Ethical is the New Black

Courtesy of nupeoplemagazine

By Miranda Zsigmond

If you haven’t noticed, health and wellness are having a major moment.The sporty-chic fashion trend athleisure has taken off and the vegan lifestyle seems to grow larger each day, thanks to some top celebrities (hello, Beyonce and Liam Hemsworth). Today it seems as if everything from food to makeup and skin care is organic.

Modern consumers now pride themselves on knowing where their food comes from and are willing to shell out extra cash to make this claim. Millennials post Instgrams of their pricey cold-pressed, raw and organic juices with reckless abandon. What was the point of that $10 juice if you can’t get a good Insta out of it?

Even buildings now can be designed under the U.S. Green Building Council standards, which are both innovative and environmentally friendly and call for the use of numerous sustainable resources during construction.

With all this time spent on developing environmental awareness and incorporating renewable goods into everyday life, the question is: Do you know where your clothes come from? Not from your favorite store in NorthPark, but where the fabric was made and dyed? Who sewed your clothes and how much time was spent putting together your new favorite sweater?


Fashion For Fashions Sake?

Fashion isn’t known for being practical. There is a sort of beauty in the excess that can be read through haute couture and avant-garde fashion, but at what price? Under the extravagant façade of designer clothes, runway shows and celebrity endorsement, the fashion industry is devastating on the environment and often on laborers as well.

The garment industry has long been known for overworking and underpaying workers while subjecting them to some of the worst unregulated working conditions. Sadly that remains true today.

“It’s unfortunate that we see this kind of human suffering due to the industrial revolution,” said SMU alumna and human rights enthusiast Chantelle Conely. “Although the industrial revolution brought about great changes in the economy and it was the start of becoming more civilized, it also brought the issue of child labor, pollution and awful working conditions.”

The fast-paced industry thrives on the quick and accessible crutch of fast fashion. This manufacturing trend provides the marketplace with inexpensive apparel directed mostly at young women. Fashion magazines and the media aid these manufactures by pushing new “must-haves” each month. However, while fast fashion is inexpensive, it comes at a price. Fast fashion doesn’t hurt just the factory workers but everyone in the business, including designers.

“While everyone loves a good (clothing) steal, the clothes that are sold in major chain retailers like H&M, Zara and Forever 21 aren’t meant to last,” said El Centro College fashion design major Mardece Edwards. “People don’t realize that fashion has turned into a year-round calendar instead of a biannual calendar, making creativity and staying relevant a constant challenge.”


Courtesy of Pinterest

Courtesy of Pinterest

An Alternative Approach

This relatively new style of retail leaves a pollution footprint in each step of production. The demand for man-made fibers, especially polyester, has nearly doubled in the last 15 years. The manufacturing of these synthetic fabrics is an energy intensive, water gobbling process that requires large amounts of crude oil and releases toxic emissions, which can cause or aggravate respiratory disease.

This mindless garment turnover is fueled by the harsh realities of real people endangering their health and lives for poorly made and cheaply sold clothes. It is not only synthetic fibers that pose environmental health and safety concerns, however. Cotton, one of the most popular and versatile natural fibers used in clothing manufacture, still leaves a significant environmental footprint to produce a finished and dyed product, leaving water sources completely toxic.

“There are so many alternative and eco-friendly fabrics designers can work with that shouldn’t be considered alternatives,” said SMU senior and fashion media major Madeleine Kalb. “Linen, hemp and silk are all natural fibers that don’t jeopardize the garments’ integrity and are eco-friendly. Another underrated, sustainable fabric is bamboo, which carries many of the same properties of cotton. Bamboo creates softer-to-the touch fabric and doesn’t require the same chemical farming that conventional cotton does.”

Kalb is right. Many synthetic manmade fabrics don’t hold up well for the designers or the consumer. Rayon (viscose), a manmade fiber and what most of the cute flimsy pieces you find at H&M are made of, is less durable than natural fibers and more likely to wrinkle.  It also requires more water during production than other fabrics.

Courtesy of Fashion Revolution

Courtesy of Fashion Revolution

Making The Switch

While making the switch to better-quality materials seems like common sense, the issue is over-shadowed by profit. Though the clothing is cheap, fashion giants make up for it in volume, and sales have been on the rise.  For instance, Forever 21 had $4.4 billion in sales as of October 2015, and H&M experienced a 25 percent profit increase in 2014.

H&M has made an attempt to separate itself from other fast-fashion companies. For instance, in 2014, the company launched a new line, Conscious, created with more sustainable and renewable materials. The aim of H&M’s Conscious label is to provide affordable, chic clothing to the conscious consumer– a novel concept that quickly showed a positive and, more importantly, profitable response.

More and more companies are following the lead, breaking out of the environmentally and ethically shaky practices of the fashion industry by re-writing the rules for affordable and stylish clothes.


Courtesy of H&M

H&M’s Conscious collection.  Courtesy of H&M

StyleSaint is a business that is doing just that. The self-proclaimed “next generation designer label” is a company that values its consumers as well as its workers. StyleSaint’s factory employees get paid a livable working wage that is 2000 percent more than the average 18 cent per day of a traditional overseas factory worker.   And the brand produces quality pieces that are meant to last. The Los Angeles-based company sells in-house-designed garments to consumers without retail mark-ups. Think American Apparel before it got weird.

The company’s tasteful and timeless pieces are made of only natural fabrics such as flax (linen), bamboo, silk and wool, durable fabrics that are meant to last but are also safe on your skin. The company is also conscious of its water use. Unlike most labels, StyleSaint’s website has an easy-to-understand info-graphic comparing all of its eco-friendly practices to that of standard fashion companies.

Another radical clothing company making a name for itself is Naja. This alternative lingerie company based in San Francisco is making waves by providing adequate pay for its factory employees. The quirky and distinctive lingerie line boasts whimsical and funky designs in bright, fun colors.

Created by women for women, the company is set on changing the way women shop for lingerie. The goal: to make their product a tool for empowerment, not objectification. Instead of high-end models, Naja chooses smart, confident “real” woman to represent the brand. Digital and sublimation printing is used when creating the vibrant designs on the company’s fabrics, which are made from recycled water bottles.

But this is where the company takes it to the next level: Naja’s garment factory workforce  is primarily made up of women from the slums of Columbia, typically single mothers or female heads of the household. These women are paid above market wages as well as given health care benefits. In addition, Naja also provides the children of their employees with books, school supplies, uniforms and all meals. If that doesn’t make you want to buy a lacey black bra, I don’t know what will.

However, better standards and quality materials typically come at a higher price. With the public evolving into more a conscious consumer base, many people are willing to pay for the difference.

“You get what you pay for, and most clothing from big (fashion) stores reflects that,” said SMU junior and former fashion model Savannah Moody. “If the more ethical option is presented to me and is still trendy, I am usually always willing to spend the extra money. It’s basically a win-win for everyone.”

Even with brands moving in a more environmentally responsible direction and customers willing to spend on eco-friendly products, not everyone in the industry is jumping on the bandwagon just yet.

Michael Crigger, co-owner of Petite Atelier, a custom couture-sewing studio in Deep Ellum, wonders if this trend will ever represent the norm in an industry whose very ethos — seeking out what is new, rare, elite — seems antithetical to the notion of sustainability.  “Fashion simply isn’t ethical,”  Crigger said.  “As innovative as all of the ethical businesses sound, the fact is that that isn’t the norm just yet, and I don’t know if it ever will be.”

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Shopping addiction: Signs that a hobby has become a compulsion

Photo courtesy of Intent Blog

Photo courtesy of Intent Blog

By Madeleine Kalb

Note: In the article below, two names have been changed to protect the individuals’ privacy. Those names are marked with an asterisk (*).


A Gucci travel bag topples off the top shelf of Leroy Poignant’s overwhelmed closet. The 6-foot-5 sometimes model tosses ties over his shoulder. “Hermes, Valentino, Christian Dior. Another Christian Dior.  A Pierre Cardin with a $600 tag!” Poignant shouts.

Over the past four years Poignant has accumulated over 100 ties stamped with exclusive designer tags and sees no end to his massive, ever-growing collection. A few ties are neatly protected in a leather case, some hang on a rack, and many are shoved wherever they may fit in one of Poignant’s walk-in closets.

“I guess I will never have enough. Oh my gosh,” says Poignant, an Art Institute of Dallas student. “There really is no number.”

Poignant's ties. Photo by Madeleine Kalb.

Poignant’s ties. Photo by Madeleine Kalb.

Even Poignant agrees that his tie collecting has gotten out of control. Shopping addiction or compulsion is not particular to gender, age or tax bracket. It is a commonly shared experience that is rarely discussed.

Healthcare professionals refer to shopping addiction as “compulsive shopping” or “compulsive buying” because there currently is no official psychiatric diagnosis for this behavior.

Kay Colbert, a licensed therapist and addiction specialist in Dallas, says little research has been done to examine this behavior.  However, compulsive shopping is often grouped under the addiction umbrella.

Colbert says that mental health professionals believe compulsive shopping follows a similar pattern to that of other impulse control disorders such as gambling, shoplifting, overeating, and more.

“Most addictions or compulsive behaviors follow similar neural pathways in the brain,” Colbert says. “They involve the dopamine reward system.”

Compulsive shoppers crave the dopamine rush they get from making purchases and chase the rush at any fiscal or personal risk.

Shopping becomes a “problem” when it begins to interfere significantly in a person’s daily life. According to Colbert, when a person begins to suffer negative consequences in his or her daily life, it has become a disorder. Work, school, health, finances, sleep and relationships may suffer because of the addictive behavior.

Hayden*, a San Antonio native and executive director of an arts organization in Dallas, experienced this firsthand in his early 20s.

“By the time I was 24 I was in immense debt. I was out of control. I was living way beyond my means,” Hayden says.

From age 18 to 24, Hayden was a top national salesman for Baccarat Crystal at the Saks Fifth Avenue flagship in San Antonio. Unfortunately for Hayden, the Saks Fifth Avenue employee discount and the abundance of luxury designer products were all too tempting, and his paycheck would go right back into the company.

“At 18 years of age, a $1,000 outfit was the norm. With my employee discount, it wasn’t unusual for me to be buying these outfits,” Hayden says.

Photo of an exclusive Gianni Versace hand made top from the early early 90s purchased by Fairbrass for $1,600. Photo courtesy of Fairbrass.

Hayden purchased this handmade Gianni Versace top purchased in the early ’90s for $1,600.

Hayden would purchase new outfits every weekend. These chic and high-fashion outfits gave him access to the nightlife and hip club scene in San Antonio. He became addicted to the lifestyle as well as the dopamine rush of making purchases at discounted prices.

“It was very easy to accumulate debt. You become a product of your environment,” Hayden says. “Dressing well is about perception. It is about looking like you have money. I was the only male student in my high school to have Gucci loafers.”

Discount upon discount, the luxurious life that Hayden was buying into came crashing down.

Photo courtesy of Fairbrass

Hayden’s collection of designer shoes.

At 24 years old, Hayden’s debt had become overwhelming. He recalls using his paycheck to purchase new outfits, taking cash advances on his credit card to pay his bills, and then using credit cards to pay for the nightclubs and lounges. His debt became so consuming that his parents had to intervene and help make payments.

“The lifestyle and living in the moment was more important then the debt. I would tell myself tomorrow, tomorrow I will pay it off,” Hayden says.

Colbert describes this behavior as the reward cycle that anyone caught in the grip of addictive behavior experiences. When the individual engages in the behavior (shopping), the brain gives a burst of dopamine. Dopamine makes him feel good, like going on a rollercoaster.  He then experiences pleasurable sensations and feelings that make him want to do it again and again.

“Sales gave me a rush. To see a $300 shirt on clearance for $100, I had to have it,” Hayden says.

Fairbrass traveled to Austin, TX to purchase this Valentino coat that he discovered was significantly marked down. Photo courtesy of Fairbrass.

Hayden traveled to Austin to purchase this Valentino coat that he discovered was significantly marked down.

For a person with addictive behavior, Colbert says, the cycle of pleasurable feelings would eventually become harder to attain. The brain will adapt to the cycle and through brain changes, research shows, it will begin to produce less dopamine, making it harder for the individual to feel the reward and soothe his anxiety. He is now running on a dopamine deficit and needs to engage in his addictive behavior more often.

Division 1 athlete and Southern Methodist University senior Sarah* has experienced shopping compulsion but on a much smaller scale. Sarah is a scholarship student and struggles to keep within her limited budget.

“I have bags from H&M and Victoria’s Secret that are in my trunk right now, filled with stuff that has to be returned,” Sarah says.

Sarah explains that she gets stuck in a vicious cycle of “what is 20 more dollars?” Then she’ll find herself back in her car, slamming her head on her steering wheel in a shameful epiphany, realizing that she just spent her gas money.

Sarah says that in the past month she has been to H&M to buy and return items four times already.  “Once I realize how much I’ve spent I feel anxiety, but in the moment I don’t.”

Sarah says that she will see an item — for instance, most recently a strapless blouse at H&M. She then envisions herself at brunch in this top and purchases it for $12. After the purchase, she realizes she needs a strapless bra to wear with the top. Smith walks out of H&M and across the hallway of NorthPark Center to Victoria’s Secret, where she finds a strapless bra on sale for $20. After experiencing on a dopamine rush from scoring great deals on sales, she will wonder what else is on the shelves at VS and walk out of the store after spending $180.

“I don’t even tell my boyfriend that I spend money I don’t have. I just tell him I have to return stuff,” Sarah says. “I don’t tell him how much I spent or the thought process behind it. I just say I’m returning it because it’s not as cute as I thought.”

Sarah is experiencing a vicious cycle that she cannot afford and feels trapped in.

Sometimes, Sarah says, she walks into a store and picks items up and purchases them without trying them on just to force herself to leave the store. She will then get home and realize what she has done — and return the item.

“I will return it. But when I get back to the store and realize there is something new on the shelf that is relatively the same price if not a dollar more, the cycle starts again,” Sarah says.

As soon as the compulsive shopper realizes what she has done, reality ensues. She realizes she has made a mistake, Colbert says.

“Purchasing the items gives her a sense of relief, perhaps euphoria, for a short period,” Colbert says. “Then this fades, and eventually negative feelings will develop — remorse, guilt, shame.”

While experiencing these feelings, the compulsive shopper will say that she will never do this again, and then the cycle repeats itself.

Colbert says these tendencies describe the experiences of a current patient. The patient is a 50-year-old white female who goes on huge shopping binges at the mall. When the euphoria of the binge is over, she returns all the items a day later. Colbert says that the woman realizes that she didn’t even want these items.

Colbert says her patient creatively solved her problem by freezing her credit cards in a bowl of water.  By the time she could thaw her credit cards, her compulsion had passed.

The nature of addiction is to lose control of one’s actions. Colbert says that short-term rewards create persistent behavior.  Even if someone realizes the negative consequences of her behaior, the the neural pathways in her brain are being set and wired to seek the euphoria.

Compulsive shoppers are not bad or weak, Colbert emphasizes.  They have an illness that can be controlled with lifestyle changes, behavioral changes, and possibly medication.

Many compulsive shoppers struggle to find a balance or a healthy solution to handle their disorder. Leroy Poignant has managed to satisfy his tie collecting compulsion in a fiscally responsible manner.

Although he continues to amass an unusual number of designer ties, Poignant says, today he spends no more then $5 on each.  Recently, he picked up a bag of Christian Dior and Hermes ties in Galveston for a mere $1 per tie. His secret? Thrift shopping.

Poignant's ties. Photo by Madeleine Kalb.

Poignant’s ties. Photo by Madeleine Kalb.

Through thrift shopping Poignant is able to satisfy his craving for designer pieces but in a  manner that won’t cause him emotional or financial harm. “I could go to the mall and buy a $60 Ralph Lauren shirt, but why would I do that when I can go to a thrift store and spend half of that for 20 Ralph Laurens?” Poignant asks. “It just doesn’t make sense to me.”

Some of the ties in Poignant’s collection have original tags marked upwards of $1,000. Poignant gets a thrill from acquiring these coveted designer pieces for a fraction of the  price.  He realizes that he still has a compulsion, but he’s learned how to redirect it.

“I have an addiction in the sense of going to a thrift store and needing to buy something,” Poignant says. “But even if I walk out with [just] one tie, which I won’t spend over $5 on,  I’m OK to go home.”



Leave a comment | Posted in Articles, Spotlights

Gray Area

By Marisa Rodriguez

Tomas Maier monochromatic gray look. Courtesy of

Tomas Maier monochromatic gray look. Courtesy of Vogue.

Gray is making a comeback this season and not in a subtle way. Monochromatic gray outfits were literally all over the fall 2015 runway. Wearing a monochromatic outfit can be daunting but I’ve picked out my favorite all gray looks that anybody can pull off this season.

One of the easiest ways to wear this look and the one that graced the runway from multiple designers is the suit. This may not seem trendy considering women have been wearing all gray suits for years, but try adding a gray shell underneath or a gray scarf to truly keep the look completely monochromatic. You can keep it a bit more simple like Tomas Maier or switch things up with different hues of gray and a embellished blazer like Alice + Olivia.

Alice + Olivia gray look. Courtesy of

Alice + Olivia gray look. Courtesy of Vogue.

Another way to achieve this look is to wear a gray dress with a gray coat. This keeps things pretty effortless and it’s likely that you already have one or both of these items in your closet now.

You have options with this trend so you can easily work it into your wardrobe this season without too much fuss. Bloggers and celebrities have already jumped on the monochromatic look so if you need a little more inspiration, you will surely be seeing it on the streets this fall.

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Flash Tattoos


Sofia Pack courtesy of Flash Tattoos

Marisa Rodriguez

You’ve seen them everywhere. But have you ever wondered where the metallic temporary tattoo trend started? Miranda Burnet is the founder and creative director of Flash Tattoos.  She is the woman behind the company that started the worldwide craze.

“Prior to Flash Tattoos, temporary tattoos were typically just a thing for kids to enjoy, but I wanted to create a version that appealed to sophisticated women,” says Burnet. She cites “the combination of innovative and original thinking, top quality materials, and a uniquely modern and refined design sense” as contributing to Flash Tattoos’ popularity.

BB_4_Flash Tattoo Pkg_1039

Beyonce X Flash Tattoos courtesy of Flash Tattoos

The idea behind the brand was to create metallic temporary tattoos that resemble jewelry without the added fuss. The tattoos stay put for days and are waterproof so that they can be worn at the pool or beach.

The company was formed in Austin in June of 2013. Burnet says that at first, its tattoos were popular primarily with the surfing crowds of Hawaii, Australia, California and Florida.

Burnet says Flash Tattoos initially got a lot of buzz in April of 2014 when supermodel Alessandra Ambrosio and actress Vanessa Hudgens both wore Flash Tattoos to Coachella, a music festival in California. Then, she says, when Beyoncé was photographed wearing Flash Tattoos later that summer, there was a full-on frenzy.

The trend has since taken Dallas by storm and SMU students can be seen rocking the metallic tattoos at pool parties, music festivals, on the boulevard, and everywhere in between.

“I like Flash Tattoos because they’re a fun and cheap way to accessorize and add flair to plain stuff, and I think they’re good for festivals and formals when I don’t want to wear jewelry,” said SMU student Kennedy Zaccagnino.

Since the tattoos have become popular with celebrities and fashionistas, imitation brands have started to pop up everywhere. According to Burnet, in some cases, these companies have replicated Flash Tattoos’ designs — and consumers believe they are wearing the original brand.


Aurelie Pack courtesy of Flash Tatto

Today some Dallas-area boutiques do carry temporary tattoo brands other than the home-grown original.  LF Stores was one of the first retailers to sell Flash Tattoos and has stuck with the brand. Angela Crise, manager of the Uptown LF location, says the company tries to find brands before they become widely popular and is all about supporting startups, which is why they originally chose to carry the Flash Tattoos brand.

Burnet says that what concerns her most about imitation brands is when they replicate designs her company has created specifically for its charitable partners — The Miracle Foundation, Rainforest Partnership and Waves For Water.

The Flash Tattoos brand has certainly made its mark, so to speak, in two short years.  But, Burnet says, the company has tried to stay true to its goals of creating original and unique designs.  After all, that strategy has worked so far.

“When Flash Tattoos first started,” Burnet says, “I never dreamed that it would become what it is today.”

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By Bridger Warlick

Audrey Hepburn. Image Courtesy of BuzzFeed.

Audrey Hepburn. Image Courtesy of BuzzFeed.

Since I was a young girl, my mother always told me that the most important feature on my face were my eyebrows because they “shaped” my face. I never quite understood why she insisted on this, but as an awkward teenager, I let my mom fill my eyebrows in with an eyebrow pencil anyway — even when other girls would snicker at me and ask why my eyebrows looked so different.

Fast forward 10 years, and I now fully understand why my smart mother believed this ritual was so important. I have blonde hair and light eyebrows. Therefore, you can barely see them. Now I would never walk out of the house without filling in my brows, either with a trusty eyebrow pencil or a tint at the salon.

Brooke Shields was always known for her thick eyebrows. Image Courtesy of Pinterest.

Brooke Shields was always known for her thick eyebrows. Image Courtesy of Pinterest.

Eyebrows in History

If you look back at eyebrow trends over the years – boy, have they changed. Thin eyebrows were once all the rage. Women would pluck, wax and tweeze. They wanted their brows so thin that they were basically non-existent. However, the ladies of today can’t stop tinting, dying and filling in their brows.

Some #browQueens include 1960s actress Audrey Hepburn, icon Elizabeth Taylor, 1970s pop star Brooke Shields, model Gigi Hadid, actress Lily Collins and model/actress Cara Delevingne. These women, along with many more, have paved the thick-eyebrow road, and several of them continue to carry the flag today. For instance, Cara Delevingne has perhaps single-handedly brought thick eyebrows back into vogue.

Elizabeth Taylor. Image Courtesy of Gala Darling.

Elizabeth Taylor. Image Courtesy of Gala Darling.

 A Professional Perspective

MacKenzie Campbell, product specialist at Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, has always loved makeup. Her passion for it took over when she was dancing competitively. They had specific looks for every routine, and she found she could explore different looks via makeup.

Like most of her colleagues, Campbell finds herself loving the new eyebrow trend. She says that generationally brow trends have changed dramatically, and that just 10 years ago the look was the skinny brow.  She notes that now when you talk to 30-something women, they regret the over-plucking.

Like my mother, Campbell knows how important filling in a brow can be.

“The thick brow trend is great,” says Campbell. “Brows are so important for framing the face. A brow that is nicely shaped and properly filled in can help make a face look lifted and more youthful.”


Eyebrow Superstar Cara Delavingne. Image Courtesy of Wedding Bee.

Eyebrow superstar Cara Delevingne. Image Courtesy of Wedding Bee.

A Model Chimes In

            Tess Wohrle, an up-and-coming model for Elite Model Management, is not a newbie when it comes to fashion trends. Although Wohrle started wearing makeup when she was younger, it wasn’t until her modeling career took off that she really understood the true artistry of makeup.

Always being on different sets and modeling for different shoots, Wohrle would sit back and watch the makeup artists at work. She would take note of their techniques and would then replicate it herself.

Wohrle says good eyebrows can also help any face.

I have watched Wohrle do her makeup and it is no easy task. A light-up mirror and over 100 brushes are just some of the tools she uses to make her face look #flawless.

She looks to fashion’s new “It Girl” Gigi Hadid for both her fashion and makeup inspiration.

“It girl” Gigi Hadid. Image Courtesy of Canada Living.

“It girl” Gigi Hadid. Image Courtesy of Canadian Living.

Whorle notes, “If eyebrows are groomed correctly, they can totally enhance your facial features.”

A College Girl Goes Pro

A senior at SMU, Katherine Kennedy stands out of a crowd with her bold makeup looks and styles. Kennedy can completely change her outfit with the addition of a dark eye shadow or dramatic liner.

Kennedy started learning about makeup at a young age because of ballet. She knew how to apply full stage makeup as a kindergartener.  But it was not until high school that Kennedy began her full-scale makeup experimentation.

Living in her sorority house, Kennedy had girls lining up outside her room before big events to get touch-ups on their makeup.

Lily Collins. Image Courtesy of BuzzFeed.

Lily Collins. Image Courtesy of BuzzFeed.

“I have always thought thick eyebrows were cool,” Kennedy says. “I’ve always filled in my eyebrow because of stage makeup. They always told us to make all your features way darker. So I realized it looked good, and I continued to make them darker for my day-to-day activities.”

Makeup trends are forever changing, and the thick eyebrow trend may soon disappear. However, no matter what the fashion, I will continue to shape my face by penciling in my eyebrows. It’s nice to know I had dark eyebrows before they were cool. Thanks mom!

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Slacks Acceptance

Cusp at Neiman Marcus. Courtesy of NorthPark Center.

Cusp at Neiman Marcus. Courtesy of NorthPark Center.

By Madeleine Kalb

If you’re a senior, graduation and the interview process are approaching.  And you know what that means: shopping for “business appropriate” clothes.  So 24 hours before the SMU Career Fair, I went in search of guidance at Dallas’ fashion mecca: Neiman Marcus.

The petite blonde saleswoman at Neiman Marcus Cusp was very enthusiastic – about slacks.  As she guided me through endless racks of gray, black and navy slacks, ooh-ing and ah-ing over each “amazing” pair, she explained why Vince and Theory pants were now crucial to my existence in corporate America.

“Vince and Theory are your only friends now,” she said, brightly.

She made a point of showing me one pair of Vince dress pants that she described as the current “hot” sale item in the department. I check out the $265 price tag and stared at her blankly, wondering what made these slacks better than every other pair she has just shown me.

I imagine the shopping cart I could be building on the Nasty Gal website right now for $265. I die a little inside and follow her to my dressing room, which is now inhabited by a mountain of slacks.  Reliving my biggest high school nightmare of becoming a Hillary Clinton pantsuit clone, I start trying them on.

The first few pairs make me cringe: ill-fitting in odd places and downright uncomfortable. I begin to cull through the mound of pants, looking for the magical Vince slacks that the saleswoman promised would “literally save my life.”

On the hanger, they look like every other pair in my dressing room. I touch the fabric and immediately recoil in horror.  They have no stretch and no stretch is a big no-no for a woman with curves.

I brace myself for shame and slip the pants on anyway. They slide on like a glove. Did I just commit myself to slacks? This must be the magic that the saleswoman gushed about.

I always said I’d never wear slacks, but they’re just so practical!

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New Kids on the Online Block: Shop 1975

Owners of Shop 1975, Lauren Heffern and Naina Hotchkiss. Courtesy of Shop 1975.

Owners of Shop 1975, Lauren Heffern and Naina Hotchkiss. Courtesy of Shop 1975.

By Rosemary Miller

Sitting in the back of a classroom, most SMU students have occasionally noticed multiple computers lit up with various online shopping sites, to the point where you would think the class was on the subject. Well, now students have a new online shopping site to add to the list, Shop 1975.

Founded by two SMU alumnae, Naina Hotchkiss and Lauren Heffern, Shop 1975 offers a variety of clothing ranging from Cali/boho to casual, chic and super trendy.

Heffern graduated from SMU with a double major in Spanish and advertising and Hotchkiss with an accounting major and business minor. Although they loved their careers, they soon realized they were not fulfilling their dreams of a future in fashion.

At first they thought about starting a fashion blog because they were “the next big thing” when they graduated in 2008. Then they thought about opening a boutique in Dallas, but their careers and personal lives got in the way. Heffern ended up moving to Austin while Hotchkiss stayed in Dallas, yet they still could not shake the idea of running a fashion business together

“We decided that we could run an e-commerce business from two different cities, given the nature of the digital landscape,” Heffern says. “It was the only scenario that did not require us to be in the same city, but still allowed us to do what we’d dreamed of doing together.”

So in March 2015, Hotchkiss and Heffern launched Shop 1975. The year had a strong connection to both the girls as well as paid homage to their families. It was the year Heffern’s mother left El Slavador, and Hotchkiss’ father left India.

The online store focuses on price points around $150 and features brands that are hard to find anywhere else including lines out of Australia that have a fun and feminine yet cool, edgy vibe. The women have different styles, which allows them to bring different points of view to the site. They both firmly believe in selling only clothing that they would personally wear.

Popular fashion blogger Britandrus rocking a Shop 1975 dress. Courtesy of Britandrus.

Popular fashion blogger Britandrus rocking a Shop 1975 dress. Courtesy of Britandrus.

“We style, photograph and brand each post we do on our social media platforms,” Hotchkiss says. “And that is what makes our difference.”

Hotchkiss and Heffern have also realized how important social media is to Shop 1975’s success.

“These days you follow at least 30 fashion bloggers, you pin your favorite dresses onto a board on Pinterest, you bookmark various blogger sites that you visit every day, and that perfect outfit you saw on your feed in Instagram is also just one click away,” Heffern says. “Everything is instantaneous. We want instant fashion gratification.”

Many of Shop 1975’s sales come from fans following the store on Instagram. The women also source and find brands that they want to carry though Instagram.

University of Texas student Mattie Berry follows Shop 1975 on Instagram. “I love how Shop 1975 not only posts photos of their clothing but also incorporates their daily lives and fun quotes to mix it up,” Berry says. “It is refreshing and unique as well as makes Shop 1975 more than a store but a lifestyle.”

The Shop 1975 team has also focused on partnerships with high-profile fashion bloggers whose audience matches their personalities and taste in style.

Shop 1975 holds many pop up shops in various cities. Courtesy of Shop 1975.

Shop 1975 holds many pop up shops in various cities. Courtesy of Shop 1975.

Aside from the online site, Hotchkiss and Heffern often team up with other small businesses as well as host pop-up shows in various cities, with one recently taking place on the SMU campus at the Tri Delta sorority house.

“We’d love to get more involved with the SMU community,” Heffern says. “As Naina and I both know first-hand, the students are so fashion-forward, and we’ve really been trying to connect with that.”


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Chicks Love Vegans

By Sammie Oliva

Beyonce Kale

Beyonce Kale Courtesy of Melindadaily

With the waitress quickly approaching, I frantically scanned the menu for something to eat.  “I’ll take the house salad, but hold the dressing, cheese and croutons,” I said to the woman as she wrote down my order with a baffled look.

“Would you like to add anything with flavor to your lettuce?” she asked in a teasing manner.  I awkwardly shook my head and handed her the menu as my friends giggled across the table.

When I switched to a vegan diet, I was confronted with situations like this on a regular basis.  Very few restaurants outlined their menus with options or alternatives that fit my dietary restrictions.  But the vast benefits I saw from my change in diet easily outweighed the inconvenience of ordering like a rabbit.

22 Days Challenge Courtesy of 22 Days Nutrition

Since I’m notorious for dropping fad diets just as quickly as I start them, I decided to begin the process with a 22 Day Vegan Challenge.  A company called 22 Days Nutrition offers a vegan meal delivery plan for three weeks to give people a real taste of eating like a vegan.  Celebrities like Beyonce and Jay-Z raved about their experience with this challenge—and if Queen B approved, I figured it was worth a shot.

After two weeks I’d never felt or looked better in my life.  My skin, which is prone to breakouts, completely cleared up.  My energy levels were through the roof.  I worried about not eating meat while continuing to workout, but I found myself feeling stronger than ever.  By the end of the challenge I had also lost around 5 pounds and completely eliminated the puffy layer across my stomach.

These results were not a figment of my imagination.  Many people are beginning to recognize the physical benefits of veganism.  Claire Dawson, an SMU senior, transitioned into a vegan diet her freshman year.

“I feel like a new person,” Dawson said.  “I’ve had a huge energy boost, my skin is so much better, I hardly get sick, I don’t have side effects from food allergies, weight loss, better mood, and overall better functioning of my body systems.”

Following a vegan diet entails a strong commitment to cut out all foods that contain animal products.  This includes meat, fish, dairy, and other animal byproducts.  Experts suggest that eliminating these food groups can contribute to such health benefits as lowering cholesterol and blood pressure as well as reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer.

Health Tips Courtesy of BirdFluToday

Health Tips Courtesy of BirdFluToday

Dr. Santiago Candocia of North Grove Internal Medicine in Winnetka, Ill., has worked with patients who took on a vegan diet to combat health problems.  He believes the diet can have a positive effect on the body.  But he also appreciates the struggle of going vegan in culture reliant on meat, dairy and fish.

“I think a vegan diet in this society is very difficult to maintain, but I think it’s a good thing to strive for,” Candocia said.  “People ask me what I recommend and I don’t head towards veganism, but I do try to at least shy people away from starch and red meat.”

Some vegans do not jump on the bandwagon for health reasons alone.  They are supporting a fight against animal cruelty.  By practicing veganism, they are taking a stance against the practices common within industrial farming.

Audrey Billups, another SMU senior, adopted this diet on these moral grounds. “I didn’t want to eat animal products that were sourced from ‘farms’ that treated animals inhumanly,” Billups said.

Whatever your reason for adopting a vegan diet, your body will thank you.

Based on my experience, the difference in appearance combined with a boost in energy levels is reason alone to lose the dressing and croutons and pile up on the spinach.

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Dressing for a Texas fall

By Milly Ogden

Alexander McQueen black and plaid skirt, $1195. Courtesy of Farfetched.

Alexander McQueen black and plaid skirt, $1195. Courtesy of Farfetched.

When facing unseasonably warm weather as Thanksgiving approaches, a fashionista’s closet can be a confusing place. How do you dress stylishly, in the fall fashions you love, when you can’t beat the heat? After years of struggling, I have found some seasonal standbys that will keep you cool — but still inspired to pick up a pumpkin spice latte on your way to class.

A classic plaid, like a new school uniform, is a sure sign of autumn. Plaid skirts, shorts, and skorts are a simple solution to the fun season specific pattern.  Zara, Alexander McQueen and J. Crew are just a few lines that have created plaid pieces in lightweight fabrics.

Jeffrey Campbell boot, $259.95. Courtesy of Nordstrom.

Jeffrey Campbell boot, $259.95. Courtesy of Nordstrom.

Fall accessories like boots and hats are festive fall essentials. But wearing tall suede boots and a knitted beanie may not make sense in November in Texas.  Thankfully, many brands have introduced cut-out and peep-toe booties. Designers from Jeffery Campbell to Valentino have created a bootie that lets your feet breathe while still looking stylishly seasonable.

Sweaters and jackets are another cozy fall favorite.  Cropped sweaters, cut- out jackets and sleeveless turtlenecks are all very fashion-forward — and can save you from sweating through your cashmere.


















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Fashion Meets Function

By Marisa Rodriguez and Sammie Oliva,

Traditional backpacks may be out, but SMU’s most fashionable ladies have found a way to turn the most functional way of carrying their things into a fashion statement. Mixtures of leather, mesh and hardware are just a few of the different styles that have been seen all over campus. Whether they’re heading to Fondren for a study session or Dallas Hall for class, these girls are maintaining their fashion sense in the most practical way.

Courtesy of Marisa Rodriguez and Sammie Oliva.

Courtesy of Marisa Rodriguez and Sammie Oliva.

Courtesy of Marisa Rodriguez and Sammie Oliva.

Courtesy of Marisa Rodriguez and Sammie Oliva.

Courtesy of Marisa Rodriguez and Sammie Oliva.

Courtesy of Marisa Rodriguez and Sammie Oliva.

Courtesy of Marisa Rodriguez and Sammie Oliva.

Courtesy of Marisa Rodriguez and Sammie Oliva.

Courtesy of Marisa Rodriguez and Sammie Oliva.

Courtesy of Marisa Rodriguez and Sammie Oliva.

Courtesy of Marisa Rodriguez and Sammie Oliva.

Courtesy of Marisa Rodriguez and Sammie Oliva.

Courtesy of Marisa Rodriguez and Sammie Oliva.

Courtesy of Marisa Rodriguez and Sammie Oliva.

Leave a comment | Posted in On The Boulevard