Monday, July 28, 2008

The Appeal of the Heel

I love watching "On the Street" from The New York Times, Urban Eye. Here's the drill . . . Bill Cunningham checks out the latest fashions being donned by the women of New York City. This week the topic is The Appeal of the Heel. It's fun to watch. He is completely fascinated by what women will actually do to their feet just to be fashionable.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Of Angels and Trends

It started with the nature trend: sticks, trees, leaves, birds. All of these used as design motifs in fashion and home decor... Then the bird trend got big: sparrows, single birds, flocks of birds, a wing, a feather... At the same time there is the whole spiritual trend happening: Oprah's online school of spiritualism (don't even get me started on that!); magazine articles about teens "cherry-picking" from many religions to create their own spirituality; finding your 'zen' place by unplugging and tuning in to yourself, etc... If you watch trends long enough you start to see the bleed-over between them. The bird trend leads to the sparrow motif that leads you to the retro tattoo trend. The bird trend also leads to the feather trend that leads to the Native American trend that also may have spiritual connotations. I blogged a while back about Sundance catalog selling t-shirts with Cherokee symbols printed on them that are messages to inspire power, grace and philosophical conversations. The latest link I have found between the two trends seems to be the emergence of angels. They are showing up on clothing and in ads to sell products from fragrances to shoes. They are not everywhere, yet, but I found enough of them to wonder if all things angelic, beyond just their wings, will be an emerging icon.

The Bike Trend

Did you know that bicycle riding is one of the fastest growing trends nationwide? I have been watching this trend - adults bicycle riding - for over a year now. I am not talking about the Lance Armstrong types, I am talking about the average adult dusting off their old 10-speeds, or better yet buying a new one with all the bells and whistles so they could get out their and do their body some good. I have a 10-speed. I have been on it a number of times over the past seven years that I've owned it. That's not very much. Maybe I'll get trendy and take a ride......

When I first took notice of the bike trend was when I was flipping through my Women's Wear Daily back in November of 2007. There was an article - Going Green, Schwinn-Style - about celeb's like Uma Thurman, Leonardo DeCaprio, Kate Hudson and Owen Wilson who "these days seem to prefer two wheels to four. One would think stars of such stature could afford cabs, not to mention want to avoid any overexcited fans they might slowly cycle past. Choosing to pedal is healthy for the body and the environment." I clipped that article and started watching to see how this trend would play out. After all, people like to mimic celebrities, plus mainstream society was starting to pay greater attention to the global warming issue.
My next big 'lightbulb' moment in the burgeoning bike trend came when I found this website, also in WWD a few months later - - a cycling accessory and clothing label for the urban female cyclist allowing them to look good, both on and off the street, without compromising their safety. The bike helmets come decorated with trendy motifs in various colors for a chic ride. Of course, it's in the UK and I am in America. Maybe I should order a fashionable helmet to get me started on my biking venture.......

Here in America, where it is estimated over 1 million people ride their bikes to work, we have plenty of great reasons to leave our cars behind and get on a bike. Gas prices are still averaging $4 per gallon - here in Fresno, CA, we are averaging about $4.59-$4.79 per gallon - childhood obesity is a hot topic in the medical field and in schools, and of course, global warming.

This morning on the TODAY show there was a story called, TRAINING WHEELS - Learning to Bike Later in Life. In Boston - where even the mayor rides his bike to work - there is a school, Boston's Bicycle Riding School, where they teach bike riding to baby boomers who never learned to ride. Seems cities all across America are racing to accommodate the bike crowd. In New York there is a bike shop - Bicycle Habitat - that claims their sales of bikes has risen 24% from last year. That's 250 more bikes this year from last. And in Portland, Oregon, 67% of all commuting is done by bicycle.

The burning question is, am I going to get back on my bike? Maybe. I just wish my backside looked better, perched on such a tiny seat. Of course, if I want that view to change I really should get out there and ride my bike. It's a vicious circle!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Shoe Bags

Found these in Craft:. Aren't they clever? Designed by British designers, Azumi and David, these bags are a great inspiration for a shoe refashion! I wonder, if I buy two, can I wear them?

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Birdcage

The wings/feather/bird/ trend keeps evolving. It has spiritual connotations -think angel wings, flight, freedom - and is also all about nature - flocks of birds, trees, sticks and leaves, a wing, a feather . . .

It is so interesting to see where this trend is going. Feathers are again playing a role in fashion, this time in the Native American trend that is so big right now. Domestic and exotic birds are seen as props for fashion, while the birdcage motif is used in Anthropologie's latest catalog.

Also inspired by the idea of the birdcage is French designer Jean Paul Gaultier, who debuted his feathered-and-caged haute couture collection in Paris on Wednesday. He has always used corseting in his collections, but this time he constructed entire body cages in fluorescent yellow, orange and pink. He says, "Women feel so free nowadays that they are wearing cages again. It's the ultimate stage in women's liberation." Hmmmm. . . . I don't know about that.

I love this bird and birdcage necklace by Erica Weiner. It speaks more of liberation than a woman in a cage, don't you think?

Thursday, July 3, 2008

God Bless America

Happy Fourth of July!!! Celebrate the greatness that is AMERICA! We are so blessed to live in the land of the free. In 1991, I went to Zagreb, Yugoslavia, on a missions trip with my church. It was right as the war there was making headlines in America and the mood amongst the people of Yugoslavia was dark. Even their clothing was dark, simple, plain. We from America laughed easily, wore jeans and tee-shirts and stuck out like sore thumbs. We had to walk a few miles each day to buy bread for our meals because you only bought what you could carry. There were no McDonald's or grocery stores on every corner like there are here at home. Not even a Coke on the store shelves. During our time there we took a train from Zagreb to Germany. Our train was stopped in the middle of the night by soldiers who demanded more money from our group or we would be put off the train in the middle of nowhere. It was scary. I had never been treated this way before. My first thought was, Hey, I'm an American! But I said nothing as our guide paid the soldiers. I realized then that my birthright as a United States citizen was not honored in other countries. I carried with me an expectation that I deserved to be treated well and fairly. I learned a valuable lesson that night, on a train in Germany. Only in America are my rights honored. Only in America am I truly free. By the end of my two week trip I was spiritually fulfilled, but incredibly homesick for America. As we were in mid air crossing over the Atlantic, entering the United States, our pilot announced that we were officially in America. Unexpectedly, I began to cry. I was so grateful for my home land. When I walked through my front door, home at last, I laid down on my floor and kissed the ground - literally. Truly, God has blessed America. Now go light a sparkler!

Wearable Art

Everyone loves a fabulous tee shirt. While building my trend report this week I came across some great tees.
Joy Apparel offers participants the chance to become instant works of art. Every face on a Joy T-Shirt has been inspired by a real person. Here's how it works: You purchase a shirt with someone else's face on it, the idea being when you wear your shirt you think about that person and how your everyday actions can affect others and the world we live in. After you purchase a shirt you may then upload a photo of your own image to their website where it is hand drawn and placed on a t-shirt for others to wear. It's all about being connected, and standing for peace and equality.

Then there is the Gap. They have partnered with the Whitney Museum of American Art to present a limited edition t-shirt collection. The idea is to wear art by some of today's most influential contemporary artists on your tee, taking art to the streets and into the world. I like that.

And there is the Lauren Moshi clothing collection. Every print is hand drawn by Lauren Moshi. By the way, celebs love her look. Check out Paris Hilton and Lauren Conrad....


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