mainstream fashion magazines have always catered to the luxury market because those vendors are the only ones that can afford their ad space. in these credit-crunchy times, their gross displays of excess seem even more ludicrously inappropriate than ever. it just shows how detached from reality these people are that they continue to proffer hideous furs, leather dresses, feather gowns and other fashion atrocities. a celebrity wench can wear a feather gown and then send it to an auction house and donate the proceeds to charity. the rest of us, who are expected to pay for the feather gown, will wear the feather gown, look like big bird, be stuck with a ridiculous item that will cost even more to launder than it did to buy, and then we will be unable to eat lunch for several months while we pay for the silly frock. and the fashion people will have the last laugh at your expense — ha ha, the silly girl bought the feather gown! going into deep debt for designer shoes is not cute the way it has been depicted on sex and the city. it’s downright idiotic. here we give you the lowdown from various fashion magazines, followed by our usual nonconformist commentary…
1. grazia‘s august 11 issue features the dreary so-called fashion icon sienna miller on its cover but she is outshined even there by girl of the moment agyness deyn, who has a new haircut that is basically very 1986. people in the united kingdom, where they read grazia, are super-trend followers, but even that must come to an end, not that consumers care about anything other than a bargain. the trends in this issue lead the reader to believe that it’s 1983 and *dynasty* is the inspiration: big curly hair. poufy sleeves. peplums. dirndls. peglegs. rounded shoulders. extreme trousers. capes. you. get. the. picture.
2. elle (us) has a big september issue that features heinous bimbo jessica simpson (can anyone please explain?) on its cover in her usual daisy-mae redneck look. inside they extol the virtues of big messy curly afro hair although no one in the elle offices would ever in a zillion years wear *her* hair as such. they also push upon the reader these trends: ladylike gloves. futuristic shapes. lace. goth. uptown 60s. joan of arc. anita pallenberg. johnny cash. gilded tartan. film noir. LBD. bow blouses. pencil skirts. pastel coats. and the most ghastly of all shoe choices: high-heeled loafers (oh, make them go away). there is also a story featuring axl rose’s ex in denim. purveyors of extreme excess and luxury, elle once again is so out of step with these grunge-tastic times.
3. lucky is just lucky, meaning they will show you how to take a chiffon blouse and wear it “punk” style. their sept 08 issue advocates leather dresses (ugh). draping. egyptian style. purple ruffles. short-sleeved coats (oh no). extreme trousers. american classic. military. bohemian. ‘tech.’ goth. layering. and props to them for including a couple of items under $100.
4. instyle‘s sept 08 issue features more creepy items like leather skirts, pants and other “second skins” (oh and by the way, no ladies, it’s not okay to wear leather unless it’s secondhand, and as far as we are concerned leather pants are a chronic no-no). evening trousers, ruffles, one-shouldered frocks, square shoulders, shiny gray, gladiator footwear, peplums, harem pants (always a giant NO), high waists, tartan, lace, painterly prints, flowers, country fashion, metallic and “slouchy” are (still) in. they are still allowed to use the word “bling” (copy dept, please do something), and I abhor the entire shoe guide. a general yawn.
5. eve (uk) offers a 64-page supplement with their sept 08 issue filled with supersize shots of overpriced tat and is a complete waste of paper. this fashion mag would like you to wear: lace. trapeze (read: huge) dresses. cocoon coats (direct descendent of balenciaga). balloon skirts. carla bruni fashions. skinny belts. up-dos. clashing brights. chiffon. tweed (what, in autumn? no, what a surprise). ruffles. deep red (one trend I can get behind). but in general pushing, or even choosing to photograph, $5000 frocks is just insane. why, I’m saving my pennies to bail out wall street’s poor sad bankers!
6. british vogue‘s september 08 issue reiterates all the usual dreary autumn trends: details. goth. square toes. satchels. bohemian. feathers. red. nude. black. lace. gray. sheer. knit. gypsy. pink. purple. floral. metallic. big coats. country-punk-tartan (nice photos, that one). one-shoulder frocks. and my personal knee-slapping fave: onesies (or as they say, all-in-ones. or as we used to say ‘rompers’ or jumpsuits. haven’t seen anyone working those since I worked for baby-gooch). I can honestly get behind two of the trends: glasses + freckles! bring them on. back in 1995 stephin merritt and I wrote a guide to goth in time out new york and they have basically appropriated our idea here and made their own little guide to goth, but with the olsen twins in black feather gowns leading the way. not suburban mall high school goth at all, but upscale luxury goth, which is hardly goth. british vogue’s own version of goth, ha ha. anyway, if their advertisers are anything to go by, british vogue will be happy as long as you are wearing leather, fur and feathers of any color, not just vampy black. if you lived through goth the first time around, don’t wear goth. if you didn’t, hey kids, why not try to create new subcultures instead of parading around in the fashions of extremely old ones (goth, punk, preppy, etc)? the last “new” thing you people came up with was “electroclash” and that had no lasting value.
chickfactor prefers that you…
1. spend money on stuff made by real people that you can talk to. go to craft fairs, etsy, small local shops, and get handmade, one of a kind items. rebecca pearcy’s awesome queenbee factory makes vegan, sometimes recycled, durable, awesome bags handmade by cool kids in portland. we also heart kim white’s bags.
2. head out to swap meets, flea markets, yard sales, thriftshops, good will, salvation army, car boot sales, oxfam, vintage clothing fairs, secondhand shops and so on.
3. avoid china-made stuff (yeah, good luck!) because it will be recalled. and it is likely drenched in formaldehyde for its long journey. sweatshops and child labor are not okay!
4. it is getting a lot easier to buy organic clothing, american made and non-sweatshop clothing. their marketing can be a little goofy and off-putting but american apparel has some organic cotton, american made basics. C&C california, made in the US and sometimes organic, makes some great smocky tops and comfy basics. we found some other sweet small labels that are sometimes using recycled materials or eco-friendly practices, such as rebe, nimli has this cute bahar shahpar dress and bono’s wife started a shop online — nice trench. lots of good stuff out there, much to my surprise!
5. have a clothing swap party and invite your friends and their friends.
6. if you can’t find a nice vintage leather jacket, there are even such things as vegan biker jackets! and more and more alternatives to american classics, like this okobox shoe. worth having a google around, but whatever you do, don’t wear feathers! (and remember, fashion is for people who have no personal style)
we like these adbusters blackspot unswooshers….
and smart-talking herbivore clothing…
and this melissa vest tote at nimli.