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6B Thursday, March 17, 2011 // Fashion Issue
.Do it yourself and make it your own

Fashion Issue/ Thursday, March 17, 2011 e
Wen couture conflicts with context

Finding wardrobe and
accessory inspiration
from everything
By EMILY BOUDREAU
Daily Arts Writer
It all began, like so many things,
with a spring 2000 issue of Martha
Stewart Living. From that moment
on, I was hooked. The woman was a
wizard, and being about 11 years old
at the time, I was waiting on my Hog-
warts acceptance letter. Well, Mar-
tha was about as close as I was going
to get to actual magic. With only a
few household materials, a hot glue
gun and some cloth flowers, I could
whip up my own festive centerpiece,
napkin rings and personalized name
cards. Not that I had any need for
any of these things, but the impor-
tant thing (or so I thought) was that
I'd never have to go to Party Depot to
buy some cheap, horrible plastic nap-
kin rings.
Now, I'm not really artistic. I will
never be Martha, no matter what
color quilted jacket I wear or how
many paper flowers I fold. One time,
I tried to make my own candles and
ended up with burns and a pot filled
with molten brown wax. I have no
desire to spend my days making rus-
tic coat racks out of branches. How-
ever, there is something to be said for
actually making your own stuff - if
you want something done right, do it
yourself.

So much is mass-produced about
what we wear and the spaces we
spend our life in. Pretty much every-
body owns the same Michigan sweat-
shirt and that doesn't really have a
whole lot of personality. Now, I'm not
suggesting you go out and embroi-
der your own bedspread or produce
a calico dress with seed beading, but
it's always nice when there's some
kind of a personal touch to an outfit
or an apartment - some accessory or
an object that actually means some-
thing to someone, something that
was made with care and has a story
behind it.
Additionally, making your own
crap-you-don't-really-need is fun.
And cheap. And much easier than
you'd expect. The first step is prob-
ably the hardest: deciding what you
want to make and how you're going
to pull it off. There is a certain art to
figuring it out and your brain needs
to blend creativity with a certain
amount of mechanical savvy.
It's kind of like trying to change a
tire without an instruction manual.
Start looking at the way things are put
together. I make a lot of my own jew-
elry, and sometimes I will go into jew-
elry stores and just stare at necklaces.
Trust me. It's weird, but it works. It
also helps to think about what you
could do to make it better - would
you use a different color, a different
style of material, perhaps? This is
your project after all, so basically you
have the freedom to do anything.
Then, just start collecting stuff
like old ticket stubs and newspaper

clippings. I can'tguarantee you won't
end up on an episode of "Hoarders"
later in life, but you will get some
great craft projects out of it.
Craft stores are a dying breed,
so the Internet is another great
resource. Sure, there are generic
chain stores around like Michael's
and Home Depot, but I don't par-
ticularly find those stores inspiring.
Sometimes a craft project needs a
really good jumpstart, like that fan-
tastic collection of black-and-white
photographs you could find at a flea
market in Brussels and turn into your
own stationery. But since obviously
not everyone can go to Brussels, the
Internet is perfect. Everyone can
have access to weird materials. I
have a pile of typewriter keys I got off
eBay that I'm making into a bracelet.
Also, the Internet provides plenty of
crafts ideas. My personal favorite is
the blog P.S. I Made This. It has mil-
lions of ideas ranging from a DIY
Birkin-style tote bag to circle scarves
made out of the bottom half of an old
sweater and some carefully placed
double-sided tape.
Basically, there are plenty of ideas
out there and you just have to be
ready to tackle them. Occasionally,
you will have breakthrough moments
when all your hard work will finally
be worth it. Not all your projects
will turn out the way you want them
to, though. When I was 13, I walked
around in a bedazzled jean jacket.
You are goingto make mistakes - but
still, there's nothing quite like wear-
ing your own creations.

High fashion and
accessibility don't
have to be enemies
By JENNIFER XU
SeniorArts Editor
Here's a question that regularly
plagues the fashion world: Why aren't
models gracing the front covers of
Vogue anymore? Why have the edi-
torial spreads and September issues
been transplanted by the debatably less
attractive personalities of Hollywood?
How could the exalted New York Fash-
ion Week, a notoriously difficult event to
get into even with celebrity status, possi-
bly let, gasp, bloggers into its inner fold?
The chasm continues to grow between
fashion as curio and fashion as accessibil-
ity. Franca Sozzani, editor in chief of Ital-
ian Vogue, recently fired into the presses
that fashion bloggers don't have a real
foothold in the business - "they don't
offer an opinion but only talk about them-
selves, take their own pictures wearing
absurd outfits," she wrote (ironically) on
her own publication's blog. Antagonists
quickly responded that um, Franca, the
industry is changing whether you like
it or not, so get off your high horse, you
jealous hag. And so the battle wages,
blueblood against layman, Prada-wear-
ing-devil against Romy and Michele.
Some say fashion isn't art, at least not
when the clothes are hanging off our
pasty, love-handled frames. Couture
gowns by John "I love Hitler" Galliano
are works of art, sure - and, in a way, so
are the wacky compost constructions the

contestants on "Project Runway" dream back hole gradually slithering up to Mila
up -butwhenwewake upinthe morning Kunis's wing-shaped tattoos. These
and put together that commercialized, were the pieces that provided the per-
dime-a-dozen North Face-leggings-Uggs sonality, that papered the gaps between
uniform, are we really making art? person and character. The Rodarte cos-
Phrased differently, how much does a tumes, radiantly designed as they were,
piece of clothing depend on context? If were just the icing atop the cake - not
isolated, a gown can be pared down to the actual cake.
its basic essence - we can pull out our In the language of real life, we (the
magnifying glasses and monocles and humans) are the cake. When we seea girl
laud every pleat and butterflied stitch on the street looking fantastic, we uncon-
on its shiny surface. By unceremoni- sciously want to be the character she
ously stuffing our flesh into a dress's evokes - not just own the clothes she's
wafery silhouette, do we subtract from wearing. Fromthe wayshecarriesherself
the object's fundamental nature? Ulti- tothe beauty mark on her chin, we look at
mately, is fashion more about the article the entire package when appraising how
externa than the human inside it? a piece of clothing fits. This is the power
Maybe not. A few months ago, "Black of context, and fashion is wrapped more
Swan" underwent controversy because dizzily in context that it would care to
the designers behind fashion label Rod- admit. It was Audrey Hepburn that made
arte bitched that they weren't put under the Givenchy little black dress famous,
awards consideration for Oscar season - after all - not the other way around.
despite the fact that they had only collab- Context, too, is what imbues the activi-
orated ona total of seven costumes with ty ofshopping with its magical aura. Once
the film's official costume designer, Amy we make a connection with that dress in
Westtott. Their argument was that they the mall, once we hold that plastic bag
had contributed ideas to the "impor- with the crinkly receipt stuffed inside of
tant" costumes - the feathered tutu of it, there's something irrevocably altered
the black swan and Natalie Portman's from this simple exchange. During these
plunging white gown at the ballet gala, brief moments, the object has become a
for instance. I am 100-percent against part of us, and we have become a part of
Rodarte on this one. I'm not saying the it. Accessibility isn't high fashion's way
gorgeous, glittering Swarovski crys- of pandering to the masses. It's the only
tals stamped on the black swan's stage way we can view an article of clothing:
costume weren't stunning in their own by seeing it as an extension of ourselves.
right, but I more vividly remember the That's where fashion makes the pilgrim-
film's work clothing - Portman's cushy age from museum piece into style.
pastel sweater and
Uggs, her slouchy
grey sweatshirt,' j delightful9 opera based on the
the black Yumiko
ta i beloved novel by Louisa May Alcott
leotard with the

COURTESY OF TURNERCLASSICS
Audrey Hepburn gave the "little black dress" its celebrity status in society.
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students to serve on their student advisory board
for the 2011-2012 academicyear, and advise her on
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