Monday, 29 October 2012

American Apparel: Fave's Fave!

Hypothetical question: if you had to spend your own money to rebuild your wardrobe in a single store, where would you go? Really, the only way you would ever find yourself in this situation is... well... you wouldn't. Unless the Fashion Police came knocking and demanded it for mysterious reasons? But at Fave, we like to think about these things anyway....

You're a working class guy or gal on a tight budget. Couture salons and luxury department stores are out of the question so we won’t even consider them. And if you’re going to rebuild your entire wardrobe, you want pieces with a bit more longevity than 5 to 10 washes, so your next stop isn’t a fast fashion shop! Goodbye, Zara, Forever 21 and H&M! You make great disposable fashions and we love you for the nice peplums, baroque, and burgundy-everything you’ve been churning out for the fall season but you don’t cut it when the task at hand is to find a store with a bit more than the latest and greatest trends crafted in pill-prone acrylic and poorly stitched poly-blend. 

For those of you living under a rock, American Apparel is a popular clothing retailer based in LA. They actually started as a t-shirt wholesaler in the late 80’s, producing the perfect tees in a plethora of styles for customization and mass order. They still do this! Fun fact: the American Apparel location in Ottawa (where Fave is based) is adjacent to the Apple Store, where, lo and behold, the employees sport bright blue tees with the Apple logo, produced by *American Apparel*.

At the turn of the millennium, Canadian founder Dov Charney moved American Apparel to LA and launched their first retail store in Montreal, Canada. They pride themselves on being vertically integrated. All aspects of their company come from and are contained within the company; the design floor to the factory floor to the selling floor, meaning that they are also sweatshop free! Manufacturing happens at the Los Angeles factory which hires American workers for fair wages. Besides the fact that their headquarters are in LA, the essence of American Apparel is very Canadian. No wonder we’re fans.Vertically integrated and sweatshop free? Canadian origins? But we suspect that the name wouldn’t have the same ring if it was called “Canadian Apparel.” 

Shucks! The Fashion Police came knocking and as punishment for drifting from the sample size, they’re putting you on a 10 day fat-flush and restricting you to shop at one place for a month as a disciplinary measure. That’s where American Apparel comes in! The retailer is still true to its origins, selling customers a rainbow wheel of great quality t-shirts in a variety of blends, neck styles and fits, but these pale in comparison to everything else they offer today. Tons of basics and classics, and yes, at a bit of a higher price point than a broke student or a stingy city-goer might prefer, but the seams won’t come apart after a few wears and the fibers of those $87 sweaters are 100% COTTON! Gasp! That’s cheaper than my itchy acrylic cowl neck pullover from Zara. Belts? Check. Sunglasses, eyeglasses, and watches? American Apparel sells timeless vintage styles at great prices (around $50, less or more depending on the style). Other accessories? Why not buy the ubiquitous and ever-versatile circle scarf or some genuine leather totes. Need some denim bottoms? Long/short/skinny/flare leg/dark wash/light wash/four way stretch/no stretch, you got it. In fact, the only popular basic or classic you can’t seem to find in an American Apparel store is a low-waisted jean. It doesn’t stop there! You can find make-up items like lip-gloss and virtually any colour and finish of nail polish here too. 
They even have neon out on the sales floor for the laggards!

My favourite colour of the season! So trendy, but also a timeless winter neutral.

Whatever they produce is made is typically made in at least 5 colours at one point or another...

We love the selection, the quality/price ratio, the natural fibers, etc. That’s not to say you won’t find synthetics here and there, but let’s not focus on the labels. The construction is good. I’ve put my American Apparel acrylic cardigan in the washer and dryer at least 15 times and it still looks like new. I can’t say the same for anything I’ve bought from Zara.  Don’t get me wrong, Zara is still the reigning Queen of Reinterpretations (read: knockoffs) and we love how chic everything is, but when you want to love your clothes for longer and and need a great foundation to pair your pieces of the season with, American Apparel is a super-investment! You can create so many looks from a few great basic and classic items. Witness these fun Halloween costume ideas put together with American Apparel pieces. 
Red Riding Hood

Wicked Witch!

Chic Equestrienne


Check out this fun super-oversized camel coat with a contrasting suede collar. I’m liking this fit for Fall. I styled it with my burgundy pom pom beanie, striped seed-stitch sweater, the black Easy Jeans and my own vintage boots.

And I'm off! Look out for my next post on Monday. :)


Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Trend Report: Bernini's Baroque

Sienna Vittoria, Oct. 27th, 2012

Though the revival of Baroque is already a season’s past, it is still making its way into editorial endeavors, the realm of retail, and the closets of consumers. As an art student and enthusiast, this trend is one that truly strikes a chord of appreciation in me.
            This art movement, in the 17th and 18th centuries, was one of the aftermaths of the Protestant Reformation. Before the time of media and advertisements, art was of course the form of propaganda used to promote a cause. As an attempt to regain followers who had been swayed by the provocative thoughts of Luther, the Catholic Church encouraged a revival of religiously thematic artwork.
            If you aren’t familiar with the Baroque movement, think cherubs, dramatic movement, extravagant luxuries, rich colours, and a glorified upper class. Painters like Caravaggio, Rembrandt, and Rubens romanticized the Catholic faith in paintings with emotional depth, dramatic lighting, and luxurious embellishment.
            Designers have recently looked to the past, gaining inspiration for their collections from Baroque art. Brocade prints, rich velvets, and heavy jewels have been gracing the runway for the past two seasons. Now how can you wear with trend on the streets of reality, without being mistaken for the lead in a theatrical production?
            Dominico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana took the ready-to-wear lead with this trend last season, sending forth cherub printed textiles, lace frocks, gold brocade and blossoming tapestry prints. Balmain offered their characteristically edgy take on the trend with pearl-embellished cropped jackets, low-slung velvet pants, and leather detailing. Moschino’s thick gold jewels and gold-and-black brocade printed dresses contributed a feminine take on the trend.

            Now, where can you purchase garments in this style in our sweet little Ottawa? Commercial retailers such as Urban Outfitters (Rideau Street, right on the outskirts of The Market) are selling articles of clothing reminiscent of the Baroque movement. Brocade velvet fabrics, rich colours like burgundy, gold and black, and embellishments galore – this trend can be done as decked out or as simplified as you fancy. 

            Visit good ol’ Value Village and Rag Time for ornate costume jewelry, tapestry printed shoes and handbags, religious symbols like crosses, florals and brocade, and garments in rich fabrics you can play up. Have fun! 

Thoughts? Opinions? Likes? Dislikes? Loves? Hates? 
Tweet me and let me know!

Yours truly,
Sienna Vittoria Lee-Coughlin

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

My Top MFW Shows PART3

Top 5 Shows of Montreal Fashion Week PART 3:
#3 Rachel Sin

I completely fell in love with this beautiful feminine collection by talented designer Rachel Sin. The pieces were so wearable and could really suit any woman. I love the feminine aspects of her designs like the peplum and the lace that was used in this collection. So many nice pieces that are office appropriate yet chic at the same time because of their beautiful detailing. Rachel Sin is definitely one designer that I fell in love with at fashion week! 

- Gen