Do We Live for Repurposed Jewelry?

I am a sucker for jewelry. I love, and I mean LOVE LOVE bracelets, necklaces, and especially rings. I day dream about my future Juste Un Clou ring from Cartier and constantly think about piercing my ears and buying Chanel huggy earrings. But the biggest turn off for me, is the price for designer jewelry! I can get the same thing custom done in India for a quarter of the price (maybe in real gold too). Though price doesn’t stop people from making jewelry investments, I was hoping to find a way to get fun designer jewelry for much less.


My favorite fashion pal is a sucker for all things vintage, and it was with her help I learned about small companies that create vintage designer jewelry. By reusing buttons, pins, and other items from vintage designer clothing, these brands make jewelry! Cute pendants, bracelets, earrings, and other gorgeous items that would cost you multiple hundreds dollars from the fashion hou ses themselves at the tip of your fingers. I was shocked, and it was a good kind of shock when I opened the link to oldsoulvintagejewelry.com that she sent me.

I was in jewelry heaven; the classic and sexy look of Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Gucci, and YSL jewelry all for much less. As I got to shopping, I saw so many different pieces that I love and noticed that half the site was sold out. IF you liked something, pick it up because the jewelry sold like hot cakes. But then the usual thoughts of buying 2nd-hand crossed my mind. Is it authentic? How many people are worn these items before they are repurposed? Is it safe?


Yes! All of their charms are 100% authentic as they specify in the lengthy description of their items. The one thing I especially love about these repurposed pieces is that they are one of a kind; you’ll never find another person wearing the same thing which can be a problem with classic pieces of designer jewelry (especially if you go to a private boarding school).
The downfalls I see for these items is how fast they sell out. If you like it, you buy it or else someone else is definitely going to pick it up. These sites are paradise for impulse buyers but not for thoughtful shoppers. Prices are definitely another thing to consider; though it is MUCH cheaper than new designer jewelry, these pieces are second hand and not 100% affiliated with a fashion house.


All in All, I LOVE IT. Catch me wearing more repurposed pendants in the future!

Religion, Fashion, and even Gender

The concepts of Religion, Fashion, and Gender are all explicitly related. We see society use concepts of Religion to push certain modes of dress. Society’s expectations from us to behave in a certain manner is commonly explained and defied in the world of fashion. But where are these expectations derived from?

Let’s take a look at Religion. The concept of God generalized across most Religions has a sense of masculinity. We see God use He/Him/His pronouns and God is commonly referred to as the father of the world. And of course, God is a woman or even genderless in a multitude of Genders. Regardless, whether God is a Man or Woman or Neither, it is important to see recognize how religion pushes women to have a sense of purity and chastity.

Most of the time, the concept of purity is pushed through how women dress. Society deems it “proper” to dress conservatively for woman all around the world. All religions seem to push the oppressive idea that women should never tempt that women should be pure. Religions commonly test the essence of a woman where if she deems herself as anything other than pure she brings shame to herself and her family. It is absurd that society puts women into two categorize “sluts” and “good girls” and judges these categories by the clothes they wear. We even see this in brides where white signifies a virginal purity.

Religion can also be a fashion statement in itself. It has been weaved into the themes for the Met Gala, Designer Collections, and more. The Met Gala’s celestial bodies theme allowed so many designers to push the envelope on religious outfits. With Galliano making Rihanna into the Pope and other designers following suit, we all saw Fashion take a religious angle at this event. Vivienne Westwood has a religious angle to her clothing with her Bas Charm featuring a prominent cross element. Jean Paul Gaultier is also famous for using religion as inspiration. His spring summer 2007 collection was an homage to Catholicism. He had collections in 1990 exhibiting Hindu accessories and Goddesses on his clothing. Clearly, Fashion draws inspiration from various religions at times.

Queer Signaling in Fashion

The world of fashion is so extensive; a lot of the times it blurs and blends with other concepts, ideals, and issues. One of these many angles of fashion is that of Gender and Sexuality. How do we see gender norms being broken in fashion? How do these gender norms relate to sexual orientation? How is queerness implied through fashion?

The LGBTQ+ community is so diverse and complex in its essence. There are so many niches, identities, and more embedded into the community that makes the sMost of the queer community hides themselves by merging in with “straight” culture or hiding in the metaphorical closet. Even those that are “out” even choose to distance themselves from the community as sexuality is not an outwardly recognizable identity. However, the community as a whole adapts to certain markers to communicate with one another. These items serve as non verbal acknowledgments of sexual orientation and some have even become so common that heterosexual culture recognizes them as well.

There are so many facets to the concept of queer signaling through fashion that many of us even in the community get confused. Some of the most common staples include but are not limited to the left Gay earring, the lesbian flannel, asexual black ring, and the handkerchief code. These signals in fashion goes even further to the extent that queer micro-labels identify their own staple labels. The lesbian community is known to have smaller staples such as silver and turquoise rings that go beyond butch and femme labelings. Honestly, this goes to show how fashion creates unity within the queer community.

It is harmful to generalize the queer community as “fashion-conscious” as such actions tend to trivialize the depth of the community. There are quite a few of these stereotypes regarding fashion in the community that muddle the importance of queer signaling. Ideas that coastal queers are more fashionable than those in the midwest and pushing the idea that all gay men are into fashion can cause the community to stray away from signaling in a show of divergence from the norm. In trying to breakdown these harmful stereotypes, the community can also distance itself from fashion based signaling which is quite essential.

It is consequently important to recognize the importance of fashion in the community as fashion creates bonding on a tribal level in the gay community.

Sources

Fashion and Clothing: Gay Identities

Queer Fashion and Style

Queer Semiotics in Dress

Fashion: A Game of Perception

Whenever you enter the mall looking for your next pair of shoes or when you go to your favorite website to do some online shopping, you become a consumer just like everyone else. All of us are consumers of the Fashion Industry, and by effect, all of us are influenced by the industry itself.

In any consumer based industry, big companies have to analyze the psyche of their ideal consumer. Most fashion brands build their own image through implementing themes and creating a staple consumer. Obviously, as consumers in this market, we all associate certain words and ideas with brands. When we think Gucci we think bright, eccentric, eclectic whereas when we speak of Chanel we hear classic, everlasting, chic. These underlying descriptors are the brand’s image.

But doesn’t a brand’s image influence how fashion alters our identity? The clothes we wear, the brands we gravitate towards, our own personal sense of style, all define a portion of our identity. The way we see ourselves is often guided by material items of clothing. Materialism promotes the fashion industry by slowing higher-end brands to hold themselves in high-esteem. I know that I have saved up day by day to go buy a “designer” item simply to associate with a certain social class of people. A simple designer item correlates to higher social class or even an elevated sense of style. The feelings that these fashion brands engender can hurt the way we see ourselves.

The fashion industry tends to promote a certain body type and skin color. By idealizing fair skin and skinny “hour glass” frames, the fashion industry creates body dysmorphia in many of its consumers. The industry brainwashes us to think that this unrealistic body type is ideal, to think that wearing certain brands makes us “elite”.

The reality is that this game of perception promotes other issues such as racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. However, finding the balance of perception and positive consumer interaction is the only way to keep fashion healthy. Is this balance even attainable?

Consumer Perception on Brands by Different Aspects

Are Gay Men the Face of Fashion?

Christian Louboutin, Tom Ford, Manolo Blahnik, should I go on? These big names in fashion are all gay men, and through no fault of their own, they have helped trademarked fashion as a “gay” industry of sorts. We commonly hear these gay men who are captivated by the world of fashion. The thing is that these men are labelled with greater success in the industry than many of the hardworking women.

But while this might be great queer representation, what does this trademark say about the world of Fashion?

The world of fashion is quite “feminized” in the media; hence, it is no surprise that the industry is mostly comprised of women whether this be designers or design students. And yes, while it is true that there are many powerful women in the world of fashion such as Anna Wintour, Rihanna, Stella McCartney, and more, we still see Queer men in many more positions of power in Fashion. Most creative directors of big fashion houses are queer men or even men in general. We even see these women in power giving importance to queer male youth over female youth such as “Anna Wintour being accused on only supporting gay men”(NYT).

Does the patriarchy give these men an upper-hand despite sexuality based discrimination?

Well, in Allison Stokes’ “The Glass Runway”, we touch upon this concept of a metaphorical Glass Escalator. This “escalator” gives men a boost in “women’s work” allowing them to get to the top much faster than a woman taking the “stairs”. On top of that, men are given the benefit of a “glass runway” in workplaces as well where they are pushed into the spotlight over their female counterparts. Essentially, it symbolises the systematic sexism developed by the patriarchy that we live in. However, we can’t simply take the “glass escalator” at face value without evaluating the intersectionality of identities. How does the glass escalator fare against Black men? Queer men? Queer men of color?

The reality is that intersectionalities put small cracks, fractures even, into the glass escalator and runway. These concepts are powered by themes of masculinity, race, and homophobia which are systemically embedded into every workplace. Since positions of power are correlated with masculinity, men have the advantage of the glass escalator; however, the system gives this advantage not exclusively but prevalently to white men. Black, Brown and Asian men tend to be prevented from growing in workplaces due to racism. Identifying on the queer spectrum can lead to similar homophobia and sexuality based discrimination. These examples of prejudice reduce the the effects of the glass runway and escalator.

How can we see the Glass Runway being applied in the Fashion Industry?

Ironically, the Fashion proves to be a counterexample, in the sense that the system of the glass runway and escalator embraces and supports gay men here. Though their “masculinity” and male identity provides as a step stool, it is dangerous to say that the system benefits gay men without acknowledging that they continue to face sexuality based discrimination. Obviously, many of these workplaces are queer friendly, but that doesn’t mean that they are free of discrimination. The success of many of these gay men are dependent on a judgement of their “masculinity”. Only those who are deemed masculine enough by their workplace superiors and counterparts seem to grow professionally.

Clearly, sexism has prevailed in pushing women down in the world of fashion, and while it is great to see more queer representation in Fashion over any industry, there needs to be a way to break down and destroy the inherent sexism in fashion.

Golden Goose: A Messy Surprise?

As many of my friends can tell you, I have never been a big fan of the Golden Goose sneakers. I tend to make fun of one gal in particular for her addiction to the luxury sneaker

Snakeskin Golden Goose Superstars

brand. But why buy a pair of dirty looking shoes, when I could take a pair and wear them out until they have the “distressed” look that GGDB markets? At first glance, the sneakers look pretty beat up, but after a while, you realize that they have so many different styles, patterns, and even textures that make their shoes so much more eclectic than the average pair of designer sneakers. I guess by spending some time on their website I could give my friends some credit for their addictions.
I still wasn’t sold on whether these shoes were worth the 600$ price-tag until I walked into the new Golden Goose Flagship in Chicago. The sales associate made my experience of buying shoes so great with the extra attention they gave me, and I learned so much more about the fashion house from my

Golden Goose Store Chicago

30 minute stop and shop in their boutique. I was really in desperate need of a pair of white high-tops, and I decided to try on a pair of their Classic Francy. My small feet (as usual) made the Men’s Francy unavailable in my size, and the SA decided to fetch me a pair of the same shoe but in Women’s sizes. While she did this, I found out from her that Golden Goose as a label preaches gender-fluidity in fashion– I LOVE IT! But back to the shoes. The sneakers hit all 3 things that I look for in shoes on the dot.

Comfort

Quality

Style


Like many Italian leather shoes, Golden Goose are super comfortable and breathable! They are even made from top of the line materials whether that be leather, snakeskin, or denim!
The best part about the shoes is the ability to customize them. After deciding on purchasing the white Francy, I wanted to make the shoes more fun per-se. I found out that GGDB makes it own laces to add some extra pizzazz to their shoes! To be honest, the experience of making the shoes my own and choosing the laces made me feel like a kid in a candy store. GGDB blew my mind in the style category.
But it can’t be all praise for Golden Goose, there are definitely two downfalls for the brand: the price and the sizing. When compared to its competitors like Philippe Modele, GGDB is definitely more expensive. You can get the same distressed look without the iconic star for much less. Even the laces are 70$! I bought these adorable denim laces that I can’t get over, but you can get a similar denim look for 10$ at an off-brand store. Personally, I like to think of all my shoes as a “self-investment”/confidence booster, so I tend to justify the exorbitant prices. But at the end of the day, the price is just NOT right.
Golden Goose’s sizing is a little off too. It is definitely one of those shoes that you go in-store to buy. I ended up buying a 37 even though I usually wear a 37.5/38 in sneakers. Just something to keep in mind.
Overall, these shoes are great; definitely worth all the buzz around them. I give them Samarth Approval ๐Ÿ˜‰

Wait… Designer Socks are A Thing?!?!

My shoe fetish is something that everyone tends to call me out on. I buy overpriced sneakers and indulge in world of leather boots, but I never paid attention to what goes underneath the shoes — socks!

Gucci Pink Crystal Socks

I was gifted GUCCI socks for Christmas this year from my best friend, and I was amazed to learn that one of the most ICONIC fashion houses made socks. And then, another close friend gifted me expensive socks as well. I didn’t know what was happening; I had never planned on cuffing my pants, or well I did, but not for the reason to show off my socks. It was like the universe was telling me to start investing in these adorable accessories.
Apparently, a lot of my favorite fashion houses made socks. Even with a variety of price ranges. Gucci, Prada, Burberry, Dior, Jacquemus, Off-White, McQueen, Balmain, and Fendi are just a few of the major labels that have entered the sock market.
But how practical are these chausettes? Are they just another item for the super rich who can splurge hundreds on a pair of socks? OR can any of us put some money aside to use these socks to up our fashion game?
I think yes: these socks just might have some style value. A cute pair of designer socks just multiplies how adorable you look when pulled over a pair of leggings; the Gucci, Fendi, or Dior monogram peeking out from under a pair of jeans adds another layer of detail to your outfit. Sheer socks made by some of these designers can make your appeal more sexy. In a sense, if you have the money to spend, why NOT put some cash into designer socks?
Now I get it, these socks might be an investment for some people, and honestly, if you are going to save up for something designer, these are definitely not worth it. You can get equally as hot socks from other brands for a fraction of the price. But on the other hand, if you want to spice up your outfit with a small designer item– socks just might be the move. Why not pair Gucci socks with Converse instead of pairing cheap socks with Gucci Sneakers? Afterall, the first option is cheaper ๐Ÿ˜‰

Get Waisted with a Cute Belt

A belt is such a nice way to spruce up your outfit! A statement belt can make simple t-shirt and jeans look refined and stylish. And the best part about belts is that they come in a variety of price ranges.

Gucci Pearl Embellished Belt

The only problem I have with these “pant-fasteners” is hardware. I tend to wear silver jewelry, and I am really attentive when it comes to wearing silver jewelry on the gold hardware belts I haveโ€” mixing hardwares makes me go psycho. I know it might seem weird, but a lot of fashionistas are hesitant to mix jewelry finishes in fear of committing a fashion crime. But I mean… you can use your new belt as an excuse to buy new jewelry to match the hardware ๐Ÿ˜‰ I mean its a win-win in a way!on houses, belts are the one item that are priced not to break the bank for their utility and cost per use.


I know that I love all of my designer belts to DEATH, and they are the only items in my closet that I practically use on the daily. The best part about these belts is that I can steal my MOM’s, and let me tell you her belts are GREAT!

Mens H Belt Hermes

And honestly, this speaks to the fact that a designer belt can be perfect for a guy or girl. He can throw it on his jeans with a sharp white shirt, and she can wear it high waisted on her loose fitted dress to make them look like the cutest couple on the block.

The only problem I have with these “pant-fasteners” is hardware. I tend to wear silver jewelry, and I am really attentive when it comes to wearing silver jewelry on the gold hardware belts I haveโ€” mixing hardware makes me go psycho. I know it might seem weird, but a lot of fashionistas are hesitant to mix jewelry finishes in fear of committing a fashion crime. But I mean… you can use your new belt as an excuse to buy new jewelry to match the hardware ๐Ÿ˜‰ I mean its a win-win in a way!

Racism in Fashion

Fashion, in general, is a big part of the lives of everyone through clothes, accessories, and other items we all subconsciously use on a daily basis. However, the industry isn’t as sparkly as the sequins many designer use. Ideally, brands should preach inclusivity for all races, genders, sexes, and body types, and during times of crisis, it is easy to forget about the history of many fashion labels if they come out in solidarity with the people of color they have hurt and offended in the past.


By simply posting a black square and a couple sentences in support for BLM, many of us are overlooking the workplace inequality for BIPOC’s in these companies. I know I have definitely made this mistake recently, and it is definitely quite an easy mistake to make if you don’t have the right knowledge. Many brands have recently had employees speak out on their personal discriminatory experiences.

Zimmerman employees openly made racist remarks on a black model’s hair only for the model to get fired while defending herself. Anthropologie workers were given a code word to communicate when a black or brown person entered the store. This goes out to so many other brands on the market. In fact, racism has a home in the fast-fashion industry. Already lacking in sustainability and fabric quality, fast-fashion brands thrive on the suffering of BIPOC. These employees are treated unfairly in factories, places of design, and at corporate offices. Farther than the workplace, the industry as a whole brainwashes us to feel “pretty” only at a certain standard.


Society has normalized euro-centricity and idealized fair skin in fashion since quite early in time. From early 18th century Europe where pale white makeup was applied to increase fairness, there have always been various terribly unattainable standards in the fashion world that promote exclusion and discrimination over bonding and positivity. Further, these standards have created body dysmorphia and regulated colorism in our lives. The problem is the media’s constant portrayal of these standards allows us to think it is ok; IT ISNT. We shouldn’t have to rake through an Instagram feed of a fashion house only to find one black or brown model.


It goes even further than the stereotypes around beauty that the industry sets. It amazes me that the fashion community has created an environment where cultures are “trendy” and where cultural appropriation is overlooked. Traditionally black hairstyles have been renamed and adapted by so many people including celebrities such as the Kardashians, Lilly Singh, and Nikita Dragun with no regard for the symbolism and oppression built into something as simple as hair for African American people in this country. Oriental patterns and outfit styles have been made into a trend all over the world without any importance given to the heritage behind the dress, top, or skirt being bought. And if this isn’t bad enough, brands like Dolce and Gabbana have deemed it acceptable to make advertisements and post clips openly enforcing racist Asian stereotypes in the media. After hearing about this, I vowed not to ever buy D&G.

From Gucci's Blackface Sweater to Beyoncรฉ Sambo Coat: 5 More Times Fashion  Met Racism
Moncler Black Face Jacket


Even when brands are releasing new collection items, there is insensitivity to the feelings that their collection can engender within a minority group. Moncler is an icon in the world of parkas and coats; I have definitely taken some time to stare at their collections and tried on a couple of overpriced shiny jackets. This brand without thinking of backlash created a shiny black jacket with a black face patch. Obviously, people were offended and viewed this as Black Face which is completely justified. This isn’t the only case. Gucci, the well-known iconic fashion house, has even gotten into a scandal regarding a turtleneck that proved to portray Black Face. These brands are in the wrong. They need to understand how their products are going to be received by the public. They have no right to be ignorant because their ignorance hurts and offends millions of people across the world.

Gucci Apologizes For 'Deep Offense' Caused By Sweater Deemed Racist By Some  : NPR
Gucci Black Face Turtleneck

I do want to give credit to some brands and retailers that have taken steps to create a more diverse and inclusive environment for their employees. Alice and Olivia, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Stuart Weitzman have all spoken on Equity and Inclusion mandatory training for a better workplace. It is one thing for a brand to post a black square in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, but without any initiative it is useless, and I commend and respect any brands that are taking the time and putting in the effort to change the ingrained racism in fashion.

Something for those Sunny Quarantine Days: Sunglasses Trends 2020

Everyone has been spending quite a lot of time outside recently; it seems as though the outdoors is the only place that we feel safe recently. And with the being outside in the sunlight comes one of my favorite accessories– Sunglasses. The fact is that we are probably going to be only having backyard parties until mid-fall, so why not invest in some cute, trendy, or even classic sunglasses.

Trends come and go quite quickly when it comes to sunglasses, and these trends tend to rotate year to year. Something that might have been considered fashionable three years ago as a shape of sunglasses might jump back into trends a couple of years later. That’s why I love sunglasses, nothing really ever goes out of style. As for this year, 2020 comes with some trendy sunglasses that we all know and love. Bringing back some classic characters and moving forward with futuristic shapes, the only good thing about 2020 so far seems to be the sunglasses.

The classic aviators finally got their spotlight this year but with some twists here and there. Obviously, the classic unisex Ray-Ban aviators never go out of style. Almost 5 years ago, they were my first pair to the sunglasses addiction that has developed over the years. And almost 7 pairs later, they still are a personal favorite of mine. They are comfortable, chic, and effortless, and definitely something that everyone should own!

What 2020 brings to the classic aviator is a very light (quite literally) oversized spin. Many fashion houses are making the aviator with larger lenses and lighter frames. In a sense, they have “feminized” the aviator, but just like other sunglasses, there is no “gender” assigned to a gorgeous pair– that’s something I love about these accessories!

Take a look at these Fendi aviators with light sage green lenses; they show a more playful side to the classic aviator making them super trendy in 2020. Moving away from something so classic, the world of sunglasses loves to travel into the future when developing shapes and lense structures. Strong mirroring, eccentric yet oversized shapes, and lense coloration categorize futuristic sunglasses.

Fendi Aviators

One brand that takes futuristic sunnies to another level is Dior. They push the envelope in making some avant-garde decisions for their sunglasses. This year, I actually bought a pair of their sunglasses with rose mirrored lenses and intentional cracks. Everyone takes a minute to appreciate the oddness of these sunnies– a common character for most dior sunglasses.

Dior Breaker Sunglasses

Sunnies can be expensive at time… okay most of the time. What I like to do is shop on the grey market for sunglasses! Jomashop, Ruelala, Gilt, etc. these grey market stores sell authenticated designer sunglasses at less. Yes, they may be last season or come without a warranty, but the heavy discount is enough to justify them. Also, remember what I said about sunglasses– nothing really ever goes out of style. So get out there ASAP and buy some sunnies while you can ๐Ÿ™‚