I’m writing this blog post from Cafe Bene, a cafe in Seoul, South Korea. I hadn’t expected the transition to be so abrupt–I intended to write a post right before I left America, explaining exactly when and where I’d be moving, but one moment I was relaxing, thinking I had about two weeks to say my goodbyes, next moment I’m landing in Incheon airport, dragging my luggage past a wall of kpop videos, recovering from the whiplash from how fast plans had changed…
I’m currently living in Songpa, part of the Greater Gangnam Area (yes, that Gangnam). I’ve been here for about a week, and still recovering from the time difference, the weather change, and the lack of access to freshly ground coffee beans. And much to my (everyone else’s) constant surprise, I’m currently a teacher of youths. That’s not something I intend to talk about on here, though, but if you want to know any more about that, or have any questions, feel free to drop me a line. As for everything else…
Welcome to the Neighborhood
We haven’t even made it more than a month into 2014, but I already have my list–my list of new and/or fast developing brands and designers I’ll be keeping an eye on in the coming year. In other words, here’s a look at who’ll be getting most of my money in 2014… This is going to be a year full of bold snapbacks, sophisticated casualwear, edgy otaku swag, and not to mention, some lolita sweetness. Take a look at five brands it’s time to get on your radar.
I first noticed it from Hot Topic, and if you shop there or live anywhere within 10 miles of a mall you must have noticed it too. Like a wave that crashed down out of nowhere–suddenly everything was coming up Disney. I’m not talking your usual pint-size Disney princess costume wear, I mean playful, sometimes edgy, sometimes sexy Disney fashion apparel for full grown people. Automatically, my gut reaction was ”oh come on, how cheesy! Let’s stop trying to make this somehow look cool.” Cute and nostalgic, yeah, but I just didn’t really get why Disney was relevant or attractive to anyone over the age of 12.
Happy October, everyone! I hope you’ve been enjoying Fall and that your Halloween preparations are well under way. To tell you the truth, I haven’t really been taking as much time as usual to really soak in the season. Maybe it’s because this month has been so busy for me–every weekend I’m out of town, most weekdays I’m running around setting up shoots for my special Halloween photoset (more about that later). Or maybe it’s because I can’t eat candy, or because making costumes is no longer a grand, once-a-year type of thing in my life. Whatever it is, I hope to get in the spirit this weekend when I take in the beautiful sites of the country, visit a notable haunted house attraction (Easter State Penitentiary in Philly), and hopefully eat lots of pumpkin stuff. That should do it, right? Maybe? I hope?
Now let’s talk the serious stuff of the season–costumes. If you haven’t chosen your costume yet, what are you doing and how can you be so casual? If you’re still debating, let me give you a couple of recommendations, hopefully help to guide you in the right direction. But first and foremost, before I throw a bunch of shops and websites at you, let’s break it down a bit. What’s your costuming type? Are you…
A lot of people tell you to follow your passion and pursue the things you love. But what if you can’t actually figure out what the heck that is?
I pondered that question a couple months ago while searching for pictures of “bad” prom dresses for a Dos and Don’ts of Prom article I was assigned to write while interning for a stylist in NY (ooh, doesn’t that sound all fancy?). When the article was done I went back and removed my name from the byline, preferring it just be credited to some enigmatic ghost blogger, as opposed to me. I’m the girl who’s supposed to be the almighty cheerleader of alternative fashion, and firmly believes that fashion “don’ts” dont actually exist. Afterward I pushed my computer aside and took a moment to ask myself What are you doing? Like seriously, what are you doing?
Have you ever seen the video for the cover of “Strange Little Girl” Tori Amos did back around 2001? It’ll always remain one of my favorite videos for its creepy beauty and dark ambiance, and it’s forever creeping into my subconscious. Although altogether difference in terms of atmosphere and tone, there’s a part of me that thinks that that video was somewhere in the back of my mind when we put things together for this shoot.
I held on to these images for a while. It was my first shoot with a new Nikon and without even a day to toy around with it ahead of time, I failed to realize my camera settings were out of wack, and so I was a little bummed out about the image quality. That aside, I do think some of the images came out pretty nice nonetheless, and my model, Bianca Di Paolo, did a lovely job prancing about with a bundle of balloons amidst the rubble on a windy day. And ain’t that the cutest damn pixie cut you’ve ever seen?
I haven’t been updating enough lately, I know. I’m gearing up for a move so I’ve been spending the last few weeks doing fun things like sorting through all my crap, finding good homes for my unwanted stuff (I needed to make sure my tutus and spiked bras found homes with fabulous people), and trying to consolidate my large costume and prop collection so it can be moved with little to no hassle.
Those boring details aside, I have been up to other stuff. One of the things I’ve been doing, besides not updating the blog, is practicing with the band Astorian Stigmata, since I signed on as their live show keyboardist a couple of months back. You’ve seen the dudes before–they pop up in a lot of posts and photoshoots, so you might already be familiar with the fact that their general aesthetic is sort of like…dark Neo-Victorian gone mad…or maybe romantic goth meets visual kei. Either way, when they asked me to be part of a lyric video for their song “Twilight Lullaby” I rolled with those general ideas. I had just a day to put an outfit together so I blasted some Emilie Autumn, gathered every bit of black, red, and tattered fabric I could find, and got to work.
These are casual outfit shots we took prior to filming, as opposed to a preplanned thematic photo set, but I think there is a cool, kind of chaotic quality to them [Photos by Dennis Condusta]. The outfit somewhat resembles what I wore for this previous shoot, but way more amped up and crazed.
The hat comes from FanplusFriend Garden, the corset Heavy Red, and the boots Dr. Martens. The wig comes from my go-to shop, Gothic Lolita Wigs, the gloves are from Hot Topic, and the lipstick is Lime Crime.
This month is going to be filled with creepiness and, if all goes well, lots of productivity. It’s time to break out the skeleton gloves, live on pumpkin lattes, indulge my creativity in a few spooky side projects, and finally/most importantly, get to hustlin’ so I can finally get everything in order to launch the Fashion Vandals shop within the next month of so.
As for spooky side projects, you’ll have to excuse non-fashion related items slipping into the blog every now and again. For one, this is my month of cemetery tours. Also, I decided yesterday was the perfect time to delve into the world of custom doll creation. I spent an hour last night searching for the perfect tiny handmade wig for the custom Monster High doll I’m creating, so you better believe I plan to take pictures galore. And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, soon enough you will…
Creepy kids gotta stick together, so when the dudes from dark indie band, Astorian Stigmata, asked if I could help out with a bit of photography, makeup, and filming, I was happy to lend a hand.
We did two photo shoots, and while I pitched in with some of the makeup and props, they were pretty much prepped from the start–decked out in lace top hats, special FX contacts and covered in acrylic paint and fake blood. Their style is a bit of anarchy, elegance, and….deadness, all rolled into one. (more…)