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It’s Actually Cerulean

previously on A Tasteful Thief…

No one likes a mad woman

The morning after publishing my birthday edition of A Tasteful Thief I was locking up my bike when I heard a woman cycling and singing along to ‘mad woman’ from Taylor Swift’s folklore.

Having written about how excited I was to hear such a talented writer get mad, I was thrilled to see how far and deep her influence goes.

To hear anyone singing on a bike is rare, but to hear her belting out this specific song made me want to yell I LOVE YOU! as she cycled away. If I wasn’t already married I would have proposed.

Sweatpants Forever: How the Fashion Industry Collapsed

(from the NY Times)

Well, that is a cheery headline considering my nascent career in the fashion industry.

Who remembers the amazing speech that Miranda gives Andy in The Devil Wears Prada when Andy rudely guffaws at a decision between two turquoise belts:

You go to your closet and you select out, oh I don’t know, that lumpy blue sweater, for instance… But what you don’t know is that that sweater is not just blue, it’s not turquoise, it’s not lapis, it’s actually cerulean.

You’re also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar de la Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves St Laurent, wasn’t it, who showed cerulean military jackets? And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight different designers. Then it filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic “casual corner” where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and so it’s sort of comical how you think that you’ve made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you’re wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room. From a pile of “stuff.”

Now that we’ve all read it let’s think about how more than design elements travel through the industry. Things like pursuing profit at the expense of people, into whose bank account the majority of those millions of dollars go, and the fact that the more collections designers like Oscar de la Renta and YSL put out the faster the entire system – down to the garment workers in unsafe factories – has to work to produce disposable clothing. And things that don’t trickle down… those (now) billions of dollars.

If you are curious and want a good, deep look at how the fashion industry was doing before the coronavirus, I highly recommend reading the Sweatpants NY Times article. It is rather lengthy but worth it for the clarification on why fashion trends seemed to be changing at an exponential pace. Although I do wish it took some of its considerable space to write more about how this affects fast fashion factories where predominantly women workers are hardly paid.

Every pain point of our current fashion system that the article addresses, like the department stores’ ridiculous practice of charging designers for clothing stock they bought but didn’t sell and investors looking to rescue big name brands from the brink of bankruptcy rather than invest in new designers, makes the case that capitalism was killing the industry before the coronavirus dealt its blow.

However, I do not believe that people will wear sweatpants forever.

I envision a new kind of style trend where we continue wearing comfortable clothes while working and living from home, and where we all dress a bit fancier in whatever way suits our style when we do go out for leisure.

I saw a TikTok this afternoon where a young man asked his mother what she thought of his outfit, and she told him that every time he gets dressed he should remember that if he dies that will be his ghost outfit forever.

Just some deep fashion thoughts from every corner of the media.

More Gen Z Love

Sometimes the YouTube algorithm really freaks me out, but yesterday it gave me an amazing gift:https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/_pEPFYiJOXU?rel=0&autoplay=0&showinfo=0

This guy and his twin brother are (I am guessing) around 18 years old and they grew up with hip hop the same way I grew up with classic rock. I spent about three hours last night going through their videos and picking out my favourite songs to see how they responded to them.

After an hour or so I finally happened upon the main dude’s reaction to one of my top three all-time favourite songs. I queued up the video and when it started I found I was really nervous. I wanted him to like Bruce Springsteen just as much as I do!https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/xsCiXt-lmW4?rel=0&autoplay=0&showinfo=0

I was not disappointed and I sat there watching him with the biggest smile on my face.

If you’re interested in more here are my favs:

The Mamas & The Papas – California Dreamin’

Van Morrison – Brown Eyed Girl

Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit

I am so glad I was late in getting this edition out so that I could include this! I don’t think I could keep this to myself for two weeks.

Hell or Holiday?

When I was in high school I did a scene from a play called No Exit by Jean-Paul Sartre that is probably most famous for the phrase “hell is other people.” Leaving aside the questionable casting choices made for us and the fact that 17 years olds are not capable of understanding that material, I’ve always felt a bit of pride for having worked on an existentialist play.

And the coronavirus has given all of us ample opportunity to think about the idea that hell is other people.

Whether you went through the quarantine time completely alone or with your immediate family, there were slices of heaven and hell in both situations.

But both situations were rather like No Exit in that they were (or still are depending on how your country is handling the crisis) unchangeable and impossible to leave. No one is getting a break from their current situation, and won’t be for the foreseeable future if we use South Korea and New Zealand as goalposts for Beating The Coronavirus.

The world is so tense right now it feels like it could snap. There is tension between countries, between citizens and the governments who are doing nothing while still getting paid, and between people in everyday interactions.

We all need a holiday.

I had a mini-holiday this past weekend and I didn’t go anywhere.

Our friend from Berlin took the train over for a long weekend and suddenly we were living again.

I only checked the news once to make sure the beach we were heading for wasn’t already overcrowed or closed. We talked about the coronavirus, how our different countries are managing, and how our companies are managing.

But mostly we just spent time together as a trio like we’ve been doing for eight years.

And when he left for home on Sunday I found that I was relaxed, calm, and most importantly, motivated.

He gave us exactly what we needed: a break from the shit.

This summer my ‘holiday’ was achieved by simply adding another person to my flat.

The coronavirus crisis seems a good time to use the phrase ‘hell is other people’, but perhaps this is also a time for us to learn just how beneficial quality time with other people can be.

Post Script: The next edition of A Tasteful Thief will be on August 30th and since it is a rare extra Sunday (meaning I’ve already put out my two per month) I’m working on a Special Edition that will be open to the public and will hopefully more than double my paying subscriber count!

Post-Post Script: As treat for waiting two days for this edition here is one of my many behind the scenes shots from the most recent shoot I worked on:

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