Musings

Weekly Words: 6th January 2018

Welcome to the first post that I’ve actually written in 2018!

You may have noticed that I have made some changes on the blog. First of all, and most noticeable, is that I have changed the url from katemossforpresident.wordpress.com to evegardiner.com. I figured that instead of just paying for a url and not using it, I should make the switch to something a little more permanent and polished than a regular WordPress domain. Thus, evegardiner.com was born.

Since I am now self-hosted, I have a lot more options in terms of customizing the site and I plan to utilize these extra options available to me over the next few weeks when I’m going to work on making some changes. It is taking me forever and a day to work out how to do this because my coding skills have definitely dropped off in the past few years, but I am hoping that by the end of January things look a little cleaner. I have already added a new about and contact page, plus changed the theme so feel free to check that out if you’re interested.

Some other things that I want to do are:
Make a consistent posting schedule. Currently, I post on Wednesdays & Saturdays. I think that works for me in terms of how much content I can produce (that I’m actually happy to post) and keeps things fresh. On Saturdays, it will be a weekly words post just like the regular ones (featuring news from the week, sort of like a newsletter almost) but I am currently in the process of thinking of a new name for the series. I will add a new category for the site once I rename it. The mid-week post will be a longer post most likely, but may be image-heavy if there is an editorial that I’d like to feature. Also, as I’ve done for the past couple of years, I will continue to post a fashion flashback on the 1st of the month (even if that clashes with another post).

Revamp the categories and make them less specific. A lot of my posts fall under the same category and some categories are under-utilized. I think it would be better if I kept things broader and cross-tagged posts so they fall into multiple places.

I hope you all had a fantastic holiday season and are feeling positive about the year ahead! I am excited to see what 2018 brings.

Spend More, Buy Less – over one year later

Last summer I found myself falling down the sustainability rabbit hole. I vowed to change my ways of consumption and be a more respectful consumer. I can 100% admit that I have failed. Here I will tell you exactly why. I know these are excuses (literally exactly what they are) but I know that there are other people in the same situation as me who came in with good intentions and have strayed.

1 – Sustainability can be expensive

The first thing that I thought I would do would be cut out fast fashion. I wouldn’t shop at Zara. I wouldn’t shop at H&M. I wouldn’t shop online in e-stores like Missguided and Pretty Little Thing. This lasted for about 6-8 weeks then I crumbled. Terrible, I know, but it’s really hard to not buy anything when you constantly want something new. The sustainability principle of buying less is very hard when you’re into fashion and want to keep up with the latest trends or even start your own. Quite often the only way to execute certain looks is by buying cheap pieces to get the aesthetic we desire. I want Gucci but I can’t afford it, so I buy the Zara alternative. Most of the time, the people who I have seen online preaching about sustainability and not shopping fast fashion are wealthy. Like go into Gucci and buy the fur slides for the hell of it wealthy. They aren’t living like regular college students are living.

2 – I suck at thrifting

On the other end of the spectrum, the people who talk about sustainability thrift exclusively. They buy used, secondhand clothes, shoes, accessories, regardless of the condition. They manage to find things that fit. I never do. In fact, I am perhaps the world’s worst thrifter. I rarely find anything that I find semi-passable. I’ve been to Goodwill, Buffalo Exchange, Housing Works, Beacon’s Closet (I do like that place), and 9 times out of 10 I leave empty-handed. Thrifting in New York is not what I expected it to be. I thought that it would be so easy and that I’d find cool things ever single weekend. What I have come to learn is that in order to get cool things you need to spend a lot of money. For example, I was at a store on Saint Marks a couple of weeks ago and I tried on the coolest hat you have ever seen. When I looked at the price tag it was $75. That’s insane for a secondhand, non-designer item. I have had similar experiences in other thrift stores where I have spotted cool items then been taken aback by the price. I’m not willing to spend more on an old, used, slightly roughed up item than I would on something new.

3 – I’m a college student

Living in New York is hard. Everything here is so damn expensive. When I began writing the Spend More, Buy Less posts I was working full-time. I had an income which meant I was able to buy more expensive clothes but now I can’t.

I do fully agree with a lot of the principles I spoke about in these posts and after going back and reading them again I want to start making a more conscious decision to keep an eye on my consumption again. In the meantime, here are some suggestions which I think could help towards reducing your individual footprint.

 – Donate or recycle old clothes

Whether it be by literally taking the clothes to be recycled for textiles or recycling by someone else wearing them, don’t put your clothes in the trash and send them to a landfill because that is simply a waste. Not all clothing is biodegradable so it can sit in the landfill and pollute for years to come. Either donate clothes to a charity (in the US I’ve donated to Goodwill but in the UK there’s more of a selection), sell it back to a store in exchange for cash or store credit (either Beacon’s Closet or Buffalo Exchange would work), or give it to a friend. You could also try selling on Depop. It looks like Instagram but it’s shoppable.

 – Build a capsule wardrobe

I know a capsule wardrobe sounds so dated but bear with me. Build up a collection of basics which you can mix and match on a daily basis and splurge on fun, trendy items every once in a while. If you have good jeans (black, grey, and maybe blue if you’re into that), various t-shirts in different cuts, silky cami tops, button downs, a couple of cute skirts, and a pair of black pants you can build lots of different outfits. Try making the look more exciting via your choice of outerwear or by adding accessories. I know that throughout the winter I dress boring as hell underneath my coat but because I always wear interesting outerwear or furry accessories I look pulled together.

I know that my current rate of consumption is unnecessary and I know that purchasing from fast fashion stores on the regular is not admirable so I would like to reign in my spending. However, I don’t like it when people are extremely judgmental of others for their consumption because you don’t know their personal circumstances. Also, lots of people remain ignorant of the issues at hand, often through no fault of their own. It’s definitely a personal journey and I think one that we have to make the decision to make on our own.

Instagram and Nudity

How much nudity is too much?

With Instagram, I feel like I have been totally desensitized to nudity yet in recent weeks I have found myself noticing it more and more. It wasn’t something that used to bother me really. I always thought that I don’t have to participate in posting photos like that if I don’t want to, so why should I care? But I have found myself caring and I’m not sure why. I don’t need to be bothered by other people’s photos but for some reason I am.

Take Elsa Hosk as an example – a beautiful model who makes a living posing in her lingerie for Victoria’s Secret. Her work shots are fine. They are selling the underwear. She is doing her job. But her Instagram tells another story. It is full of full nude shots and super sexualized selfies, and every time I look at it I am trying to work out why she posts these things? What is her motivation? She is already one of the most well-known models in America, idolized by girls and wanted by guys, yet she seems to be trying to get more attention online, grow her following, and do it by posting her naked body. I find it a little sad that women’s bodies are still their strongest form of currency. I know that we are supposed to have reached a new wave of feminism where posting your body online under your own terms and reclaiming it back is what women are all about now, but I also can’t help but think that by posting yourself naked and doing so for your own gain (financial or followers) is just playing into the hands of men around the world who continue to think of women as little more than their body.

I have noticed this nude trend trickle all the way down from the real famous (Kardashians & Jenners) to the insta-famous (all of those “models” with 50k+) to regular girls that you and I know in real life. It’s just strange and borderline worrying because I hope that it doesn’t put girls in a position where they feel that posting their body online for likes is the best way to boost their self esteem. Your body should never be more important than your mind. I don’t really care if people want to post themselves naked or with very little clothes as long as there is no ulterior motive behind the post, but if the reason that you’re posting it is for likes (which you use, in turn, to measure your self worth) then there is an issue in my opinion. This is a complex issue which, if handled the wrong way, can veer into slut shaming. I’m all about body positivity and feeling good about yourself, but I’m also all about having a life off of the internet and not using social media for personal gain, whether that be amassing a large amount of followers or using your likes to gain a confidence boost. I don’t intend to single out Elsa Hosk in a negative way in this piece. She is a beautiful woman who seems super sweet, has cool style, and appears to be a nice person with lots of friends and a great relationship. Her Instagram is really pretty which is why I initially followed her. I just got a little bit turned-off when I felt like her posts were just full of nudity in an over-the-top way. And hey, I guess if you’re a VS model you are being paid for your body looking great. At least it sells the lingerie. I just feel conflicted and a little bit confused on this matter and I struggle to articulate my thoughts on it properly.

Lookbook Video – Summer Brights

I decided that in my week before beginning my job and internship I was going to style a little shoot. Originally I had planned to bring in a model but then I thought I should just try it out myself, and I think it turned out pretty nicely. What was intended to be just a small photoshoot turned into a lookbook video. Honestly, I like the outcome. It was fun to shoot. I got a new camera so I have been playing around with it and trying to work out the settings etc. This was a cool, creative project for me. Maybe I’ll do some more!

This was filmed at the beginning of June, so two whole months ago now. As I had mentioned before, I started off this summer thinking that I wanted to do styling and personal styling on myself seemed like a good avenue to go down. I thought about making more videos like this for YouTube and doing various lookbooks but alas decided against it. Since I waited so long to post this, the majority of the pieces are unavailable now, having been heavily discounted in the summer sales. Apologies for the inconvenience of this and if I choose to make a similar video in the future I will definitely be more timely!

LOOK ONE

Zara bralet & pants, not pictured ASOS heels

LOOK TWO

Zara t-shirt, ASOS dress, Old Navy jacket

LOOK THREE

Zara top & pants

LOOK FOUR

Zara top & pants

Update

This summer has been a strange time. I went into it with the best intentions and things didn’t pan out exactly as I had planned but instead it turned out better. As it always tends to be, things work out exactly as they are supposed to. Now we are midway through summer and I feel like things are finally falling into place. I’m excited to see what August brings and how things change moving into late summer, early autumnal times.

I had said on this blog a few times before that I had wanted to be a stylist. I was doing some test shoots (and I have some great images that I do like) and trying to build my portfolio by myself, whilst gaining as much on-set experience as I could before hopefully branching out on my own. I think a large part of this aspiration was due to the fact that it was a job that I could do in LA, as well as a way to be creative and have fun. However, I soon realized that I am not cut out for doing something like that full-time. I could do styling for fun but I wouldn’t want to do that as a career because I am somebody who is a lot more analytical and I need something that makes better use of these skills instead of the creative part which is where I am less talented. I am definitely a left-brain person.

My left-brain tendencies are why I’ve decided to pursue merchandising. Instead of buying, a job that I am probably directly trained for in my degree, I have decided to go down the other, closely related route. It gives you the opportunity to work directly for a brand instead of a retailer, but you can also work for a retailer too. Five years down the line, I would love to be working for a Los Angeles based brand or store, like Maxfield or Fwrd or even Tom Ford. We shall see where this path takes me but so far I think it is the best decision I’ve made yet.

And hey, today is my half birthday. We’re more than halfway through the year; I’m halfway through being 19. Almost no longer a teenager. Finally!

Rei Kawakubo / Comme des Garcons exhibition at the Met

I. don’t. get. Comme. des. Garcons. 

Really, I don’t. I went to the summer costume exhibition at the Met to check it out and, like almost everyone else who was visiting, I didn’t know what to think. It feels almost blasphemous to say that I didn’t like it or didn’t get it because there is this unwritten rule that if you are seriously into fashion (or claim to be) you must love Comme. Don’t get me wrong, there are some things from the brand I like. Dover Street Market is an amazing store with great merchandising techniques. The diffusion line with the little heart logo is branded perfectly. I can appreciate a really cool avant garde piece. I think they photograph brilliantly and I think they look really insane on the body (think Caroline Kennedy at this year’s Met Gala, or even Rihanna) but I don’t understand them and I know that the majority of people in my company at the museum felt the same way.

The exhibition was in a different gallery than the Manus x Machina one was last year and I didn’t like the space as much. It was lit very brightly with everything on stark white pedestals and some pieces were displayed well above eye-level, meaning it was easy to miss things if you didn’t realize you had to look up. The pieces featured spanned decades of Rei’s work. The exhibition was split up into various different segments, each representing a different aesthetic expression (e.g Clothes/Not Clothes) and there was no text explaining anything on the walls, nor credits for the clothing’s season etc – all of this information was to be found in a paper exhibition guide that was available at the entrance. Because of this, I found myself going around the exhibition faster than I normally would when I stop to read things because I didn’t actually read the guide until I sat down at the end and compared the guide with photographs I took. I still feel like I need further clarification though because I don’t understand the meanings of the pieces. I am a very imaginative person but I cannot immediately see the meaning of these clothes.

Ever since I got into fashion as a young teen, Comme des Garcons was a name I’d seen thrown about always in extremely high regard. On Tumblr, nobody dared disrespect Rei, thinking of her as the high priestess of fashion. I guess this mentality was ingrained into me without realizing it and for years I’ve always thought that I liked Comme, without actually thinking too much about it. Now I realize that I don’t like Comme, not because I think the clothes are bad but because I just don’t understand it at all and I can’t see the depth that others do. That includes most of the designers in the Japanese conceptualist movement, like Yohji Yamamoto, too. This year at the Met Gala, I was hoping for more out-there pieces because what I’ve seen from Comme des Garcons in the past and I do stand by my criticism of that red carpet. It was boring and could’ve been so much more if people were willing to push the boat out and not worry about looking hot for one evening.

I have compiled a little video, linked below, which is a get ready with me where I do my makeup, then once I have finished that I have included a lot of shots from the exhibition. I actually got a new camera recently and I’ve been playing with it, trying to work out its capabilities. The makeup video was actually just shot for fun, hence the unprofessional set-up, but once it was done I actually quite liked it so I decided to make something of it. The shots from inside the museum are taken on the same camera. I’m impressed with the quality.

Overall, if you’re in New York I think you should check out the exhibition and see what you think for yourself. I liked it, but I didn’t love it. It didn’t help me gain any further understanding of or appreciation for the designer, but I did enjoy seeing it. I’m a huge advocate for fashion exhibitions and preserving garments like art pieces, because I do think of fashion as a form of commercial art, so I will always go along and see things even if I’m not a huge fan as I will always find it somewhat interesting.

Space Age Vibes – Inspiration Clips

I was initially inspired to pull these clips and images together because of the Paris Refashioned exhibition at the Museum at FIT. In this exhibition, I saw a mirrored Paco Rabanne dress which sparked my interest in the brand and I wrote about this in a previous post – “The Return of Paco Rabanne“. Going from there, I began to think about the space age, futuristic fashions of the 1960s and I started pulling together a series of images which I felt conveyed this well. Then instead of sticking exactly with the decade of the 60s, I ended up including clips from some 90s music videos too. I hope you enjoy the video!

Life Update

I’ve finished another semester at FIT and it feels strange. I’m in a very exciting yet slightly scary place in life right now. Technically, I’m a college graduate having achieved an Associate’s degree. Of course I’m going to return to earn my Bachelor’s but not before taking a semester off.

I’m somebody who values real experience over books. After high school I took almost two years off from education to work, both in an office job and in retail, with internships along the way. Heading back to school full time last summer was kind of scary for me, just because I’d forgotten what it was like to sit in a classroom for hours at a time. That, coupled with the fact that I wasn’t going to be earning my own money for the first time since turning 16, was tough for me. However, I adapted into the college life pretty quickly. It’s amazing to me that that very short chapter of my life is over already.

The next few months are going to be pretty crazy for me actually. I’m slightly worried but also extremely excited because, for once, I’m going to be doing something that I really want to do. I’m interning with for the summer whilst also working retail (with the job title of stylist too). I’m beyond excited to start to gain this experience in my internships, even if it consists of a lot of returns and pick-ups, carrying clothes, and steaming. That’s what an assistant does.

I’ve found that since moving to New York I’ve had a real shift in attitude and it is probably the opposite of what you would expect. Instead of becoming more and more stressed about “making it” and needing to have achieved a certain level of success by a certain age, I’ve relaxed. I now want to focus on the bigger picture, on life as a whole. I no longer feel this great urgency or huge rush to achieve everything instantly. I was getting ahead of myself before and would’ve ended up tripping up. I’m ready to assist people, work hard, and learn the ropes from people who know best. I’m so young, something that I often forget.

On the topic of styling and careers and that whole area, Fashionista.com have been publishing some great articles recently on their careers series. In particular, I enjoyed the guide on “How to Make It as a Celebrity Stylist in 2017”. They also published an in-depth chat with Rachel Zoe who is perhaps the most prominent (former) celebrity stylist of my lifetime which I spoke about in a previous Weekly Words post.

The point of this post was to give a brief update on how things are with me and what I’m going to be doing over the next few months. If content on this blog drops off I apologize. I’m going to be working 6 days a week with little free time so I may not have much time left to dedicate to this. I’m enjoying writing the Weekly Words posts because I’m just summarizing/commenting on any news stories that I’ve come across in the past week and talking about it as if you’re my friend. (I don’t have anyone in real life to discuss these stories with!!) However, I might not be able to keep up with that schedule and it may become bi-weekly words. Regardless of what happens, I’m still here. I still love writing on this blog. I still love posting random compilation videos on YouTube. I still post on Instagram all the damn time. Stick around!

MY LINKS

Instagram – personal @bigbabyeve

Youtube – Eve Gardiner

LA – February 2017

I took a trip to LA this past week. It was unlike anywhere I’ve ever been before. From what I’d heard over the past few years, California was experiencing a drought. Rich people were getting derided for using sprinklers to keep their lawns green when most vegetation was turning brown. However, when I went we were hit by a storm so bad that we spent the entire Friday inside, lying on the sofa watching the rain pour down. The infinity pool in the back yard rippled and began to overflow. One minute you could see the mountains in the distance, the next they were obscured by a wall of cloud. I was in the Valley.

I stayed in LA for four full days, but 5 nights in total. In that time I seen almost everything I wanted to see. I seen the Valley, I seen the mountains, I drove down the Pacific Coast Highway, through some canyons, down Sunset at sunset and various other times throughout the day, I ate the best food, I browsed in many stores, I seen the ocean, I put my toe on the sand, I drove to the top of a hill and observed the entire city below me, looking to Downtown and across to the sea. I really loved it. I cannot fault the trip.

The differences between New York and LA were so striking to me. It’s a completely different way of life. I’ve thought about moving there after graduation a few times and it appeals to me in some ways but not in others. Now that I’ve visited I’m more sure of the positives of the city and what it has to offer. I still have my concerns though. In my mind, LA is rather isolating. Everyone drives. I worry that it would be difficult to meet people because it’s not the same as New York where you just walk around everywhere and bump into new people. I think socializing would require more effort and making new friends and trying to build relationships would take a lot of work. I don’t think I’d feel comfortable making the switch to the west coast until I knew a couple of people out there, at least as acquaintances to meet up with initially. Overall, everything just felt more chill. Less rushed. Even when we were backed up in traffic on the 405 I didn’t feel stressed out. Normally if I stop for a minute in New York I’m antsy. I can’t even wait at a traffic light for the walk sign without pacing halfway into the flow of oncoming cars. I think the pace of life would take some adjusting to, especially coming from New York. However, thousands of people move from New York to LA and vice versa every single year and manage so it must be doable.

The best element of my trip was the food. I feel like I ate so damn well. We went to Spago on Saturday evening for a meal and it was the best thing that’s ever passed my lips. The portions were perfectly sized and the pasta I had was so full of flavor that I finished it all and ate slowly to savor every piece. The steak was also perfect. Brunch at Chateau Marmont was another experience as the food was tasty (and gluten free for some reason), the surroundings were iconic, and the fellow diners were somebodies. I feel like I could look the part and somehow make people think I was a somebody too. It would’ve been funny. Johnny Depp’s daughter was two tables away from me and just as beautiful in person as the Chanel ads, but she has fantastic genetics. Mel’s Drive-In on Sunset was a good lunch option too. I ate a lot of lamb on the trip. A random snippet of information but strange if you know me as you’d know that I order bolognese at every restaurant I go to, yet nowhere I went had traditional bolognese and this was always my closest option. I had a wonderful pasta dish with lamb sausage and red peppers which tasted like Hungarian goulash to me. It was also delicious. Oh, and of course I had an In-N-Out burger. Of course.

I went to almost every store in LA and, whilst I enjoyed browsing, all I bought on the entire trip was a black zip-up hoodie from the men’s section of H&M (it got cold in the house), a new Beauty Blender sponge, and a bunch of random supplies from CVS (e.g. Intensive moisturizer as my skin just dies after travel, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition for $10…). Disappointing really when you consider some of the stores LA has to offer. There were certainly a few experiences to be had. Fred Segal was interesting because it’s such an iconic store but I found the merchandise carried different than what I’d imagined. Nasty Gal in Santa Monica was strange as the entire store was on sale, literally. You could buy the fixtures, plants, mirrors, everything. Wasteland (the vintage store) was disappointing. I’d first heard of it a few years ago, randomly stumbling across their website one time when looking for high-end vintage clothing and I remember being so amazed by it. Going into the store was a slightly disappointing experience as I found everything to be so overpriced. I think they grew too big perhaps. I went to Rodeo Drive and Abbot Kinney (but didn’t shop) and I went to the Grove (where I almost did) and I went to the Beverly Center (where I actually did). I didn’t yet make it to Decades or Elyse Walker; I’m saving them for next time.

The most interesting store to me out of all of these places was Maxfield. I loved Maxfield. It’s somewhere that I’ve wanted to visit for years now and I’ve been interested in potentially working for in the future. I just loved it. The store was so conceptual but not in an annoying and pretentious way. The merchandise selection was spot-on, a mix of high fashion, uber luxury (like vintage Hermes) with young brands like Off-White and Enfants Riches Deprimes, the visuals were cool, and the assortment of art books and coffee table books was cool – like a perfectly curated gift section really. Cool. Everything was cool. The staff, the customers, everything. If I had the funds I could’ve done some serious damage there. To make things even cooler, the Vetements pop-up was still outside. I wish I could’ve gone inside but it was closed when I was there. If you haven’t already seen images online, the Vetements pop-up was like a dry cleaners. It was so funny. To see it in person was a really cool experience for me because normally I’m an outsider to these things, just seeing it via Instagram. Across the street in the gallery space was the Daft Punk pop-up exhibition. It was the first thing like this that I’ve ever waited in line for. It was also really cool, but I think I may write about it in more detail in a separate post so I shall leave that for that.

Besides shopping, I spent most of the time on this trip as the passenger in the car. I was just chauffeured around, being the human GPS system and occasionally taking a nap but more often than not just taking in everything around me. It was really fascinating to me. My fondest memories from the trip are from places I seen whilst in the car and conversations I had on the journey. I love the palm trees too. Really, I think I would like LA. It has a lot to offer. Plus, 9 times out of 10 the weather is perfect. I look forward to my return, whenever that will be.