Talking to Korean fashion people in a cafe: An honest look inside the newly arising fashion scene

I take a few deep breaths and inhale the sugary warmth of the two-story Gangnam Pascucci cafe. Pulse throbbing in my ear, heartbeat racing through me, I sit in front of four models, two stylists, and a photographer. In my head I’m repeating my all-time mantra(which has never worked but I still do it anyways); keep cool, keepcool, keepcool oh forgodssakekeepcool! I have never really been a cool-looking, laid back person (type A humans I feel ya), and the situation of having these seven gorgeous, successful human beings before me, within two meters of my vicinity, is making my cheeks flush a deeper, embarrassing shade of vermillion-crimson.

And hey, no judging – being a fashion blogger doesn’t mean I don’t still get overexcited and nervous whenever I meet awesome, influential (and not to mention- major heartthrob material) people! Plus, these people aren’t your average fashionistas, they’re the new bomb of Korean fashion, and they’re already impressing people all over the country with their independent photoshoots, individual styles, and penetrating insights on the industry.

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Meet the emerging heroes of the Korean fashion scene, the popular Korean fashion group, Alexandergrupe. Continue reading

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.

Interview with Lenox Tillman from America’s Next Top Model!

Hey readers,

I’ve picked up a new habit of doing, not saying. As the Tyra Banks(a major role model of mine) once said, “Don’t make excuses, make improvements.” Which is why, as I was watching America’s Next Top Model(ANTM) last week, I thought, “What’s stopping me from getting closer to pursuing my lifelong dream in fashion?” All the contestants on ANTM seemed to be making their way through rubble to achieve their dreams(heck, they walk down buildings and pose mid-air and walk practically naked down a runway full of strangers just to prove they’ve got what it takes). ANTM is a perfect embodiment of the bittersweet glory of reaching out toward a dream in fashion. The ANTM theme tune goes, ‘Wanna be on top?’ And this time I immediately think, “Hell yeah?!” And what did I do next? Reach out to ANTM, of course.

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(Tyra Banks and Lenox Tillman)

So here I am, a week later, with an interview with the smart, talented, and beautiful 19 year old Lenox Tillman from ANTM Cycle 21(the current cycle that’s currently airing). She’s one of the most talented contestants on the show right now, and it’s unbelievable that she started out as just a sweet, quiet small-town girl. Now she’s just rockin’ the whole competition with her amazing photos. We talked about what it’s like to be on ANTM(obviously!), working with Tyra Banks(gosh I can’t even), modelling in front of the judges, hardships, and some personal stuff.

You can watch Lenox and the other remaining ANTM contestants on the CW. Wonder who will win…(http://www.cwtv.com/shows/americas-next-top-model/)

Now without further ado, here’s my exclusive interview with Lenox! Enjoy! : )

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Keep up with Lenox! (FACEBOOK/INSTAGRAM/TWITTER)

1. Tell us a bit about your childhood. What were you like at school?

I was a pretty shy but active kid. I played softball all of my childhood and was almost always outside if I wasn’t sleeping. In school, I would tend to be the quiet and weird kid to everyone and I definitely wasn’t the most confident. I usually was just drawing and kept close to my small group of close friends.

Haha, I can definitely relate to this.

2. What/who inspired you to run for ANTM at first? 

I always said I would try out for the show once I was 18 because I was such a huge fan of it, but once I actually turned 18 I felt like it was unrealistic to think I could get on! It was actually my mom who saw an ad for a casting call and talked me into going and trying. So I guess my mom was the one who inspired me!

3. Have you watched the episodes released so far? The other contestants talked on screen about how they thought that your ultimate weakness was your lack of self-confidence. How do you feel about that?

Yes, I have seen all of the episodes. I love watching it just like I did with all of the other cycles but me being on it now makes it even cooler, I have to admit. Haha! As for the lack of self-confidence comments, I wasn’t surprised by that when I heard them. I think they’re right, and while I think I’ve come a long way with being okay in who I am, I still am super tough on myself. This competition definitely brought that out in me, too.

You’re only two years older than me but you’re so much wiser! 

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4. What was trying to model when you had to act “sexy” like?

It was awkward since I had a giant crowd of people watching, but I did my best and tried to laugh at myself throughout it since I wanted to be a good sport. I’m working on it!

5. What’s going through your mind when you’re modeling in front of the camera? Is it nerve-racking or does it make you more confident? Have you gotten used to it?

When I first started modeling I was absolutely terrified during shoots because everything was so foreign to me. I have gotten so much better since then, though. I now tend to just be constantly brainstorming from the moment I walk on set to the moment I walk off. I am much more comfortable with it and just try my best to see it as an art experiment that photographer, makeup artist, stylist, and I are doing together.

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6. What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done?

Eat an onion.

7. Who’s your ultimate role model?

In my modeling career? Lindsey Wixson. In overall life? I have so many; I would say Jill Bolte Taylor, Stevie Nicks, and Florence Welch if I had to narrow it down.

8. Tell us something no one (referring to the general public) knows about you.

Hmmmm, I can lick my elbow! It is said to be impossible but I can do it!

Cool!

 

9. What are your plans for the future?

I plan on growing up and working hard at whatever I am doing, mostly. Hopefully, I can continue modeling and enjoy all of its adventures for as long as I can. One day I hope to own my own avian rehabilitation center or sanctuary, too. That would be amazing.

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(Lenox with Cory from Cycle 20!)

10. If, in the future, your child wanted to become a model and follow in your footsteps, would you tell her/him to go for it?

I want my kids to do whatever makes them happy. If modeling is what makes them happy then I will gladly encourage and support them.

That was such a flawless response, haha.

11. Are you a feminist?

Yeah, duh. Equality between men and women is awesome. Men are cool and women are cool, that is obvious.

12. What’s it like to stand in front of the ANTM judges at panel? What was is like to work with Tyra Banks?

It is terrifying! All of your hard work from that week is about to pay off or be thrown in your face and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it. As for Tyra, she is a great business woman and I really enjoyed getting to see that behind the scenes. I hope I can learn to juggle that well- haha!

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Lenox is just amazing. Inside and out.

I’ll be back soon with more : )

Here’s a huge thank you to ANTM’s publicity manager Ellen who helped me reach out to Lenox, and of course thank you to Lenox herself for giving such thoughtful answers(and being awesome).

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!

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.

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You’re part of a trend, whether you like it or not.

Hey readers,

Fashion trends are rooted in the basic human desire to imitate. It’s a human nature that has been psychologically proven, over and over again, through the behavior of infants and in the discipline of social psychology. It’s what runs the fashion industry. It’s what drives consumers to willingly open up their wallets and cough up the large amounts of money to invest in some nice clothes. Imitation brings us comfort; a sense of belonging. It’s a connection to our surroundings and to other members of society.

“That is the key of this collection, being yourself. Don’t be into trends. Don’t make fashion own you, but you decide what you are, what you want to express by the way you dress and the way to live.”

-Gianni Versace

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“Dress to Impress”

Going further into the psychology of fashion consumption, there’s something more to the formation of trends than just a primary instinct to copy what we see. There’s a desire to impress. Not only do we want to fit in but we want to prove a point to other people. This is interesting because this is where we get to see the differences in culture and standards of value. Some people value wealth and adorn themselves with million-dollar jewels and preppy designer brand garments. Some people choose to show people that they’re more carefree and cool by dressing in baggy trousers and a hipster top. Others might idolize sensuality and wear skimpy clothes that can show off their body(I’m not saying this is ideal, just an example). Whatever they value most in life, what all of these people have in common is the subconscious(or possibly conscious) need to impress other people and make other people think of them in a certain way.

Since everyone has different standards, not everyone follows the same trend, but almost everyone is indeed involved in a certain pattern of fashion consumption. Ditto trends exist everywhere. Even when you think you’re badass for not caring about Chanel or Louis Vuitton and you turn to goth chains and ripped black skinny jeans, you’re still part of a ‘trend’ of being goth(or emo. or both. or maybe you’re just badass).

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(SUDDEN REALIZATION THAT I’M NOT AS SPECIAL AS I THOUGHT I WAS *gasp*)

“As a designer, you’ve always got to push yourself forward; you’ve always got to keep up with the trends or make your own trends. That’s what I do.”

-Alexander McQueen

If I ended this post here, it would be terrible, because I like to convince people that they are special. And you truly are, whether you see it or not. Being unique isn’t about wearing clothes from a distant universe that no one else has ever imagined to make before. It’s about your decisions. It’s why you make the choices you make. It’s the ability to make conscious choices to follow your own heart and not be dragged around by other people. So go ahead and wear that old, comfy, ‘unstylish’ shirt that you secretly love wearing when you’re alone in your room reading these blog posts. (Just don’t wear it to a job interview or anything. Have common sense and appropriate courtesy in fashion and it’ll probably be fine.)

If you enjoyed this post, don’t forget to tell me by leaving a comment or Liking this post! Just click on the title of this post, then scroll down to the bottom of the post.

 

Image Credits:

http://www.fashionmagazine.com/fashion/at-the-shows/2012/10/29/top-10-fashion-trends-spring-2013/

http://www.mememaker.net

 

Style lord, Lorde. (Excuse the pun.)

Hey readers,

I remember a conversation with a close friend of mine where he asked me, “If you could look like anyone in the world, apart from yourself, who would you want to look like?” And I remember myself immediately replying, “Lorde.” He seemed puzzled, and asked why. I said, “She’s confident, unique, and so…raw.” (Raw as in genuine and straightforward and true.) Yup. I still stand by that statement.

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(The 17-year-old sensation, Lorde. Real name: Ella O’Connor.)

What does being confident, unique, and genuine have to do with looks, you may ask. But I think it actually has everything to do with looks. When someone is confident in their individuality and comfortable in their own skin, it shows on their face and the way they carry themselves. They glow(I often see this when I’m browsing through http://www.humansofnewyork.com). Of course, I can’t say for certain that Lorde is self-actualized and genuine(because I’m not a supernatural being that can determine people’s internal statuses) but when I watch clips of her performing her songs or talking about her music in interviews, I get the feeling that she is being genuine and true, from the lyrics she writes and the way she always speaks her mind honestly, the way she twitches her body to the rhythm with her eyes clenched shut, with her hands in the air, trying to shape the feeling of the sound like she’s searching for something. Therefore, when I think of Lorde, the first thing that comes to mind is “raw”. She’s just so original, from the way she posts pictures of herself with her acne cream to her outrage towards photoshop.

Not only is Lorde sensational in her music, but also in her style. I must admit-I am officially in love with Lorde’s fashion. I don’t usually gush over celebrities’ clothes but I just can’t help it because Lorde’s fashion so clearly yet subtly reflects her character and identity. Also, I personally love her simple-yet-bold clothes in general.

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One of the things I despise the most is drawing lines between men and women. Obviously, in many cases, the two sexes are essentially distinctly different in more ways than one, but I strongly believe that generalization must be avoided. Maybe that’s why I feel attracted to people or concepts or art pieces that successfully destruct the line between blue and pink that society has created for us. I am captivated by people who proudly stand in between the traditional gap of perceived gender disparity. People like Lorde. Lorde’s style is ‘feminine’ yet ‘masculine’, mature yet youthful, and unique and individual yet relatable to the general public. 

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Although she does have her flaws and does make mistakes once in a while(I didn’t understand why she declared Selena Gomez’s song ‘Come and Get It’ to be against feminism… I think it’s really all in how you interpret the lyrics, and Lorde saw them in a more sensitive way, I guess.), she’s still one of the most courageous young artists out there that are in the business mainly for the art, not to earn money by trying to look attractive and singing catchy songs that mean nothing to her. And that’s what makes her so appealing to hordes of fans(myself included). Her truthfulness shines into her strong, independent, ‘this-is-who-i-am-so-deal-with-it’ style.

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She usually wears clothes with bold hemlines and structures, and this conveys her attitude perfectly. Most of the time she wears bold, dark colors like black(lots and lots of it), wine red, dark blue etc. I just cannot get enough of her serious, dark, mysterious atmosphere. I didn’t think I would ever say this about a celebrity, but I just want to buy her wardrobe. There. I said it. Her expression of self through fashion is almost identical to how I would choose to do it  if I had more money.

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The fun thing is, judging from Lorde’s clothes, I feel like I’m already her best friend, since our styles are so similar. The basic premise behind this thought is probably that fashion reflects one’s personality and inner nature. Don’t we usually feel compelled to befriend those with similar self-identities to ourselves? Fashion is a profound way of expressing individual identity, and it can bond people together or split them apart(*cough cough high school cliques*). It’s quite interesting how the most basic principle of fashion can make me feel like I’m soulmates with a celebrity who doesn’t know I exist. said Konni, desperately trying to rationalize her extreme Lorde fangirling.

To comment or like this post, just click on the title of this post, then scroll down. You’ll see the Like button and Comment box. Please feel free to express your thoughts, it makes my day! : )

Image Credits: http://www.actualitypopstars.com, ynaija.com, m.dolly.com.au, guestofaguest.com, upmagazineblog.wordpress.com

Summer fashion photoshoot!

Hey readers,

I hope you’re all having a great day : )

Today I went to the Han River(Seoul’s major river, the fourth longest on the Korean peninsula) with family and took some great photos of how my sister wore her outfit. It was a beautiful sunny day so the pics really turned out better than I’d imagined. The background is filled with bright natural colors which makes the shots look vibrant and energetic. She’s wearing a grey shirt with holes all over it(yay grunge!). It has a lip/American flag design printed on the front. The shorts she’s wearing are stonewashed and are a light shade of blue. They’re ripped and the pockets are showing, to create a more grunge-y, vintage effect. The shoes are red high-top ‘SK8-Hi’s from Vans-I tried to find the exact color of ‘SK8-Hi’s on the Vans website, but I think they only have this exact model in Vans Korea, so if you’re in the US, click here(WOMEN / MEN) to see other ‘SK8-Hi’s with different colors(they’re all very unique and colorful!). Oh and of course-rectangular shades are crucial to her chic look!


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To comment or like this post, just click on the title of this post, then scroll down. You’ll see the Like button and Comment box at the bottom of the post. I love reading your comments, so go ahead and tell me what you thought of this post. Have an amazing day, guys!

A 17 year old’s thoughts on Misogyny, Masculinity, and Elliot Rodger.

Hi readers,

I know I’m not supposed to do posts like this because, after all, this IS a fashion/art/lifestyle blog, but after watching Elliot Rodger’s YouTube videos and reading the comments of the horde of ignorant misogynistic people advocating(YES, ADVOCATING) the killings at UC Santa Barbara, I’m determined to write this post. It’s 3am and I’m supposed to be sound asleep in bed but I just cannot get myself to leave all this behind and put my mind to rest, not when nonsense like this is happening in this world..

So here we are. Humanity has come to a point where students who feel that they don’t get enough sex are totally capable of picking up a gun and killing their peers at school. We’re living in a generation of violence and distorted sexuality. During the past 33 years, the US alone has been through 71 mass murders, with Elliot Rodger’s being the 71st. It’s gross just to think about.

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Now let’s talk about Elliot Rodger’s recent massacre for a while. Yes, we can all blatantly see that the issue is definitely related to guns being permitted so easily in the US, but some keen eyed analysts all around the internet have come up with theories about the linkages between the Elliot Rodger killings and misogyny, and although when I first heard about the murders I’d nearly lost all faith in the human race, after being assured that there still are some people that fully understand the issue and are capable of seeing the big social picture, I managed to regain some of my lost faith.

I wholeheartedly agree with the rapidly growing surge of netizens that are trying to raise awareness of how misogyny and social perceptions did indeed contribute a great deal to the terrible sin of Rodger. Anyone who has seen Rodger’s videos(click here to watch) would realize that he had a distorted view of the opposite sex and sex and dating itself. And while I acknowledge the fact that he was mentally ill, and that there are so many other issues related to what caused him to do what he did, I strongly feel that social atmosphere played a huge part in this crime.

In his videos, Rodger states that he doesn’t understand why girls aren’t attracted to him and won’t give him sex. He continuously emphasizes throughout his videos that it’s an injustice that girls won’t be with him. He says that he is going to show girls that he is the magnificent ultimate male by ‘slaughtering’ them. Later he said something along the lines of ‘I wouldn’t have killed the six innocent people if a girl had accepted me’. So from this we can observe that the main reason behind Rodger’s killings was that he was an incel(involuntarily celibate), which is a word defined by Urban Dictionary as “A frustrated virgin who feels as if the world owes them sex. A self-described ‘incel’ is highly likely to blame their virginity on the other 6,999,999,999 people on the planet rather than consider that maybe the problem lies inward.” (just to give you an idea of what it means.) Elliot Rodger wasn’t just an incel in his mind though-he had been participating in conversations on internet sites for men containing content degrading women and ‘standing up for men’s rights’.

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(Elliot Rodger and a quote from his manifesto.)

Well. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to misogyny and distorted sexuality. A world where men kill because the other gender refuses to have sex with them or be in a relationship with them. The interesting question raised by many at this point is “Why men?” Among those 71 killings that have occurred in the US over the past 33 years, 70 of them have one thing in common. The fact that the perpetrators of the crimes were men. Here in Korea I’m constantly hearing more and more tragic stories of men raping/killing their ex girlfriends after being rejected by them. Do you feel anything yet? How about if I told you again that Elliot Rodger killed because he thought women owed him love and sex, and thought it an ‘injustice’ that women would not give it to him, and thought that murdering people would make him the superior alpha male? Rodger was just one of the many that have been/are being affected by the standards of masculinity that society has set for us-that males must not be emotional, that they must be strong at all times, that they need to “stop being a pussy” and show how tough they are by resorting to rash and (usually)violent actions. We need to realize that by setting and accepting(whether you’re doing it consciously or unconsciously) these standards, we as a society are leading our boys down the dark alleyway of violent masculinity.

A short video about the terrible things we do to boys before they grow into men. http://www.upworthy.com/theres-something-absolutely-wrong-with-what-we-do-to-boys-before-they-grow-into-men?c=exit1

All of this is linked together in a big, messed up ball which is dragging us all downhill into a pit of my lost faith in humanity. You know, I used to be so naive and hopeful of this world, and thought I could walk up to any stranger on the street and ask them which way to go and they would try their best to help me out. I thought no matter how bad things got, all humans still had a heart that would alert them whenever they tried to do something so…so inhumane. I guess I was just too naive for this world. Maybe stupid.

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 I think any decent human being would be able to see that all these crimes were mainly derived from culture and the sickly obsession over masculinity as a form of strength and power. Not all men are deranged like Elliot Rodger or any of the other murderers were and obviously misogynistic perceptions have relatively decreased compared to the past, but the men that still do acquire a twisted self identity as a male have been and still are crushing the lives of innocent people and showing us how negatively powerful a social perception can be in creating such monsters. In a cultural atmosphere that often defines “being a true man” as showing power and a violent, cocky attitude, it’s not much of a surprise that many men affected by these strange standards of sexuality believe that the whole world owes them. These men have a mutated “masculine” ego that causes them to even believe that women owe them pleasure and sex, and, as in the case of Rodger, when women deny them these things, they feel that it is completely justified to display their “masculinity” by being brutal and killing people.

Scared of what will become of our society yet? Let me tell you an even more shocking fact: There are many people that applaud Elliot Rodger for his killings, claiming that the women should have given him sex when he wanted it.

WHAT? WHAT. WHAT?! Wha.. I’m still having trouble accepting it. Some netizens even went as far as to say that they “encourage more young men to take womens lives” and “thanks for putting these bitches in their place” or even victimized Elliot Rodger, stating that he had to go through the agony of  involuntary celibacy. And guess what? Some of these ridiculous comments had more than 50 likes. Which means there are actually lots of ignorant people in this world with distorted minds and a sick perception of their own sexuality and gender. And in a reality where misogyny and violent masculinity is proven to kill, just sit there for a moment and imagine the future of humanity…

Wanna see more outrageous stuff? This post was inspired by this video: http://www.upworthy.com/in-the-last-33-years-70-of-the-71-mass-murderers-in-the-us-all-had-1-thing-in-common?c=reccon1

 

To comment or like this post, just click on the title of this post, then scroll down. You’ll see the Like button and Comment box at the bottom of the post. I love reading your comments, whether you agree or disagree with what I say, so go ahead and tell me what you thought of this post.

Image credits: http://www.tumeke.blogspot.kr/2012/02/tui-isnt-sexist-bloke-beer-drunk-by-nz.html

http://www.asamnews.com/2014/05/28/elliot-rodger-story-is-being-framed-through-the-lens-of-white-media/

http://www.endmisogyny.org/category/general-misogyny/