Tag Archives: feminist fashion blogger

PLAY-A Fashion Show Fundraiser & Rooftop Party

23 Jun

Today is the day.  Fashion Food Feminism is producing a fashion show in Chicago and it’s happening tonight.  In January Maria and I brainstormed up the idea to put on a fashion show with vintage clothes and have it be a fundraiser for a new local theatre company, Sankofa, that we are both involved in.  The show evolved and now the runway will feature not only vintage, but also clothing from local designers.

It has been a fun, but sometimes stressful production.  There is so much work that goes into a fashion show, but at least I was aware going in.  I’ve volunteered at many fashion shows, but this is my first time putting one together myself.  The hardest task was finding a venue on a very limited budget of zero dollars.  However, by reaching out to a few friends I was able to secure an awesome location in downtown Chicago on the roof of the building courtesy of friend and designer Gabrielle Zwick.  The location is perfect for enjoying a Chicago summer night and looking out at the lake or the sparkling city.

Being a feminist produced fashion show we want to do things differently.  We will be debuting  our new vintage collection- Outside the Box Vintage.  It is a reminder to ourselves and to others to remember to think outside the box, to challenge traditional thought, and to be free to express yourself.  All the designers and vendors are women.  The theme for the night is playful and not sexy.  I kept hearing the word sexy so many times during the planning of this event and I constantly had to say no we are not selling sex, I want it to be fun and playful.  It is important to us to use fashion as a tool to empower women and not cater to the idea of what is sexy.

Another challenge I encountered was finding a local plus size designer.  There was only one in the area I was able to find and she was unavailable for the event.  It just made it blatantly obvious to me the lack of options available to women who are plus size and want to dress their best.

There is going to be desserts and sangria.  I’m excited to try the desserts and the sangria is delicious.  It is not going to be the typical runway experience and there isn’t going to be your typical runway.  I’m not going to reveal all the details, you’ll have to come and find out!

So I’m inviting you to come join us for a playful summer’s night mingling amongst Chicago’s skyline. Your exclusive view will include a fashion show with the best vintage and local designs Chicago has! Celebrate supporting local Chicago culture and promote diversity. In addition, since it’s Chicago’s Pride Weekend we will be celebrating supporting equality and gay rights.  You know you wanna come.  You can purchase tickets here.

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Vintage Fashion Inspiration-Linda Ronstadt

15 Nov

Yet another awesome rocker lady who says, “I’m grateful to the feminist movement and think it was very important. It helped us to find where we stand on things like abortion and birth control, and job opportunities for women.”  Unfortunately, the movement isn’t over yet.

I’m not ready to let summer go!  I wish I lived in southern California where it’s warm year round.  Linda exemplifies the laid back, casual, sensual attitude living by the beach enables.  Her wardrobe instantly takes me back to hot, bright sunny days.  I wish I had bangs, but not really, certainly not in the summer.  I do think I need to pick up a pair of hoop earrings, but covered in pearls or stones.  All I really want is to be able to go barefoot and wear short shorts year round.

A summertime essential: an off the shoulder ruffle top.

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Vintage Fashion Inspiration-Debbie Harry

8 Nov

P.S. she’s a feminist too.  When asked if she is a feminist her response was “How can one be a woman and not be a feminist? That’s my question.”  Rock on Debbie.

What I like about her style is that it was low key & ultra feminine.  Often she paired thigh high boots with a men’s shirt or a t-shirt dress.  I liked the bright colors she wore in her clothing and her make-up.  Bright pink lips, bright pink eye shadow yep, it worked for her.  Oh, and her idea to wear a jean jacket backwards was just brilliant.  Whether the photos are in black & white or color her look is amazing.  Here is some vintage fashion inspiration a la Debbie Harry:

For even more Debbie and vintage fashion I highly recommend John Waters’ Hairspray.

Who Says Pageant Queens Can’t Be Feminists? An Interview with Miss USA

5 Nov

Alyssa Campanella-Miss USA 2011

I was given the opportunity by the Chicago Blogger Network and Diamond Nexus to interview Miss USA.  Since I don’t keep up on the pageant world, except by watching Toddlers & Tiaras when I visit my mom’s,  I had to do some research. Alyssa seemed like an ok person and I was curious to know what she would say about the feminist question.

We meet at the Cheesecake Factory in the Schaumburg Mall.  I am not a mall person and almost had a panic attack upon entering this mall over 2 years ago, haha.  Food is a powerful motivator for me though and you don’t have to actually enter the mall to go to the Cheesecake Factory.

Alyssa was accompanied by Dena who works for the Miss Universe Organization and Kyle who works for Diamond Nexus, the maker of the crowns.  Everyone was very pleasant and personable.  It was a great conversation with great food.

Alyssa currently lives in an apartment in Central Park in New York City with Miss Universe.  She is hardly ever there because of all the fabulous places she “has” to travel to such as Chicago, Miami, the Bahamas, Los Angeles, Cannes and others.   Once her reign as Miss USA is over she wants to attend culinary school and has been doing some work with the Food Network to prepare.

Now for the interview:

  • Pageants receive criticism because they are seen as negative to young women because the focus is on appearance.  How do you think pageants can be empowering?

Part of my job is to travel around with charity organizations raising awareness about women’s issues.  I’m learning skills that I can apply to my future.  This work is not just about being a glamazon.  I help out organizations such Susan G. Komen For The Cure, Gilda’s Club, God’s Love We Deliver, and Project Sunshine.  I would rather put less make up on, wear jeans, and spread cheer.

  • Are you a feminist?

We are all human beings, so what if we have different body parts?  There are women presidents, not in the U.S. but soon.  There are women all over the world in positions of power doing a good job such as the Queen of Denmark and Brazil’s president.  In history, there is Margaret Thatcher England’s first female prime minister.  We don’t need only a man to do the job.  Let women have power. 

  • Have you had negative experiences that have helped to shape you into a better person?

I was bullied as a kid.  I became so upset about going to school I asked my mom to homeschool me.  I was bullied because of what I wore.  I liked to dress more mature, like my mom, so I was shopping at New York & Co. when I was 12.  I took school very seriously and was teased about that.  I never went to high school parties, so I wasn’t cool.  When I became Miss Teen New Jersey everyone wanted to be my friend, but I knew it wasn’t sincere and remained friends with the three people who always stuck by me.  I’m naturally thin and have always been teased about that.  Even at Miss Universe people were spreading rumors that I was anorexic.  I was stressed and eating a lot, but the weight wasn’t sticking.  

We commiserated over how it is socially acceptable to tell someone they are too thin and to eat a burger.  However, if you reverse that and tell an overweight person to eat a salad you are vilified.  What people need to know is that feelings are hurt in both scenarios.  And women shouldn’t be attacking each other’s weights out of insecurities and jealousies.

  • What are your best beauty and fashion tips?

For beauty I think the more natural the better.  A little moisturizer, mascara, and lipgloss is all you really need.  For fashion, I look for comfort and what is trendy.  I like to play around with color and have fun.

  • Do you enjoy watching movies for style inspiration?  Do you admire any old Hollywood actresses for their style or personality?

I love the clothes in Titanic, but there’s no way I could actually wear it.  I like corsets because they show off your feminine shape and fix your posture.  I adore Grace Kelly.  Her wedding gown is my favorite ever.  She had class and elegance and looked so regal.  She was a queen before she even met the prince.  I really liked Katharine Hepburn for her attitude.  She was feisty and spunky.  She got away with it and was loved for it.

  • Any favorite quotes?

My mom always said “You can’t make a difference in the world without knowing what’s going on in it.”  She would leave a newspaper on the table in the morning and I would read it while eating breakfast.  I still do this everyday and I feel weird if I don’t.

  • Any advice on how to stay motivated on the path to fulfilling one’s goals?

You aren’t a loser unless you give up.  If you don’t get what you want it’s because something else is on the horizon if you keep going.  That’s what happened with me.  I placed first runner up in a pageant, but I persisted and won Miss USA.

  • How would you describe your fashion style?

Forever 21 and H&M are my stores. I want teens to be able to look at my style and recreate it.  I want to be a trendsetter and a little outside of the box, but I want it to be affordable.

  • What is your favorite dessert?

In L.A. there is this bakery Nothing Bundt Cake.  You can get 18 mini bundt cakes with different flavors and cream cheese frosting.  I also love any dessert my mom makes.

  • What are your favorite things to do while in Chicago?

Eat deep dish pizza.  Go to Garrett’s Popcorn and get the Chicago Mix-caramel and cheddar.  The next time I come back I want to explore the artwork and Navy Pier.

Alyssa showing off her amazing heels

I actually didn’t notice that Alyssa had come into the restaurant until someone’s grandma leaned over to me and said “I don’t know how she walks in those heels.”  I looked up and was like oh, I think that’s the person I’m interviewing!  When I relayed the story to Alyssa she cracked up and promptly took her shoe off to show all of us.  What makes it so easy to walk in is the platform on the front.  These 5 inchers are by Chinese Laundry.

Who doesn’t love dessert?!  Yes, pageant queens also eat lots of dessert!

Thanks everyone!

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Sexy Halloween Costumes

29 Oct

When Halloween time rolls around I always recall the very astute quote from the movie Mean Girls, “In Girl World, Halloween is the one night a year when girls can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it”.  Is this the reason why women choose to dress sexy on Halloween?  I don’t think it’s the major reason, but I do think many see it as an opportunity to show off what they’ve got.  And in all honesty no one can really say anything about “you” because it is a costume.

During a recent phone convo with my sister I said I wanted to go to a local shop and try on sexy Halloween costumes just to see what the big deal was.  Her response was “Don’t act like you’ve never dressed sexy for Halloween before!  Like it’s some new thing”.  Ok, she’s right.  I’ve totally been a hooker or sexy school girl.  However, I’d never gone to the store to purchase a ready made sexy costume.  We started cracking up over the fact that we created our sexy costumes from what we already had in our closets.  Does that make it worse?!  Creating your sexy costume from clothes you already own?!

Here are some local ads I found in the paper:

Erotic Costumes

American Apparel Ad

Looking For a Sexy Costume?

If The Twins Are Big and The Bumpers Are Wide

Why do women wear sexy costumes?  I think it’s because women want to be seen as attractive.  When we are little girls we want to be princesses for Halloween because they are pretty.  So, when we are older we still want to be seen as pretty.  Except pretty means something different when we are older.  It means being revealing, being attractive to a man.  Women want their attractivness to be validated by others.  Why else would someone wear a sexy costume when it’s 50 fucking degrees outside?

Another reason is sheer laziness.  We don’t want to think or be creative.  Many of us can create a sexy costume from what we already own.  And the costume stores are full of sexiness.  Or like in Mean Girls we just have to add animal ears to our sexy outfit and instant costume!

Ladies, we need to stop being lazy and uninteresting.  We need to quit using sexy as an easy fall back costume.  Here is some inspiration from my friend Jessica who always has awesomely creative, never sexy Halloween costumes.

Garbage Pail Kid

Crazy Bingo Ladies

Double Dare!

And this year's costume, the Kia Hamster. She's even got lights on the damn thing!

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