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Monday, December 13, 2010

Oh Lovely Holiday Season

I promised you an update, so I am delivering.
I moved to my new place mid-Oct, got all settled in…and lost my motivation. I wallowed for a while and then one miraculous Sunday, the veil lifted. And there stood my promiscuous muse, with that forever-present smirk on her face. We embraced, I forgave her, and I jumped back on the sewing machine.
I’m working on two things: this bluish grey wrap
I had originally wanted it to be floor length, but then I cut too far up the back. DOH. But that’s the only screw-up I’ve had so not bad. I think I’m going to add white netting sleeves and maybe a netting hood. It’s a work in progress.
And I just finished this
created out of a piece from another skirt and a handkerchief, which I cut into strips and layered. I like this piece—it’s playful and didn’t take too long to make.
I’ve been working on coming up with a business model and thinking about exactly what I want to do with Influence. I want to keep it eco-friendly, of course, but I also want to give back as much as possible (‘social entrepreneurialism’ -great term, isn’t it?). I had decided about a portion of profits going back out to a good cause right from the get-go, I just have to figure out to which good cause and how much. Details. I gotta tell you, I’m inclined towards animal/environmental ones, but there are also many needy people out there, for many different reasons.
In my Etsy shop http://influenceclothing.etsy.com I have four pieces of jewelry for sale and I have been busting my ass to get clothing in there.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The time approaches...

As my move into my new digs/studio approaches, I'm putting myself back into business mogul mindset. (Someday, right?) I want to hit the ground running with Influence once I'm able to launch ship (I can't wait! Im like a little kid waiting for Christmas!)
Speaking of the aforesaid holiday, I'm going to be stocking my shop with a few holiday themed items. I'm thinking a couple of cute skirts and a bunch of jewelry. It's going to be a busy season!
It's been a crazy year, folks. A bit of normalcy should be returning soon. I . Cannot. Wait. For realz.
Check back soon and meanwhile, browse my shop!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Earth Prefers You Naked: how the textile industry ravages the environment

You’ve probably noticed that people are a bit more environmentally aware these days and there are many more eco-friendly choices out there to make, from energy saving appliances to organic food. One growing part of eco-commerce is in the clothing department. Eco-fashion, or fashionable clothing that is produced without the use of chemicals, pesticides or unfair labor and with sustainable fabric and responsible practices, is growing rapidly in popularity.

This article is not going to focus on the other problems plaguing the textile industries, such as sweatshops, unfair labor practices, horrible working conditions, and irresponsible uses of resources such as water and power. Instead, it will focus on the environmental impact of textile manufacturing.

Much of today’s clothing is not eco-friendly; rather most clothing is made out of synthetic fibers and petrochemical derivatives. Petrochemicals are pollutants that cause global warming and their chemical makeup isn’t too far off from the nerve gases used in WWII. The manufacture of synthetic fibers is a very involved process, one that releases many noxious gases, acids and organic compounds. Clothing that has a special feature, such as ‘crease resistant’ contain chemicals like formaldehyde.

The EPA considers many textile manufacturing facilities toxic waste generators. To give you a little bit of an idea just how toxic the by-product of these plants are, the manufacture of nylon releases nitrous oxide, which is 310 times stronger of a gas than carbon dioxide. Also, nylon is not biodegradable.
A hundred percent cotton clothing may seem more eco-friendly, but it is most definitely not. Twenty-five percent of total annual worldwide pesticide use is due to the cotton grown to make clothing. Pesticides are a danger to not only the farmer that has to work with the chemicals, but the consumer who wears the clothing.

Your favorite pair of jeans is one of the 450 million that are sold every year in the U.S., jeans made from pesticide-soaked cotton plants, which are then sandblasted, chemically softened and doused with toxic dyes. (And by the way, fifteen hundred gallons of water are needed to produce the 1.5 pounds of cotton needed to make a single pair of jeans.)

Wool is also treated with chemicals, which is done by way of “sheep dips”. The sheep are dipped in troughs of chemicals before their wool is sheared to “prepare” the wool. I bet that feels good on their skin. This not only adversely affects the sheep, but the farmer and the surrounding aquatic systems that the chemicals end up leaching into.

The power looms that are used to mass produce clothing leaves a much-larger carbon footprint than their earth-friendly ancestor, the handloom. (Not to mention the stealing of an age-old craft from the artisans it employs, but we’re not going to go there). One job on a power loom sucks as much energy as running twenty vacuums all day long.

Eco-fashion is a trend that needs to become a mainstay of world culture. The average American throws out 68 lbs of clothing a year, while many people around the globe don’t even have shoes on their feet. Stop the destructive and hazardous cycle and shop with a more eco-conscious mind!



Sources:
Jose G. How Green are your Jeans? 2008. OnEarth Magazine http://www.onearth.org/article/how-green-are-your-jeans
Claudio L. 2007. Waste Couture: Environmental Impact of the Clothing Industry. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1964887/
“Eco-fashion” Retrieved September 26, 2010.
http://copperwiki.org/index.php/eco-fashion

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Heel!

Platform Power: A History of Heels
“…the human foot, a masterpiece of engineering
and a work of art!”-Leonardo da Vinci

One of the most powerful—some would argue the most powerful—parts of a woman’s wardrobe is a fitting pair of heels. And by ‘fitting’ I mean the heel is the right heel in color, size, shape, and purpose. Purpose, especially, is very important: Are you wearing wedges simply for a little added height? Are you trying to captivate an audience with a six-inch stiletto? Are you the boss lady sporting a pair of black pumps? There are many different kinds of heels out there from kitten heel to the platform stiletto which recently took over the feet of the models in the Fall/Winter runway shows. A beautiful outfit gets a tremendous power boost with a pair of heels, and the wearer also gets a boost: Heels make you stand differently—your breasts jut out, along with your bottom, hips get thrown around, and your body takes on a sultry, ready-to-mate stance that drives guys crazy.
But where did the idea of heels first come from? How long have they been around? Don’t you people ever think about this stuff??
Let’s start with the definition of ‘heel’. Dictionary.com defines ‘heel’ as: (noun) a solid, raised base or support of leather, wood, rubber, etc. attached to the sole of a shoe or boot under the back part of the foot. Merriam-Webster defines it as: “solid attachment of a shoe or boot forming the back of the sole under the heel of the foot.”
Before ‘heel’, however, had to come ‘shoe’, right? One of the earliest ancient peoples to develop a variety of footwear was the Chinese. Woven and stitched straw shoes date as far back as 5000 b.c.e. Tanned leather footwear with elaborate stitching dates back to around 2000 b.c.e. China has a variety of climates, so straw sandals were more in keeping with the warmer climate regions, while thick leather shoes and knee high boots were used in the colder mountainous parts. Another culture of skilled shoemakers was the ancient Egyptians; their murals and tombs started depicting sandals around 1500 b.c.e. While footwear was largely unnecessary due to the warm climate, when they did appear, the sandals were woven of either reeds or leather pieces (the latter more for the wealthy). If the sandals were held on with straps, the straps were wrapped around the calf in the shape of the “ankh”, the symbol of life.
Eventually, all soles were no longer created equal, and platforms and heels were introduced.
Ancient Romans wore platform peep toe sandals or “cothurns” to lift their feet out of the mud and garbage in the streets. These high platforms had either wood or cork soles. Different heel heights represented different social standing. Either high class or butcher—wore platform shoes to walk all over the “offal”
Heels have been worn by both sexes over the centuries; one of the earliest recorded instances of men and women wearing an elevated shoe comes from Hellenic times. Two thousand years ago on the Greek stage male actors wore heels for a more commanding presence on stage. Ancient Chinese, Turkish, Japanese cultures made use of heels for both sexes. In Asia heels were mostly reserved for the upper class, courts and concubines.
Heels were proven useful for riding horses, as they kept the rider’s feet in the stirrups. Mongolian horsemen took advantage of this, while the Knights of Richard the Lionhearted simply wore “sollerets”, or downward curved pointed shoes.
In the mid-1500’s heels, the “Chopin” platform shoe became popular. The height of which was between 6-16”, even sometimes 30”, involved the use of walking sticks and help from servants.
Another patron of the heel was Catherine de Medici, some might call her the mother of the high heel. The de Medici family was extremely powerful and ruled over Florence while creating powerful unions through marriages all around Europe. At 14 years old, Catherine was set to wed the Duke of Orleans, who was to become the next King of France. Catherine would be their Queen, and she was extremely intimidated by the French court. She sought out a friend, (who also happened to be a cobbler) and confided her worries to him. His solution? He took out the clunky wooden soles from her shoes and replaced them with padded four inch heels. With added inches and a new swagger, Catherine dazzled the courts and the love of heels flourished.
It wasn’t just height-challenged Queens that sought out the advantage of false height; in 1660 shoemaker Nicholas Lestage designed high heeled shoes for Louis XIV. Some of the heels were higher than four inches, and most depicted battle scenes. They shoes went on to be nicknamed “Louis heels” or “pompadour heels”.
After the Renaissance (post 17th century) heels spread down to the lower levels of society and heels were no longer worn just by the wealthy.
However, in France during the French Revolution, heels were associated with opulence, a look people were trying to avoid at the time. Heels were mostly eliminated from the market.
Post World War II, Rosie the Riveter turned feminine, when baby making was on everyone’s minds. Also at this time, a few changes in the design of the heel helped spur its popularity. For instance, a steel core replaced the breakable wood heel, making new heights imaginable.
And along came the Queen of height: the stiletto. Beautiful dagger! There is an unfounded theory that Leonardo da Vinci was the very first designer of the killer heel. I wouldn’t have trouble believing that, seeing as the guy thought of the helicopter. A key contributor was Roger Vivier, a French designer credited with the aforementioned steel-inside-wood model. In 1954, Vivier presented the stiletto to the house of Dior.
Heels have captivated both men and women since their arrival. Women lust after them and men lust after the women inside of them. There are many different kinds of heels such as the flat heel, low heel, chunky heel, kitten heel, stiletto heel, cone heel, spool heel, and the wedge. Take your pick! Or as June Swann, shoe historian puts it: “it’s like the circus. You can learn to walk on anything if you put your mind to it.”

Sources
Fashion Encyclopedia
http://www.Fashionencyclopedia.com/fashion_costume_culture/early-cultures-Asia/footwear-of-early-Asia

History of Platform Shoes
http://www.platformshoes.org

“Heel”
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/heel_(shoe)?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My new Life and Studio coming soon!

Hello all,
I know I have not been a good blogger or business woman as of late, but things in the homelife have been kinda crazy and disorganized. So...until I get my shit together-haha- I am gng to be posting the occasional history lesson in fashion to better educate you folks.
Next up: The History of the Heel! Stay tuned and Keep it sexy ;)
KR

Saturday, July 24, 2010

More coming soon!

Hello folks,
I had a lot of personal changes this summer so the blog and Influence Clothing had to take a bit of a hiatus. I am in the process of getting it back up and running so please be patient with me and check back soon! The store is still active and can be found at http://www.influenceclothing.etsy.com
Catch you soon!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

My Denim monstrosity!


Ok, so I don't really think it's a monstrosity. I actually like it. Yeah, it's a bit clumsy, and I should have used a softer lighter denim for the inside lining, but I had a lot of old jeans laying around, so....yeah. Seeing it on the mannequin doesn't do it the right justice, it looks much better on me. However, I am without the proper resources (i.s. another person capable of shooting pics) to get those shots.
Here's the in-progress shots and the changes I made throughout. I really am proud of how quickly I cut out the main pieces and stuck it all together. Anyone else with me on this?




My husband, mammary gland lover that he is, would have preferred me to keep the front boobie-encasing look that it was originally (see above pic). I didn't like that look tho, and frankly, my boobs felt kinda under pressure to perform and I'm sorry hubby, but I can't have stressed out mammaries :D
I still have lots of denim to play around with, thanks to donations from friends, and I might attempt some jean shorts, since it is sorta getting nice out. (It's upstate NY tho, it did snow two days ago.)
Let me get back to work now. Check back soon, and in the meantime keep it sexy!
KR

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Progress!



I believe I am getting much better at sewing, in general. A little faster, a little smarter...haha. I'm more realistic about sizing and material pull, that much I'm sure of. My craftsmanship is also coming along. I knew it was going to be a live and learn kind of thing, so *shrug*
I've recently completed this one sleeve tank
(This isn't a finished pic, just close). You can see how the left side is gathered into a frill. I had to put a strap for those women who are endowed in the booby region. You can also see how crowded my studio is, haha. This tank was a lot of fun to make, it was kinda just thrown together and actually ended up looking decent. I experimented with embossing a red 'I' on the on the upper left side, but I'm going to take it out, looks dumb. I need to get somehow. Oh, and this is also the first piece to incorporate my patchwork idea. It will be up soon in my Etsy store :)
The latest project is a jean vest. The idea for it came from a bunch of cool looking buttons (not shown) that I got off a hideous Grandma sweater. I painted them black with model car paint (nightmarish stuff, be warned!) and I had a bunch of jeans that I had pulled out of my closet and for some reason, they seemed to go together. I'm almost done with it, it has taken forever to put together, good lord.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Almost Springtime....

Hello my darlings,
I told you it would be hard for me to keep this thing updated! Life's been very full lately, with all my other projects going on--I'm trying to find a publisher for my 2nd book of erotic poetry, I'm collaborating with some fellow and former dancers on our stripper book, As the Pole Bubbles--it's going to be EPIC! And I'm also patiently waiting to hear back about my vamp novel so keep your fingers crossed!
I've been concentrating on specializing my logo. Still no sales through my Etsy shop but I haven't lost hope. I just need to figure out how to make my recycled clothing unique and wanted. Since the material and color of my fabrics used is determined by whatever donations I get, I can't really have a certain color or fabric that defines my stuff as supply is gng to be constantly changing. I mean, I could dye the fabrics I get, but I'm not sure if I want to get into that. So what if I patchwork my design? Every piece I produce will have a certain cut or shape. Like, a tank top will have at least four different pieces sewn together.
Now, I must relax with the latest issue of Nylon mag. If any of you haven't yet picked up a copy of such artistic deliciousness, you need to. Amazing stuff.
Be back soon,
KR

Monday, March 1, 2010

One of my 1st attempts and my studio :)

(<---awful, isn't it? I had great hopes for it, just didn't know what the f*^% I was doing.


This is my little workroom, which is now much more cluttered, haha. I sooo need more space, which I hope to get when we move (cross your fingers!) I have dreams of having a big, airy loft with a couple of giant tables to spread out on and big windows that look out on something beautiful. However, I'll settle for more space and the tables.
It's amazing how much this little clothing making venture has improved my patience. My first attempts were #epicfails in large due to my impatience at cutting, sizing, and/or sewing. I was always in a hurry to get to the finished product, with disastrous results. You should have seen my husband's face when I showed him the first couple of "garments" haha!!

Another big lesson is the fabrics themselves. I am a fan of stretchy soft stuff (hello, I'm a dancer) but they are the hardest ones to sew! Especially when paired up with a non-stretchy fabric, like denim. They look so good together, but damn.
K

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Introduction! Howdy!

Ok, after some deliberation I've decided to start a business blog. But don't let business blog throw you off--yes, it will be about my clothing business, Influence, but I hope to make it a fun and creative adventure in social media spelunking :) I don't promise to keep a regular presence on here but I'll try. I've never been good at keeping blogs updated but since this one is tied with my fledgling business there will be considerably more motivation :) \

I started Influence back in August (2009) and it has been an interesting learning experience. I've always been in love with fashion, but I didn't let myself explore that passion until last year :)
When I started it, I didn't even know how to use a sewing machine. I've known how to handsew since I was little (momma made quilts) and made little dresses for my dolls and a few mini quilts. Making adult clothes is sooo much harder, geez!

As far as the purpose of this lab, well of course it's for exposure. But I also plan on making it a good learning tool for other aspiring designers :) Enjoy reading and leave me comments!