Now That’s Just Art Theft, Y/N?

Posted in the knockoff watch by bluewellesleyblue on October 25, 2008

Forever 21 version on left, Threadless art on right.

Now you know I love Forever 21, but would it kill whomever designed this particular shirt to do a more original version of this Threadless concept from quite a whiles back? With Threadless being so popular – for pretty good reason, with such quirky user-designed tees – its inevitable that bigger companies will sell “quirky” shirts of their own that derive from artists like those that post on Threadless. I don’t know if there are clear cut examples of Urban Outfitters rip-offs of Threadless designs though I think they ripped off other more “indie” t shirt designers at some point. Unfortunately, Johnny Cupcakes (store on Newbury St.) is extraordinarily overpriced, and when I realized they weren’t actually a purveyor of literal cupcakes, any latent desire to ever be their customer vanished.

With Threadless tees already so affordable, especially during one of their sales, there’s no reason to turn to Urban Outfitters at least for one’s quirky graphic t-shirt needs. Forever 21 rivals Threadless pretty well on price, but Forever tees always fit really awkwardly on my frame.


Crazy for: Cross-Body Bags.

Posted in things i love by bluewellesleyblue on October 8, 2008

I’ve always been very fond of cross-body, sort of messenger-bag style handbags. Though many handbags are sold in the US with detachable shoulder bags for that purpose, I almost never see anyone actually wearing their bag that way when walking around in the mall or on Newbury St. That’s not the case at all on this side of the pond. When I look around at Covent Garden or on Oxford Street, there’s a small but significant percentage of stylish ladies with convenient, small bags hanging by their hip. On most any high street shop accessory wall, there’s also a fair amount of selection if one is looking for a cross-body bag.

Now that the only small bag I brought with me to London has been rendered temporarily unusable – though hopefully not permanently so – I’ve been in the market for a cheap replacement. Normally, when it comes to handbags at least, I look for slightly pricier options knowing that I’d rather buy one very nice one every year or so rather than a cheap thrill every season (though the right cheap thrill could make me change my mind). Still, I always feel slightly exposed when I go to crowded tourist sites with a tote bag that doesn’t fasten securely or at all. The worst pickpocket horror stories from people who’ve visited Europe always seem to take place in other cities, but there’s no point in taking a risk.

Though I rarely see the style used in practice when in the states, there are almost always some options there as well. Forever 21 has at least two very colorful styles in stock right now: If the colorful striped one looks very familiar to you, it should. It’s a very clear send up of a Prada bag from a while back.

I do feel like this is a style of bag that works best when its fairly plain. Usually, my favorite versions of this type of bag are just brown leather. Miss Thumbelina often incorporates a vintage version into her outfits.

Luxe Goes More Luxe.

Posted in fashion and society by bluewellesleyblue on August 26, 2008

There was an article in today’s Financial Times about the ever-increasing heights to which designers will go, especially in the Fall/Winter fashion season, to ensure that their pieces are impossible to imitate by the likes of Forever 21, H & M, and anywhere lower down the price hierarchy. When it comes to the intricate pieces backed by very costly, luxurious, and unique fabrics or detailing, there’s just no way to replicate the look without bringing up the price to a similar three or four digit range. The lace pieces from Prada’s Fall/Winter 2008 line, for example, might be vaguely imitated by other high-profile and high-priced designers, but it’s hardly going to trickle down much further than that.

It boggles my mind to imagine that there are people who can follow the soaring prices that accompany special touches like Fendi’s gold-tipped fur or Balmain’s chain mail. Department stores probably don’t stock many individual units of pieces like that, but there are still “long waiting lists” for exorbitantly expensive, very distinctive, but also quickly dated pieces. Luxury like that is probably timeless, but with fashion moving as quickly as it does, buying a piece like that is putting quite a bit of stock in a trend.

Of course, having disposable income like that is something very few people – and fairly few fashion bloggers – can really imagine. I do hope to eventually become the type of woman who can afford to have a Chanel 2.55 in her hard-earned collection. (I’d say the Birkin because it suggests an even higher level of career success, but at this point, I still don’t get all the fuss made about that bag. This is probably blasphemy.) Whether as an attorney or a tenured professor, if I work hard I might be able to hope for that. However, it’s one thing to be able to invest in one two or three thousand dollar bag after years of self-made career success. It’s another thing entirely to be able to buy a 24 karat gold-dipped fur knowing it’ll easily fall out of style with the turning of the season. More power to the people who can afford that level of ostentation. No doubt it’s people and budgets like that which ultimately drive much of the glamor and weight behind the fashion industry, but it’s something that has little to do with mere mortals like you and I.

Pictures from Article linked in The Cut.

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In my Bag.

Posted in miscellaneous by bluewellesleyblue on July 29, 2008

My version of an “In my Bag,” post. This summer especially, I’ve tended towards using larger bags since I usually bring some of my research with me and then I also need a notebook to take notes in. I also have a kind of fatty wallet as opposed to a small one, which you can also see. Moleskine notebooks are awesome and worth every penny, as someone who has gone through a bajillion and a half other notebooks, never using any for as long as I’ve been using my Moleskine. At any given time, I usually have more than just old Commuter Rail receipts hanging out as litter in the bottom of my bag – movie ticket stubs, receipts, and hastily scrawled notes about this or that, are usually in there as well. That is, indeed, my cell phone. Our family plan contract expires later this summer, and this time I’m opting for a newer and shinier choice from the ones that come free with the contract. At the time I got the phone two years ago, it was already old, egads. Music on my commute or on my walks is something I can’t live without.

My choice of bag also marks me as one of those horrible, terrible, no-good purveyors of counterfeit goods. In my defense, the differences between my bag – a gift from my beloved Papa from a business trip to China – and the one it is ripping off are fairly vast and easily recognized by anyone familiar with the real Miu Miu Coffer. The leather on the authentic Miu Miu is far, far nicer-looking from ten, twenty, and probably even fifty paces away. This color was never used on any authentic Miu Miu bag that I know of. Additionally, there is not a single ill-gotten and fake logo anywhere on this bag. Even so, the people familiar with the designer prototype that I pass while using this bag on Newbury Street are probably judging me anyway, but I find that I don’t care. This bag looks nice with most of my winter and summer wardrobes both, and I’ll likely keep carrying it until it falls apart.

“The Wrong Way to Protect Your Trademark” Redux.

Posted in fashion and society by bluewellesleyblue on July 1, 2008

I think most college students who rely mostly on their own earning power when it comes to personal expenses like clothes and accessories must end up with a fairly laissez-faire attitude towards the sanctity of copyright (or risk deep hypocrisy). We’re not going to look for the most explicit of Forever 21’s designer copies, and may I say, they’re almost never the things worth wearing at any price. We’re not going to stop shopping there either, but we can grant that Forever 21 probably deserves to lose lawsuits regarding those products.

That being said, there’s a right way and a wrong way to protect your trademark. Louis Vuitton is justified in suing Ebay for allowing rampant sales of fake LV bags masquerading as the real thing. LVMH is not justified, however, in suing an artist for creating a piece that mocks the status symbol nature of their bags as well as the consumer and celebrity-obsessed culture that makes their things relevant in the first place.

I’m absolutely not in support of those who believe their pricey label apparently trumps constitutional free speech rights. That, thankfully, is rarely an issue.

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