A fashion and lifestyle magazine and blog produced by Students in the Design and Merchandising program at Drexel University

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Feminism: Food (or Feast) for Thought

     To the slacktivists and armchair activists in all of us—listen up. Does social media deserve all the credit it’s often given in promoting social change? “Timid activists” and “millennials looking for a shortcut to understanding Feminism”—are these oxymorons? While seemingly simple in its assertions and goals, the concept of Feminism is stuffed with a long and complex history of thinkers, writers, and politicians whose extensive work decoding the roots and resolutions to the problem of gender-based oppression cannot easily be summed up in a BuzzFeed article or a four-minute YouTube video (much to our generation’s chagrin). This article will not pretend to be that YouTube video, but rather admittedly scrape at the tip of the iceberg. This list of both timeless and current concepts and questions will provide a jumping-off point for a more in-depth understanding of Feminism that can only be achieved through self-education and rigorous personal investment.
Militancy—what do we actually mean?
     “I’m a Feminist, but not that militant kind.” We’ve all heard this attempt to declare oneself a Feminist without the connotations of, well, caring too much. Because caring too much is passé—because there is such a thing as caring “too much”. This is not the case. A common mantra of the Black Panther Party asserted that you were either militant or an in-betweener, and if you’re an in-betweener, you might as well be nothing. This is to say that social change does not stem from lukewarm feelings or part-time passion. So what is “that militant kind” we speak of? What has militancy and radicalism come to mean in the context of Feminism? From whom and where did you learn this?
     Oppression is an economic crutch for the privileged, and it is intricately woven into the foundational fabrics of our society. The late Black Arts poet Amiri Baraka persistently asserted that racism exists ultimately to serve capitalist interests. The historical and contemporary problems concerning Feminism are similar. What are the economic gains in dehumanization and oppression, and specifically the oppression of women? How does a capitalist society seek to manipulate, and what forms does this manipulation take when directed at women? How do I unknowingly participate in my own manipulation? Can equality realistically exist in a capitalist society?
Preaching to the Choir
... Let's Not
     Discussing issues with like-minded people is never a bad thing—unless you stop there. Holding up a sign about why you need Feminism to all your Feminist friends can sometimes be no more productive than sitting in bed at night whispering into the ear of your teddy bear that you need Feminism. The problem is not only whether or not people know they are Feminists—it’s Feminists not knowing what to do with their Feminism. So who are you talking to? Who are they talking to? Who has the power, voice, and status to personally affect social change and who is talking to them? In other words, what politicians are speaking on your behalf, and are they saying what you want them to say? If not, what are you doing to change that?
Social Media and the Quick Fix
     BuzzFeed is fun. Wikipedia is convenient. Facebook is engaging and an efficient mode of distribution. Neither one nor all of these resources combined will leave you very informed. On the contrary, they can trick one into feeling educated without actually gaining that much knowledge, and in this the danger lies. That de-contextualized Audre Lorde quote your friend tweeted packs a punch, but how far does that go? What has been gained, aside from a virtual high-five and enthusiastic retweet? And how many people have retweeted, blogged, or posted this without seeking out or understanding the text and ideas behind it?
Which Finally Brings Us To: Books
        If you were to sit down and elaborately answer all the questions posed here, you’d have a pretty hefty book on your hands. Luckily for us all, there’s over a century of these critical Feminist texts and ideas already at our disposal. Let’s read some of them, think about them, and update and build from them, not try to poorly reinvent the wheel.

Top 5 Philadelphia-Based Illustrators

Philadelphia, to my surprise, is home to many of the most talented illustrators in the field.  Maybe its the fact that we are two hours from New York City, and cheaper.  Maybe its the fact that we are home to some of the country’s best art schools.  Whatever it is, artists, designers, illustrators, and photographers seem to love our city.  Here, I’ve listed five out of the many successful illustrators currently living in Philadelphia.  These five stick out to me because their never-failing ability to make me want to look again or maybe even read an article.

This U-Arts grad draws, paints, sculpts, and designs in a style that literally makes me smile.  His work is has a comical look while capturing complex urban environments and the characters who live in them. The scenes Rementer creates often have narrative and usually include typographic elements.  He has showcased artwork internationally and has been featured by The New York Times, MTV, Urban Outfitters, and many more.  Rementer has been awarded the prestigious Young Gun award by the Art Director Club for his illustrations.  


They are a three man design studio made up of Jason Kernevich, Dusty Summers, and Woody Harrington.  What impresses me most is their ability to communicate complex ideas with straightforward imagery.  Their strength is in concept.  They have a designers eye with an illustrators hand.  These guys have a huge client list including Apple, Pentagram, The New York Times, and many more.  They are all Tyler grads, and two of them now teach at Tyler.  


Mikey Burton’s new portfolio site was launched this week, showcasing many new projects.  Burton is a true talent with bold icons and outlined graphics.  His work can be both humorous and informative.  He is both a designer and an Illustrator calling himself a “designy illustrator”.     Burton’s award winning work has been seen in The Atlantic, Bloomberg Businessweek, ESPN, and many more.  


4.  Melissa Mcfeeters

Another Tyler grad with an amazing eye for both design and illustration.  She is a master of textured vector illustrations.  Earthy color palettes and frequent environmental subjects allow Mcfeeters to focus on and perfect a specific niche in the market.  Her illustration work has received awards from Communication Arts and AIGA.  Her work is frequently seen in Philadelphia Magazine, Grid Magazine, Philadelphia City Paper, and more.   


5.  Martha Rich

This Penn MFA grad works as both a fine artist and an illustrator.  Rich also teaches at Tyler School of Art.  Her work is typically hand painted and full of enthusiasm.  Rich’s fine art approach separates her work from the rest.  Honest and comical, Rich’s work is sure to make you laugh. The Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, and Bon Appetit have all hired Martha Rich along with many more publications and advertisers.     

photographs and facts:

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Why does a ring symbolize more?

Dating. A six-letter word that people make complicated. Why is it never enough to be just dating? Why does a ring suggest commitment, things don’t change just because of a ring.

Of course being a student on top of things makes everything more difficult. Not to mention the fact that your boyfriend is 25 and “thinking about his future…” that apparently you WILL be in, although he likes to call it being “included.” I’ve always heard it said that when boys feel like it is the “right” time to get married they would ask whomever they are with, regardless of the feelings that they have for them. Well, of course it can be assumed that they generally like the person they are with. For girls on the other hand, they almost always say yes to the first person that proposes to them. This sounds like a recipe for divorce if you ask me.

The Reality of Marriage - It's hard

Honestly, what’s the rush? Wait it out and if it ‘s truly meant to be you will know. Why do people always feel the need for “we’re dating” to turn into “we’re engaged?” For that matter why is the word Fiancé a proper noun – it suggest more importance. People get too hung up on titles – focus on your relationship, not the title.  


At some point in your life you may find yourself in the same situation as me: a senior in college who is very anxious to graduate, but a little scared of the real life just around the corner, waiting to test all my abilities and skills. If you ever encountered yourself in a life crisis similar to this one, just know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, at least there was one for Sophia Amoruso, the founder, CEO, and creative director of the popular shopping website Nasty Gal.
At 22, Sophia had dropped out of the community college she attended, was living with her step-aunt, and working at an art school swiping students’ ID’s for $13/hr. At that point things didn’t look too promising for Sophia, but her luck would take a turn for the better. While living this simple life, Amoruso opened an eBay account called Nasty Gal and started selling vintage clothes she would find while digging through thrift shops’ $5 bins or surfing the web. Her finds were surprisingly amazing, including designer items from Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent. As Nasty Gal gained more followers on eBay, Sophia spent her free time shopping, styling, photographing, and shipping every product.

Eventually Sophia’s small vintage operation turned into a full apparel line web store. Just last year Nasty Gal sold $100 million of clothing and accessories, and what stated as a side job, turned into a successful brand, which is very active in social media, with Nasty Gal’s correlated blog and hashtags like #NastyGalsDoItBetter. Sophia Amoruso also wrote a book about her life called #GirlBoss.
This empowering example of finding yourself and doing what you love does put me to bed at night when questions about the future cloud my thoughts. As cheesy as it sounds, it is great to hear that no matter how lost you are you can still end up as a founder, CEO, and creative director of your own life if your work hard enough!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Fall Fashion Report: Leopard is the New Neutral

Animal prints have always been something that you can resort to in your closet. From that crazy leopard jacket to those snake skin boots, animal prints allow you to rock that sexy look while still being super sleek.

Animal prints have gained major popularity on the Fall runways this season. From Celine to Armani, leopard print specifically has been spotted everywhere on the catwalk. Some see the leopard print as a neutral while others make it the main focus of that classic look. This fall season the prints are a tad more subdued and are more wearable than that of which was shown in the past.  Leopard has always defined sexy in the fashion world; now you are able to rock that “symbol of femininity” without being too risqué. With this, its appropriate for all times of the week whether you’re going to that work party or a night out in the city.

Left to Right: Celine, Giorgio Armani, Givency

Always being a huge fan of animal prints, I am loving this trend. In my eyes, leopard gives you that pop to your outfit without being too dramatic. I used to think that this print was overwhelming and I personally saw it as an accent to an outfit. Now, you could wear a completely leopard print outfit and people would not think twice. After growing up and becoming more mature with my style, I find that my leopard collection is growing in my closet. I always find myself being drawn to leopard prints while shopping; from jackets to tops to leopard print pencil skirt, I continue to buy leopard print while the trend lasts. 

Diary of a Mad Cat Woman: A Dog Lover turns Feline Fan, Just This Once

The dream has always been about dogs—a pile of puppies greeting you at the door after a long day of work.  For years I begged and pleaded with my parents to get a dog and, finally, my prayers were answered.  When the time comes to return to school and part ways with the dog, I always tend to miss the little things about him; I miss opening the door and seeing his fluffy hair fall in front of his eyes, or the way he lays curled up next to me on the couch.  Nothing could seem to fill the void in my life that just begged to care for someone other than myself, who did not talk back of course.  That is until my roommate brought home a kitten. 
As you can tell by now, I am an avid “dog person.”  I have never gotten along with cats—they hate me and I hate them.  I have tried time and time again, but I refuse to transfer over to the dark side.  Then, I met Layla, the tiny, adorable kitten my roommate brought home one day.  She was little in size and dark in coloring; her tabby cat attributes gave her a curious look to her.  I was hesitant to warm up to her, as she was to us; she spent most days in her owners’ room hiding beneath the bed.  One say she mustered up the courage to step outside her comfort zone and greet the rest of the apartment.  As much as she was afraid of me, I was equally terrified of her.  Every single cat I had come into contact with up until that point had violently attacked me (I’m overreacting a bit, but hey, it was scary).
I could feel myself tense up as she came towards to me; I could hear her claws pull at the carpet as she walked closer and closer.  Then, something amazing happened.  I felt my arm extend in an effort to attempt to pet her.  There I was, a self-proclaimed cat hater, slowly starting to scoop a kitten up into my arms and cradle her as she purred and played with my necklace.  In that moment, I realized that though I hate cats, I had a soft spot for this three-month-old kitten.
  As silly as it seems, this defining moment helped me put other parts of my life in perspective.  It’s a tale as old as time, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”  Just because you have a routine of disliking a certain group of people or music or animals, does not mean that you are not capable of change. It is said that owning a cat is a “heart healthy” decision that will help lower your anxiety levels and calm you down with the sound of its hearty purr.  If I went through the rest of my life loathing cats, I would be missing out on non-stop Instagramming and Snapchatting of this amazingly loveable animal who lifts my spirits after a long day of work and school.

Just because I love the house cat does not mean I can ever see myself taking care of one by choice.   I will forever be a dog person, but I am now able to have my hearts strings pulled by a tabby cat or two.  Ah, well excuse me while I go play with the kitten!    

Friday, May 30, 2014

The Master of the Mask

During my time as the merchandising intern on the skincare team at QVC this winter, I was able to experience client meetings with many different skincare brand representatives. We met and discussed new product development with brands and which items would resonate well with the QVC customer.
A brand that really stood out to me was called, Glam Glow. This brand is based out of Hollywood, California and has an extremely unique delivery system. The products are clay-mud based facemasks with antioxidant filled nutrients targeting certain problems like aging, acne, and dry skin. The product was discovered by a Hollywood Hills couple that was at an intimate dinner party with close friend and actor, Keanu Reeves, who was in need of a skin remedy to accommodate his busy, stressful lifestyle, working 20 hour days when shooting films. The brand has grown quickly with the Hollywood buzz, and has received a plethora of awards and accolades. The “Youth Mud” mask that targets anti-aging was named the “best mask in the world” for 2014.

The brand has four main products that target specific problem areas. The first created was the “Youth Mud” mask. Youth Mud is “Designed as a 10-minute professional ‘facial in a jar’ for behind-the-scenes use in Hollywood’s Entertainment, Music, Fashion & Award industries, for immediate camera- ready glowing skin.” The use of the green tea leaf helps enrich the skin with natural anti-aging solutions.

The second product created in the line was the “Super Mud” mask. This mask is “the World's most Scientifically Advanced Clearing Treatment. Clinically Developed by GLAMGLOW® Dermatological Chemist to help fight all common skin concerns.” I’ve used this product, and it instantly decreased the size of my pores and left my skin feeling soft and refreshed. The use of the Eucalyptus leaf advances the glowing look of skin.

I’ve also tried the third product in the line called “Thirsty Mud”. This product smells delicious and is innovative because it’s a leave on or wipe off mask that doesn’t need water. The olive oil leaf powder used helps hydrate the skin without clogging the pores. Thirsty Mud can be worn throughout the night to dig deep into the pores for ultimate hydration.

Lastly, the fourth and final product in the line is “Bright Mud Eye Treatment”. This treatment is fantastic for tired, swollen eyes. It instantly decreases puffiness and brightens the skin around the entire under eye and orbital bone. I used this treatment after a long night in the labs and my eyes were instantly brighter the morning after.

In 6,000 stores in over 84 countries, Glam Glow has successfully made a name for themselves in the world of skincare.