Friday, December 28, 2012

Drop Crotch December Dreams and Caribbean Cruise Scams

Nothing like drop crotch parachute pants for leaping into 75 degree weather! I am oh so blessed to spend another December in Jupiter. 

Besides romping around in my breezy pants (which I scored from the Bedouins when I was in Israel), the last few days have consisted of bike rides, pony-gawking, and lavender sunsets with dusk moons peeking over the Atlantic. 

The next few days involve participating in what I have now researched to become suspicious of as a cruise scam, with Caribbean Cruises (follow the link to read an article about whether it's legit or not). It was supposedly "free"... which in hindsight should have been a red flag as it is... and has been a predictable headache ever since. But what's done is done, so all I can really do now is enjoy this bizarre situation to the fullest! I shall do full recon and let you all know exactly how terrible (or wonderful??) it is. Sending warmth your way XOXO

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Approbation or Inspiration?

I, like everyone else, have been seeing a lot of this in the last few years:

Heck, I even wrote about how much I was loving "Mexican" and "Native American-esque prints" over a year ago. I still find these patterns beautiful and inspiring... but now I have to wonder: was I being ignorant? Is it not okay for these patterns and textiles to be mass produced and sold by corporations?

Sasha Houston Brown doesn't think so. She wrote an open letter to Urban Outfitters (which you can read on the very cool Racialicious blog), condemning their use of the word Navajo to describe a line of their products, as well as the designs of the products themselves. The word "Navajo" is trademarked by the Navajo Nation, and in Brown's opinion, the Native Nations should be the ones to design, produce, and earn revenue from native-inspired fashion. She makes a ton of good points in an interview on, and has me teetering on the edge of a moral conundrum. 

This "print" hat is for sale at Urban Outfitters online. Image source. 

Is there a difference between inspiration and approbation, and where does one draw the line? 

As devil's advocate, I could also argue that Nordic Prints are very popular right now and have been for quite some time. Much like the "Native" products circulating the market, I'm certain these "Nordic" products are devoid of their cultural significance and don't actually reflect Nordic heritage. The same could even be said for Hawaiian prints; the iconic Hawaiian shirt is mass produced, probably without the involvement of Hawaiian designers and craftspeople. Would a person from a Nordic country or from Hawaii find their culture's print on panties offensive? 

There is no denying that these prints are attractive and even inspiring, but when in the hands of a major corporation, are stripped of the soul and meaning they had for the originating culture. Is that okay? Or should using these prints be the sole domain of members of this culture? That seems limiting to other artists...what a conundrum!

What do you think? Is there an appropriate and sensitive way that artists and designers can incorporate traditional images from other cultures? Are major labels being inspired by these popular prints, or flat-out stealing them? Is it inspiration, exploitation, approbation, or something in between? I'd love to hear your thoughts. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Images of Fall

We were blessed with an extra long Fall this year, with mild temperatures well into mid-December. For me, it was a season of blazing color, bows, cardigans, and private school esque outfits. I took some photos with my "real" camera for a change, something I would like to do more of.

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