Well, it finally happened. Snow is on the roof of my car, turning into rock solid ice as we speak. I've lived in Salt Lake City (or close by) my whole life, so you'd think I'd be used to it by now. Or at least to the point where I'm not totally crippled by anger when I see a fresh layer of powder on the ground. Spoiler alert: I'm not at that point!
There's only one reason I'm able to make it to any of my classes on time in the winter, and that is my collection of beanies. Sorry, but I can't be bothered to put dry shampoo and tousle my hair in that perfect way that looks like "I didn't do anything, but in reality I actually spent 45 minutes with no less than three styling tools" when it's 30 degrees outside and I can choose to stay underneath my blankets for proportionately longer. So, "collection" might be a bit of an overstatement; I only have three beanies. BUT STILL. I wear the shit out of those three beanies. If you're looking to add to your collection like I am, here's a list of the ones you should strongly consider. And by consider, I obviously mean purchase immediately.
These are my current favorites, and it's taking all of my will power to not add that "MEOW" beanie to my shopping cart. Considering its absurdly reasonable price point, I predict that beauty will appear on my Instagram feed
in the not so distant future...
The internet is a gigantic place, so I am bound to have missed a few gems. Link to possibly even BETTER beanies in the comments, please.
Do you know the name of the cobbler who made your shoes? Was it an Italian artisan contracted by one of your favorite labels? Or was it a young girl from Uzbekistan who's being forced into child labor?
We've all been there before. You want new shoes. No, you need new shoes. But you have absolutely no more than $50 to spend on them. I've been a full-time college student for almost five years now. Trust me, I know the struggle. Just because I know a lot about expensive clothing and can spot a Celine bag from forty yards away doesn't mean I can afford one.
I'd be lying to you if I said half my closet wasn't made possible by the outsourced jobs of Forever 21 factories. It's definitely not something I'm advertising, and expensive brands certainly aren't exempt from questionable labor practices.
The fashion industry is a business after all. It's littered with some of the most artistic and creative people who have ever lived, but it's also helmed by CEOs with business degrees who make decisions about how the product you want to buy from them is made.
I am deeply committed to the idea that personal style and clothing choices are an integral part of the way we communicate to people around us. It's the physical manifestation of what we tell ourselves we are. It's so important, and anyone who discounts "fashion" as simply a shallow clique for rich white girls isn't taking even one second to think critically about it.
Luxury is a big part of fashion, and the stereotypical definition of the word "luxury" evokes images of exotic handbags made out of crocodile, or floor-length fur coats. Aesthetically and theoretically, I admire and understand these things. But I'm not shy about the fact that I make every effort to avoid animal exploitation when I purchase things. (I do still have some leather boots and wool coats that I am praying last forever, or at least almost ever.) But I'd be a hypocrite if I didn't make an equal effort to avoid human cruelty as well. Humans are animals too, after all!
Enter shoemaker Stephanie Nicora, founder of the Nicora Johns brand. She used Kickstarter to fund her dream of making stylish shoes that are cruelty-free to both animals and humans while remaining eco-friendly and keeping the labor here in America instead of outsourcing. Pictured on the left it Giisha, one of the master shoemakers working for Nicora Johns and actually being paid a fair wage for his craft. The company runs an Instagram and Tumblr where they post photos of new products, as well as photos of their shoemakers working. They have everything from dainty brogues to platform boots, and the best part is, since every pair is handcrafted, you can customize EVERYTHING. Davey Havok ordered a pair of custom, black lace-up boots and they are fucking cool.
The idea for starting the company began with both nostalgia for an old American craft lost, and a genuine empathy for all the unemployed American artisans, who could be benefiting from having full-time fulfilling work as craftspeople making shoes. Currently only 1% of the shoes Americans buy are made in America, and this number decreases by 7% every year.
Today, the shoe industry is one of the highest polluting industries in the world. Between the chemicals required to treat leather or make synthetic materials, the agricultural destruction caused by overgrazing livestock, shoe materials make the top ten list of world’s most polluting industry every year.
The number one thing on my Christmas wish list this year is a pair of black on black Priscilla wedges. Priced at an absurdly reasonable $198, I'm sure my parents will be stoked to tuck these under the tree for me. (Right, parents?!) When you consider that no humans, animals, or planets were harmed in the production, and that you can email their customer service department for special sizing at no charge, less than $200 for a pair starts to sound cheap!
Bonus: They won't fall apart after two months like the cheap, factory-made shoes you're used to!
STAY UGLY (AND ETHICAL!)//
Amidst the raw and elegant croons of Sharon van Etten, Katie and I walked around Pioneer Park looking for people whose style drew us in and left us wanting more of the same.
The Twilight Concert Series as a whole is often labeled as an exercise in social peacocking; too busy with people looking to be seen, instead of looking to see. While it may be true that you have to fight masses of bodies to get close to the bands that play, no one can argue that seeing a group as incredible as The National for a minuscule $5 is an opportunity worth taking -- no matter how far back in the crowd you are or how feisty you have to get!
At worst, the street style scene at Twilight is like a Forever 21 catalog from last year. At best, it's an overwhelming concentration of pure and true personal style. It's easy to look trendy, but it's the people who exude that intangible quality of assuredness in their outfit. It's just who they are, and what they like, and it's obvious by the way they walk, interact and even breathe. Below are some of those people who caught our eye last Thursday! Click on photos to enlarge them.
One of my favorite trends from the show was the abundance of hats. Wide-brimmed, to both keep the sun out and look stylish as hell. I also appreciated the overarching theme of the 90s. There were countless numbers of shirts tied at the waist, tough-looking boots, high-waisted used denim shorts, and girly floral prints. Unique cross-body bags were also a staple. It was amazing to see people's commitment to fashion by how many long pants and boots there were in 90 degree weather. Not that we're complaining, we benefited after all!
See you next week, Salt Lake. Stay Ugly. xx
Writing and reporting by Jamee Dyches, photography by Katie Tingey