Monday, March 30, 2009

Erin Barry photoshoot

My new friend Erin did a really fun shoot with me at my house and nearby to build her portfolio. She has a great eye for composition and color. All items are from my wardrobe and all are vintage with the exception of the hat which is American Apparel. We also did a short video in black in white (very "nouvelle vague") that she is setting to music, will post when its finished! Thanks Erin!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Market Publique shop is a go!

So I mentioned how I was cleaning out my closet and selling stuff left and right. Some stuff though just seemed like a shame to let go to second-hand shops for pennies on the dollar, so instead I am putting some pieces up (including some pieces new to me that I picked up at Beacon's) on a new website called Market Publique. MP is a new website started up by some kids in New York (I believe) that is essentially an Ebay exclusively for vintage. The format is great and you can sell stuff for fixed price or auction style. The great thing about it is that it is curated so not just anyone can be a seller (fortunately they approved me, perhaps it will get more exclusive as the site grows) and items will be of high quality. I think I am going to focus on shoes because they are easy for me to photograph on my own.

More stuff will be coming soon (as with any of these sites, listing takes a while). But here's what I have up so far!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Rite of Passage

As one of the only 20-somethings living in Brooklyn without a tattoo, I've always had a sort of ambivalent relationship with them. I've seen so many kids getting tattoos on a whim, when they were too young, without significant thought or consideration. I always thought this was sad. An exboyfriend of mine had once gotten a number 13 tattoo simply because it was Friday the 13th and a tattoo shop was running a $13 special. Then again, lots of people had such beautiful designs that really made a statement about who they were, and I always admired their guts. I knew I always wanted one, but went back and forth about where to put it or what to get. After several years of having the same design in mind, and after an evening of conversation with Megan over drinks at Roebling Tea Room, I decided it was high time to make it permanent. I don't know why now, perhaps because my life is sort of in a weird limbo period right now where I'm making lots of existential decisions, but for some reason my fear of permanence disappeared (hopefully not temporarily).

I did a lot of research on the internet to find an artist. Fortunately here in New York we have lots of talented artists with all different styles. I decided I would be more comfortable with a female artist since getting a tattoo is sort of an intimate experience and I wanted to be as calm as possible. I also wanted an artist that had a sort of "illustration-y" kind of style. I hate all those gothic devils and goblins like tattoos, and I also didn't want an artist who would have thought my design was kinda girly (it is, I admit it, what other kind would I get really?). It was this image, along with a number of positive reviews I read on the internet, that made me decide to see Joy Rumore at 1228 Tattoo on Havemeyer street:

Totally amazing. And the rest of her portfolio is great too. A couple of weeks ago I went down to her shop to consult with her about the tattoo. I brought in some images that I had found on the net (thanks, Google images!) and a rough idea of what I wanted. I put down a $50 deposit for the artwork and we made an appointment for Friday night the 27th.

And last night we made it permanent. Megan came with me as moral support (thanks Megan you are the best!). The tattoo took about an hour. After going over her drawing and fiddling with the stencil, I lay down in her chair on my side and she went to work. The first 15 minutes were the hardest. Part of this had to be the group of people hanging out in the shop and trying to talk to Joy while she was working on me which I found very distracting. She didn't, but it made it hard to try to calm down and distract myself from the pain. After they left it got easier. I stopped breathing so deeply and started chatting to Joy. She has herniated discs in her back so we talked about that a lot. Its a very hard career to have when you have back problems. Her problem seems to be a lot worse than mine and the surgery that she may have in the future a lot more serious. Once we got to talking I calmed down a lot and the tattoo went more quickly. I'm not sure I could have sat there for much more than an hour (my other foot completely fell asleep and I got drenched in sweat from being nervous) but it was totally not as bad as I thought it would be.

guess who joined the club

Ta da! The red part is not red shading but a bit of blood that will eventually go away. I am still totally sore and a little in shock but I am so happy with how it turned out and thankful to Joy for getting what I wanted to do.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Journey across the River

I have two job interviews tomorrow so am thus looking for an excuse to procrastinate rather than prep for them, so here's a blog entry I meant to write a few weeks ago (I have no camera for now, so old material must do!).

Every New York vintage-loving girl knows that good vintage in this city comes at a price, whether it be through digging through bins of ugly donated t-shirts at your local Salvation Army in search of that rare gem (which you rarely find since someone else got to it first), or though paying through the teeth for a garment from one of the dozens of overpriced "vintage" stores in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Personally, I generally avoid both of those avenues and stick with shopping at stores in Berkeley when I am visiting my parents, events like the Manhattan Vintage Clothing Show (also generally overpriced, but known for some good deals, and an endless supply of vintage eye candy) or the odd flea market here or there (which, of course, are not real "flea markets" as they are known in other parts of the country where it might actually be possible to score a cute 50's dress for $10). And of course there is Ebay, but all too often the bidding war gets out of control and by the time your item reaches your door you get that buyers remorse that I was talking about a few entries back...

So what other options does a New York girl have? But of course, the Vintage Road Trip! Unfortunately for me, the road trip generally requires a car, unless you are traveling to somewhere that is accessible by public transportation. Ladies and gentlemen, I present you a somewhat untapped vintage fashion destination: Jersey City! Yes, New Jersey, home of the Sopranos and Bruce Springstein. Back in the day, I used to go to Jersey once in a while to go to a show at Maxwell's, but these days, I have pretty much no motivation to go there. Not to be a Jersey racist or anything but I've seen what kind of characters that state turns out and it ain't pretty (the exception being my mother, sorry mom you are cool (but you don't read my blog, I hope (can you tell I really like parentheses?))).

So it was to my surprise that there were supposedly some decent vintage stores in Jersey. A few weeks ago, intrigued by a Craigslist ad I saw for a store going out of business (sad), I decided to check out what Jersey City had to offer, and promised myself I would spend no more than $20 if I were to find something I liked. The journey took a miniscule 50 minutes from the moment I left my doorstep to the moment I stepped out of the Jersey City PATH station. The first stop was the aforementioned closing store called World of Style Vintage. Sadly, though everything was 1/2 off, there was not much stuff to be had, and the atmosphere was weird... it was based out of a hair salon and there was one lady there getting her hair did and she and her hairdresser were talking about cheating on their boyfriends or something. It was sufficiently Jersey trashy. After a few awkward minutes listening in on their conversation, I left for my second destination, Another Man's Treasure.

another man's treasure

NOW we're talking. This store has that incredibly sweet, homey vibe that I love about most of the vintage shops in Berkeley. Whereas many of the New York shops tend to feel more boutique-y, AMT has little vintage knick-knacks and a portable record player that I believe was playing the Smiths when I walked through the door.

While the prices were certainly not cheap, they were a far cry from what you would find in the city (I saw a mint condition Suzy Perette for $75). The pretty cocktail dresses were calling my name, but were unfortunately out of my $20 self-proclaimed budget, so I instead opted for a more practical 80's tiered blouse for $15. I would LOVE to copy this blouse in silk crepe if I ever end up designing a line:

80's blouse

Oh, and did I mention this store is owned and operated by a super cute British guy? Oh yeah, and his wife I think, but yeah, he was nice.

Check out the try-on room!

another man's treasure

I wish this was my bedroom.

As for the rest of Jersey City, I cannot say, the shop owner told me of another good store called Hala Vintage but as I had pretty much reached my budget limit I opted out. The good news for those not willing to make the journey is that AMT will be bringing their stuff to the Manhattan Vintage show in April so look for their booth.

Thanks for the top AMT!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

I was gonna post some pictures from SXSW but...

...when I went to get my camera out of my bag it was NOT THERE! I was looking through videos while I was waiting for the plane so I am assuming it fell out of my bag while I was on it. JFK airport is a nightmare and I am guessing it is very unlikely I will see it again. So sad, so many great videos of crazy shit that happened. This, on top of missing my 7am flight this morning, has made this a rather shitty day. TRAVEL FAIL. You will never get to see my pictures of Dave Navarro and his nipple rings, a Japanese all-girl marching band that plays in bikinis, Monotonix moving their show out of the club and traveling down Red River street, and perhaps most tragically of all, my video of a rooster wandering around and crowing in East Austin.

Honestly I did not have that great a time this year. My New York girls did not come so I spent a lot of time on my own since other friends were working or playing shows. I spent half of the time running around trying to meet up with people and by the end of the day my feet were always so sore and achy that I was limping. Also was totally ignored by both exes who happened to be in town (this is what happens when you date boys in bands nearly exclusively... SXSW becomes a minefield) and all those free drinks + boys being lame = DRUNKEN CRAZY TEXT MESSAGES (whoops). I hate boys.

Highlight: Dan and I seeing the Queers @ Red 7. OMG I loved that band, they look and sounded the same, it was rad.
Lowlight: Waiting 2 hours at the Fader Fort to apparently see Kanye West, who I could give a shit about, then giving up after 2 hours of nothing. And missing flight and losing camera and boy drama. Yeah.

I don't think I will be going back next year. Now for a nice long bath...

Friday, March 13, 2009

Binge and Purge

You know what I love almost as much as buying clothes? Getting rid of clothes! Weird, right? But something about deciding to part with a piece of clothing, though sometimes difficult, is overall extremely satisfying. Over the past few weeks, as part of general spring cleaning, being strapped for cash, and preparing to move to London for the summer (don't get excited/sad just yet, this is only a thought and not yet a reality, more on that in another post) I have been purging my closet of items that I infrequently or no longer wear. I am trying to get rid of at least 3 items per day. This might seem like a lot, but if you know me and have seen my closet, it makes more sense. This is anything from an AIDS Walk sweatshirt I got for free (off to Salvation Army), to some rather neat vintage items that I just don't generally wear (such as this 80's leather jacket).

In this age of the "recessionista" (I hate that word), I think a lot of clothes-minded people are considering what it means to live with less. What this means varies from person to person. To me, it has meant avoiding the cheap, high-street stores like Forever 21, H&M, and the like, where purchases tend to be badly thought out and impulsive, ending with buyers remorse and items that either sit in your closet or fall apart after a normal amount of wear. I'm trying to focus more on pieces that are versatile, well-made, and more of an investment (financial and emotional). I'm also trying to envision a life where I could live out of a few suitcases and feel satisfied with my wardrobe and not feel like I have nothing to wear.

Thus, after years of binging started this major purge. Ebay, Etsy, Beacon's Closet, Buffalo Exchange, and finally Salvation Army have been my friends. Unfortunately nothing is selling for quite as much as I would like it to (with some exceptions, god bless "buy it now"). But generally its selling, and if it's not worth anything, I have no problem giving it away. In a discussion with one of Samantha's other fashion-addicted assistants, we both agreed that it was rare that you "miss" something once it is gone.


I recently started a new FIT class on Fashion Production in preparation for my potential career change-up and have been learning a lot about what drives people (in particular, women) to buy. Something I thought was interesting was this: When men go into a store, if they find what they are looking for and it fits when they try it on, 75% of the time they buy it. Women, on the other hand, will only buy this item 25% of the time, and a quarter of those will return the item later on. In other words, for many women, shopping is emotional rather than utilitarian: we shop as a leisure activity, as sport, because are are marketed to and because we care more about how we are perceived on the basis of appearance. As someone interested in fashion business, this is useful information to decide what to design or what to carry. At the same time, its also useful to assess what drives me to buy and helps me to stop and think whether I really want or need this item.

Its baby steps, surely, and I still expect to give in to my emotional shopping needs every once in a while. After all, that Paypal money was burning a hole in my e-wallet:

eley kishimoto shoes!

Oh hai beautiful Eley Kishimoto shoes, thanks for being on super-sale and for accepting Paypal!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Man Who Loved Yngve

Just got back from my weekly visit to Scandinavia House for their film series (I take myself every Saturday) having seen what was one of the best movies I have seen in ages. I doubt they will ever release this film in the States, as is what happens with most great foreign films unless they are in French. But if you find a way to make it happen, I highly recommend checking out The Man Who Loved Yngve. It actually reminded me a lot of one of my favorite Scandinavian films ever, Fucking Åmål, Lukas Moodyson's film from a decade earlier, sharing many themes and a style that shifts seamlessly between comedy and drama. Synopsis from the Nordic Film Institute:

The third most successful Norwegian film of 2008 (171,000 admissions as of July 2008), The Man Who Loved Yngve is based on Tore Renberg's novel of the same name which sold over 100,000 copies in Norway. Producer Yngve Sæther, a personal friend to Renberg, immediately saw the potential for a film version and convinced the novelist to tackle the screen adaptation.

What attracted Sæther to the project was the opportunity to make a coming of age film ‘with a real authenticity, a film that would have a mature feel and at the same time the energy of the youth, like Truffaut's Les 400 coups, or Coppola's Rumble Fish. "It took Renberg another three to four years to make the script work for the screen.

The Man Who Loves Yngve is set in November 1989. The Berlin wall collapses. In Stavanger town, Jarle Klepp (17) has no idea that everything is about to change. So far he has got everything; the best girlfriend in the world, and the world's coolest buddy. Together they will soon launch Stavanger's toughest punk band, "Mattias Rust Band". But then the new boy in class, Yngve, appears. He is not like anyone else, and Jarle is confused. Slowly but steadily Jarle lets everyone around him down, and finds out what it means to stand alone.

Film debutant Kristiansen, originally from Stavanger like Renberg, and a big music fan, was brought on board, although he hadn't finished his studies at the National Film School in Lillehammer. But Sæther and Renberg were convinced by the energy of his short films. Finding the right actors aged 18-19, especially new faces, was another major challenge and casting in the Stavanger area lasted several months. "We did find those actors at the end," notes Sæther. "That's why the film works."

Friday, March 6, 2009

Hansel from Basel

A few weeks ago, Samantha gave me some knee-high socks from a label called Hansel and Basel. As a tights and socks fanatic I was intrigued to learn of an indie legwear label that I hadn't heard of before. The label is based out of LA and was started two years ago by Hannah Byun, who had worked in the hosiery industry before that in production. She has four collections so far, each of which has a theme (S/S 08 for example was inspired by "Mondrian, sherbert stripes, and springtime picnics!"). Some of my favorites:

In addition to the ones Sam gave me I picked up the spats knee highs in black and white:

Oh and that's a new bag I made for my Etsy site (going up soon) and will also be available at Treehouse.

A side note, what is with "tights fetishists"? I recently decided to stop participating in the Wardrobe Remix group on flickr because of all the tights fetish dudes lurking around there. Seriously, tights? The male pysche never ceases to confound and amaze me.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

DIY Luella Headpiece

Luella S/S 09 was my favorite collection of the spring... sums up pretty much everything I go for: girly, ruffled, vintage-inspired, and chock-full of beautiful color combinations that you may never have thought of. However, my favorite thing of all were the bows with the veils that most of the models wore in their hair.

I loved too that many of them were shaped like vintage bow-ties. This is also featured on the new cover of Lula magazine. Figuring that they would never be affordable, but looked pretty simple to make, I gave it a try myself. I picked up some taffeta (polyester, silk was too expensive), veiling, and a hair clip and voila!
diy luella headpiece
The next one I make I am going to have to fiddle with the veiling a little bit cause I am not loving how it is lying against my face but it works for now. Can't wait for spring so I can rock these with a little dress or something.
diy luella headpiece

Monday, March 2, 2009

It snowed today

It snowed lots, to be precise. NYC public schools closed for the first time in 5 years. I, however, still went to my internship, like a good girl. It was damn cold.

This is what it looked like when I looked out my window in the morning:


Then, once I got outside my door:

Chip the scooter was hiding under his cover.


Wahhhhh I am cold...

This taxi driver is probably PISSED.

But you know who is enjoying today? These two:

The end.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Rachel show episode 1

I've actually been making a few of these videos but this one is the most entertaining so far...