Why do we buy clothes?

On the surface, the answer to this question is straightforward. We buy clothes because society has made it a necessity. Our culture has sent a message that covering your body is a must. You won’t find acceptance if you go parading around in nothing but your skin. So at a very basic level clothes serve as a need, but for many (especially those of us with an interest in fashion) clothing helps satisfy a want.

Before getting into why we view clothing as a want more than a need I should distinguish between clothing and fashion. Clothing functions as a basic need. It covers our bodies, and provides protection from the natural elements. Fashion is about making a statement. Fashion is a form of expression. It is an art. Therefore, when I’m talking about a want for clothing I’m really referring to fashion clothing. Thisis clothing that goes beyond serving a basic need. It is clothing that makes a statement. Fashion is what transforms clothing from a need into a want.

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Music and Fashion: Harmony or Noise?

I was originally inspired to write about the co-existence of music and fashion when I came across the brand Maison Kitsuné. As both a fashion house and music label, Maison Kitsuné brings a vibrant chic to both their clothing and music. Being a fan of Two Doors Cinema Club, a band under Maison Kitsuné, I quickly grew fond of the fashion label as well. Since music and fashion are both forms of expression, it seems intuitive that they should be complimentary. Upon further exploration, it appears that the interaction between music and fashion is very common but may not always be symbiotic.

Hip-hop is probably where I see the most activity between music and fashion. Many rappers recently love to drop designer names in their lyrics. A good example of this is A$AP Rocky’s “Fashion Killa” where almost every line of the lyrics includes a designer name. Alright, but who cares? In all honesty, we really shouldn’t care about these famous people flaunting their superficial class. However, I do find it jarring when groups like Migos start yelling Versace, one of the most prestigious fashion labels, non-stop on a track and call it a song. It reduces the powerful and iconic Medusa into a sort of joke. Don’t get me wrong, I love that it breaks down classism but it is a little distasteful.

While there are those who use fashion to influence their music, some like to use their musical influence to break into fashion. Kanye West, for instance, believes that being a genius in music qualifies him as a designer as well. As a fan of Kanye, I was really excited to see what he could bring in his collaboration with the French label APC last year. It was appalling that a part of the collection was a plain white t-shirt with a price tag of $150. Meanwhile, Kanye is criticizing people who are “spending everythang on Alexander Wang” in his appropriately titled track, “New Slaves”. Kanye and Jean Touitou, creative director of APC, heard all the criticism and reduced the plain white t-shirt to a MUCH more affordable $90 in their second collaboration coming soon. All jokes aside, Kanye has already proven to be an influential figure in fashion with his Air Yeezy’s so don’t talk to him about style or he’ll embarrass you. Music and fashion are becoming a melting pot of opinions and cultural influences. On a high level, it becomes difficult to identify who influences what so take the time to explore deeper into music and fashion to have a more holistic understanding of pop culture.


–Jacky Li

3 Ways to Spruce Up Your Shoes

Sometimes when we are on a student budget, we can’t afford the latest designer shoes. However, that doesn’t mean that it needs to look like we bought the exact same shoe as everyone else. The UW Style Society presents three different ways you can ‘mark’ your shoe and let everyone else know that you’re not part of the same pack. shoes 1

1. Leather Laces

Instead of the same boring old cotton lace shoes, why not try out something a bit different? As we can see in the picture, it changes up the feel and colour of the shoe to something a bit more unique and distinguished. You can typically find these laces at most dollar stores or your neighborhood shoe cobbler. Don’t forget to grab an exacto knife to slice off the extra part of the laces. Best not be trippin’ shoes2

2. Funky Lace Colours & Funky Tying

Just because you wear dress shoes, doesn’t mean it has to be bland. What better way of standing out in a crowd than standing out with some neon-colored laces? Try using contrasting colours which will make them pop from your shoe’s backdrop. Oh, I see. That’s not enough. Well, why not step it up even more by tying those sparkly new laces in different ways. Head over to Ian’s Shoelace Site (http://www.fieggen.com/shoelace/lacingmethods.htm) to see over 41 different ways of learning different ways to lace it up. shoes3

3. Painting the Canvas

Okay guys, I’ll be honest. I have no artistic skills to save my life. However, that’s why we have friends! (Don’t tell mine I said that). So ask someone who knows how to draw and paint to give some flair to your shoes. You will need to consider the shoe’s material as well as the type of paint when you do this little DIY project. For this, it is best to stick with fabric/canvas shoes such as the ever-classic Converse line. In terms of paint, you should buy the ones which are acrylicbased paint. Lastly, some clear varnish will go a long way in terms of protecting your shoe’s final artwork. Go ahead and try it out. Don’t forget to show off your sweet new kicks by tagging @uwstylesociety on Instagram and Twitter! — Adrian Nguyen

OOTD: Disney Style

thought closet disney

disney ootd

For someone new to the world of fashion, it can be difficult to stay inspired and be creative with everyday outfits. At least, this is what I have found. Just like writers can get writers block, sometimes the inspiration to take risks and explore new styles and colours is simply lacking. Several months ago, I discovered one remedy to get the creative juices flowing. “DisneyBound” is the name coined for wearing an ensemble inspired by a Disney character. The idea was started by a tumblr blog (http://disneybound.tumblr.com/) and has taken off among Disney fans who share their creations using social media. It began as a way to combine childhood nostalgia of Disney with fashion and has since grown into a trend of its own. Not to be confused with cosplay, participants wear street clothes and use colours and accessories to illustrate a particular character (This video explains the difference in more detail http://youtu.be/Flc3eo38VGw). From Lion King, to Finding Nemo, to The Little Mermaid and beyond, the possibilities for great outfits are just about endless.

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Slow Fashion


In my previous post I provided a brief overview of the fast fashion business model that currently dominates the fashion industry. To recap, this model puts an emphasis on high quantities of cheap clothing. Demand for such clothing comes at a high price to the natural environment and puts pressure on clothing manufacturers to cut costs often at the expense of workers’ wages, and health and safety. This week, I’ll take a look at the emerging movement of slow fashion and how it may help in addressing the environmental and social issues facing the fashion industry.

Slow fashion lacks a single definition, however, the one I tend to use is the following: Slow fashion is clothing that is of high-quality, manufactured in a sustainable way, and designed to last. It is a fashion concept that encourages consumers to connect with their clothing, to reuse, and recycle their garments. I’ve adapted this from the work of Kate Fletcher. For anyone interested in issues of sustainability and fashion, I highly recommend her work.

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Why are people opposed to fur in fashion?

Source   Fur is back in fashion. What was once considered a terrible offense has become a fashion trend with designers showing off their latest runway collections complete with fur. What is it about fur that causes opposition to its use as a fashion statement? Reported cruelty to animals is one reason. People don’t like the thought of animals being skinned alive in order to make a piece of clothing. Yet many people, myself included, still eat meat despite the fact that the agriculture industry has faced plenty of accusations of animal cruelty. I think the opposition to fur is more than opposition to how the animals are treated. Some companies work to obtain their fur from certified ethical sources, but that fact doesn’t change opposition to the use of fur. The real opposition to fur is, in my opinion, over the issue of practicality. In most situations fur serves no practical function. Now this could be said about a lot of high end fashion. However, fur seems especially pointless. Unless you live in a climate that faces extreme colds on a regular basis there’s really no need for fur. Last I checked, the fashion capitals where fur is put on display don’t fit that criteria. Even here in Southern Ontario the use of fur seems unnecessary. Save for a few weeks a year, the temperatures never get low enough to justify fur. On those truly cold days proper layering will do just fine. Opposition to fur is opposition to cruelty to animals for no practical reason. What are willingness to look the other way when animals being treated cruelly benefits us says about people, I’ll leave you to decide. My final verdict on fur? Well it’s mixed. I really can’t give a definitive yes or no answer. For me to oppose the use of animals for personal benefit would be hypocritical. I eat meat fairly regularly. My shoes and work bag are leather made, and you could argue that there is no practical need to own leather. Though leather is often a by-product of other animal uses whereas most fur (not all) is obtained in very cruel circumstances. It is that fact, along with my perception of fur’s lack of practicality that will likely keep me away from wearing it anytime soon. Stay stylish, Chris M.E.S. Sustainability Management