Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Gold on the Ceiling

This morning, I was walking to work thinking about how badly I want a pair of gold sneakers. Then after 8 hours solid of fact-checking, I was walking home and spied a dude wearing these GOLD NEW BALANCE SNEAKERS. Coincidence? I think not!

The universe is sending me clues - I must own these shoes. I have wanted a pair of New Balances for a long time (seven months to be exact) but haven't yet managed to find a pair that make me look like an effortless Norwegian goddess instead of a frumpy idiot yet. Here's hoping I can manage to snag a good pair of sneakers to settle down and spend the rest of my life with.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Toronto Fashion Week

Picture c/o FASHION Magazine

While we are all busy staying in eating ice cream and weathering this damn hurricane (ok, fine, it's more of a rainstorm in Toronto, but I really want to get in on all the alarmist fun), let us revisit a calmer, simpler time known as Toronto Fashion Week. #TFW is a total mixed bag. Instead of getting straight-up ready-to-wear lines shown to magazine editors and retailers, Toronto Fashion Week is more of a marketing opportunity that retailers use to 'make a splash'. Sometimes this works out really well (Korhani Home Rug) and other times not so much (Pavoni). Neither a rug company or a bridal/eveningwear company really need to show at Toronto Fashion Week, but that's the kinda stuff we get up here.
 Picture c/o FASHION magazine

I wrote reviews about PavoniSoïa & Kyo and Arthur Mendonça for the Toronto Standard. Some asshole PR person got mad about my Pavoni review and sent a really nasty e-mail to my editor saying that I wasn't a real journalist (because all REAL JOURNALISTS write positive reviews, right?), that I am a pre-pubescent tween with parental issues, dissed my blog and claimed I acted like the designers "had run over my dog." Really, dude? The media industry is really weird like that. Every day my skin gets a little thicker.
Picture c/o Toronto Life

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Working an Unpaid Internship

“So, you’re doing an unpaid internship. How are you paying for it all?”

The first thing people always ask me when I mention I am doing an internship is whether or not it is paid. When I sheepishly admit that it is unpaid, they feign surprise and do not hesitate to ask the incredibly personal question of how I manage to survive without living in a garbage can like Oscar the Grouch, as if I was the first person they had ever met to do an unpaid internship. Quelle horreur!

You would never ask someone exactly how much money they make in a year, and if you do, it is always politely phrased in the brackets “if you don’t mind me asking…” Nobody has to justify their salaried positions, but those of use who don’t make money are forced to explain our lack of it. How in hell is it gauche for rich people to talk money, but others are allowed to nose into the personal lives of those who are struggling as if it was for the public record.

How I pay for my lifestyle is something I would rather not discuss, partially because I feel I shouldn’t have to, but also because it is a huge sore spot in my life. I’m not interested in telling strangers how I walk an hour to work every day because I would rather not have the added expense of public transit, among other money-saving initiatives. It makes for a shitty, depressing and downright humiliating conversation.

It’s fucking ridiculous how no one ever asks University students how they survive in school. Kids pay thousands of dollars every semester to go to school and ‘educate themselves’, which usually means smoking a lot of weed and staying up all-night writing a paper they forgot was due. Higher education is a hell of a lot more expensive than working for free and nobody ever asks students how they manage, because it’s obvious: they either assume gross debt in the form of student loans, or their parents pay for school, possibly both. I’m sure there are some people who can afford to pay their own educational expenses through co-op programs, but these self-supporting students are not the overwhelming majority.

So, hearing people ask such a grating and personal question about my bank account on a regular basis makes me want to freak out and go all Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men; “You can’t handle the truth!!” 

What were my choices, really? I could continue to work my shitty part-time minimum wage retail job and supplement it with my freelance writing income indefinitely, or I could choose to spend my days doing something that I really, really, wanted to do, which is work at a magazine.

In retail, I was wasting away. I went to work, served the customers, and went home. I was not going to “move up in the company” because I didn’t give a shit about the company. It was mindless, meaningless and was contributing nothing to my desired career path. So I decided to leave it behind in favour of improving my skills and making connections in a field that I desperately want to work in. My internship is stressful and intense, but I know I am good at what I do and getting better every day. The work I do is gratifying, and I am happy to do it. I no longer dread going to a work where I have to smile at people and repeat the same eight sentences for hours on end.

But still, how am I paying for it? There is really no way to say “my parents are helping me out” without sounding like a privileged, Park Avenue princess. Yes, I have privilege, but at the same time I am just paying my dues. The media industry is structured in a way that supports this privilege. Unpaid internships are completely unfair, but it doesn’t change the fact that they are commonplace. Thousands of young people have paved the way by working for free before me, and thousands will continue to trample the path long after my six months are completed.

If you haven’t read the article “How to Succeed in Journalism Without Doing an Unpaid Internship” yet, you really should. I won’t ruin the article for you, but.. Actually I will. Spoiler alert, the answer is privilege.

Next time you ask somebody how they can afford to do an unpaid internship, maybe you should ask yourself how you afford to eat $10 lunches three times a week, or how you justify spending $100+/month on your cell phone bill. People justify certain expenses because they want them in their lives. It’s really as simple as that. You are probably not a financial angel with a Suze Orman-shaped halo, so it is not your place to label me while I live as frugally as I can in the hopes that it will someday pay off.

Loveship Susie

I love Susie from the blog Loveship so much. Everything she wears is this magical fusing of comfort quality and style.  Her style is not flashy or flattering, instead it is founded on an innate sense of taste regarding what suits her look. Most of her clothes are amazing, high-quality, designer goods, yet they were bought for peanuts at secondhand stores and consignment shops.

She is my main inspiration for wearing man pants, and her neutral colour scheme is always classic, never boring. Fashion can be fun and experimental, but there is so much value in knowing exactly what you like, what makes you feel good on the inside and buying accordingly.

If that wasn't convincing enough, she also has a Comme des Garçons tattoo. DEADLY COOL.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Pearly Kings and Queens

Have you ever heard of the Pearly Kings and Queens before? They are this historic London charity where people wear these insane suits covered in pearl buttons and badges and collect money to distribute to the less fortunate. I wish I knew more about them then that, but all of their websites are really vague. This is such an inspiring example of a group using fashion for social change - their outfits put people in a good mood and make them donate more money. I am determined to interview some of these Pearlies and make a story about it. Until then, enjoy these wicked pictures.

Hey there...

Hey there...

I am starting a new blog. In some ways it will be more personal (it is named after me after all), but in other ways it will be less. i need a space to talk about the things I enjoy and think are awesome, because somewhere along the way I lost a place for me to exist comfortably, on the internet, in the physical world and in my own headspace.

So, I just want this blog to reflect what I'm doing, writing and thinking about. It is definitely not going to be a personal style blog, more a living embodiment of Stuff White People Like. I am proud and happy of what I wrote at Hipster Musings for so many years, but it just feels right to move on. I am both a struggling newbie and a grumpy old woman. Like Charlie from The Perks of Being A Wallflower, I am both happy and sad and still trying to figure out how that can be.

I need a space that can grow with me and let me be myself, instead of trying to be a well-liked 'personality.' My life is more about drinking french press coffee in the mornings and cooking with kale and passively perusing the internet these days instead of frequent comments and likes. I think that as long as I can make writing and magazine publishing my career, and maybe getting laid sometime, I'll be doing groovy.

...and I'm wearing a Marilyn Manson shirt right now.

Isabel B. Slone