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How Virgil Abloh managed to bridge the Runway-Streetwear gap

In the past couple years, pieces from high fashion have found their way into streetwear and the line has began blur between high fashion and streetwear as two separate styles. It is no secret that hip hop music has had heavy influence in this. Of course, streetwear as a style was initially popularized by rappers. Jordan’s, NBA jerseys, flat brim hats, and baggy clothes were what it started out as in its early stages. In the mid 90’s, brands like Supreme and Bape emerged and would lead the era of streetwear brands, designed with the sole purpose of being streetwear clothing, being the overwhelmingly popular option for dressing in a streetstyle. Loud, flashy designs with the brand’s logo plastered across the clothing were what defined the style. Around 2003, however, Kanye West emerged on the scene. He not only brought a new sound in his music, he wore a pink polo and Louis Vuitton backpack in the public eye as a rapper.

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Kanye in the early 2000’s, wearing his trademark pink polo

This was unprecedented, as everyone expected rappers to be tough and street, not to wear something as flamboyant as a pink polo. He achieved major success after this and was the first to send the message that not all rappers had to be macho tough guys, setting up the collision of high fashion and hip hop. Unsurprisingly, Kanye nowadays heavily involves himself with high fashion and following in his steps, many other rappers do as well. Name drops of luxury brands such as Givenchy, Rick Owens, Raf Simons, Balmain, Balenciaga, and even newer brands such as Damir Doma have become commonplace. Despite the fact runway fashion has trickled down to the street level, streetwear has never found its way to the runway. It makes sense too; it is hard to picture elegant flowing dresses, menacing leather outerwear, and delicately patterned shirts next to the blatant branding of a Supreme box logo hoodie. Streetwear simply had no place in its current state on the runway. Enter Virgil Abloh.

Virgil

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Virgil and Kanye attending a Paris Fashion Week show

The 34 year old former architect and Chicago native is Kanye’s creative director and has been since 2002. And, like Kanye, is a fan of both hip hop and high end fashion. He has been seen wearing high end pieces and attending fashion shows, his interest in runway is more than apparent. It would make sense that being surrounded by all this creative influence, Virgil would want to design clothes. Thus, he founded Pyrex Vision.

Pyrex was, by Virgil’s own description, an art project where he intended to only work with a single graphic. The Pyrex graphic was simply the word “PYREX” in blocky white letters. The graphic was put across the front of blank athletic shorts from the sportswear company Champions, and the shorts were sold for $60.

The quality was on par with all the regular shorts from Champions, which retail for around $15. While many people bought the shorts for the hype behind the graphic, many others (possibly the same people buying the shorts) ranted that it was a ripoff to pay four times the price of normal shorts for a word written across the crotch. The same complaints of been made about all streetwear companies, notably Supreme who’s famous box logo hoodie retails $138. Despite complaints, every time Supreme drops the famous hoodie (once a year), it sells out within literal seconds and often sells on the secondhand market for double or triple the retail price. The same was happening for Pyrex, the shorts sold out with rapidity and were selling for exponentially increased prices on the secondhand market. Perhaps Virgil noticed he wasn’t really creating fashion and was simply marketing hype, or he was bored of the limitations of the Pyrex graphic. Either way, a few years later in 2012, Virgil Abloh founded Off-White ℅ Virgil Abloh.

Off-White ℅ Virgil Abloh

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Virgil stated from the start of Off-White that he wished to bridge the gap between high fashion and streetwear. The iconic graphic for Off-White was an image of horizontal hazard stripes and the word “WHITE” in all capital letters. It seemed impossible that the man who had been selling Champions shorts for four times the price to the streetwear and hypebeast crowd would be able to create anything worthy of being deemed “fashion”, let alone make it to the runway while seeming to stick to the same hypebeast-fueled ideas.

Virgil set out to prove his doubters wrong three years ago, and since then has had three seasons of collections shown during various fashion weeks. How did he manage to create a far more serious image of a creator of content for himself after being known as “Mr. Pyrex Shorts” and “Kanye’s dude” for so many years?

The first thing, though it seems superficial and irrelevant, was the pricing. Pyrex hoodies retailed for around $200 and shorts for of course $60. The same kids who were buying Supreme and wearing Nikes were able to buy Pyrex, assuming they bought it before it sold out. The brand Pyrex became associated with the idea of an hype-driven teenager dressed in the latest Jordan release, a Supreme box logo hoodie, a five-panel hat, and Pyrex shorts to complete the look. This was a look considered juvenile and frankly, bad, by anyone involved in the high fashion industry and any active consumer of high end clothes. To create a new image for himself, Virgil needed to do something to that would seem counterintuitive to any business-minded person; he needed to make his product inaccessible to his core demographic, hoping a higher income demographic with more refined taste would take him in. Off-White retails at high end boutiques alongside other designers. Websites such as SSENSE, Antonioli, and Luisa Via Roma carry Off-White, as does high-end department store Barney’s New York. So far, Virgil’s image revamping plan has worked – sort of. While many high end consumers have embraced Off-White and wore it with other designer pieces as Virgil had hoped, others called it tacky and overpriced, seeing it as Pyrex 2.0. Off-White’s critics claim that just like Pyrex, Off-White’s only unique feature is it’s easily recognized graphic, meaning it was still simply overpriced streetwear.

While Off-White does moderately revolve around a single graphic (hazard stripes accompanied by the word “WHITE”), it has managed to free itself from the graphic being the sole reason pieces sold. Unique touches (subtle patterns, patchwork, distressing) as well as higher quality materials (100% wool, high-grade cotton, heavyweight denim) give worth to pieces outside of hype for a logo. And while the relatively heavy use of the graphic is unlike other brands of similar price, it keeps the brand true to its streetwear roots and is part of the reason Off-White is able to bridge the gap between the high end world and the street, not only exist in one or the other.

In fact, in Off-White fashion week collections, the logo is hardly present. Save for a few hints and nods, the focus during collections is the proportions of the silhouettes and the tailoring of the garments. In the latest Off-White S/S 2016 collection, the focus was on playing with proportions in typical workwear, with the collection fittingly named “Blue Collar”.

blue-collar-collection

The collection was based around the colors black and blue and featured very loose-fitting pieces, wide and billowing. The intentionally ill-fitting garments, as well as wide and thick-soled sandals, had models appearing small in their clothing, like a boy in his father’s suit. Denim workshirts, dirty ponchos, and rain ponchos helped show the grittiness of the working class models and the avant-garde tailoring paired with asymmetrical detailing and distressing kept the show interesting. In the midst of all this, the word “WHITE” still peeked out here and there, a patch of hazard stripe every now and then, demonstrating faith to his streetwear roots. The show received positive reception and positively surprised those who expected a generic Pyrex 2.0 logo plastered mess – of which included me.

Viewing “Blue Collar” amidst flipping through a week of collections drew me into the world of Off-White and made me excited to see what Virgil and his team have in store for the future to blur the lines between the runway and the street even further.

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How to Care for Your Silver Charm Bracelets

Silver is a beautiful metal and when it is used to make handmade jewellery it can be wonderfully exquisite because of its brilliance, lustre and versatility. A silver charm bracelet is a gorgeous one of a kind piece of jewellery that you will treasure, but if it is neglected it can be prone to tarnish.

chlobo jewelry

When silver comes into contact with sulphur or oxygen it can appear dirty or discoloured and this will take away from the beauty of your jewellery. Caring for silver jewellery and keeping it looking like new isn’t too difficult, it simply requires a few simple steps. In this article we will offer tips for caring for your silver jewellery so that you can keep it shining bright.

  • Never wear your silver jewellery when swimming, as the chlorinated water of a pool or the salt water of the ocean will cause it to become tarnished.
  • Make sure that you spray on hairspray and perfume before you put on your jewellery, as these chemicals can also negatively affect the shine.
  • Silver jewellery should be stored in a cool and dry place and should be wrapped in acid free tissue paper or a tarnish-resistant cloth that is specially designed for silver jewellery.
  • Many people swear by the practice of adding a piece of white chalk to where they store their silver jewellery, as this old remedy is reported to prevent tarnish.
  • Another strategy is to use one of the silica packs that you get when you buy a pair of new shoes – they are designed to absorb moisture and they can help your silver to last longer.
  • When it comes time to clean your jewellery, you should clean it with soap and water and polish it with a soft cloth and dry it very well.
  • You should not use toothpaste when cleaning your silver charm bracelets, as it will scratch the silver.
  • You don’t need to wash the jewellery every time, you can keep it clean on a regular basis by using a polishing cloth and buffing it. There are polishing cloths that you can buy which are designed for silver and are impregnated with a polishing compound. They last a long time and they give an amazing shine.
  • When you are polishing your silver charm bracelets you should be using a back and forth motion along the grain of the silver, rather than rubbing it in circles. When you rub the silver in circles it will magnify any of the tiny scratches in the metal. It is also important to switch to a different part of the cloth regularly so that you will not be placing tarnish back onto the silver.
  • If you need to get into the small grooves and areas of your silver charm jewellery, you can use a Q-tip.
  • There are commercial dips that are made for silver jewellery, but they can be harsh and they should only be used when the silver is very heavily tarnished.
  • After you have cleaned your silver jewellery you should always make sure to dry it completely, because if you leave any residue on it that will cause the silver to tarnish faster.
  • You might consider cleaning your silver jewellery with steam or hot water, but remember that these methods are good for metals but not necessarily for delicate stones.
  • Do not use gloves when you are cleaning silver, as the rubber will emit a sulphur that will damage the silver.
  • A natural solution is to use olive oil and lemon juice and mix it in a large bowl. You can use about one half cup of lemon juice to a teaspoon of olive oil. Dip a cloth into the solution and use it to wipe the jewellery, then rinse the silver and let it dry completely.
  • Another option is to use white vinegar and baking soda to clean your jewellery. You can soak the tarnished piece of jewellery in a half cup of white vinegar and two tbsp. of baking soda for two or three hours, then rinse off the charm bracelet and let it dry completely. Be prepared – when you combine the baking soda and vinegar it will start to fizz!

These are just a few important tips that you should keep in mind when it comes to caring for your charm bracelet and other silver jewellery. With the right care and maintenance, this jewellery will look beautiful, bright and shiny for many years.

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Rocking the Smart-Casual Look with Suit Shorts

Coco Chanel used to say that luxury means comfort first and foremost. All in all, except the occasional uncomfortable item released for the shocking value only and not really wearable in day to day life, fashion seems to progress more and more towards comfort. Items which were initially not very fashionable but highly practical have evolved to become quite trendy (canvas backpacks, leather messenger bags, vintage messenger bags). The smart-casual look is a perfect example of this trend, and it’s equally popular among men and women both.

But, while women tend to enjoy a much more varied array of options in the matter, when it comes to elegant-sport or smart-casual, men tend to just stick to the T-shirt and jeans and call it a day. We argue that more daring and fresh combinations should be adopted on a larger scale by men when going about their daily business: it makes them look cooler and it adds a youthful twist on a regular or normcore outfit. One of the combos which are easiest to match and to pull off is the suit and shorts, and it definitely shouldn’t be worn so much only by women, because it makes almost anyone look good, as long as the clothes are fitted to your body type.

Therefore, we advocate the wear of suit shorts for men as a really comfortable and hip way to sport the smart-casual look and add a touch of freshness to their style. Here are just a few suggestions of how to pull it off:

1_man with coord shorts suit
Try wearing coordinated colors for the shorts and the upper part of the suit, just like in a classic suit outfit. This isn’t too bold, and it’s just like preserving the original suit look, only with added comfort and some extra carelessness thrown in for good style. The times have evolved from the whole stiff do-up, and it’s a good thing that fashion seems to keep up with this trend, in most situations at least. While you won’t be able to pull off wearing suit shorts in a court of law (probably), the outfit is more than acceptable in any other situation.

2_man-with-contrasting-blazer-and-short-suit

After you get accustomed to the style, you can transition to something a just little bolder. Just try using different colors for the shorts and the suit top. As long as they are matching colors, all will be well. You can’t go wrong if you choose a light one and a dark one (like in the picture above).

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For our final tip to take away from all this: rock some accessories. Don’t be afraid of even sporting some really casual accessories, like messenger bags: they fit right into the overall smart-casual look and you don’t need to worry about them being ‘too’ scruffy or out of place. As long as everything is well-matched, you have nothing to worry about. Feel free to check out retail sites with lots of pictures for sources of inspirations – Mango, Asos and the likes. Good luck and have fun shopping.

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Summer 2015 ESPY Awards

On July 15, 2015, the annual ESPY Awards was held at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.  It was a ground-breaking ceremony with Caitlyn Jenner being one of the big recipients of the evening. On the red carpet, there were sports stars from all the different realms of the sporting world, as well as the family and friends who came to celebrate their excellence.  There were some outfits that definitely stood out among the crowd.

ricardo-lockette nfl player espy awards

In the “flashy” category is NFL player Ricardo Lockette who arrived on the red carpet is this very trendy black and white polka dot sports coat with solid black lapels, black button-down shirt and matching bow tie.  The size of the dots makes it a bold fashion statement and the contrasting orange/red pocket square and watch face definitely adds a colorful interest and breaks up the repetitive color and pattern of the polka dots. It is a great way to stand out in a crowd.

nfl player j j watt of houston texans

Another NFL player who was in touch with his “preppy” self at the 23rd annual ESPY Awards was J. J. Watt.  He looks summery in his white trousers and white dress shirt and he adds some nice color with his light navy, two-button sports jacket and pink tie with pocket square.  The only part of J. J.’s outfit that I am not too fond of is his brown leather oxfords.  I think I would have liked to have seen the navy color repeated in his shoes too, in order to tie his look all together.

Mixed martial artist Ronda Rousey arrives at the ESPY Awards at the Microsoft Theater on Wednesday, July 15, 2015, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

One of two ladies who made quite the “flashy” entrances was mixed martial artist Ronda Rousey, who showed off her athletic stature in this sheer-panel, cut-out dress in color-blocked black and white.  Ronda’s choice of t-strap sandals with the spiky heel and ankle strap in a matching black and white pattern is a great accompaniment to her dress.

Melanie-Brown-2015-ESPY-Awards-Red-Dress

The other woman who definitely turned heads at the ESPY Awards was former “Spice Girl” Melanie Brown, who arrived on the red carpet in this fantastically-fitting red dress with a cross-over bodice, simple lines down to a hemline below the knees, and a sexy side slit.  Mel B’s color coordinated pointy-toed pumps are the right choice to pull her look all together, as well as her matching dangle earrings.

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Skirts to Live in When You’re Expecting

The summer can be brutal when you’re pregnant.  The heat combined with shelves of barely there summer wear make the season particularly difficult.  Breezy skirts are modern day favorites for casual days and fancy gatherings.  Light weight material, beautiful patterns and flowy fabrics provide summery options which can accommodate women in all three trimesters.

joie no belly skirt

Joie No Belly Maternity Skirt by A Pea in the Pod features a summery blue print in a jersey knit.  The full length skirt helps hide your belly and the side slit shows off your sandals.

PinkBlush Print Maxi Maternity Skirt

A black and cream print feels extra fancy in a maxi design.  PinkBlush’s Print Maxi Maternity Skirt accommodates a growing belly with a stretchy waist band, perfect for a summer get together .

New Look Maternity Floral Maxi Skirt

 

New Look Maternity Floral Maxi Skirt is light and loose for those hot days.The floral design looks grown up in black and white and the soft jersey “over-the bump” band adds extra comfort.

Secret Fit Belly Mitered Stipe Maxi Skirt-Maternity

Oh Baby by Motherhood Secret Fit Belly Mitered Stipe Maxi Skirt-Maternity is your live-in easy comfortable skirt.  The grey and white striped pattern is simple and pretty and the seams add a modern appeal.

Now it’s easy to look effortlessly stylish even when the temperature soars.  Wear these skirts to picnics, softball games, days at the office, and on all your summer adventures.

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Tips for Wearing Leather During Summer

For leather.

 

With summer on in full swing, most men and women wouldn’t dare go out wearing winter fabrics. But when it comes to leather, it certainly is hard to keep away!

If you would love to sport your trendy leather pieces this season despite the fact that just reading the words summer and leather in one sentence makes you sweat bullets, you’ve come to the right place. Here are some top tips to help you look trendy without sweating it out.

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Choose the Right Leather For You

While leather apparel is designed to be effortlessly chic for winter, thanks to designer upgrades, wearing leather in summer is no longer a problem. Simply look for light-weight hides that are lined with silk or other breathable fabrics to keep you comfortable throughout the day.

Whether you intend to show off a pair of leather gloves or a pair of leather shorts, be sure to pay attention to this little detail.

Go for Accents

If you’re not very confident of sporting leather in summer, just go for accents instead of the real deal. Wearing clothes with leather accents will help you step out in the sun confidently and is sure to get you approving nods.

Go for a cotton jacket with leather accents, a skirt with leather pocket flaps, or a dress with leather panels and you can have your cake and eat it too!

Don’t Go All out with Leather

As much as you love leather, you can’t go all out and dress in it from head to toe. Even if you’re comfortable doing so, you don’t want others to look at you and feel suffocated by the heat! Moreover, maintaining balance is important no matter what fashion trend you follow, so when draping yourself in a second skin, make sure you’re doing it in small doses.

Pair leather shorts or trousers with simple, summery tops or shirts or wear a leather vest over your regular summer ensemble. With summer sandals or loafers to match, you’re definitely going to look smart.

Allow Skin to Breathe

Taking care of your skin is a must whether you spend generously on creams and lotions or are thrifty and prefer availing beauty sample freebies. So even if you wear leather that is lined with breathable fabric, you don’t want to wear anything that is skin-tight. Opt for jackets or vests that fit loosely, shorts that are roomy, and wrap or A-line skirts.

Also, summer is the season to bare some skin, so don’t cover yourself up in leather trousers and full-sleeved jackets. Choose shorts or vests and don’t be afraid to try on leather clothes with slits or interesting laser cutouts.

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Pick Lighter Colors

When you think of leather, you’re bound to think of black. But in the middle of summer when you want to feel cool as well as look cool, you certainly don’t want to go out wearing black as it can absorb more heat!

Leather wear in white, brown or camel, and other light shades are your best bet in summer. Don’t shy away from bright colors like red and yellow. Oxblood and pastel shades are a hit too!

Accessorize with Leather

If wearing leather is too much for you, accessorize your summer look with leather. After all, you don’t always have to wear leather to show it off!

You can use leather accessories like belts, wallets, satchels, handbags, and more to your advantage. You can also consider donning a pair of leather shoes! Women should stick to open-toed heels and sandals for office or evening wear, and men should remember to wear socks made of natural fabrics to help absorb sweat.

In addition to this, women can wear a leather choker or necklace with beads to accessorize their ensemble with leather.

Fake It

Natural leather can be quite heavy and if you want to enjoy summer without the added bulk, opting for pleather or faux leather can be the best thing to do. Not only is faux leather light-weight and stylish, it is also inexpensive and cruelty-free.

Conclusion

Dressing comfortably is as important as dressing fashionably, and if comfort is more important to you than fashion, wearing leather in the hot months may not be something you look forward to.

However, wearing a second skin in the sweltering heat doesn’t have to be as bad as it sounds, so there’s no reason for you to stash away your much loved gear. Sure leather looks like a winter-perfect fabric, but using it this season can be a great way to refresh your summer wardrobe.

With the tips given here, you now know all about using your leather clothing and accessories to make heads turn. So don’t worry about the heat, just put on what you love and head out!

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