WBEZ | fashion http://www.wbez.org/tags/fashion Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Bagging a Birkin http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/bagging-birkin-114591 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/16947406947_62734cb42e_o-b63f540910ef9eec9d84ca3e94de700b864640a0-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>There are people with Birkin bags and then there are the rest of us.</p><p>This purse, made by Hermes, the French luxury brand, averages $60,000.</p><p>And it&#39;s been the &quot;it&quot; bag for 30 years.</p><p>The strange thing about Birkin bags: They always seem to be mysteriously out of stock.</p><p>This is no accident. Today on the show, we go on a quest for a Birkin bag! And we find ourselves in a world where the normal rules of commerce are totally upside down.</p></p> Mon, 25 Jan 2016 11:29:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/bagging-birkin-114591 You, Too, Can Dress Like 'El Chapo' http://www.wbez.org/news/you-too-can-dress-el-chapo-114462 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/gettyimages-504679228_custom-5884f1ec263848b1aaeb296141563172f88f4fe2-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res462906813" previewtitle="A woman looks at the home page of the clothing house Barabas on Tuesday. At the time, the site featured two photos of Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin &quot;El Chapo&quot; Guzmán. Today the site shows a different ad — one that, again, stars El Chapo."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="A woman looks at the home page of the clothing house Barabas on Tuesday. At the time, the site featured two photos of Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin &quot;El Chapo&quot; Guzmán. Today the site shows a different ad — one that, again, stars El Chapo." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/13/gettyimages-504679228_custom-5884f1ec263848b1aaeb296141563172f88f4fe2-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 360px; width: 620px;" title="A woman looks at the home page of the clothing house Barabas on Tuesday. At the time, the site featured two photos of Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin &quot;El Chapo&quot; Guzmán. Today the site shows a different ad — one that, again, stars El Chapo. (Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)" /></div><div><div><p>The Internet had many, many responses to actor Sean Penn&#39;s account of meeting Joaquin &quot;El Chapo&quot; Guzmán, which was&nbsp;<a href="http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/features/el-chapo-speaks-20160109">published by Rolling Stone</a>&nbsp;on Saturday: shock, anger, derision, astonishment, utter bafflement ...</p></div></div></div><p>But from one quarter, at least, there was pure excitement.</p><p>&quot;EL CHAPO GUZMAN WEARING BARABAS SHIRT!&quot; was the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=765015070293390&amp;id=229910577137178">all-caps announcement</a>&nbsp;from the clothing company Barabas.</p><p>The Los Angeles-based clothier says&nbsp;Rolling Stone&nbsp;photos show the drug kingpin wearing its distinctive shirts. And the company has seized the moment.</p><p>Today, if you head to its&nbsp;<a href="http://barabasmen.com/">home page</a>, you&#39;ll see its name, its slogan &mdash; &quot;Good Words, Good Thoughts, Good Deeds&quot; &mdash; and a gigantic ad pairing pictures of El Chapo and a Barabas model.</p><p>You wouldn&#39;t mistake the mustachioed druglord for the bearded, coiffed model. But their shirts are distinctly similar.</p><p>Sean Penn writes that when he met El Chapo, the druglord wore &quot;a casual patterned silk shirt.&quot; According to Barabas, it was actually cotton.</p><p>Barabas identifies it as from&nbsp;<a href="http://barabasmen.com/barabas-fresh-bloom-mens-button-down-shirt-clone-en-6.html">the &quot;Fantasy&quot; line</a>&nbsp;and suggests the shirt&#39;s pattern is &quot;simple, clean and works well together.&quot; We&#39;ll leave that to you to judge.</p><p>The clothing company claims that another shirt &mdash; one worn by El Chapo, sans mustache, in a video sent to Penn &mdash; is also&nbsp;<a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BAYxMItQfHU/?taken-by=barabas_men">one of theirs</a>. It appears to resemble the Barabas &quot;<a href="http://barabasmen.com/barabas-mens-rose-garden-button-down-shirt-clone-en-3.html">Crazy Paisley</a>&quot; style.</p><p>If you want to channel El Chapo&#39;s look, each shirt will set you back $128.</p><div id="res462904302"><iframe allowtransparency="true" class="instagram-media instagram-media-rendered" data-instgrm-payload-id="instagram-media-payload-0" frameborder="0" height="779" id="instagram-embed-0" scrolling="no" src="https://www.instagram.com/p/BAYxMItQfHU/embed/captioned/?v=6" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 1px; padding: 0px; border-width: 0px; border-style: initial; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; max-width: 658px; width: calc(100% - 2px); border-radius: 4px; box-shadow: rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.498039) 0px 0px 1px 0px, rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.14902) 0px 1px 10px 0px; display: block; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-size: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-position: initial; background-repeat: initial;"></iframe></div><p>At one point, the Barabas site&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=766008213527409&amp;id=229910577137178">crashed under high traffic</a>, the company says. But it&#39;s back up and running now.</p><p>Barabas says in its &quot;philosophy of fashion statement&quot; that it&#39;s an &quot;environmentally and socially responsible company,&quot; committed to the good words, good thoughts and good deeds of its motto.</p><p>The company has not commented on the quality of El Chapo&#39;s words, thoughts or deeds.</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/01/13/462901056/you-too-can-dress-like-el-chapo?ft=nprml&amp;f=462901056" target="_blank"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Wed, 13 Jan 2016 11:56:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/you-too-can-dress-el-chapo-114462 Chicago’s Lyric Opera hosts costume sale http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/chicago%E2%80%99s-lyric-opera-hosts-costume-sale-110751 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Image6.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">Already on the lookout for a Halloween costume? Or possibly your next Comic Con or Renaissance Faire outfit? The Lyric Opera of Chicago has got your back.</p><p dir="ltr">This Saturday marks only the second time in Lyric history that the company will be selling some 3,000 pieces of their handmade costume collection to the public. Costume Director Maureen Reilly said the Lyric doesn&rsquo;t have enough room in their storage for all of the costumes - some dating back almost 100 years.</p><p dir="ltr">Some costumes, she said, have even become a bit repetitive.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I think our Madame Butterfly and our Boehme are really gorgeous, but they&rsquo;re 30 and 40 years old. So if you&rsquo;ve been a season subscriber since you&rsquo;ve been 20 or something, you&rsquo;ve seen the same Boehme every 10 years or 8 years, so you want something new and different,&rdquo; Reilly said.</p><p dir="ltr">Prices range from $1 to $200, but Reilly said most garments are actually worth thousands of dollars. Some of the costumes come from as far away as Europe, while others were made in the United States. Shoppers will find items from operas like Pirates of Penzance, Voyages of Edgar Allen Poe, Anna Bolena, Otello, Flying Dutchman, Rigoletto, Don Carlo and more.</p><p dir="ltr">The last and only other time the Lyric held a sale like this was in 2004, when the company&rsquo;s warehouse in Pilsen was sold. They sold around the same amount of costumes, and brought in nearly $77,000. All the money goes back to the Lyric Opera.</p><p dir="ltr">This weekend&rsquo;s sale will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Grand Foyer of the Civic Opera House.</p><p dir="ltr"><em>Lauren Chooljian is WBEZ reporter. Follow her at <a href="https://twitter.com/laurenchooljian">@laurenchooljian</a>.</em></p><p><em>Andrew Gill is a WBEZ web producer. Follow him <a href="https://twitter.com/andrewgill">@andrewgill</a></em></p></p> Thu, 04 Sep 2014 13:55:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/chicago%E2%80%99s-lyric-opera-hosts-costume-sale-110751 Chicago retools fashion week http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-10/chicago-retools-fashion-week-108941 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/5122847027_c24420dd35_z_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/115515664&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p dir="ltr">Fashion in Chicago isn&rsquo;t easy. Even Maria Pinto, one of the city&rsquo;s biggest designer success stories, had to retool her approach <a href="http://www.groupon.com/articles/maria-pinto-hopes-to-make-a-comeback-on-kickstarter-sb">after the recession hit.</a></p><p dir="ltr">So there&rsquo;s good reason to celebrate when the city rolls out the red carpet for fashion each October.</p><p dir="ltr">2013 is the ninth year for <a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dca/supp_info/fashion_focus_chicago0.html">Fashion Focus Chicago</a> (FFC). And there are some changes in store.</p><p dir="ltr">Gone is the runway show for designers in the <a href="https://www.facebook.com/pages/Chicago-Fashion-Incubator-at-Macys-on-State-Street/84393230039">Chicago Fashion Incubator</a>, launched by former Mayor Richard M. Daley. In it&rsquo;s place comes <em>Fashion Focus: Taking it to the Streets</em>.</p><p dir="ltr">Organizer Ann Hickey says three incubator designers will still participate. But they invited one of the emerging designers to apply as well, some of whom will host their first runway show.</p><p dir="ltr">The city has also partnered with the <a href="http://fashionincubator.on.ca/">Toronto Fashion Incubator</a> and the Atelier de Paris to showcase a couple of their fashion designers. In return, an incubator designer will get to do something (yet to be determined) in those programs.</p><p dir="ltr">Hickey says the move is strategic.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;In order for Chicago to nurture it&rsquo;s fashion industry, we have to think global,&rdquo; said Hickey. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s great to have these international designers here. So they can come to Chicago, see what our industry is, and then go back to talk about it as well.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Whether showcasing international designers and national trends (menswear is a focus this year) can improve the situation for local designers seems debatable.</p><p dir="ltr">And some locals think that might not really be the point.</p><p dir="ltr">Rebecca Taras is the Chicago editor of <a href="http://www.refinery29.com/">Refinery 29</a>, an online fashion and lifestyle site.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t think we&rsquo;ll ever be New York or London, but I don&rsquo;t think we&rsquo;re trying to be,&rdquo; said Taras. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re trying to stay true to who we are, which is Chicago and more midwestern, and it works for us.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">For Taras, that&rsquo;s a strength. She points to the diversity of looks and talents that emerge from the city.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Everybody here marches to the beat of their own drummer,&rdquo; said Taras. &ldquo;You don&rsquo;t see a lot of copycatting. Everyone has their own unique story.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr"><em>Fashion Focus Chicago runs through October 20th.</em></p><p><em><a href=" http://www.wbez.org/users/acuddy-0" rel="author"> Alison Cuddy </a> is the Arts and Culture reporter at WBEZ. You can follow her on <a href=" https://twitter.com/wbezacuddy"> Twitter </a>, <a href=" https://www.facebook.com/cuddyalison"> Facebook </a> and <a href=" http://instagram.com/cuddyreport"> Instagram </a></em></p></p> Wed, 16 Oct 2013 11:44:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-10/chicago-retools-fashion-week-108941 The mysterious origins of fall fashion trends http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-09/mysterious-origins-fall-fashion-trends-108795 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Flickr- Jin Chu.jpg" style="height: 414px; width: 620px; " title="(Flickr/Jin Chu)" /></p><div class="image-insert-image ">Fall is the season for pumpkin spice lattes, Buzzfeed lists about <a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/daves4/reasons-why-hocus-pocus-is-the-best-halloween-mo" target="_blank">&quot;Hocus Pocus&quot;</a> and trendy outfits that hopefully won&#39;t have to be hidden under a big puffy coat until December.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The latter phenomenon, while not as innately curious as coffee pumped with artificial pumpkin or a movie about witches starring Bette Midler, got me thinking, &quot;Why are these fall fashion trends so popular, and who came up with them?&quot;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>Beanies</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Most hats are designed to keep heads warm, but the beanie is more than a utilitarian measure to ward off colds. The beanie, or &quot;tuque&quot; as the Canadians call it, is first and foremost a fashion accessory: a brimless cap named after either the British slang word for head (&quot;bean&quot;) or the type of yellow headgear worn by new students in medieval universities (&quot;beanus&quot;). While <a href="http://amateurflaneur.wordpress.com/2013/03/27/beanies-per-head-james-harmer/" target="_blank">blue collar laborers</a>&nbsp;have also worn beanies to keep their hair back while toiling away, these head-huggers are now emblematic of <a href="http://wwtaylorw.com/tag/beanie/" target="_blank">Taylor Swift</a> and most commonly donned by the hipster set.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Starting in the 1950s, beanies were worn by college freshmen and fraternity brothers as a form of mild hazing. Benedictine College&nbsp;in Atchison, Kansas still oversees freshmen wearing beanies during their first week of classes, and is said to be <a href="http://benedictine.edu/press-room/news/benedictine-news/bc-recognizes-beanie-tradition-through-family-award" target="_blank">one of the last colleges</a> in the U.S. to continue this tradition.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>Cardigans</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">These knitted vestments may be most commonly associated with stylish nerds (Seth Cohen), artistic types (Kurt Cobain) and hip seniors (Mr. Rogers), but the cardigan&#39;s roots are actually militaristic in nature. The cardigan was named after <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Brudenell,_7th_Earl_of_Cardigan" target="_blank">James Thomas Brudenell</a>, 7th Earl of Cardigan, a British Army Major General who led the Charge of the Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaclava during the Crimean War. Brudenell&#39;s troops were outfitted in knitted military waistcoasts, nicknamed cardigans. Legend has it that the fame Brudenell and his troops acheived after the war led to the rise of the garment&#39;s popularity.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Today, the cardigan sweater has cemented its place as a fall wardrobe must-have. The cardigan&#39;s prevelance is due in large part to it&#39;s gender neutrality and style versatility, as it can be dressed up over a fancy top or dressed down with a T-shirt underneath. One of my favorite ways to wear the cardigan is over a plaid collared shirt, as The Onion&#39;s <a href="http://www.theonion.com/articles/mr-autumn-man-walking-down-street-with-cup-of-coff,29866/" target="_blank">Mr. Autumn Man</a>&nbsp;effectively demonstrates.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>Cuffed jeans</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><p>The tight roll of the skinny jean, often called the &quot;cuff roll,&quot; has surged in popularity in recent years. When traipsing through Wicker Park or Logan Square on a brisk Autumn day, I always spot a young ruffian (or twelve) sporting this look, often with a lace-up leather shoe, high-top sneaker or ballet flat. The origins of the trend are murky, as rolling one&#39;s jeans may have begun as early as when Levis became popular <a href="http://inventors.about.com/od/sstartinventors/a/Levi_Strauss.htm" target="_blank">wading pants </a>during the California Gold Rush.</p><p><a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/15/fashion/15ROW.html" target="_blank">This piece</a> from the New York Times proclaims that &quot;a style born on the shores of Mississippi has been reinvented for the streets of Bushwick,&quot; although Huckleberry Finn wasn&#39;t the only forefather of this trend. Elvis Presley, Ann Margaret, and almost every other cool kid at the jukebox in the 1960s cuffed their denims too.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Ankle boots</strong></p><p>Boots of any kind are popular in the fall, but ankle boots are maintaining red-hot status as the most <a href="http://alamodebyec.blogspot.com/2013/08/ankle-boots-kurt-geiger.html" target="_blank">widely-worn</a> style. This versatile shoe has remained a fashion staple since the early 19th century, with icons such as Susan B. Anthony, Mark Twain and <a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_5sZdPjTGuSU/TOE6cbpRnwI/AAAAAAAABxo/r4HzP1Vc2xg/s1600/anne+green+gables+straw+hat+carpet+bag.jpg" target="_blank">Anne of Green Gables</a> rocking the &quot;booties&quot; long before Paris runway models or the Chicago style stars of today.&nbsp;</p><p>Usually worn under pants or with a skirt and tights, the ankle boot is also the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fashion_boot" target="_blank">only</a> fashion boot commonly worn by both men and women.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Leather jackets&nbsp;</strong></p><p>Although most often linked to <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leather_jacket" target="_blank">subcultures</a> like greasers, bikers, punks, goths and metalheads trying to look tough, the leather jacket was first utilized by open automobile motorists and aviators in <a href="http://www.collectorsquest.com/blog/2012/12/01/flying-leather-aviator-and-flight-crew-jackets/" target="_blank">World War I</a> for the sole purposes of protecton and warmth. Brown leather flight jackets became a necessity in the early 1990s; and by the second world war, insulated &quot;bomber jackets&quot; became part of the uniform to protect fighter pilots from exposure to cold at high altitudes. The Russian <a href="http://seansrussiablog.org/2009/05/26/lenins-suit/" target="_blank">Bolsheviks</a> also began wearing these jackets at the turn of the 20th century, long before James Dean and John Travolta&#39;s Danny Zuko made them popular again.&nbsp;</p><p>Buckskin, lambskin, sheepskin, antelope and cowhide are the hides <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leather_jacket#Raw_material" target="_blank">most commonly</a> used to make leather jackets. However, with the rise of veganism,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.urbanoutfitters.com/urban/catalog/productdetail.jsp?id=25032764" target="_blank">faux leather jackets</a> are flying off the shelves at retailers like Free People, TopShop, Urban Outfitters and more.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Flannel</strong></p><p>This distinctively tartan fabric is prized for its warmth, softness and nostalgic ties to the &#39;90s grunge era, but flannel goes back much farther than that. The origin of the word can be traced back to Wales, where flannel been made from various incarnations of wool <a href="http://www.overstock.com/guides/history-of-flannel" target="_blank">since the 17th century</a>. Originally, the fabric was made of short&nbsp;<a href="http://www.theodora.com/encyclopedia/f/flannel.html" target="_blank">staple wool</a>; but by the early 20th century, mixtures of silk, cotton and woven polyster had become more common.</p><p>Flannel shirts may have hit their peak with Pearl Jam and Nirvana in the 1990s, but designer Yves Saint Laurent has brought them back with a <a href="http://runway.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/09/30/a-noticeable-thawing-at-saint-laurent/?_r=0" target="_blank">vengeance</a> this season. Yes, what was once synonymous with American lumberjacks in the early 1990s and British cricket players through the late 1970s has become the epitome of millennial grunge chic.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Infinity scarves</strong></p><p>The infinity scarf is a fairly recent invention, so named because the material forms an <a href="http://www.polyvore.com/infinity_scarves/shop?query=infinity+scarves" target="_blank">infinite loop</a> that many people try and fail&nbsp;to achieve with regular scarves. The plain old scarf originated in Ancient Rome, as a way to keep warm and to keep clean by <a href="http://www.scarves.net/blog/scarves-history-the-evolution-of-the-scarf" target="_blank">wiping sweat</a> from one&#39;s face. Somehow, the scarf has evolved into more of a necklace than a cloth used for a specific purpose, as evidenced by the pretty, lightweight cowl scarves that add a touch of whimsy to any outfit.</p><p>However, the person who invented said miracle scarf remains as mysterious as the concept of infinity itself.&nbsp;<a href="http://workchic.com/blog/2009/11/06/casual-friday-accessory-infinity-scarf/" target="_blank">Oprah</a> helped propel the design to popularity in the early aughts; but the designer, who has likely collected millions from this endeavor, remains virtually anonymous to the general public. Anyone care to step forward?&nbsp;</p><p><em>Leah Pickett writes about popular culture for WBEZ. You can find her on&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/leahkristinepickett" target="_blank">Facebook</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">Twitter</a>&nbsp;and<a href="http://hermionehall.tumblr.com/" target="_blank">&nbsp;Tumblr</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 01 Oct 2013 08:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-09/mysterious-origins-fall-fashion-trends-108795 Fashion and art are closer than you think http://www.wbez.org/blogs/britt-julious/2013-07/fashion-and-art-are-closer-you-think-108000 <p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Manet-Lady-with-Fans_480.jpg" title="(Art Institute of Chicago)" /></p><p>Although Chicago is not a fashion capital, our museums have done an excellent job in making connections between fashion and social and cultural changes. The Chicago History Museum&rsquo;s Costume Council frequently puts on rich exhibitions that explore the ways changes in fashion mirror changes in society at large. The latest example of this comes from the Art Institute of Chicago.</p><p>In <a href="http://www.artic.edu/exhibitions/impressionism-fashion-and-modernity" target="_blank"><em>Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity</em></a>, curators connect the rising social classes, fashions designed to please these new classes and work of some of the most impressive Impressionists. Despite the faults of the exhibition&rsquo;s layout (dark, depressing rooms and the inability to fully immerse in the construction of the actual designs), the exhibition brings up a larger point that is still relevant today: <strong>What does fashion say about who we are?</strong></p><p>Some of the most exciting works in the exhibition are the small steel and wood engravings. Called &ldquo;fashion plates,&rdquo; the engravings resemble fashion spreads in magazines. The images on the plates have a potent combination of idealism and realism that rings true. This could be your life!</p><p>Fashion plates were eventually replaced by fashion photography and yet little has changed in how we present fashion and even images as a whole. Fashion spreads are often the only consistent outlet for commercial publications to explore aesthetic and artistic ideas on a regular basis. This is why fashion photography still makes headlines. They can help spread existing stereotypes or negative portrayals of different people.&nbsp;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Renoir-La-Loge_360.png" style="float: left;" title="(Art Institute of Chicago)" />Impressionistic painting was inspired by the fashion of the time and fashion was an urban phenomena synonymous with modernity. Fashion offered a playground for artists to play, eventually bringing paintings to life. In turn, the paintings gave the dresses a freedom of movement not previously seen.</p><p>The paintings also immortalized the clothing and trends. Why is this not the case in contemporary society?</p><p>Contemporary art of the Impressionist period reflected the ephemerality of daily life and focused on the permanence of beauty and art. This was a rapidly changing time in relation to the distribution of wealth and resources. As individuals&#39; means changed, so too did their art.</p><p>Does contemporary society have an issue with &ldquo;beauty&rdquo; and &ldquo;art?&rdquo; Probably not. This could be a result of changing markets.</p><p>Both art and fashion have been overrun by purchasing power and capitalist markets. However, fashion has seen this occur much more rapidly than the art market.</p><p>Great art and beauty are still created on a daily basis. But everyday life lacks the ephemeral quality it once had. We are more connected and intertwined than ever before. Nothing dies on the Internet. What does this mean? Well for one, it means that our actions, however small, can live on beyond our own lives. In terms of connecting fashion and art, perhaps this means that there is nothing to reflect on in the grand picture. There is nothing to capture before it is gone because all of it can live on with us and in us with greater permanence.</p><p>Regarding fashion, we often claim that something has &ldquo;come back,&rdquo; but perhaps in 2013, it never went away. This is what ultimately makes the <em>Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity</em> exhibition so important. It is not just reflecting on what was. It also reflects on what can no longer be. We&rsquo;ve abandoned the newness of fashion and culture. Perhaps we can rectify this. Perhaps not. Fashion is still tied into our wants and desires. People still purchase clothing &ndash; luxurious clothing &ndash; to reflect where they are (or where they want to be). But as an art form, it&rsquo;s lost its relevance with the everyday consumer.</p><p><em><strong>Britt Julious</strong>&nbsp;blogs about culture in and outside of Chicago. Follow Britt&#39;s essays for&nbsp;<a href="http://wbez.tumblr.com/" target="_blank">WBEZ&#39;s Tumblr</a>&nbsp;or on Twitter&nbsp;<a href="http://twitter.com/britticisms" target="_blank">@britticisms</a>. She&#39;s a co-host of the&nbsp;<a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/wbezs-changing-channels/id669715774?mt=2" target="_blank">Changing Channels</a>&nbsp;podcast about the future of television.</em></p></p> Wed, 10 Jul 2013 12:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/britt-julious/2013-07/fashion-and-art-are-closer-you-think-108000 Morning Shift: Fashion & sports http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-06-24/morning-shift-fashion-sports-107819 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/AIC-Flickr-Kent Wang.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Cheryl Raye-Stout talks sports, and the great Impressionist painters depict the dashing fashions of the time.<script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-border-police-and-fashion-police.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-border-police-and-fashion-police" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Border Police and Fashion Police" on Storify</a>]</noscript></p></p> Mon, 24 Jun 2013 07:43:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-06-24/morning-shift-fashion-sports-107819 Fierce & Fabulous: A new look at the Ebony Fashion Fair http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified/fierce-fabulous-new-look-ebony-fashion-fair-107399 <p><p>Explore how African American and LGBT histories mix through fashion, influenced by the famed Ebony Fashion Fair. Curator <strong>Joy Bivins</strong>, ball culture historian <strong>Marlon Bailey</strong>, and couture designer <strong>Tommy Walton</strong> look at style and personal expression from different points of view, from fierce to fabulous!</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/CHM-webstory_15.jpg" title="" /></p><div class="image-insert-image ">Recorded live Thursday, May 16, 2013 at the Chicago History Museum.</div></p> Thu, 16 May 2013 15:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified/fierce-fabulous-new-look-ebony-fashion-fair-107399 Searching for sweat-free fashion in Chicago http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-05/searching-sweat-free-fashion-chicago-107175 <p><p>The collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory complex in Bangladesh on April 24 continues to make headlines. One of the &quot;<a href="http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/bangladesh-factory-building-collapse-death-toll-rises-1000/1/270248.html" target="_blank">worst industrial accidents in the world</a>&quot; is now known to have killed at least 1,127 people.</p><p>The event has roiled Bangladesh. There have been worker protests, a number of other factories have been closed at least temporarily, and the owner of Rana Plaza was arrested and faces murder charges.</p><p>Those poor labor conditions within Bangladesh&rsquo;s enormous garment industry have had consequences around the globe. Rana Plaza workers helped supply major European and North American chains, and there&rsquo;s increased pressure on these companies to help improve safety standards in the global garment industry. Unfortunately, <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/bangladesh-factory-collapse-gap-refuses-to-back-safety-deal-8615599.html" target="_blank">not everyone</a> is getting with the program.</p><p>And many consumers, including me, have started to take a hard look at those innocent-looking outfits hanging in our closets or stuffed in our drawers. What, exactly, are we buying into?</p><p>Now I&rsquo;d like to be able to give myself a pat on the back when it comes to sustainable or ethical fashion. After all, I buy the majority of my clothes at thrift or secondhand stores. Yes, even shoes. But I can&#39;t say that concern over the clothing supply chain drove me to it. I started thrifting in high school because I wanted to look cool, like my older brother&rsquo;s girlfriend at the time, Heidi.</p><p>Heidi was a madly savvy thrifter, but she was actually concerned about ethical consumerism. She dug up a copy of <em>Diet for a Small Planet</em> by the early eco-foodie Frances Moore Lappé, and stressed the reuse and reduce angles of the holy environmental trinity. She also worried that her Mennonite family had strayed from its social values in favor of conspicuous consumption. Heidi was smart and persuasive, so I kind of paid attention to her ideas. But mostly I made note that replicating Diane Keaton&#39;s preppy menswear style in <em>Annie Hall</em> was going to be dead cheap at a church rummage sale.</p><p>And so, driven more by the thrill of a good find than a set of good politics, I&rsquo;ve kept going to the thrift store. But that&#39;s not to say I haven&rsquo;t picked up a few insights along the way.</p><p>One way of weeding out the real retro clothing from the Old Navy clones is to take a look at the label. If it says &quot;Made in America&quot; then chances are I&rsquo;m looking at a garment that dates back to at least the 1980s.&nbsp; Up until then, locally made clothing was easily available. And if the dead-stock price tags I&#39;ve stumbled across are any indication, it was also affordable. And not just the polyester stuff. We&rsquo;re talking quality clothes, made from cotton, linen or silk. I often wonder if that&#39;s because they were produced simply: I&#39;m struck by how low-tech the actual assembly of many of these garments appears. More than once when I&#39;ve taken an older dress to be altered, the seamstress has mistaken something factory-made for a hand-sewn garment.</p><p>In just a few short decades though, oh, how things have changed - at least if we&rsquo;re to judge by the stuff current discount retailers such as Forever 21 or Target or &quot;insert name here&quot; are selling.</p><p>One of the reasons I stopped shopping at those places is I couldn&rsquo;t take the increasingly poor quality of the clothes. I kept wondering not just where the clothes are made, but what they&rsquo;re made from.</p><p>These days, new clothes smell so strange, like molded plastic products, made via a chemical-laden process better suited to car or weapons manufacturing. And if elastane and polyamide are just the new synthetic fabrics, why do they feel so flimsy and slip-slidy? Why don&#39;t they actually feel like clothing?</p><p>They&#39;re the garment world&#39;s equivalent of mystery meat. And despite my knee-jerk belief that the best clothes are those to be had on the cheap, I&rsquo;m developing this mad compulsion: To dash into the fashion aisles yelling &quot;Don&#39;t (wear) anything your Grandmother wouldn&#39;t recognize as (clothing)!&rdquo;</p><p>Okay, who am I kidding? I&rsquo;m not the Michael Pollan of clothing. I haven&rsquo;t entirely given up shopping at places like T.J. Maxx or Marshalls. For many of us, especially people with kids, cheap or disposable clothes feel like not just a bargain but a necessity. After all, how many of our salaries have risen alongside the price of Mary Janes or Garanimals?</p><p>Still, I&#39;m not alone in wondering how it&rsquo;s possible to make a T-shirt so cheaply you can sell it for $5. A majority of Americans <a href="http://www.gallup.com/video/162122/majority-americans-willing-pay-made-products.aspx" target="_blank">say they are willing</a> to pay more for clothes made here. Apparently pride in the idea of a homegrown clothing industry trumps even our pocketbooks (wherever they come from).</p><p>Unfortunately, even if we want to buy clothes locally, we&rsquo;d be hard pressed to find them. As my highly unscientific survey of thrift stores confirms, we&rsquo;ve &quot;offshored&quot; the bulk of American clothing manufacturing, some 98 percent of it, according to <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2013/05/01/news/companies/bangladesh-garment-factory/index.html" target="_blank">many reports</a>.</p><p>In doing so, we seem to have traded quality for quantity. But the bigger trade-off is transparency: We can&rsquo;t see where our clothes come from, who makes them and under what conditions. That&rsquo;s the hard lesson of the Bangladesh factory collapse. And in an effort to take it seriously, I&rsquo;ve decided to cut out the disposable clothes and start looking for clothes designed and manufactured right here in Chicago.&nbsp;</p><p>If you think that&rsquo;s easy as pie in the &quot;best country in the world&quot; think again. There are deplorable labor conditions to contend with much closer to home. Recently, both <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/98-minutes-radio-story-104504" target="_blank">WBEZ</a> and the <em><a href="http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/raiteros-labor-brokers-temp-agencies-little-village-jobs-workers/Content?oid=9464882" target="_blank">Chicago Reader</a></em> have explored questionable labor practices behind some of our most everyday objects. According to the <em>Reader</em> report, if you want to know who made your Beanie Baby and how much they&rsquo;re paid to do so, you don&rsquo;t have to go to Bangladesh or Guatemala or Eastern Europe. Just take a trip to Bolingbrook, Ill.</p><p>Still, according to some of the people I spoke with, small-scale and ethically sound manufacturing is on the rise in our area. We also have a government that <a href="http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20130509/OPINION/130509746" target="_blank">appears to be willing</a> to help grow it. So to the extent we too can support our local factories, that&#39;s likely to make for good economics and good politics.</p><p>With a city this big and creative, I can only scratch the surface of consciously made clothing options. So I&#39;ve decided to focus on independent &quot;high&quot; fashion made on a small scale. Most of these designers and producers reflect a relatively new but growing interest in sustainable, hand-crafted goods, including clothing.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Designer%20Shelby%20Steiner%20and%20some%20of%20her%20looks%20%28Photo%20courtesy%20Grant%20Legan%29.jpg" style="float: right; height: 233px; width: 350px;" title="Designer Shelby Steiner and some of her looks. (Photo courtesy Grant Legan)" /><strong>The Designer:</strong> <a href="http://shelbysteiner.com/" target="_blank">Shelby Steiner</a>. I was immediately intrigued by Steiner when I found out the source of one of her collections was inspired by &ldquo;The Cove,&rdquo; the devastating eco-documentary about dolphin slaughter. Steiner makes her own custom prints, and she&rsquo;s used that talent to design collections that reflect on rhinoceros poaching or conflict diamonds.</div><p>Steiner says finding truly environmentally friendly fabric can be difficult: The high temperature process involved in its making can be difficult to get around. But she sources as much of her materials from the States as she can, and uses materials like <a href="http://www.thegloss.com/2007/07/26/fashion/what-is-vegan-leather-anyway/" target="_blank">vegan leather</a> or fabric that is free of that nasty plastic, polyvinyl chloride.</p><p>Steiner is currently in residence at the <a href="http://www.chicagofashionincubator.org/" target="_blank">Chicago Fashion Incubator</a>, a 2005 collaboration between the city of Chicago and Macy&rsquo;s to help young designers launch their careers. Steiner says all six of the current residents are trying to create fashion made solely in Chicago or the U.S. Their next big runway show is in <a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dca/supp_info/fashion_focus_chicago0.html" target="_blank">October</a>; right now the designers are getting their <a href="http://issuu.com/shelbysteinerdesigns/docs/shelbysteinerportfolio?mode=window&amp;pageNumber=1" target="_blank">lookbooks</a> ready and approaching boutiques with their designs.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Julie%20Ghatan%20at%20Dovetail%2C%20her%20West%20Town%20boutique%20%28courtesy%20Julie%20Ghatan%29.JPG" style="float: right; height: 263px; width: 350px;" title="Julie Ghatan at Dovetail, her West Town boutique. (Photo courtesy Julie Ghatan)" /><strong>The Retailer:</strong> Dovetail. Over the past 10 months, Julie Ghatan has been quietly but steadily turning her vintage clothing boutique into a showcase for locally made designs (including those by Shelby Steiner). Ghatan had her epiphany about the clothing supply chain while shopping for a &quot;splurge&quot; in a high-end boutique.</div><p>&quot;The price point was above $100, but all the labels said &#39;Made in China,&#39;&quot; Ghatan said. &ldquo;So what am I paying for?&quot;</p><p>Ghatan thinks people are getting &quot;<a href="http://forums.thefashionspot.com/f60/alexander-wang-served-50-million-dollar-lawsuit-over-sweatshop-172017.html" target="_blank">bamboozled</a>&quot; by shelling out for designer labels &quot;when the source materials are the same as Forever 21.&quot;</p><p>Ghatan started with menswear and all the lines she carries, including <a href="http://vagrantnobility.com/" target="_blank">Vagrant Nobility</a> and <a href="http://glasshouseshirtmakers.com/" target="_blank">Glass House Shirtmakers</a>, are made locally (see below). More recently she&#39;s branched into women&#39;s wear. Currently, Sadie Monroe and Claire Henry of<a href="http://colab-chicago.squarespace.com/" target="_blank"> Co.lab</a> are showing their first ready-to-wear line there, a summer collection inspired by nomadic voyages.</p><p>Ghatan says that though she&#39;s in West Town (&quot;not exactly a shopping hub&quot;) people are making the trip to see and buy local clothes. She tries to convert people by explaining the labor process behind the higher prices and by hitting them on a &quot;selfish level&quot; &mdash; both she and the designers pair their quality clothing offerings with a level of enthusiastic and attentive service that&#39;s largely absent from corporate or discount retail.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="349" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/X0Ie-ztnWO0" width="620"></iframe><strong>The Manufacturer:</strong> <a href="https://www.stockmfg.co/#nav_and_stock" target="_blank">Stock Manufacturing Company</a>. For Tim Tierney, one of the designers behind local menswear line Vagrant Nobility, making clothes locally was actually a selfish option &ndash; or at least a cost-saving one. &quot;Early on we were not given a choice,&rdquo; Tierney said. &quot;We didn&rsquo;t have the volume or funds to afford&nbsp; manufacturing overseas.&quot;</p><p>Tierney and his partner found a local option at <a href="http://www.aiind.com/Home_Page.html" target="_blank">A. I. Industries</a>, a uniform manufacturing company run by Areill Ives and his family since the 1960s. Tierney, who used to work in the pit at the Chicago Board of Trade, says they quickly realized that instead of just manufacturing their own line, they could also be a resource for other small designers, who were also looking to make stuff locally at a decent price. So they brought in Ives and two other partners to form Stock.</p><p>Teirney attributes Stock&rsquo;s efficiency and economy to its &quot;vertical process&quot; whereby everything it takes to make a garment is done in-house (except manufacturing the fabric itself, which Tierney sources only from developed countries, including a trusted Japanese textile maker). Their operators are paid by the piece, and Tierney says nobody makes less than $10 an hour (but closer to $16 or $17 depending on how fast they work).</p><p>But it also has to do with a more radical gambit.</p><p>At Stock they combine a largely unchanged process of making clothes on old school machinery (and by hand) with the very modern power of social media. Partnering with local people (designers, bloggers, tastemakers), Stock puts designs up on its website and ask people whether or not they&rsquo;re interested. If enough people buy in, the object (shirts, ties, you name it) gets made and sold at a price without a retail markup.</p><p>So far Tierney says most of the designs have attracted enough buyers to be made. As for the future, he says if things take off, they have plenty of room to grow. Between uniforms and designs (which are still a tiny part of their output), the factor generates about $1 million in revenue annually. But Tierney thinks they have the capacity to expand to about $10 million annually in their current space</p><p>The bigger question may be whether Tierney and his partners can sustain their own energy. &quot;Running a factory, managing its production, is brutal,&quot; Tierney said, adding that it isn&rsquo;t all that easy for newcomers like him. &quot;[To do it well] you have to do have done so for a long time, back in the heyday of Chicago production.&quot;</p><p>So, clearly a shift in our clothes consumption isn&rsquo;t going to be easy - for anyone involved. And I&#39;m not saying buying a locally made, button-down shirt can make up for all the deaths at the Rana Plaza complex in Bangladesh. What could, short of criminal proceedings, alongside a wholesale overhaul of our global clothing economy?</p><p>Plus, buying local or handmade clothing may not even be the best solution. Some think moving to a fully automated manufacturing process might be the way to bring back an affordable, safe and sustainable garment economy in the United States.</p><p>But what do you think? How - and where - do you shop for clothes? Do you care about sustainable or organic fashion? Would you give your businesses that make clothes locally, even if the prices are higher? And if you don&#39;t, what would make you change your mind?</p><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-2cf3385a-a8a9-de1e-049d-600e6226d3d1"><em>Alison Cuddy is WBEZ&rsquo;s Arts and Culture reporter. Follow her<a href="https://twitter.com/wbezacuddy" target="_blank"> @wbezacuddy</a>, on<a href="https://www.facebook.com/cuddyalison?ref=tn_tnmn" target="_blank"> Facebook</a> and on<a href="http://instagram.com/cuddyreport" target="_blank"> Instagram.</a></em></p></p> Wed, 15 May 2013 08:56:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-05/searching-sweat-free-fashion-chicago-107175 Abercrombie & Fitch is not the only brand that hates fat people http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-05/abercrombie-fitch-not-only-brand-hates-fat-people-107113 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><br /><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/abercrombie-and-fitch-ad.jpg" title="An Abercrombie &amp; Fitch ad. (ABC)" /></div>Remember that song by &#39;90s boy band <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHuGG_FsC20" target="_blank">LFO</a> with the line, &quot;I like girls that wear Abercrombie &amp; Fitch?&quot; Well, apparently the company&#39;s CEO Mike Jeffries only likes his girls to wear Abercrombie &amp; Fitch if they&#39;re a <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/abercrombie-wants-thin-customers-2013-5" target="_blank">size 10 or smaller</a>&mdash;no exceptions.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div>The controversial clothing company makes <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/entertainment/2013/05/small-sizes-an-overweight-distraction-for-abercrombie-fitch/" target="_blank">$5 billion a year</a> in sales, yet still manages to exclude the vast majority of the American population and make them feel like worthless lepers at the same time. And of course, this stupendous level of bigotry is no accident: fat-shaming is the spiny backbone of A&amp;F, and a philosophy that Jeffries holds dear.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>According to Robin Lewis, co-author of<em> The New Rules of Retail</em> and CEO of The Robin Report, recently laid out Jeffries&#39; <a href="http://elitedaily.com/news/world/abercrombie-fitch-ceo-explains-why-he-hates-fat-chicks/" target="_blank">bottom line</a>:</div><blockquote><div>&quot;He doesn&#39;t want larger people shopping in his store, he wants thin and beautiful people,&quot; Lewis told <em>Business Insider</em>. &quot;He doesn&#39;t want his core customers [ages 18-22] to see people who aren&#39;t as hot as them wearing his clothing. People who wear his clothing should feel like they&#39;re one of the &#39;cool kids.&#39;&quot;</div></blockquote><div><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Mike Jeffries.jpg" style="float: right; height: 400px; width: 300px;" title="Mike Jeffries, CEO of Abercrombie &amp; Fitch. (Wikipedia)" /></div>A&amp;F won&#39;t sell clothes bigger than a size 10 pant and a size L top for women. For men, they will sell up to size 2XL to accomodate athletes.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In a 2006 interview with<em> Salon</em>,&nbsp;Jeffries himself confirmed that the A&amp;F business model was founded upon unabashed <a href="http://www.salon.com/2006/01/24/jeffries/" target="_blank">size discrimination</a>:&nbsp;</div><blockquote><div>&quot;In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and there are the not-so-cool kids,&quot; Jeffries told the site. &quot;Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive, all-American kid with a great attitude and lots of friends. A lot of people don&#39;t belong [in our clothes] and they can&#39;t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.&quot;&nbsp;</div></blockquote><div>In Jeffries&#39; sad and distorted worldview, only the thin people can be happy, cool, popular and beautiful. This is a logical fallacy of epic proportions (is he blind to the stunning beauty of Adele, Sara Ramirez and Christina Hendricks, et al?) but unfortunately, Jeffries is not the only fashion mogul who openly shares this belief.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><h2><strong>Karl Lagerfeld</strong></h2><div>The eccentric German fashion designer and current head of Chanel had a very <a href="http://www.celebitchy.com/75170/karl_lagerfeld_only_fat_potato_chip-eating_moms_hate_thin_models/" target="_blank">strong reaction</a> to <em>Brigitte</em> magazine&#39;s announcement that they would begin using &quot;normal, realistic&quot; women instead of scary-skinny supermodels in their photoshoots:&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><blockquote><div>&quot;It&#39;s absurd! No one wants to see curvy women. You&#39;ve got fat mothers with their bags full of chips, sitting in front of the television saying thin models are ugly. Fashion is about dreams and illusions. No one wants to see round women.&quot;</div></blockquote><h2><strong>Tom Ford</strong></h2><div>In an interview with <em>Time Out Hong Kong</em>, the British fashion figurehead of Gucci and CEO of his own Tom Ford label revealed a preference of Asians to white people in terms of ideal body type:&nbsp;</div><blockquote><div>&quot;Americans are too fat. And in London they are starting to get fat too. So I have to say that if we have to talk about race system and nationalism, I find it refreshing that everyone Chinese is slim.&quot;</div></blockquote><h2><strong>Anna Wintour</strong></h2><div>Everybody knows that the infamous fashion editor of <em>Vogue</em> loves&nbsp;her models &quot;Paris-thin&quot; and&nbsp;<a href="http://jezebel.com/5259327/vogues-anna-wintour-high-school-dropout--fat+shamer" target="_blank">hates fat people</a>. &nbsp;In a 2009 interview with <em>60 Minutes</em>, Wintour admitted to telling Oprah that she should drop a few pounds before gracing the cover of her precious magazine:</div><blockquote><div>&quot;I suggested that she...lose a bit of weight...I said simply that [she] might be more comfortable. She was a trooper! She totally welcomed the idea and she went on a very stringent diet and it was one of our most successful covers ever.&quot;</div></blockquote><div>But let&#39;s take a look on the bright side: not all fashion designers and clothing companies reject the average American woman (who wears a <a href="http://www.cleveland.com/style/index.ssf/2010/08/size_14_is_average_american_wo.html" target="_blank">size 14</a>, by the way). Popular retailers for young people like Forever 21 and American Eagle carry up to size 18 in women&#39;s clothes, and H&amp;M&#39;s newest swimsuit model is size 12 beauty&nbsp;<a href="http://www.hellomagazine.com/fashion/2013050312415/handm-swimwear-jennie-runk-plus-size/" target="_blank">Jennie Runk.</a></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Still, we live in a world where 50 percent of girls age 3-6 <a href="http://jezebel.com/5795814/incredibly-young-children-think-theyre-fat" target="_blank">hate their bodies</a>, and one in 10 people will <a href="http://www.eatingdisorderfoundation.org/EatingDisorders.htm" target="_blank">suffer from an eating disorder</a>&nbsp;at some point in their lives.&nbsp;Jeffries&#39; message perpetuates a pro-skinny elitism that is not only irresponsible, but also blatantly cruel, outrageously sexist and frighteningly detrimental to our society as a whole.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>We should raise our sons and daughters to value themselves not by the numbers on their clothes, but by the attributes that make each of them unique regardless of their size.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Also, who cares if you can&#39;t fit into those A&amp;F distressed denim jeans? They went out of style about 10 years ago anyway.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>Leah Pickett writes about popular culture for WBEZ. Follow her on <a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/leahkristinepickett" target="_blank">Facebook</a>&nbsp;and <a href="http://hermionehall.tumblr.com" target="_blank">Tumblr</a>.&nbsp;</em></div><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Fri, 10 May 2013 08:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-05/abercrombie-fitch-not-only-brand-hates-fat-people-107113