Tag Archives: Fashion

Last updated by at .

Slow Prom: Say “No” to Prom Frenzy

As if we needed another sign that things are out of hand–on the heels of preschool graduations, first grade college prep, and elaborate, multi-event wedding extravaganzas, comes prom dress registries and the “promposal”, over-the-top rituals that are expensive, unnecessary and indicative of the ubiquitous influence of celebrity and social media culture.


Shopping for a prom dress? Formal stores across the U.S. now keep registries of the prom dresses other young women have chosen, to avoid the apparent horror of duplicating someone else’s dress. The Wall Street Journal reports girls and moms leaving stores in tears, unable to find a dress that hasn’t been spoken for yet.

And yet, many people seem to abide by the culture: “Nobody wants to go to prom and play ‘Who wore it better?’,” said Madison Chalfant, 17, from Horseheads, N.Y., in the Journal article, echoing the fashion coverage that often follows the celebrity award show circuit.

“They want to lock up their dress before everybody else,” says Julie Paget, co-owner of All About the Dress, in Armonk, N.Y., noting that the shopping, and the hype, begins earlier each year.

The average prom-going teen will spend $919 on the dance this year, according to a survey from Visa, which offers suggestions for curtailing some of the costs associated with the modern high school prom.

And then there is the promposal, an elaborate and often showy way of asking a date to the prom, which itself has an average cost of $324. While creative and original prom invitations can be charming, there is something about the trend of high school students spending a lot of money to create social-media-ready promposal experiences that seems somewhat hollow and more about outdoing others and creating a version of instant celebrity than it is about asking someone to the prom. Perhaps this is a natural outcome–a trickle down from the increasingly dramatic (and YouTube-ready) marriage proposals, pregnancy announcements and baby reveals of the high school students’ elders.

Don’t get me wrong–it’s great to inject fun and flair into coming-of-age and other rituals. I just wonder if elaborate and showy behavior represents some kind of new norm and if celebrity and media culture is somehow overshadowing childhood and our expectations, and kids’ experiences, of it.

Prom _Red_Carpet

Photos: New York Dress, Perfect Prom Resources

Flashy but Trashy Fashion Show and other ways to help the planet on Earth Day

Residents of the small Canadian town of Fernie, B.C., will mark this Thursday’s 40th anniversary of Earth Day with their 4th annual Flashy but Trashy Fashion Show. The show highlights people of all ages from the community who demonstrate their flair for creative re-use by modeling outfits made of such materials as biodegradable packing peanuts, coffee filters, flour sacs, and bubble wrap.

See a video from last year’s Flashy but Trashy show.

Displays of creative re-use are fun for both the participant and the viewer. Last year my daughter and her friends took part in a local Eco-Fashion show, at which they modeled their hand-made creations, all of which were made using re-purposed materials.

When Earth Day began in 1970, it heralded a new era of thinking about conservation of our land, air, water and other resources. At the U.S. government level, it sparked the Environmental Protection Agency, the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. On a personal level, many people began caring for the planet in a variety of ways they hadn’t before.

Take just one area: paper recycling. Between 1960 and 2006 paper and paperboard recycling rates have increased from 17% to more than 50%, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, which offers this information about how to reduce, re-use and recycle various materials.

Here are more recycling statistics from around the world.

Here is a map of Earth Day events around the world.

Last but not least, with a nod to the folks in Fernie, this is a picture of me in 1987, wearing a dress created from recycled play money and ready to hit the eco-town.

Video: Beyond Recycling, Photos: Susan Sachs Lipman, Los Angeles Times Magazine

Harajuku Girls Spotted in San Francisco: Shopping in Union Square


I’ve long been interested in Japanese culture and one aspect of it called Harajuku, which takes its name from the Tokyo neighborhood that is ground-zero for teen culture and for dressing up in a costume-like mash-up of styles based on pop culture, anime characters, musicians, storybook characters, and others.

Harajuku is fun. It’s dress-up for young adults and a display of world culture as seen through the prism of young Japanese people. Imagine, then, my delight upon seeing Harajuku girls, right in San Francisco’s Union Square, where I had taken my daughter to do some back-to-school shopping. I talked to these young women, and they said they were from the Bay Area. Harajuku is apparently quite alive far from its main district.


Following are some other sights from our shopping day in Union Square. Window display:



Street signs and mixed architecture styles, in this old neighborhood:




Local color:



And racks of clothes that begged the question, “What year is this?”, as we browsed through Forever 21 (Forever 41, anyone?) while Soft Cell kept repeating on the store’s soundtrack.







Photos by Susan Sachs Lipman

Fairfax Parade and Ecofest

I recently attended the 32nd annual Fairfax (CA) parade and its newer accompanying Ecofest. Both were extraordinary and really showed off the town and its people. The event featured art, music, dance, food, children’s activities, artisinal products, and demonstrations. Themes of sustainability, social consciousness, friendliness and fun overrode the day. It was a beautiful event.

The Ecofest continued through the weekend. Here are some highlights from the parade, Eco Fashion show, and more:




Many parade entries had themes of Sustainability. This yoke of discarded plastic was particularly effective.








Here’s our own Youth Making a Difference entry. Follow us to the Eco Fashion Show and Ecofest.


The Eco Fashion Show incorporated a group of young women’s many original designs and work, using vintage, recycled, and re-purposed materials. The results were impressive and their enthusiasm was contagious.









At the Ecofest, we learned about worm composting from local vermicomposting expert David Lee Hoffman and from folks from Garden for the Environment, which gives public workshops on organic and sustainable gardening. We found this composter, available at Fairfax Lumber, ideal for our small gardening space.


We also visited with new and old friends among the exhibitors, such as Bay Nature magazine, Environmental Education Center of Marin, Salmon Protection and Watershed Network, Marin Agricultural Land Trust, California Native Plant Society, Bio-Diesel Co-op, the Peace Corps, Tamalpais Natureworks sustainable furniture, and Snow Lotus Essential Oils, which I sampled and which seemed to be of extremely high quality. There were also two bodycare artisans that I highly recommend: Moonflowers Body Care (I like their Jasmine cleanser and Gift of India face cream), and North Rose Botanicals. I bought a little sample bag of North Rose products and can’t wait to replenish the heavenly Rose cleanser, tonic, and moisturizer, which are all wonderfully light in texture and scent.


Bike parking was packed! A terrific sign.


For more about the preparation for the Eco Fashion Show, see:

“Young Crafters Prepare for Eco Fashion Show”

“Eco Fashion Show Part 2: The Screen Printing”

Photos by Susan Sachs Lipman

Eco Fashion Show Part Two: The Screen Printing

Screen printing was another very exciting part of the day I spent helping girls get ready for the Fairfax Festival Eco Fashion Show, which takes place Saturday, June 13. We ended Part One of the prep with Annabel and her wonderful altered shirt overlaid with a screen print of a cactus.


The cactus was photographed and then traced.


A neighbor of Molly’s had helped her repair her old screen printing machine, so the girls could make prints for the show. As Molly noted, we see screen printed T shirts all the time, but we are removed from the process of making them by hand. To do so, both screen and drawing get run through a machine that looks a bit like an old copier. This creates a kind of stencil of the artwork on the screen.

This is a print Jessie made using the cactus screen.



This is a screen of the “Youth Making a Difference” logo. The girls are going to wear Youth Making a Difference shirts in a parade before the fashion show.


Molly helps Amanda make her screen print.


Anna applies paint to the back side of the screen.


It gets spread with this wonderful tool.



The finished shirt came out fantastic.


.. As did a print on this handmade hemp shoulder bag.



Photos by Susan Sachs Lipman

Young Crafters Prepare for Eco Fashion Show


About a dozen wonderful teens and younger girls have been busy for months preparing for an Eco Fashion Show that is slated to be part of the annual Fairfax Festival in Fairfax, CA, this Saturday. More details about the show are here. I had the good fortune to spend time with them last weekend and watch their creations and creativity bloom, as they transitioned recycled and vintage clothes to new uses and made beautiful items, while having fun, all under the auspices of Sustainable Fabric Guru Molly de Vries.


My daughter Anna opted to repurpose an old nightgown of mine that I wasn’t wearing.


As soon as she altered it, she had made it her own and was happy thinking about how she would embellish it.


She pinned this beautiful lace to the hem, and then sewed it by machine.




Meanwhile, Hannah was hand-sewing a lovely shirt made from a variety of vintage clothing and fabrics.


Jessie further embellished a beautiful pleated silk skirt that she had made. (This picture does not do it justice.)


Amanda continued adding to her own lovely brown sundress.



Annabel tried on different outfits for the show, also thinking about what to alter further.



The screen print on Annabel’s shirt was made using a tracing of a photo of this cactus:


See Part Two of this story to learn more about our screen printing fun.

Photos by Susan Sachs Lipman

Springtime at Macy’s

We recently took a foray to the Macy’s Flower Show in San Francisco.


The theme this year was “A Bohemian Garden”.


This was the 63rd year that flowers bloomed inside the department store.


The Flower Show is renowned and also occurred this Spring in New York, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, and Chicago.


The tradition began in Macy’s Union Square, which hosted the first ever department store flower show, right after World War II. It was created to promote the store’s perfume.


In a rough retail year, and an even harsher flower-show year (with venerable shows calling it quits), it was nice to see even a scaled-down version of spring pastels, floral magic, and a little fantasy. Even The Teen liked it.



Photos by Susan Sachs Lipman

Hayes Valley, SF: Black, White & Red all Over

A walk in Hayes Valley on a Friday in Spring.

Click on any photo to enlarge it. And then try it again.

Photos by Susan Sachs Lipman

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...