5 Things to Read Instead of Paying Attention in Class

Alexander McQueen, fashion advice for kids, and 11 really weird beauty tips

Words for Kids who Love Fashion on Final Fashion
While much of this amazing advice is targeted at children, it’s never too late to take note. Danielle Meder offers atypical suggestions like ‘develop cultural literacy,’ when the most prevalent advice being given to kids who want to start a career in fashion is to start a blog.

How to Be Handsome: 11 Really Terrible 19th Century Beauty Tips
Prime yourself for history class with some of the head-scratchingly bizarre beauty routines of our ancestors. If you thought heated eyelash curlers were weird, you’ve only just hit the tip of the iceberg.

FATshion on XOJane.com
I am just finishing up my personal summer reading list with Two Whole Cakes by Lesley Kinzel, who also happens to write FATshion, the most on-point and hilarious fashion commentary to be found anywhere on the web.

Ryerson appoints first Designer-in Residence
Fashion and academia are relatively recent bedfellows, and Ryerson University in Toronto is blazing the trail by appointing the first ever Designer-in-Residence. What else could you expect from the only University in Canada that offers a Fashion Communications program?

The Nature of Alexander McQueen: the aesthetics of fashion design as a site of environmental change

If the title sounds really wordy and academic, that’s probably because it is. I wrote my undergraduate thesis last Spring about the significance of art to the environmental movement, and explored the significance of Alexander McQueen’s designs as examples of art. This link ties the two together into a smart and useful package: get your furrowed brow ready.

illustration // Andrea Manica

Saturday: Embrace Your Inner ‘Fashion Nerd’

“Fashion has been sidelined and denigrated as a serious object of study for far too long,” says Dr. Alison Matthews David, Assistant Professor at the School of Fashion at Ryerson University. “Popular debates over it are highly polarized: we either love fashion, celebrating it uncritically, or we hate it, criticizing it as frivolous, feminine, and irrational. It is in fact a highly-rationalized, multi-faceted, multi-billion dollar industry that touches the lives of everyone who gets dressed in the morning.”

It is this bias which ‘Convergence: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Fashion,’ a graduate student symposium hosted by the Research Committee of Ryerson’s School of Fashion, seeks to correct. On Saturday, November 5, graduate students with backgrounds in fashion design, art history, psychology, photography, philosophy, fine arts and journalism will present on a wide diversity of topics, from Pre-Raphaelites and ballerinas to globalization and guerilla marketing.

The interdisciplinary nature of the symposium reflects the mosaic nature of fashion studies. “It is still becoming established as its own field,” David explains, “which means that graduate students interested in fashion are largely trained in other disciplines. But these diverse backgrounds bring a lot of different perspectives to our discussion.”

While David thinks we’re getting better at unabashedly discussing fashion, she still meets people who have trouble understanding what she does. “I often get a surprised reaction from people when I say I’m a fashion historian and theorist. They immediately ask if I sew. I tell them that I’m the ‘intellectual nerd of the fashion world’ and try to present a critical perspective on fashion.”

While studying art history at Stanford University, David began researching the history of tailoring (which became the topic of her PhD) and has “never looked back.” Her work has focused on gender, social class, and material culture in 19th century France and Britain, but she says she likes to pick topics from all over. Last year, she co-wrote a chapter with colleague Dr. Kimberley Wahl about clothing in Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables series. “We were fascinated with the fact that fashion plays such a prominent role in transforming Anne from an ugly ducking to a beautiful, aesthetically-attuned and accomplished young lady.”

David was recently awarded a grant by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada to continue to examine the dangers of fashion. “Corsets and heels cause mechanical harm to the body but fashion has also killed people through chemical contamination, accidental entanglement and fire, and the transmission of contagious disease through second-hand or contaminated clothing…

“I’m writing about mercury poisoning and ‘mad’ hatters, arsenic-containing green dyes during the Victorian period, and tulle and gauze skirts which present fire hazards for the wearer. I have been researching a ballerina whose tutu caught on fire at the Paris Opera,” says David.

Technology has solved some problems but created others, such as carcinogenic chemicals used by the garment industry. “The problem has not gone away and the problems the fashion industry and rampant consumerism still create are far from frivolous, unfortunately.”

David hopes the symposium will encourage students interested in fashion to pursue what inspires them and become “fashion nerds.”

‘Convergence: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Fashion,’ will open to the public, free of charge, in Kerr Hall South at Ryerson University on Saturday, November 5th at 9 a.m.

Click here for the list of presentation topics.

text by Max Mosher
image source unknown

Serpentinata: Get Twisted

When I lived in residence last year, there were a few permanent fixtures in our floor’s common-room: a sewing tool-box, a ruler, stray threads, and a frazzled first-year fashion student. She wasn’t frazzled because she was a slacker and rushing to catch up. She was frazzled because she had a pattern for a dress due the same day as three other hefty projects.

This year – my friend’s second year in the program – she’ll see a model walk down a runway wearing one of her creations. Finally.

In the school‘s annual 2nd and 3rd year fashion show, students in Ryerson’s Fashion Design program will show off their final projects of the year: women’s evening-wear and menswear.

Serpentinata: Get Twisted will showcase the work of emerging Toronto designers, and Jessica Biffi – former Ryerson Fashion Design student and runner-up in Season 2 of Project Runway Canada – is just one of several anticipated industry attendees.

On Friday, April 9, 2010, Ryerson University Fashion Design students are getting twisted – and not just because they’ve worked ridiculously hard for the past 7 months and deserve a break. The show promises “a surreal glimpse at the work of these student designers as they enter the Toronto fashion industry,” according to Alex Fox, a fashion student who is overseeing the show’s production.

- Stephanie Fereiro

simple silhouettes and layered lapels.

There’s a certain glamorous aspect to being at a fashion show –- any sort of fashion show. As long as there’s pulsating music and the flash of the photographer’s cameras, I’m sure you could parade a line of models down the runway wearing nothing but cardboard boxes and it’ll still have the feel and excitement of Parisian haute couture. So I was excited when I found out I was going to the Ryerson School of Fashion show at Toronto’s LG Fashion Week (and no, I am pleased to report that none of the designers used cardboard). I attended the show with Worn Crush, Norwegian Wood’s Angie Johnson (who was recently recognized for her fringe necklaces in this weekend’s National Post), and my old friend, Erica, who, in her own words, “likes fashion, but doesn’t really follow it.” It was interesting to attend an event with two women of very different fashion industry perspectives (although I can safely say we were all equally fawning over the Barbie exhibit taking place just outside the show – Holly Golightly Barbie, anyone?)
from other projects in order to create a new piece.
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