed out a need in the design. This is our chance to have an impact, people!

We can even go through and see exactly which items were previous "Be the Buyer" choices. There is a whole section where you can shop customer's picks, and when the items turn up in a regular search they will always have a little "Be the Buyer" logo over them. I chose a few that are currently available for purchase to show you how cool they are.

Fete by the Fountain Dress

Specialty Sweets Heels in Mint

Ferry Festivities Dress

First Stop, Style! Dress

Scene and Believed Dress

Do we have good taste, or what?

June 18, 2013

A Monkey Tries on Native American Garb (Again)

I can't remember if I've mentioned this before or not, but besides being a former history major, I am part Muskogee. It makes me sick that our government literally tried to wipe my ancestors out and got away with it, and especially that the person most responsible for Native American slaughter remains on our twenty dollar bill, worshiped by some as a great hero. Ooh I hate Andrew Jackson! I'd love to kick his teeth out, and then kick his nose in...

But I digress.

When the Paul Frank company held a "powwow" featuring mock scalpings with plastic tomahawks, supposedly in the name of Native American fashion, I hit the ceiling. Though apparently the guests at the "powwow" had a grand old time, obviously Native Americans and human rights advocates did not care for the racism the event taught so freely.
Paul Frank's Racist Powwow
Sadly, it sounds as if this whole debacle really may have been an attempt to celebrate Native Americans (what a nightmarish thought!).
However, it is hard to imagine this being intended as reverence.

Or this.

I am guessing that the planners and designers did not do any research beyond watching very old western movies(and maybe some old Cher music videos too?) before making their decisions or such a thing could never have happened. After being bombarded with emails, Paul Frank started realizing even cute little monkeys can't get away with everything and offered to mend its ways. What makes this story odd, though, is that rather than just issue a formal apology, the company seems to have tried to actually repent!

Paul Frank has now collaborated with four Native American designers from four different parts of the country to get a more accurate and authentic look (as well as one that wont' make me want to kill him, lol). The results sound as if they are going to be beautiful.

The Paul Frank x Native Designers Collaboration

According to Dr. Metcalfe at Beyond Bucksin, "The four designers selected for this collaboration are ideal candidates. Louie Gong (Nooksack) has been in the Native pop art and design scene for years, most notably for his hand-painted Northwest Coast-infused Vans sneakers. Cree/Metis artist Candace Halcro's beaded sunglasses are topnotch with quality and color patterning. The Soft Museum is a collective of artists who hail from Santa Fe and have connections with the Institute of American Indian Arts - they create fun accessories from plastic hama beads and take the concept of adornment to new levels. Dustin Martin, a Navajo artist and Columbia University grad, brings a potent blend of crisp graphics and intelligence that infuse streetwear with intellect. Together they are creating a limited edition collection that fuses their own artistic styles with the Paul Frank brand and includes a tote bag by Gong, sunglasses by Halcro, jewelry by The Soft Museum, and a tee by Martin."

I can't wait to see those sunglasses! But I'll have to, until August, at least. In the meantime I'll be crossing my fingers and praying that this time Paul Frank has got it right.