Why I’m a Taylor Swift fan and proud of it #beingbasic

It seems that Taylor Swift has become the epitome of “mainstream”. I mean, even my DAD knows what she said in her latest interview, and he’s Korean and has never heard of the Kardashians(I repeat, the KARDASHIANS). She’s all over the place, with her music becoming anthems for teenage girls and rise to success becoming topics of great academic research for scholars all over the world. Her latest album, 1989, was the biggest-selling album of 2014, and her Billboard records match up to those of the Beatles.

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She’s become so terribly successful and famous, in fact, that it’s making us all feel guilty to admit we love her. Like any well-known person, she has almost as much haters as fans.  But it’s not just the haters-it’s the fact that there are so, so many other people that listen to her music apart from themselves that bothers people. Liking Taylor Swift’s easygoing, lighthearted songs make people feel “basic”, and, let’s face it-no one wants to feel basic, when we’re all so convinced that we’re incredibly important and one-of-a-kind. ‘Basic’ is the new negative word for ‘typical, shallow, and not special(, let alone artistically valuable)’. Downloading her songs alone on your phone at night while getting emotional about your ex makes you feel like you’ve become that basic, (usually perceived as)dumb girl that orders the infamous pumpkin spice latte while texting on her iphone, in leggings and Uggs. 

And it’s not only that. It’s also the fact that almost all her songs are about the simple emotions involved in falling in love and falling out of love, unlike other mega-selling records of the past that are known for having real artistic value, like ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ by Queen, or ‘Thriller’ by Michael Jackson, or ‘Rehab’ by Amy Winehouse. Of course, lots of other famous songs are about love too-take Whitney Houston’s ‘I Will Always Love You’, for example- but we remember ‘I Will Always Love You’ as a romantic, soulful, legendary song. I’ve never, ever heard anyone call that song “basic”. However, everyone calls Taylor Swift’s songs basic.

Why? I assume it’s because her songs have simple melodies, simple lyrics, and are about simple emotions that we’ve all felt before. They’re not about some deep, artistic rendition of love. They mostly describe the feelings a high school girl would have about that cute boy/girl in Biology, the lousy ex that betrayed you for another girl/guy that you spent all night crying about while eating chocolate in your college dorm room with your friends, or your current S.O. that you smile about before falling asleep every night, imagining holding his/her hand and going on picnics and doing ridiculous lovestruck things that you see in every soppy romantic comedy movie. The thing is, her songs are mostly about everyday feelings. Things that don’t apply exclusively to those who are in a love so complicated and holy and mature, but apply also to the ‘average’ teenager next door that loves procrastination, doesn’t know where her/his life is going, and has a crush on her/his classmate at school.

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Taylor’s songs are mainstream because we can all relate to them. I’ve been told that I try too hard to be unique and sophisticated and that I act too mysterious and chic(which is actually because most of the time I can’t think of anything smart to say so I just sit and stare at people), but I can’t help indulging in the common ‘girliness’ of Taylor Swift’s songs every once in a while, sometimes. When I’m singing in the shower. Everyday. Okay, fine, I have practically ALL her songs on my playlist on my phone, AND I’ve been to a Tay Swift concert back in 8th grade. But I refuse to be ashamed about my affinity for this ‘basic’ culture. Whenever I tell people I like Taylor Swift, their initial responses are always either ‘Seriously?’ or ‘Wow I thought you were really unique and different though’. No one says that when someone likes Amy Winehouse, or Nirvana, or Weezer, or AC/DC, or some alternative indie band. When someone says they like Oasis, it’s all ‘Ohh you know your music!’, unlike when someone says they like the Backstreet Boys(yes, I just made a My Mad Fat Diary reference).

I DON’T GET IT.

I don’t understand in the first place how some pieces of art/music can apparently essentially hold ‘more artistic value’ than others. Art isn’t like a math test; it isn’t something where you can just weigh one against another. Every piece of art holds a different meaning for every single person, evokes different emotions in every single person, and affects every single person in such a variety of ways, and I do have the audacity to say that the silly drawings that I drew of unicorns and princesses when I was four mean way more to me than a Jackson Pollock painting or a Michelangelo sculpture worth millions. 

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Also, I think it’s wrong for people to talk about mainstream pop singers like Taylor Swift or One Direction or even Justin Bieber(unless they’re talking about his stupid antics, then, yeah I agree he needs to get his life together) and their music in a condescending way, assuming that they have less artistry than other ‘legendary’ musicians like, I dunno, Nirvana. Firstly, creating something that the vast majority of ‘common’ people can relate to is not only more difficult than people think but also extremely meaningful. Taylor Swift’s songs reach out to so many people, whoever they may be, and I believe that this connection through her music, between her and the listeners, is a manifest of one of the biggest, most sacred assets of humanity-artistic communication. Because at the end of the day, being able to touch the heart of another or make someone see a certain reflection of their own life through something you created, and being able to create something that can bring a huge group of people all over the world together emotionally in sympathy(even IF it is just about your highschool sweetheart and how you broke up with her/him at school), is one of the most important fundamental principles of art itself. Secondly, even if lots of popular singers today don’t make their own music, I still think that performance(not just ballet or operas but also performing at the Superbowl) is also a legit art which requires much artistry and effort. The process of interpreting a song and using your voice, body, or instrument to communicate with others about the song, whatever that song may be, is still just as valuable as the process of creating the song itself.

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Rock on, Taylor.

Intimate Conversations

Honestly, my life feels so stagnant and dull right now. It’s the same routine over and over, and I really just cannot stand monotony. No big projects, no big events, just day after day of overly peaceful, mere existence to the point where it almost hurts. Seriously, not doing anything hurts. But not having anything major on my hands does have one single advantage-it brings out the little things I otherwise wouldn’t have noticed if I’d been busy. Here are some unretouched, raw photos I took of my sister today and raw, fairly intimate conversations I’ve had over the past week.

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(while ice skating together last Wednesday)

Me, carefully tiptoeing and clutching onto the railing for dear life: Aren’t you scared that you might fall over?

Sister, laughing, whizzing past: Well of course I might fall over! But then how are you gonna do anything?

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My mother, on me:

“She’s a free spirit.”

(Quick shout out to my mum: Mum I know you read my blog, my ‘I’m a coward’ post was on your phone yesterday)

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A teenage dream’s so hard to beat
Every time she walks down the street
Another girl in the neighbourhood
Wish she was mine, she looks so good

-Teenage Kicks by The Undertones-

This song is my ringtone right now. Makes me wanna just drop everything and dance and not pick up the phone.

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Dad: I can’t believe you might be married in only ten years’ time! Time flies.

Me: I’m never getting married.

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The best thing about this outfit on my sister is the plaid. I love plaid. Whenever I see someone walking down the street wearing plaid, it’s like, damn we would be so good together we would be soulmates.

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Me, to my crush: So when are we gonna meet up again?

Crush: Um, I dunno. (and then proceeds to not reply for days)

(#yesIknowmylifeissad #whoswithme)

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Best friend: But I think YOU need to stop pretending too. It shows in your facial expressions and the way you talk. Stop trying to act all emo and tough.

Me: I guess it’s my self defense mechanism. I hate feeling vulnerable. I try to put up a strong front.

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Me: Did you know that I have dimples, when I laugh?

S.O.: Did you know that I have dimples?

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Me, to myself: Stop worrying. Get up and do something.

Things I realized from being brutally honest with myself

Writing has always entertained me, in one way or another. A fun, relaxing, magical thing. My parents always encourage me to write things out, whether it be a personal diary entry full of my feelings, or a professional article on my stance on a current issue. Because of this (maybe ‘nurtured’)affinity toward writing, I think that when I write, I see a true reflection of myself in the most honest way possible.

It’s when I’m sitting alone in front of my laptop with a cup of coffee, in an old cafe(which is what I’m doing right at this very moment) that I can pluck up the courage to connect with myself. When I say ‘connect with myself’ I don’t mean some superstitious voodoo business; I mean actually acknowledge myself for what I’ve become.

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It’s really not as easy as it sounds, you know, acknowledging yourself for what you are. Of course, once in a while we all whine about how we’re so doomed because we procrastinate endlessly, or we rant on about how we eat too much and sleep too much(or too little, in my case. Sleep, I mean.) But have we actually journeyed further than that? I doubt it. We never really get to step beyond the comfort zones of our smartphones and casual social media binging.

We’re at the point where it seems taboo to question the most fundamental things. Try asking a random basic ‘philosophical’ question to a friend. It will probably make them(most people I’ve tried it on have, anyways) almost instinctively try to lighten the awkwardness of how fundamental and ‘deep’ your question was by joking around or seeming clearly uncomfortable with how ‘pretentious’ you sound by asking such a thoughtful question instead of commenting on the latest hot topic or something. Considering this situation, the only way we seem to be realistically evaluating ourselves is through our selfies. Which I think is really bad, since selfies don’t even begin to scratch the surface of who we are at all. Whenever I take a selfie I feel like I’m deluding myself by filling up my empty spots with the shallow satisfaction of how I look(not that I think I look fabulous…but you get what I mean in general) and establishing my existence by posting them on Facebook, rather than actually taking the time to get to know my inner self.

Today I had a lot of time to kill on my hands since finals ended last week and I was alone for most of the day, so I decided to stop and take a break from mourning over my horrendous finals scores and sending my friends memes on Facebook and just be alone for a while. To get off social media and stop worrying about what other people are gonna think of me(or whether they’re thinking of me, *cough cough* hot guy on the third row in chemistry class) and just devote a chunk of time solely to myself. It’s harder said than done. It can actually be quite frightening to some people, and I understand that. For some of us, being alone with our thoughts can be harder than facing a room full of a thousand people, especially in today’s world. I admit-hitting the ‘deactivate’ button on Facebook was a big decision, my index finger was trembling as I hit the button that would segregate me from the world and disconnect me from my primary source of self-worth, but I survived it like a warrior. Okay, that was exaggerated. But still, it was hard.

I sat in a cafe, ordered my usual green tea latte, and basically I just…sat for hours, writing out things on my mind, sipping latte and listening to Christmas carols(only 4 days left now!), and thinking about things I usually don’t have the time to think about. I’ve been sitting here in the corner of this cafe for hours now and I’ve come up with some thoughts at least remotely worthy enough to put down on paper, or, on my laptop screen.

Being brutally honest with myself for once, firstly, I realized that I was stopping myself from becoming more successful in life. To be exact, my arrogance was barring me from advancing in so many areas of my life. I had never realized it before because a) I always seemed to have more urgent things to think about and b) I was too afraid to face my flaws in the face BECAUSE OF my arrogance(a vicious cycle..arrgg) in the If I had continued on with my life unaware of this

Secondly, I realized that I am being very weak right now. Finals finally ended last week and school is about to let out in a few days; obviously it would be an understatement to say that I’m a little over the moon and therefore am a little in the partay-all-day-whoop-whoop mood but I’m going to have to go to university next year and I.NEED.TO.GET.UP. I am being lazy. I’ve been in denial about this for a week now but now I must get myself together and STOP ILLEGALLY BINGE-WATCHING ‘MY MAD FAT DIARY’. Seriously. Procrastination isn’t cool anymore-has anyone else ever felt the sickening feeling of being left behind when everyone else seems to be moving forward in life and living out their dreams step by step?

Thirdly, I realized that I’m not that attractive. I’m not saying this to be degrading toward myself or try to earn your sympathy. I just feel like I should acknowledge reality.

Finally, I realized that I should be more honest with not only myself but also with others in my life. A few white lies here and there are acceptable, but mainly I need to have honest, genuine bonds with the people around me that I love. From now on, it’s going to be either a true relationship where I don’t have to act superficial, or no relationship.

Whew, this one was really emotional and long and personal.

The story of how I fell asleep and missed my interview with Pixie Lott

Hey readers,

I feel like, because it’s hard to find an avid fashion blogger my age in Korea, lots of people tend to think I must be an incredibly amazing blogger. The thing is, whether I’m interviewing America’s Next Top Model models, hosting collaboration projects, or talking to magazine editors, I slip up a lot. And I mean A LOT.

For example, the other day I was supposed to be interviewing Pixie Lott, but I FELL ASLEEP AND MISSED IT.

Yep, you read that correctly. I just literally could not attend the online webinar BECAUSE I WAS FRIGGIN SLEEPING. IN MY BED. And this is THE PIXIE LOTT we’re talking ’bout here.

So here’s what happened. Recently I found a blogger community newsletter in my heap of emails. There was a link to attend the online Q&A session with Pixie Lott, hosted by the brand Magnitone. Of course, being a Pixie Lott fan, I applied. As I waited in anxiety and anticipation, I received an email informing me that I’d made it; that I’d been chosen to participate in the exclusive live webinar session with Pixie Lott. At that point I could practically imagine the looks of utter shock and admiration on people’s faces when they found out about it. Tingling with excitement, I posted this on facebook.

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And people were in awe, as I’d expected.

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I was too busy basking in the glory of being the first person among my friends to be able to exclusively interview someone as famous as Pixie Lott, that at first I did not realize that the Q&A session was in three hours. I was probably the last person put on the list.

I honestly freaked out when I read the words ‘Reminder: the exclusive Q&A session with Pixie Lott is in three hours(4AM)!’ in my business inbox. I’d been studying at school until 10PM that day, I was tired, I needed a shower and a nice few hours of sound sleep. A short internal conflict occurred in my head-should I stay up until 4AM and talk to Pixie Lott, or should I just forget it and get some sleep? After a split second, I decided that the former would definitely have to happen, because, who knows, this could be my big break, right? You never know in the blogging world.

So I drank my coffee, washed my face, and sat at my desk to prepare myself for the painful three hours of cruel, wearisome waiting in anticipation and irritation from severe sleep deprivation that were to come. I did everything to keep myself awake. After all, I couldn’t let my readers(you guys) down, and my friends were counting on me to nail this Q&A session and tell them all about it.

AND THEN guess what I did. I got a little drowsy, so I thought, ‘just 5 minutes…yes…I’ll just close my eyes for just, just…5 minutes’, and then I WENT TO MY BED. Now there’s one thing you need to know about my bed-it’s the coziest, softest, most sleep-inducing patch of space on planet Earth. It’s truly a fine bed. And as I lay down, I kept telling myself, ‘Everything will be fine… I’m sure I’ll get up before 4…’ BUT NO.

NO, NO, NO. JUST. NO. I DID NOT get up before 4. In fact I did not get up at all until the clock struck 7:10 AM. I opened my eyes, got straight up, stared at the clock, rubbed my eyes, then stared some more. The clock definitely said 7:10. I panicked for a while, even thinking, ‘well..well…maybe the webinar isn’t over! Maybe I’ll still get to talk to Pixie…’ But I regained my logical thinking skills, muttered some bad language about how I was such an idiot(WHICH I WAS), and went back to bed, because, you know, maybe it was just a big bad dream(which it wasn’t).

And that’s my story of how I almost, just almost, interviewed Pixie Lott. My friends were totally bummed when I told them, of course. My mother just laughed at me. I was mad at myself for a while but then, oh well.

This post was supposed to be about my almost-happened interview with Pixie Lott, but since it didn’t happen, here’s my reflection on the whole situation.

Thinking back now, firstly, I’m beginning to realize it’s not that big of a deal. #YOLO. Just kidding. That hashtag is overused. But seriously though, take that in for a moment-You Only Live Once. If I only live once, I wanna make mistakes, especially while I’m still young. I’m only human. There’s no point dwelling on the past and getting angry all over again. It’s a waste of precious time. Secondly, while I do need to forgive myself and move on, I also need to learn from my mistakes. Me missing the interview chance was totally my fault. I cannot blame anyone else for it since it was just the result of me being an idiot. Blogging and tackling school work all at once is turning out to be harder than I thought, and I do struggle. However, since I made the conscious choice to continue on with my blogging career, I need to start being more responsible for it. I need to improve my time management, primarily.

I also need to focus on the essence of my blogging. I always told myself that I didn’t want to be the type of fashion blogger that just posts photos of Chanel and Givenchy, accepting unhealthy fashion ideals and passing selling them on to the public as if those standards are the ultimate rules of fashion, conforming to trends without critical thinking. However, these days I often find myself thirsty for opportunities with famous, popular people that might give me my ‘big break’. It’s ridiculous, I know. I need to focus on my writing; my posts, which express my true colours and insights, and stop floating above my conscience, swimming on the edge of glamour and undeserved fame. This is my confession and promise to you guys that from now on I’ll remind myself each day of why I’m staying up this late(or NOT staying up, in the case of how my Pixie Lott interview went down, haha) and take myself to the beginning whenever I feel like I’m becoming too obsessed with the shallow glittery stuff. Because I believe I can make a positive change and contribute to the development of self-expression.

I love you guys. Thank you.

The friend that looks amazing in her soccer uniform and sneakers

Hey readers,

The time has finally come for me to show you guys the photos I’ve been taking with the new camera that my friend Jen lent me.

I took loads of photos of my friend Jiyeon. She has a unique look, an interesting sense of style, and an easygoing attitude, so she makes the perfect model to work with. The sunlight was just perfect when we were taking these photos.

So this is what we managed to create after about two hours of light bickering and fooling around with the camera(which was a Canon DSLR, by the way).

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The one above is my personal favorite. It was hard to get the right angle though.

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“Why are they always telling me to sit?”

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I love photos of natural, honest moments, like the one above.

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Thanks : ) Don’t forget to leave a comment!

What we think ‘being an artist’ means

Hey readers,

When I hear the word ‘artist’, I imagine a free spirit; I visualize long, straggly hair, a pair of shades nonchalantly placed slightly tilted above the nose, a cigarette(or even better, cigar) between the quivering, chapped lips, with a paint-splattered ripped white shirt(or no shirt), and ripped faded old jeans, and to finish off, probably a pair of black Doc Martens(or at least something that looks like Doc Martens).

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(And it would probably look somewhat similar to this.)

I’ve realized that this is my way of absorbing what ‘being an artist’ means from popular culture: movies, novels, television, and online. The idea of being an artist seems more romantic now than it ever has before. Take the recent box office hit Begin Again, for example. The protagonists are drunk, broke, considered unimportant by mainstream society, yet somehow manage to overlook these realistic obstacles and strive toward an artistic, emotional, sentimental value, which portrays them them as true artists. (“Maybe music should be FREE,” Mark Ruffalo says to his music industry business partner/boss in Begin Again.)

Judging from how a huge portion of society defines ‘being an artist’, it seems sooo, so different from being a banker or a stock investor or a teacher. It seems like a job that’s so aloof from the majority of other jobs out there. Maybe it’s because most artists aren’t in it for the money or the profit or even popularity, but rather for the meanings of things. They often hold a contrasting perspective on life itself, and know(or at least act like they know) to appreciate even the subtle things, from emotions or moments to the feeling you get when you step outside on a rainy day to the randomness of the birthmark on the back of your left ankle(see? that sounds artistic, haha). We expect artists to not be money-driven, because we think that art is supposed to be pure and crazy and unrealistic. It’s almost magical in itself. In fact, I bet being an artist is way more romantic than Tinder(obviously).

Now, my humble, personal opinion is that I disagree with how being an artist is branded because it creates some unfair stereotypes for artists. And although I’m constantly tempted to lock myself in my room with my paintbrushes and 4B pencils and respond to my mother’s “Keonha you gotta study!” with “Mum. I’m an artist. Artists don’t fret over such profane matters. I need time to drink my black coffee and think my artistic thoughts(and no, I’m not daydreaming. Artists don’t daydream. We do creative thinking).”, I try to dismiss the thoughts by reminding myself of the essence of art(which I believe to be genuineness) and scold myself for falling into the somewhat shallow trap of the commercially painted ‘popular’ image of ‘the artist’.

But then again, at the end of the day, none of us really have/will ever have a complete answer to the mysterious, fabulous question of what being an artist means to us as humans. All we can do is write blog posts like this and express what goes on in our heads and try to scrape at the surface of the great holy truths of art. After writing this post, I STILL don’t have a straightforward answer to what being an artist actually means, but one thing I do know is that what I love most about being an artist(alright, alright-self proclaimed artist) is the freedom. You’re socially allowed to be totally nuts and display your true weird self for everyone to see. This is great news for me and all the other slightly crazy different humans out there, since we’re usually in love with spontaneity and sudden outbursts of randomness. Isn’t that how life’s supposed to be lived-free, natural, and fun? : )

Image Credits: http://favim.com/image/179077/

Why I cried watching the Chanel fashion show

Hey readers,

Being involved in fashion often brings me back to feminism, which leads me to fashion again, which takes me to feminism. Especially in today’s social scene, at this point, I think fashion and feminism are two things that cannot be conceptually or historically detached from one another. Which is why Chanel’s Ready-To-Wear Spring/Summer Paris 2015 show is attracting speculation and sparking controversy directed toward the center of the fashion industry, obviously, themselves. (The) Karl Lagerfeld, who designs the iconic Chanel pieces (and who is quite the fashion icon himself), staged an interesting feminism protest march in this season’s show. Watch it below:

The show was held in the Grand Palais, which Karl transformed into “Boulevard Chanel”, to set the show in a background resembling a European-style traditional sort of street. The clothes-I couldn’t find anything special about the clothes themselves, they were exactly, stereotypically what one would expect from a typical Chanel collection (except maybe more tweed). How the clothes changed throughout the show, however, is definitely something to take note of while watching the show, in regard of the message at the end of the show. What’s interesting though is that I’ve read plenty of reviews on the show(hello Refinery29 and Jezebel, both of which clearly weren’t buying the whole faux-protest theme, and The Cut, which seemed pretty neutral, and Fashionista and StyleList Canada, both of which praised Karl’s feminism festivity, and The Closet Feminist, which didn’t seem to keen on the idea but raised some interesting questions), and all of these reviews mainly hover on the slogans(which is understandable since I must admit some of them were TACKY) but none of them even mention or elaborate in detail on how the clothes developed and changed as the show went on. It’s funny because I actually thought the transformation of the Chanel pieces as the show progressed was one of the key factors to fully understanding the show itself and the story that Karl was trying to tell through this season’s show. At the beginning of the show, the models(all of which are women, except for one) are dressed in colorful tweed(SO, SO MUCH TWEED) and radiant ensembles of flowery, dotty patterns, reminding viewers of the 60s/70s.

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(Georgia May Jagger)

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(Saskia De Brauw)

This changes, however, when at around 4:06, the music becomes more uptight and so do the models’ walking formation and the clothes. The flowery long boots and fluffy clothes are nowhere to be seen, and lines of models looking more fierce and modernized with boxy shorts and blouses and shiny, chunky gold belts start parading down the city-themed runway, and instantly I’m feeling like I just stepped into a new era of women’s fashion and am witnessing the evolution of women’s style. And then at 9:18, this jumpy crowd of women wearing the colorful fashions of the first half of the show are literally jumping down the runway, overwhelming me with all these hand-written slogan signs, many of them representing feminism. The feminist slogans helped me to reach the understanding that the contrasting 60s/70s –> modern clothing style transition in the show was a part of expressing feminism throughout the ages. It was a pleasant twist to the whole show.

Women’s clothes have defined and shaped feminism, and I’m guessing that that’s what Karl was trying to portray through the transition in clothes (and obviously through the slightly tacky slogans, too). While I do agree with Refinery29 to some extent that the slogans were pretty ironically insignificant and, again, tacky, I still think the whole feminist movement reenactment was meaningful, in both the name of fashion AND feminism. Chanel is receiving A LOT of criticism from people saying that the whole feminism thing was shallow and thoughtless, merely a trend, but I on the other hand loved it! Feminism is a concept that still needs to be embraced by many more around the world and the fact that a global, central, influential fashion brand like Chanel is marking the recent revival of feminist spirit just goes to show that fashion is still doing what it’s excelled at all this time-bringing us back to feminism.

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I teared up watching the ending of the show. I don’t think the slogans have to be oh-so-philosophically-deep or sophisticated. After all, it’s a display of suppressed feminist emotions and years and years of unfairness set in the 60s/70s of second-wave feminism. (I interpreted it as a reenactment, since the clothes the “activists” were wearing were those from the earlier parts of the show, and-as I explained above-I viewed the whole show as a sort of timeline for women and feminism and fashion.) In that sense Karl and Chanel succeeded in expressing what feminism feels like and what it meant for those women standing up front at those brave protests in the past. I don’t think it was shallow or materialistic at all; it was a powerful, iconic reminder of how we’re where we are at the moment, and of the decades-centuries of injustice and pain that so many women had to face. It was more than just a “runway stunt”, as many online fashion magazines are describing it. It was Karl Lagerfeld putting the final seal on the recent feminism issues all over SNS through a historically meaningful expressive medium-fashion. It was this controversial, exciting blend of feminism and fashion that inspired a certain strength and pride in being a woman that brought me to tears. (And not even the Titanic made me cry, so this probably means something. : )

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Also, since I’m openly rooting for this show, I can’t help but rebut respond to some quotes from other sites…

“You don’t need to be a CNN buff to get it: Between the unrest in the Middle East, police violence in Ferguson, this week’s uprisings in Hong Kong, and New York’s recent, massive march for climate change, there are plenty of issues worth protesting. But, when Karl Lagerfeld staged a “feminist protest” earlier today for Chanel’s Paris runway show, it felt, well, a bit twisted.” 

-Refinery29

I don’t know what Refinery29 is getting at here. Why on earth would the selection of feminism as a theme make you feel “twisted”? Sure, there are definitely a lot of other serious issues going on on our planet, and I think feminism is always and has always been one of them, online AND offline. Is feminism an issue NOT “worth protesting” anymore?

“…waving signs emblazoned with rather tepid political slogans like “Free Freedom” (whatever that means)…”

-Refinery29

I think “Free Freedom” means that feminism is a type of freedom that has been locked up for so long and still hasn’t been fully freed, so Karl is making an ironic pun. Freedom is supposed to be free and natural, but feminism has not been in many places for such a long time.

“…this season presents protest as pure product, the irony of which we suspect Karl is both aware, and presides over with a provocative, Warholian glee.”

-Refinery29

I disagree, Refinery29. You’re looking at the issue while holding an irrational grudge. What part of the closing act gives off the notion of “protest as pure product”…? (Well obviously except the fact that it’s a fashion show, although even that’s not that much of a rational conclusion to jump to either.) Of course we all know that Chanel is a company, which means it’s seeking to earn profit from selling clothes. But that doesn’t make it negative! If anything, Chanel should be praised for doing/representing something meaningful in the process. Fashion is one of the most effective ways to spread a message, and THAT’S what Karl knows.

“The messages are all very confused, and confusing, which gives the impression that Lagerfeld’s notion towards woman empowerment was merely gestural, or that he was responding to what he perceives as a trend, something that was written about while he was designing this.”

-Jezebel

Like I stated waaay above in this post, I don’t think feminist slogans should have to include some sort of deep metaphor or whatever for it to be meaningful. People experience feminism and sexual injustice in many different forms and therefore it is expressed in many different methods of literary expression. Also, just a thought, but wouldn’t it seem more “gestural” or “trend”-like for Karl to implement totally cliché terms used in describing feminist emotions? Just sayin’.

“Also: why is his feminist vision SO F**KING WHITE?!”

-Jezebel

Urrrmmm… I honestly do not know how to perfectly respond to this because there are just so many things that are wrong about this statement. All I can say at this point is, well, I’m pretty, very, really sure Karl didn’t deliberately place mostly Caucasian models on the runway to send the message that feminism is for a certain race…? I mean…I’m sure the people at Chanel weren’t like, “We need more ‘white’ models here! We need a higher ‘white’ ratio!”, right…? If they were, then that changes everything, but I’m pretty sure that wasn’t how it went…

Comment or Like this post by clicking the title of this post, then scrolling down. The Like button and Comment box are both at the bottom of the post. I love reading you guys’ feedback, whether it’s positive or negative, so don’t hesitate to leave an honest comment! : )

Image Credits:

http://fashionolic.blogspot.kr/2014/10/chanel-spring-2015-paris-fashion-week.html

http://www.ebuzznew.com/models-take-chanels-paris-protests-beyond-the-runway

http://www.fashionblender.com.au/

Bon voyage, everyone!

Hey readers,

I don’t really get to travel a lot because being a high school student in Korea takes up so much time and energy(Gahh I’m not kidding-I have lots of friends that only get 3 hours of sleep every night even though it’s the summer holidays right now), but sometimes I do find the space to just get away for a while and relax. A week ago I went on a family trip to the seaside! There’s this island called Jebudo on the west coast of Korea. We stayed there for just two days but I had an alright time, writing stuff, reading Shakespeare(okay to be honest the reading part was pretty boring), taking long walks along the shore, and barbecuing!

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(No kidding. I was reading Shakespeare in Jebudo.)

Aside from the stay at the island, one thing I noticed during the length of the whole trip was that for some reason I enjoyed the journey of getting to Jebudo more than actually being there. It occurred to me that this wasn’t the first time. Thinking back on most of my past trips, I had always anticipated and loved the journey to the destination more than the destination itself. (But don’t get me wrong- I don’t mean that I don’t appreciate the experience of mingling with people and chilling out at vacation spots. I just tend to enjoy it less. If that makes any sense.)

To be honest I think it’s partly because the ride there gives me some time to breathe; some ‘vacant’ time. It’s a time when I’ve got nothing planned and can rightfully waste time without feeling guilty-since there’s nothing planned which means it’s basically blank time, right?(Okay writing this is making me feel guilty… I guess being good at self-rationalization has its drawbacks!) Seriously, it’s one of the best feelings ever to just sit in the car/plane/train/whatever and look out at all the buildings and people and fields and cows(I really did see some cows on a field. No kidding.), imagining what their lives must be like. Although, life as a building is probably pretty boring. I love the moments of simply listening to good music, eating snacks, and writing about whatever comes to mind, like there’s no tomorrow. Usually I always have to think about my schedule and plans and all the things I have to do, and that gets to my head sometimes.

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(Journey to the top of the mountain…in my favorite comfy oversized knitted sweater.)

However, ultimately I think it’s because, when I’m going on a voyage, I like the feeling of knowing that the immediate future is unpredictable and may hold unlimited fun and happiness, even more than the sensation of the actual ‘having fun’ part that happens at the destination of the journey. In my daily life I spend way too much time worrying or being paranoid about my future-“Will I get this done on time?” “Will my teacher scold me for this?” “What if I screw up on this test again?”-that, upon hearing the phrase ‘the future’, I seem to unconsciously light a fire of paranoia inside my mind, and the fire catches on and I start worrying about everything related to what I was originally worrying about. So when I have something to look forward to, it’s great to have that tingling feeling of positive anticipation about the future for a change.

Is this ultimately a good thing or a bad thing? I really don’t know. But I do know that, in a certain aspect, it can be a positive trait, if I interpret it in the right way! Unfortunately, I often observe that many people forget to enjoy the ride to a certain destination, whether it’s your dream job/school, fighting an illness, or even making a peanut butter sandwich(yeah, enjoy your sandwich-making, people). People are so focused on their destination that they don’t think to enjoy the journey of getting there. “Oh I’ve got that test next month? I guess I’ll just sit and memorize everything meaninglessly and lifelessly until I know enough to just get an A. And then I’ll empty all the information out so that I can start memorizing for the next test. Even though I hate studying. God I hate studying.” Honestly. I swear some people think like this(and it’s annoying…). I mean, I understand that goals are made for achieving. But Dorothy wouldn’t have met the wizard of Oz without spending all that time making weird friends and getting into trouble with those witches! One way or another, Dorothy had to follow the yellow brick road to get to Oz. It was up to her to either enjoy the road or to whine the whole way there.

Let’s enjoy the journey together! Let’s imagine a bright future and dream big, so big that it scares us just thinking about it. And let’s work hard but enjoy all the little things along the road. I’ll be there for you : )

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(I am the statue of liberty and I shall make you feel better-from my debate trip to NY)

Let me know about YOUR journey by leaving a comment(click the title of the post first, then scroll down to the bottom of the post- you’ll see the comment box and like button) or reaching out to me at konnikim@gmail.com. Actually, it doesn’t even have to be about your journey, it can be anything and I guarantee you I shall respond to everything, sooner or later. I haven’t been able to respond quickly to comments lately so sorry! But now I can! : D

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(“What? You wanna talk? Gurrl I am listenin’.)

My good friend Rylee. And our little photoshoot!

Hey readers,

I took the MBTI personality test(Myers-Briggs Type Indicator), which is a surprisingly accurate test that can determine which of the given 16 personality types you belong in.  I got ‘INTP’. This means I’m extremely analytical. I enjoy(and unfortunately or fortunately feel the irrational impulse) analyzing just about everything and anything that catches my eye. It’s a pretty useful personality trait in terms of studying subjects like fashion, but today I decided to utilize it in analyzing my good friend Rylee. It made me see her more clearly as a person and made me realize that she’s actually a pretty cool person if you think about it.

This is the first time I’m writing a post about someone else other than my sister(who I always use as my model), so if Rylee is reading this she should probably feel blessed. : D

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(YES THIS IS RYLEE)

I was a bit worried about writing this post at first because I thought that maybe it would seem to you guys that I’m talking about a topic too distant. You know, the awkwardness when your friend suddenly starts talking about her friend from Art class who you don’t know. The irritation you feel when you’re having a lovely conversation with someone about ice cream and they suddenly change the topic to the history of quantum physics, and you just stand there with a blank, lifeless expression, thinking, ‘So you were saying… chocolate or vanilla?’ Yeah… I really didn’t wanna be a turn-off in that manner so I honestly am anxious about you guys’ reactions, so be sure to leave a comment and tell me whether you liked it or not!

Anyways, here we go!

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Think of that one friend-the most easygoing, crazy, spontaneous, yet surprisingly smart(probably the result of DNA, since, well, the day you see this friend being studious is probably gonna be the day Miley Cyrus stops twerking. A day we shall never see in this lifetime.), slightly-obnoxious-at-times friend. The one friend that we can always count on to grace our Facebook newsfeeds with gloriously disturbing yet magnificently delighting photos, always making us smile awkwardly into our laptop screens(, not quite knowing how to respond to the piece of exquisite photography before our eyes).

Well, in my life, Rylee is that friend. And she’s so amazing that I want you guys to cherish in her awesomeness with me. (okay that was too cheesy.)

The best thing about Rylee is that she’s always up for fun. Whether you wanna go dress like Lady Gaga and sing and dance like a lunatic in the middle of the street or just sit and talk about your feelings, Rylee will be there for you. But the thing is, since she’s always there, it’s easy to make the mistake of taking her for granted. Which is what I did yesterday night when I was talking to her on Facebook. It was 3AM and I guess we were both just tired and cranky when we talked, but that’s when your true feelings start seeping out, right? When she brought up the topic of me putting other priorities or other people over her and our friendship, I realized how there was so much truth in what she was (probably) absent-mindedly saying to me out of the fatigue and crankiness and raw honesty of 3AM.

So Rylee, if you’re reading this, I apologize. I agree that I’ve been pretty thoughtless lately regarding us and I’m sorry.

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Another great thing about Rylee is that she’s so brutally honest. Sometimes I can just feel her honesty smashing against my ego, but strangely enough I actually love that. (No, I’m not a masochist.) I cannot emphasize enough how much I worship honestly, even if it can be painful at times. I remember this saying that I picked up back in my Tumblr days-“Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes.” It used to be written on my phone background. I love that Rylee has the courage-something that I notice many others don’t have-to speak her mind. It’s really not that easy to be able to do that if you think about it. People are usually dominated under circumstances or authority and we always seem to find a way to self-rationalize holding our tongues even when we feel the urge to speak, but I’m proud to have a friend like Rylee who isn’t afraid to expose her thoughts, whether they’re right or wrong. If my hair looks bad today, then I can count on Rylee to tell me it looks bad! If I’m slacking off and need to get a grip and start working harder, then I know that Rylee will be there for me with a cup of coffee, telling me I’ve got to try harder.

There are still so many things I want to tell you about my friend Rylee, but I really think it would take all night. So I’ll just show you some pictures I took of her while we were on our photoshoot spree during our school’s festival and we’ll call it a day.

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Once Rylee said to me, “I want to know everything about you!” And Konni was happy that day because she felt thankful to have a friend who was willing to hear all about her dull, tragic life story.

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If there’s one thing about Rylee that I’d point out in personal disagreement, it would be her fashion. I personally would never dress like Rylee. It’s too sporty for me. (This is just my personal opinion. I’m not saying Rylee’s fashion is objectively bad. I actually respect the fact that Rylee is not wrapped up in current trends or the latest fashion. Really.) But I like the ensemble of simple clothes in the photos above, especially since they suit the atmosphere of the graffiti in the background.

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(Sometimes Rylee and I like to chase random ducks together.)

They say your friends are a reflection of yourself. (If I looked at a mirror and I saw Rylee looking back at me, I would feel… wait, wrong train of thought…) If Rylee is a reflection of me, then Hooray for me! I’d love to be more like Rylee. She’s athletic(hello, miss head-of-the-school-lacrosse-team), cool, and much braver than me in many ways. I’m grateful to be lucky enough to have a special person like Rylee be my friend. I don’t know what I would do without her.

I hope you guys enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Don’t forget to Like this post or leave a comment below- just click on the title of this post, then scroll down. You’ll see the Comment box and Like button at the bottom of the post.

Korea Style Week, Celety, meeting the most famous fashion designers in Korea, and how I found out I can’t be a model

Hey readers,

I’ve never been pressured to write a post before, but tonight I am. Not in a bad way though. The pressure comes from my own enlightened desire to write something worthy of describing the awesomeness of the 4th Korea Style Week and all the things I learned and all the wonderful people I met through the experience.

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I honestly have so much I want to share about Korea Style Week this year that, despite my years of blogging experience, I don’t know where to start. The experience was overwhelming in such a lovely way that makes me feel all tingly just thinking about it right now.

 

BRANDS, BRANDS, BRANDS //MODERN SNAPBACKS AND CLASSIC JEWELRY

This year’s KSW was THE essence of my fashion blogging career(if you can call it a career). I feel that the most distinct feature and exclusive merit of buyer-to-buyer brand fairs like this is the diversity of brands. All the brands are willing to engage with the public and are very willing to communicate, which is something I truly appreciated as a fashion blogger at the event. Almost all the brand representatives I talked to were amiable and open to questions about the brand’s style in general, which made it easy for me to do interviews and gather resources.

Since it was a buyer-to-buyer fair, I inevitably anticipated that there would be limits on the creativity/originality of brands’ products but I was pleasantly surprised to see that in depth, every brand had their own ideals/motives and each held a sort of pride about their brand name, which I loved.

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Walking around the maze of brand booths, I could not take my eyes off all the clothes just beckoning for me to come buy them but interestingly for me the two exquisite hidden gems that I discovered this year in KSW were snapbacks and custom jewelry. This is amusing to me because I hardly ever wear snapbacks or pay much attention to my jewelry(hipsters leave angry comments now). It seems to me that hats or accessories have always been side-dishes to the main menu of my actual clothes, which, I now realize, is a very inappropriate attitude(since snapbacks are just the epitome of modern, youthful, hip culture).

 

HATER SNAPBACKS (http://hatersnapback.com/)

The most popular snapbacks at KSW were definitely those from the brand ‘HATer SNAPBACK’, and I could see why. Their snapbacks had a definite structure(unlike those other flimsy caps that you get from brands that don’t specialize in snapbacks) and a unique, appealing style. Their snapbacks seem like a whole new world of snapbacks. They succeeded in creating their own pedestal in the market of snapbacks.

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Each snapback has the famous upside-down-triangle brand logo in gold and the same structure. The only variants among all these snapbacks are the colors and patterns. It gives a sense of altered continuity. The snapbacks look great as one big collection and look equally as swag-filled separately, too.

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I would pick out one personal favorite if I could, but right now I’m hovering between the pink fluorescent one above and the tie-dye colored, leather printed one below.

IMG_2649IMG_2638 IMG_2639IMG_2708 IMG_2651Looking at these snapbacks makes me realize the importance of creating a distinct, consistent brand style. The certain image that you have of a brand can really decide whether you buy or not, and something that all successful brands have is a proper understanding of that fact. Sounds simple, but hard to put into action.


CELETY 

This is a brand I now personally feel extremely attached to. I approached the brand representative with the usual “Hi, I’m a fashion blogger and I want to feature your brand..” and she said, “Are you sure you’re a fashion blogger?”(I will still never know whether she was joking or not) Slightly offended, I replied, “I’ll show you my blog!” She smiled coolly and said, “I’m kidding.” At the time I was taken aback by her straightforwardness and humorous nature but I soon came to adore her relentless honesty. After talking about my blog and showing her my work, she was happy to collaborate.

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Jewelry is something I’ve never really experimented with. Personally, interacting with a jewelry brand was like pioneering in a whole new field. And it turns out I’m a jewelry geek.

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Intrigued by their painfully beautiful summer collection, I couldn’t have been more eager to work with Celety. I actually got the chance to interview the brand rep. of Celety(her name in Korean is 임그린), and it was honestly one of the most meaningful conversations I’ve had as a blogger.

 

ME: What’s the most important thing in running a brand business?

REP: Uniqueness is great, but individual sensitivity is definitely crucial. I draw my inspiration and sensitivity from old pop, and therefore I don’t deviate too much from the classics. I just add my own color and structure.

ME: What’s the difference between clothing trends and accessory trends?

REP: Jewelry doesn’t really have cyclic trends. It’s been 8 years since I’ve been doing this work and I just reinterpret the classic styles of the past.

Brand Designer/Stylist: Accessories don’t trend on their own. They go with clothing trends.

ME: So accessories aren’t treated as a whole separate market; they walk alongside clothing fashion.

Brand Designer/Stylist: Yeah.

REP: I wouldn’t say ‘accessories’. Rather, use the word ‘custom jewelry’.

ME: Right. Custom jewelry. I have another thing I wanna know. When you design your own jewelry for your brand, I assume that a certain disparity must exist between your own personal style and the style that your consumers want from you. How do you deal with that?

REP: Yes, of course, there definitely is that gap between what you want and what your customers want. I basically just try to ease prevailing current trends into my own designs. It’s actually one of the reasons why I attend fashion fairs like this-to make our jewelry better known among the public and to find the line between my personal visions and public desires.

ME: Hmm. That makes sense.

REP: It’s really all about reinterpretation. I keep my analogue sensitivity but reinterpret it accordingly every time, just like brands like Ralph Lauren-I truly respect Ralph Lauren- or Yves Saint Laurent do with their fashion. They always have a sort of consistent structure, sensitivity, and sense of color but they manage to make their collections different every time. Our brand name, Celety, means celebration+party, and I got the idea from the song ‘Celebration’ by a band called Kool and the Gang. You should look them up.

ME: Sure.

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(‘Celebration’ by Kool and the Gang)

 

I learned a lot from the short 8-minute conversation that we had. It made me think of jewelry from a new perspective. Not just as an ‘accessory’ but as an actual part of the whole fashion scene. Later, the Celety brand rep. told me that she likes plain white tees with a simple eyeliner and a high bun, because they’re easier to coordinate jewelry with. This made me look at fashion from a whole new point of view. Fashion isn’t just about the clothes you wear. It’s about how you wear them and what you wear them with. And it’s also about perspective. In an industry where objectivity is almost nothing but a myth and sales are based on interaction through common style, every sector of the industry has a strikingly unique point of view towards fashion and towards other sectors. Albeit modern youthful fashion labels focus on studs, statement tees, and bright floral shorts, jewelry brands like Celety appreciate a clean cut look more, because apparently a simple, plain look is more convenient when styling and matching jewelry.

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(The brand rep. gave me this necklace as a gift. I picked it out myself because of the ethnic feel and the combination of colors. I still cannot get over how stunning the necklace looks and how much it means to me. It’s an embodiment of all the sleepless, blogging-filled nights that have led up to this moment.)

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(Yay I’m wearing the necklace!)

I know that Celety will forever have a special place in my heart and my career. The brand rep. said she would invite me to future brand store openings and all that jazz, so, looking bright here!

GETTING TO MEET THE MOST FAMOUS FASHION DESIGNERS IN KOREA//THE RUNWAY

This was a huge part of KSW for me since, well, obviously, it’s not every day that you get to meet the role model of your whole career. Watching the runway shows at KSW and seeing Ko Tae Yong(고태용) and Hwang Jae Keun(황재근) was something that I never thought I’d be doing at this stage of my life and being there and witnessing their presence before my eyes was so inspiring in itself.

I learned a lot from listening to them talk.

Ko Tae Yong, who recently had his own show in New York Fashion Week just this year, designs for Reebok and his own brand, Beyond Closet. I watched him intently. His shades were reflecting light, and they shimmered because he kept adjusting them incessantly. He was also fiddling with his fringe a lot as he spoke. His choice of garments to the event was simpler than I had expected. He looked carefree yet down to designing business in loose black trousers and a loose shirt to go with.

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Ko Tae Yong’s words about how a fearless spirit is imperative in becoming a fashion designer really channeled my attitude towards being head-first and non-stop rather than over-thinking every single situation and being too careful to take risks. During his interview, he calmly stated that the most important difference between designer clothes and clothes sold at 4900 won is that designer clothes are sold at a much higher price because they have a sense of identity, unlike clothes that are mass produced in a factory. It cleared things up a little for me and I learned not to view the high-fashion designer brand world with my usual negativity and slight cockiness, since although the high-fashion world may be clouded by stereotypes of unlimited wealth and useless hubris, there is definitely a reason why those classic brands are still a huge success in the industry, and there’s a lot to learn from them.

 

Hwang Jae Keun is the ultimate champion of Project Runway Korea. That means he’s a renowned, experienced designer(Whoo, shocker). He gave styling tips and answered questions from the audience, and although I didn’t get to directly ask him anything due to time management issues, I did learn a thing or two about the concept of fashion.

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I realize now that I’ve been so selfish about fashion and art. I always had that selfish ‘i-don’t-want-your-influence-because-fashion-should-be-personal-and-genuine’ type of mindset when it came to styling or designing, but Hwang Jae Keun’s talk on what fashion meant was an eye-opening turning point. He said that fashion was ‘communication‘, because not only does a fashion designer have to express his individual identity but he also must excel in creating a common ground in which to bond with his consumers. I remember an internet article I read about Lana Del Rey saying that she doesn’t like it when people listen to and reinterpret her music because she makes her music solely for herself. At the time I was sympathetic of what she said to a certain extent, but I’m slowly leaning away from that point of view to the less-stubborn side.

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The runway shows were a delight.

 

HOW I FOUND OUT I CAN’T MODEL

Now, I’m usually the one behind the camera, taking pictures of other people (or heavenly items that I find once in a while in the back of my wardrobe), and I gotta confess that although taking the photos is great because I get to direct everything and create my own little work of art, sometimes, once in a while, I do want to be the girl standing in front of the camera, basking in the glorious spotlight of that camera beam. It’s probably not just me(I hope.), I bet a lot of girls and guys have flipped through W magazine or Vogue thinking, ‘Oh man, I gotta do that someday’. So since I was at KSW with my lil’ sis, I decided to switch roles for a change!

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“Like this?”

“No no, put your chin down a little more, and SMIZE. You know what Tyra Banks told you on ANTM.”

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“Ohhh okay like THIS!”

“Ehh.. move your head back a little.”

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“What, you mean like THIS??”

“Gurrlll you ain’t ever gonna be a model. Stop that this instant people are watching”

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“OHMYGEERRRRRD”

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Okay, this last pic is the least monstrous one out of all of them. This will have to do.

 

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(This is how it’s supposed to be done.)

All my sleepless nights of watching America’s Next Top Model and I still can’t take a good photo. Well that makes me feel professional.

LAST THOUGHTS…

Upon concluding this exclusive, one-of-a-kind, fashion-filled post, I’d like to give a huge internet hug to my readers(whether they want it or not) and I’d like to say thank you to everyone that’s supported me and brought me here. Although I still consider myself a beginner, I must say that I’ve come further in this than I expected myself to be at this time of my life and I’m grateful of the fact that I can still find the positive, pure energy in me to continue on with this passion of mine. I’m having the time of my life here, and I guess I can only try hard and hope things just keep on escalating.

To comment on or Like this post, just click on the title, then scroll down to the bottom of the post. You’ll see the like button and comment box!