American Apparel Re-launches in the UK

Former cult brand American Apparel re-launched this week in the UK, the company has had a fully re-branded makeover and is staying away from overly sexualised images which saw the previous company director Dov Charney face many cases of sexual harassment. Here’s a previous post on their Controversal Campaigns. 

The new owners Guildan Activewear Inc, a Canadian-American manufacture have decided there’s nothing wrong with advertising the clothes in a ‘sexy’ way it’s just how that sexy comes across which is important, it’s not about sexualising the models it’s about empowering them.  It’s refreshing to see that they do not agree with how the company was formally represented, this is how they used to try and appeal to consumers with their Back to School Campaign.

American Apparel Nylon Tricot Cropped Tank Top

As before the models are ordinary people, not professionals and are from a wide background of different cultures, diversities and sizes. The photos are also unedited which is great because it means that there won’t be any photo-shopped images and shows a true representation of the products and people. It doesn’t matter whether you have stretch-marks or acne etc… it will not be edited out like it’s a problem or like ‘perfection’ needs to be put out there in order to sell the clothes.

“Our customer has never really cared about the ‘American’ in American Apparel because it was made in America. They’ve always cared about American Apparel because it stands for certain values of authenticity, diversity and ethical manufacturing and we keep all of those values now, even though we are not necessarily made in the US,” says Silvia Mazzucchelli, vice-president, direct to consumer. (Theguardian.com) 

American Apparel Denim Lace Back Dress

I am not 100% sure if that statement is true about the customers but in my opinion I thought it was great that the products were produced in America and boosted the job trade over there, far too many companies import now.  There is the option to purchase the American made version or globally made one, of course the global one is cheaper in price. 

Do you like how the company has re-branded?

Will it gain cult status again?

Sources:

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/apr/20/american-apparel-returns-as-an-inclusive-online-retailer

*Images from Americanapparel.com 

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Gucci Fall Collection: Making the Turban Fashionable?

Picture this, it’s Milan Fashion Week and Gucci’s fashion show is about to begin when out walks models wearing turbans. You might think what’s wrong with that? but the models of choice are white and wearing an item of clothing specific to the Sikh religion. It’s divided critics with the majority being against this choice, what would have been wrong with using appropriate models? If a Sikh model couldn’t be found or did not wish to be involved then does that not speak volumes?

Gucci Turban

Gucci may see this as being a homage to culture but the turban is significant in the Sikh religion as representing self-respect, honour, spirituality, courage and piety. Gucci is simply using it as disposable fashion, the turban is not supposed to be fashionable and seasonable. In religion it is supposed to fully cover the hair but as you can see from the male model in the centre his hair is visible so Gucci are not correctly adhering to the Sikh religion in any way.

Gucci Fashion Week

As a powerful fashion house Gucci could change the landscape of how religious clothing is perceived by using a vast array of appropriate models from different backgrounds and religions. A lot more education is needed for brands who feel it is okay to borrow sacred religious garments merely for fashion collections, the turban is merely more than a seasonal item portrayed here.

What are your thoughts?

Can brands get away with making religion fashionable?

*images sourced from Google

The Fall of Youtubers: From Hero to Villain

YouTube heroes are quickly declining after many popular vloggers upsetting their fans in 2017.

Zoe Sugg aka Zoella (over 12 million subscribers) suffered a heap of backlash over her festive Advent Calendar caused controversy over its ridiculous high price and poor content packaged inside. If you don’t remember it then the 12 day calendar cost a whopping £50 and contained things like stickers and confetti. Allegedly it wasn’t down to the star what the price point was but she’s happy to slap her name over the crap inside?

She’d also let down fans further at the event Hello World Live but that wasn’t all down to her it was an oversold event hyped up on the basis of a great experience but she barely saw her fans. I’ve never been a subscriber to Zoella but I have brought her merchandise in the past as gifts and to me it looks like she’s all about the money now. Usually her festive merch sells out super fast but this year the shelves are still filled in the sales so can she make a comeback this year?

Logan Paul (Logan Paul Vlogs) took things to the next level recently by publishing a video of a suicide victim found in Japan’s notorious Aokigahara Forest aka ‘Suicide Forest’. The vlogger joked with friends about finding the body and zoomed in on various parts of the victims body, showcasing it to over 15 million subscribers. He claims the reason he did this was to raise awareness of suicide or so he says…

There is absolutely no reason why anyone should film in that area for a YouTube video and it’s absolutely disgraceful that he did it for the views or whatever his motive was. It’s also a shock that YouTube allowed the upload to begin with which questions how safe is the internet really?

Both these Youtubers apologised with Twitter statements and videos but is that really good enough? Should more be done to show their sincerity?

In an online world it’s just as easy to be brought down by fans as it is to be built up.

If you need any support for Mental Health or know of anybody who does then please visit http://www.mind.org.uk to receive telephone support or to find out how else you can receive support.

*Please note I have not seen the Logan Paul Video and it has since been removed from YouTube

*Images sourced from Google

The Big Hoot Trail 2015

From the 20th of July- 27th September (2015) the city centre of Birmingham and surrounding areas will be filled with large picturesque owl statues. The Big Hoot Trail arouses awareness of the city’s culture as well as raising money for the  Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

The statue designs were created by local artists and have been sponsored by local businesses, after the ‘exhibition’ the owls will be auctioned off for the Children’s Hospital. 

The Big Hoot Trail 2015As you can see each individual owl has its own unique design with there being a grand total of 89 to spot on your journey around Birmingham, Sutton Coldfield and Bourneville, there’s even a surprise owl at the entrance of Twycross Zoo.

The Big Hoot Trailbig hoot trail 2015I managed to see around 40 owls with plenty more to go!

If like me you love owls then it makes a great day out 🙂

Victoria’s Secret: Perfect Body

Perfect Body Victoria's SecretThe ‘Perfect Body’ or bodies used in the latest campaign for the large American corporation Victoria’s Secret has caused outrage and backlash against many who feel they used a poor choice of words and models. Three UK students Frances Black, Gabriella Kountourides & Laura Ferris have taken it upon their selves to get the advertisement re-worded or at least an apology from the company, this is through the use of a petition which currently has 20,452 supporters.

The #iamperfect campaign and Twitter handle has been created by those that want the company to change their views and come to the understanding that they are spreading an incredibly unhealthy message about body image.

If you are aware of ‘Victoria’s Angels’ which showcases models such as Miranda Kerr then you will know that this company frequently uses slim models in it’s campaigns, the ‘perfect body’ is no different and showcases 10 models with similar body types and emphasis that the perfect body is a slim frame with a push up bra… It has also been accused of airbrushing the models to make them look more desirable and ‘perfect’ which lets face it doesn’t exist, especially when airbrushing comes into the equation.

The students are brave for setting up the petition and taking on such a large corporations which has millions of female fans, it is their duty as a company to inspire females with their products rather than unleashing a campaign that makes you think in order to have the perfect body you must look like the models they specifically pick to front the advertisements.

The advertisements have been showcased across billboards and other means of marketing so there would be no avoiding the imagery, the models can also be shown with ‘thigh gaps’ which is a very dangerous thing which young females have tried to achieve so again Victoria’s Secret are promoting an unhealthy look which could lead to eating disorders if people tried to obtain it. This form of ‘body shaming’ is getting out of hand and can be frequently found across the media.

If you would like to sign the petition then click the link below!

https://www.change.org/p/victoriassecret-apologise-for-your-damaging-perfect-body-campaign-iamperfect

*Image sourced from Google

American Apparel: Back to School Controversy

American Apparel as featured previously on my blog is yet again using shock tactics and sexualised images to promote their company and products. Dov Charney the founder who was dismissed previously for sexual allegations and misconduct has been re-hired as a ‘consultant’, surely the man who has various sexual harassment cases against him shouldn’t be re-associated with the company if they want to get away from the negative image which he has portrayed onto them.

American Apparel Back to School

The latest campaign which has caused outrage comes from the ‘back to school’ range and promotes a ‘School girl’ fantasy which can be linked to pornography, the image has reportedly been removed from the site now (I found it on Google) which leads you to think if it is just an innocent campaign then why remove it?

It can be assumed that the model is of the consensual age but it’s hard to tell when you cant see her face… Back to School is often aimed at under 16’s so it could be argues that this is promoting the sexualisation of children which cannot be justified. “Peter Bradley, from Kidscape, said: ‘It’s something we find abhorrent. It’s about using underage pornography to sell products and the sexualisation of children, which cannot ever be justified.”

We’ve all heard the expression ‘sex sells’ but that should never be used to promote anything to do with children or schools.

American Apparel- Schools Out
April 2014

Another advertisement taken directly from the American Apparel website was used to show that the school term had ended, the young girl in the advertisement can clearly be shown on a bed which again sexualises the image, I’m not sure what age the girl is but she looks too young to be objectified by a company trying to use sex as a promotion. If you look at the many other campaigns from the company or even of the products then you will see that the company like to use young models often wearing very little.

American Apparel- Vinyl Mini Skirt
July 2014

This image isn’t linked to the back to school campaign but again expresses the need the company feels to use young models whilst sexualising them, the product in question is of a ‘vinyl mini skirt’ which in itself could be linked to fetishism and pornography, again the girl is quite young and posing in very little. Considering the company are trying to sell a skirt why should the model be topless and have her legs spread apart?

American- Apparel Bon Appetit
April 2014

Another recent campaign from April 2014 shows a girl with her legs spread, the actual product she is supposed to be advertising is a ‘Fisherman’s jumper’ which I guess some people may not be able to tell as the large letters of ‘Bon Appetit’ and the fact she’s eating a large sandwich are quite distracting… 

The site actually sells clothes aimed at babies and young children so is it appropriate for them to sexualise clothing aimed at women? I hardly think so. If you take a look at their ad campains (link below) you will see that the male models aren’t sexualised so why should it just be women that ‘sell sex’, it just promotes objectification and misogyny and I think the company should stop listening to Dov Charney and turn their selves around before the company is run into the ground.  


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2718720/American-Apparel-resorting-porn-sell-Back-School-range.html#ixzz3AAcgOT7J

Previous Ad Campaigns: http://www.americanapparel.net/advertising/?search=1&type=0&year=0&keyword=&page=1

Exploring Lanzarote!

Lanzarote LandscapeIn Lanzarote there is plenty to do, located within the Canary Islands this small island is home of many volcanoes and a lot of the scenery is uninterrupted volcanic rock, palm trees and cactuses making it a beautiful location; for 2 weeks I got to spend my first ever trip abroad in Costa Teguise. 

Although we were located in Costa Teguise my fiancé and I managed to travel around most of the island due to the tour trips which were on offer, we managed to visit Guinate Tropical Park, Jameos del Agua, Cueva de los Verdes (Lava tunnels and caves), Rancho Texas Zoo, Timanfaya National Park and artist Cesar Manrique’s house which he formed out of lava bubbles.

Lanzarote Ocean

When we weren’t exploring the island we took advantage of a wonderful cocktail bar called Surfwings located right next to the beach, the staff were friendly and had a vast array of cocktails for us to try and at night they added an extra sparkle to the drinks, they also offered up large ice cream creations covered in whipped cream, fruit or Oreos which was perfect on those hot sunny days; Lanzarote is a very windy island though so it wasn’t as hot as I’d expected and luckily enough there were no mosquitos!

Zombie CocktailIce Cream CreationLanzarote is a great place to visit with plenty to do, it doesn’t have a large nightlife scene like some other places such as Magaluf etc… but it is a really interesting place to visit with plenty of souvenirs to remind you of your journey and plenty of new experiences. My first time abroad went smoothly and I cant wait to go abroad again! I just know this time to take plenty of plane entertainment, it may have only been 4 hours from Birmingham to Arrecife airport but it felt much longer, especially early in the morning! 

The Harry Potter Experience

Wizards Chess
Wizard’s Chess Pieces

Back in January I was lucky enough to visit ‘The Making of Harry Potter’ for a second time, the Warner Bro’s studio based in Watford is the perfect day out for all Potter fans. I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to now write up my studio experience being that I really wish to go again!

The outside of the tour has large statues of the infamous wizards chess which is perfect for pictures especially if it isn’t too busy and you manage to get one taken in front of it! The tickets are quite small so could be easy to loose and feature the characters, it’s a surprise which character you will receive as my first ticket has a Mandrake on it and my second has Dobby which I was so pleased to get. The tickets currently cost £30 but will be going up to £31 after July.

Harry Potter TicketOnce you get into the building you are instantly in the presence of Harry Potter props before the tour even begins! Large character canvases are jotted around the walls as well as the Weasley car hanging from the ceiling, before entering the actual tour you also get to see the famous cupboard under the stairs! The great thing about the tour is that you can take as many pictures as you want and its mostly self guided minus a small talk at the beginning illustrating the success of the Harry Potter franchise across the world which is really interesting.

Harry Potter Great HallThe tour is only one way so once you’ve finished you cant go back unfortunately! It’s split into 3 parts with the first being the Great Hall which is the perfect place to start, again as many pictures as you want can be taken here but of course you cant touch anything! After the Great Hall comes many props and costumes from the film which seem so unreal, it really is a mind blowing experience and you may just be shocked at how many props were actually made for the films!

PropsHarry Potter GraphicsOne of my favourite parts is seeing all the graphic design elements, the newspapers and letters just look amazing and again it’s so unreal to see them in person! It really does make you think about all the hard work that goes into film making! You have to make sure you walk around the tour at a good pace so that you don’t miss out on anything and I would recommend taking as many pictures as you can because it makes great memories.Acceptance Letter

Tom Riddles Grave

The second element of the tour takes you outside where you can drink Butter beer (I didn’t personally like it) visit Tom Riddle’s Grave a part which I again really enjoyed and of course take a trip to Privet Drive where it all began! There’s also a little picnic area so you can have lunch or just a quick break before visiting the third and final part of the tour which features Diagon Alley, animatronics, art work and of course the model of Hogwarts!

Wiseacres
WISEACRES WIZARDING EQUIPMENT
Hogwarts In The Snow
Hogwarts In The Snow

The moment you reach the beautiful Hogwarts model will melt any fans heart, it’s quite large and has great attention to detail, you can actually walk around the model so you can take photographs from every angle which I really do recommend as you can get some amazing pictures from this, sadly once you reach the model the end of the tour is near but the exit is through the gift shop which has some wonderful memorabilia. 

Chocolate FrogsOn the first occasion I only purchased a Ministry of Magic Mug for about £10 due to have very little money then (student life) but on the second visit I purchased a feather quill lollipop for about £2, Lord Voldemort’s Wand £25 and a Chocolate Frog for £8, don’t be out off by the price of the frog as it features a Wizards card just like in the film and the chocolate frog is actually quite large! I haven’t actually eaten my frog but my card was Godric Gryffindor.  I would fully recommend this tour and gift shop as it’s a great experience! Just ensure you have plenty of money for the gift shop as it can be quite expensive if you buy quite a few things.

Voldemort's WandPlease note that all photo’s were personally taken by myself.

Dissertation Preparation

Surving Your DissertationITS NEVER TOO EARLY TO START!

If like me you’ll be heading towards your third year this coming September then you too will be nearing the dreaded dissertation piece which your degree solely relies upon. The key to tackling such a large quantity of work is to plan your time efficiently and this post will illustrate how I plan to prepare for my own dissertation.

Step One: The Chosen Area

Picking the basis of the dissertation, as I study a joint honours degree in Film, Media and Cultural Studies I can opt to either base my work upon a film area or within media and culture, with such a wide area to choose from it isn’t proving to be an easy task!

The key to choosing your area involves jotting down ideas in which you have a genuine interest in due to having to spend months researching the topic, keeping a notebook dedicated to the prep is a good idea and helps you become more organised.  

Step Two: Research Research Research!

Research is of course a key area to the dissertation so once I’ve narrowed my ideas down to the select ones I feel appropriate then I will begin to research into the area, it’s important to find an area that you know has texts available to you, this will make it much easier to do when writing a literature review if applicable.

Always have a back up idea! One of my main interests is proving to have very little academic texts available to it or that I have struggled to find yet. to prevent stress ensure you feel confident in your chosen area.

Step Three: Conducting The Research Question

It may seem like this should be the first step but personally I feel you should know what’s available first before constructing your research question, the last thing you want to do is spend large amounts of time research a specific question to then change your mind about it once you find the texts to be limited.

Step Four: Don’t Panic

The large word count may seem incredibly scary but if you plan across the Summer and start to collect bits and pieces to use for future reference then it wont feel as overwhelming, whatever you do, don’t leave everything until you’re back at uni as you really will feel rushed into making decisions and may end up doing something you lack interest in.

Step Five: Internet Shopping

This step may seem out-of-place but purchasing books on Amazon and Ebay may be necessary if your library lacks the resources for your chosen area or if other students are researching similar topics then the books will become limited. A perfect time to purchase books would be ASAP, with students graduating they will be selling off books they no longer need which may be cheaper at this time rather than the end of the Summer when college students become aware of the university placements they have secured.

I’m not saying anyone has to start writing up their whole dissertation now, I certainly wont be! But ensuring you spend some time over the summer at least thinking of your discussion piece will be beneficial, I’ve already started writing down my interests which is a small start to such a large project and ordering books which may be of use.

If anybody has completed their dissertation pieces and have any tips then please leave a comment below 🙂

Maleficent Movie Review

MaleficentAngelina Jolie was born to play Maleficent

Having been excited for this film for months I can finally say it was worth the wait, the last live action I recall was Alice in Wonderland (Tim Burton) which sadly left me disappointed but Maleficent was magnificent. This re-telling of the classic fairy tale Sleeping Beauty changes your perspective of the dark fairy Maleficent, she isn’t evil like she was originally portrayed, in fact she is quite complex and has a softer side to her.

Starting off in the Moors divided by two kingdoms, those of the fairies and magical creatures and those of the humans we meet a young Maleficent who is graceful and curious, she encounters Stefan a human who has very little and wishes to one day rule the kingdom, the friendship blossoms and soon love blooms. The humans invade the peaceful kingdom and Maleficent becomes the protector of the land, this prompts the dying King to request the death of her and whichever loyal servant does this will rule the kingdom after he is deceased.

The film is visually stunning and borrows elements from the original Disney film and adds it’s on unique twist to it, Maleficent isn’t the Villain we all grew up thinking she was, like all humans she put her trust into the wrong person who betrays her. Unfortunately this betrayal see’s her become bitter which is why Princess Aurora (Elle Fanning) is on the receiving end of this and of course has the infamous curse cast on her.

Elle FanningAurora is portrayed brilliantly by Elle Fanning and like a young Maleficent is curious of the magical kingdom and life, a funny part in the film is when she mistaking thinks Maleficent is her fairy godmother, as I do not wish to spoil the film I will leave out most of the details but if your a fan of Disney’s Sleeping Beauty then you already know the fate of young Princess Aurora. 

The only part I didn’t like about this film was the three magical Pixies/Fairies (named as both within the film) who are there to protect Aurora, as they are quite annoying but luckily they don’t feature throughout the film in large doses. The three are played by Leslie Manville (Flittle), Imelda Staunton (Knotgrass) and Juno Temple (Thistlewit)

Director Robert Stromberg cant be faulted for this film and all Disney fan’s will love his take on the classic, if you read other reviews then they may well compare it to Frozen which is irrelevant and completely different so trust your own instincts on the film and you too may enjoy it as much as I have. With it’s twists and beautiful scenery the film is a must see for all Disney and Fairy Tale fans alike.

I watched the 2D version of the film so cannot comment on the 3D version but personally I don’t think it needed any, it was magical enough and the story was well written that it didn’t need extra effect to carry it.

Film Rating 5/5MaleficentWhy not check out my Top 5 Disney Villains? https://chasingtheimpossibleblog.wordpress.com/2014/05/19/top-5-disney-villains/

*images from Google