We're working on something very, very exciting. I can barely keep this under wraps. I had to film a short video announcement today and I cannot tell you how long it took for us to film a simple 3 minute video. It was so funny. Apparently, my body didn't get the memo that today is a working Sunday. It's rebelling. Here's one of the many bloopers from today. Where is a water boy when you need one?

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Hair and beauty are two areas that are endlessly fascinating for women. No lady has ever complained about finding the perfect products for her skin and hair so our quest continues. Here are 3 trends we never thought we'd see everyone gushing over.

Anti-aging for the hair-Who knew that hair actually ages along with the body? Research shows that anti-aging serums and creams for the hair are actually having a major moment. There's even an at-home hair coloring system that has anti-aging properties. You're never going to complain about hair that's too young and healthy. 

Drop the mask-If you're looking for immediate results, masks are your best friend. In as little as an hour, you can have fresher, brighter skin. Apparently, word got out about this. Masks and peels saw a 66% sales jump in prestige outlets in 2013. 

Tender loving skin care- Remember when every expert recommended frequent exfoliation? Not anymore.  Oils, gentle gels and hydrating cleansers were the stars in 2013. Treating your skin gently is the new rage. This goes double for the skin under the eyes. The face holds the most layers of product (think moisturizer, primer, makeup) so finding a gentle but effective cleanser is the key. 

2014 is the year of healthy, young hair with insta-gorgeous skin. Are you in?

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I'm really torn on thrift shops. On one hand, it's a great way to give life to new clothing. On a global level, it's a massive business that simply does not make sense ethically. Bales of used clothing are usually exported to other countries when not sold here. This can stifle the local fashion identity of the country, unnecessarily devalue the clothing which is already inhibited by the fashion calendar and "give consumers a false sense of security that the rate at which they are consuming and disposing of clothing is at all sustainable", among other things. Read more about this here. With every shopping decision I make, I try to be conscientious, though, so I found myself in a thrift shop in Park Slope that was closing down. I chatted with the owner who told me that though business was good, she was done. She wanted to try something different with her life. I wanted to not only support her but get meaningful pieces to add to my wardrobe.
 I got this 100% wool cape for $35. It's not the warmest thing so I keep it for warm spring days. I also got this leather midi skirt for $15. I think it was so inexpensive because the clasp at the waist at the back wasn't a smart decision, design-wise. It kept popping open. I switched it for a more appropriate pant hook. I love that this skirt length is so flattering on us skinny girls but I'm thinking about cutting it into a mini and doing something interesting with the excess leather. I just know myself and I know I will get more use out of a mini skirt. 

Thrift shopping isn't necessarily a negative thing. I really fell in love with these pieces and I've been lusting and plotting after a cape for some time. This leather skirt is just a good investment piece. Do I go thrift shopping often? Not really. Would I recommend it? To each his own but this is a great alternative for people who complain about the high retail price of "conscious" clothing. 

My bill was $50 and I got 2 great pieces that are sure to last me a long time. 

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 © 2014 Clifford Hausner 
A few months ago, I presented Fall 2014 during my first solo presentation during NYFW. It was an amazing experience, to say the least. More on that later. I went back to Manufacture NY to shoot my lookbook one day shortly after and saw this photographer shooting pics for the band that was playing that night. He snapped a few pics of me for the fun of it. We were surrounded by all this amazing equipment and lighting and I figured why not. 

I'm so struck by how deep and intense these shots are. I was tired but super happy to have had that experience with Manufacture NY. I'm not sure why they are a sepia tone on Blogger, though. These were all done by Clifford Hausner, a super talented photographer. Many thanks to him for these and for snapping away while I experimented with not smiling. For more on his company, click here

 © 2014 Clifford Hausner 

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I went to the barber and made a spur-of-the-moment decision to get a design. I saw this 5 year old kid and he looked so so cool. Of course, mine did not look nearly as cool.

Need to work on my swagger.

When the design was done, it reminded me of Gangsta Chanel, my rabbit. Do you see the G and the rabbit ear? Now I kind of want to do this all the time. Within the same week, I got a blowout and a few streaks at the James Corbett Salon. The result was this, which I lurved! I usually don't like my straight hair but I loved the bit of waves at the end and the body at the top.

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This weekend, I'm in the Poconos reviewing some activities and the Pocono Manor for Lady And The Blog. I love travelling so it's been a ton of fun. I usually stay out of the snow but I've really appreciated getting up close and personal with it. It's completely different from what I'm used to. I am an island girl for sure. It's great to mix it up now and then, though. Read my first post here

My trusty jacket is from Helly Hansen. It's no longer available but there are tons more that are a great fit for snow sports. This jacket has been the most incredible savior with this weather. 

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Ethiopian musician Wayna Stephen rocked out at the Apollo Theater last night in this dress from Tabii Just's Spring 2014 collection. She needed something she could move in. By the way, she's also 6 months pregnant. What a rock star! Here's a short vid of the action.

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I stole this t-shirt from my other half. It's meant to be funny but I can honestly say that, during the winter, when I don't perspire as much, I wear clothing more than once before washing. I grew up thinking that clothes were dirty when worn once and it's a totally different concept to not wash it after each use. It saves water for sure. Studies have shown that post-consumer use accounts for a significant amount of energy usage for clothing. Laundering and pressing clothing accounts for this. By washing my clothes only when they're dirty, I'm able to save a bit a bit of water and the energy it takes to wash it.

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I paid a visit to the 15% at Interactions Exhibit by Timo Rissanen and Salla Salin at the New School and had a moment to re-examine the waste produced in my beloved fashion industry. Fashion Interactions is a "multi-disciplinary exhibition that explores fashion culture by means of contemporary art, design and media." The exhibit addresses the unsustainable nature of fashion and how people use clothing to define their sense of self.

This was done by setting up a sample room in a window display at Parsons New School for Design. At first I thought it was like a sweatshop style facility but I was reminded that sweatshops are mostly defined by the conditions and these were still nice conditions. Janelle Abbott is part of the exhibit and she is sewing plain white t shirts for 6 hours per day for 26 days. The room is fulfills all the functions of the sample room.

She uses an H&M adapted pattern for a plain white t-shirt, cuts the fabric and stitches each one at a time. She then stamps each with a label, puts the waste in individual shopping bags and records this in a log. She finishes each before starting the next. In a production facility, each person usually does one thing. For instance, one person would do all the cutting and another person does all the sleeves. For Janelle, I couldn't tell which was better. The goal is to give the waste to the consumer who gets the t-shirt. Here are 3 thoughts that this triggered:

1) This is hugely monotonous stuff
I try not to judge other people's jobs. For example, I find pleasure in doing paperwork while others do not. It's kind of arrogant to assume that because I think something is monotonous, that means it is inherently so, so this is not a judgement. It's rather an observation. Fashion is not automated. Someone has to actually sit and sew each piece of the clothes we wear. Whether you like sewing or not, it's worthy to acknowledge the human effort and energy put into each garment and how much handwork it takes. It's also important to examine how much one would expect to be paid for such work. Chances are, it's less than what most workers are being paid. Watching Janelle sew, I was like "Aren't you bored? How long are you doing this for? Do you want to jump out the window at the end of the day?" I'm obviously putting my judgments on the act of sewing the same thing over and over again but it's important to acknowledge the monotonous nature of making clothing and the people who make it.

2) H&M may have an issue with their pattern being used in an exhibit

When I heard it was an H&M adapted pattern, my first thought was that it was a bit naughty to use a mass produced pattern by a major company in an exhibit that doesn't exactly celebrate their way of life. I wonder though, what their reaction would be in light of the fact that their business model is based on knocking off high end trends and making them affordable. I would love to hear their thoughts especially since they've launched a campaign to increase the sustainability of the company from another direction altogether.

3) What will the consumers do with the scraps after the exhibit?
With Tabii Just, I try to find uses for every bit of fabric and I really wanted the exhibit to do that. It is much more effective, though, for them to put the responsibility on the consumer. I give consumers the easy way out. I take care of the scraps. If you actually give it to them, it almost forces them to think about it in relation to the garment they are going to wear. It can create a different relationship with the garment when they do wear it. They're forced to see, in their hands, exactly how much is wasted and they are forced to come up with the solution to the waste problem on their own. Though I suspect that some may simply be like "What am I supposed to do with this?" and toss it out, some just might use the scraps to make cleaning rags or outfits for dolls or something else creative. This exhibit is called Interactions and it's leading the observer and the consumer to directly interact with the scraps.

The Interactions Exhibit at the New School is a must-see for anyone interested in zero waste in fashion. It spells it out in the clearest manner possible. To learn more about it, click here. To hear Janelle talk about what she's doing see the vid below.

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