Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Little Gem: Folkster

Last year, I posted about the arrival of Folkster (and sister brands Shutterbug and Gild & Cage) in Dublin with much excitement. A friend worked in the Kilkenny branch and I had creeped on the store online for years but had never experienced it for myself. Ergo the joy when Dublin got her own branch!

It was only recently that I realised I had yet to dedicate a "Little Gem" post to the store.

And obviously that needed rectifying.

Based on Eustace Street, right by the IFI, the store is divided into three main sections. You enter into clothing both new and vintage, alongside jewellery and accessories, proceed through the homewares and gifts and end up in the more formal department where the changing rooms also live. As I mentioned last time, one of my favourite things about the store is that it caters for a wide range of women and budgets. It's somewhere to buy stompy boots and pretty dresses. To pick up a funny card for a friend's birthday or choose a wedding dress. Buy a whole wardrobe update or a statement necklace. Grab a new mug or rug.

There's lots to see and choose from but I never feel overwhelmed or panicky (Topshop Oxford Circus made me break out in a sweat) because it's all masterfully and artfully arranged and organised. You'll also be hard pressed to find nicer staff who have the balance of helping when you're lost while never over-crowding you so down.

If you're nearby and want to support an Irish company, get something a little different, find Fairtrade brands, vintage pieces or get items from labels such as Jeffrey Campbell and Miista (which can be difficult to get your hands on in Ireland), this is the place for you!

P.S. Dat light tho. All shops should be this airy and bright.


























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Thursday, 21 May 2015

Lost In Summer

I have a bit of a thing for Western vibes though I loathe Westerns themselves - perhaps due to a childhood of being forced to watch them with my dad.

I guess it's a Hemingway-esque honesty thing. The materials are basic - cottons, denims, hides - and pure in a way. Ornamentation tends to be minimal and, even if it's not actually true, you get a sense that cowboy inspired clothes are made for doing things. And I do love me some menswear inspired pieces.

It's probably also the shoots that go with them. All stark, romantic landscapes. Barren bar one perfectly styled figure.

All of which being the reason why Penneys' latest lookbook had me immediately hooked. I do love a concept that relies purely on the context and setting. Also, the clothes just look amazing - especially for the price points. You gotta give them props, this shoot looks all kinds of perfect.

Bonus: this context is a great way to breathe fresh life into the whole boho, seventies thing that's everywhere at the moment. It was getting rather twee and overdone for a moment there but this is just rugged enough to refresh the palate. Delightful.
















(All rights belong to Penneys/Primark. Reproduced here with permission)


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Wednesday, 20 May 2015


I barely know how to begin. So, so many thoughts and feelings are swirling around inside of me. Last night, sleep was fitful, to say the least. I felt panicked, anxious but had no reason to be.

And then a friend on facebook said that this week felt like the run-up to the Leaving Cert to her.

That was it. It was dread. Nerves. Fear.

This Friday, the 22nd of May, 2015, Ireland votes. A referendum has been called for two things: to lower the minimum age for presidential candidates and to legalise same-sex marriage. While the first issue is one that deserves due thought, it's the second that's keeping me up at night.

The consensus is that this will pass. That equality will obviously be granted and justice will prevail. I want to believe this to be true but there are no certainties. Things do not merely happen - people make them happen.

I've spoken about the referendum with friends, family, co-workers, strangers, I've worn my support, promoted it across the 'net. And, yet, I haven't allowed myself to think about it too deeply because the fear is overwhelming: what would happen if it didn't pass? How would it affect the country and people I love so dearly? How would we all handle the rejection? The black and white declaration that we are not the same, not equal in some people's eyes.

Now I can think of little else.

This needs to happen. It must.

On a basic level, I think it insulting that two consenting adults, who have no reason to be kept apart, cannot be married. I think it distasteful that other people get to decide their fate. Democracy is obviously important but some things are sacred and so infinitely personal that it seems crazy to be voting on them.

A yes vote will change marriage - it will make it equally available. But that's it. That's where the change ends. It's already changed in the last couple centuries beyond recognition and those changes have been for the better. For much of the Western world, marriage is something two people in love do to solidify and express that love. Previously it was merely a contract, a way to strengthen business and familial ties, to control the lives and paths of women - change clearly isn't always a bad thing.

Some ask why people need marriage, why civil partnership is not enough. Aside from the increased legal security and privileges that this term carries over the other, it is what it is and means that people are fighting for. Marriage is something most take for granted, some run screaming from and others spend their lives imagining. It is a moment that each life is not empty without but crowns many, where they stand with the human they like most in the world and celebrate their love and vow it in front of the other humans that they are fond of. It is one of the few moments that such groups come together for something so positive, where everyone is literally celebrating the fact that you've found someone you're willing to pledge yourself to forever.

While many marriages fail and many don't believe in them, there's something wonderfully human (and a little full of folly) about them. Something essentially human about them. Which makes denying marriage to people a little like denying their humanity.

I would never normally ask someone to vote one way or another but I am asking you now. Vote. Please, please vote and vote yes. Vote yes for the people you love and have yet to love. For the decency you would like to expect of your neighbour towards you. For love. For the very fact that it's the right thing to do.

I'm fairly certain most of my readers agree with me here and don't need telling to vote yes but I just want to remind you how important it is. Prioritise it. Don't forget or get too lazy. You will regret this in twenty years if you don't. This is a defining moment in our history - be part of it.

To those outside Ireland or who can't vote, I only hope that this passes and you get the right impression of my beloved homeland.

If there is any one thing in this world worth fighting for, it's love.


Friday, 15 May 2015

Rachel Antonoff & Other Stories

& Other Stories really are killing it with collabs lately.

But, then, they always do.

Fresh off the back of the Vans collab, we have their collection with designer, Rachel Antonoff. And the promo vid is under the creative helm of Lena Dunham. And it stars Zoe Kazan. It's like a Trifecta of female empowerment all wrapped up in the sweetest (yet tailored and professional) pastel bow.

Seriously, though. Everything about this collab is charming and bound to win every girl over. You can't help but smile along with a sense of camaraderie.

The promo vid features Kazan canvassing the neighbourhood in the run up to an election. Sadly, the people who answer the door are less than receptive and laugh in her face, tell her to go away and slam said door in said face. In light of this abuse and negative reaction, she slips into a daydream, imaging a world where she has been made president. Which is where the fun really begins.

I have seen commentary online expressing dissatisfaction with a brand wielding politics and feminism in pursuit of financial gain, noting that the whole thing misses the mark and belittles women. People are, of course, entitled to their opinions but I strongly disagree. I think this video and collection and concepts behind it are right on the money, hitting all my nostalgia buttons. What woman can't relate to being a little girl and imagining being in charge and how good a job you'd do?

A point of contention is Audrey's (Kazan) announcement that she's here to talk about "women, children and small animals". People seem to believe that this is trivialising women's issues but I think the contrary. Not only does it evoke that same sense of childhood whimsy, it also bands together groups that have one important thing in common: they are often vulnerable and made powerless. Now, she could have mentioned LGBT, race or cultural issues but that would make the video into something else entirely.

This is a promo video for a collection. It has commercial interests so, to engage too seriously with hot-button issues would be somewhat shady and disrespectful. It'd be a little closer to when Chanel missed the mark with their protest show. This is referencing things the women buying the collection know and might have faced and intends to give context for clothes intended for women on the go. Not to teach us something or change opinions.

And what it does, it does well. It shows how these items might be worn, the contexts. It makes them seem cute and wantable. It riffs on girl power in a lighthearted way. It references feminism but is not intended as serious feminist discourse.

The clothes are sweet little skirts and collared dresses that could move from office to garden party, slogan tees and sweatshirts proclaiming, "It's Time," and "We Try Harder", suiting and co-ords in slightly off cuts or unexpected materials. It's the items we expect in a working wardrobe given a twist. It's playful. It's chameleon-like - similar to the women dressing in these clothes.

I say all this being previously not particularly well-acquainted with Antonoff's ouevre, not a massive fan of Dunham's brand of storytelling and neutral towards Kazan. But this has actually made me consider all three differently.

And I still love & Other Stories. Obvs.

Screenshot 2015-05-15 14.33.12















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