September 2016 favorites

I’m quite busy in real life so I can’t write as much as I would like on my blog. Here are at least my September 2016 favorites:

* A conversation between actress and activist Emma Watson and Persepolis Author Marjane Satrapi

* This picture makes me feel like doing afternoon tea

Afternoon tea buffet

Afternoon tea buffet. Photo : Livia Firth

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August 2016 favorites

Here are my August 2016 favorites:

* Why so many places across the world look the same

* A half Summer half Autumn look

drawing inspired by a picture of blogger Pernille Teisbaek wearing a navy blue knit and a matching striped skirt

drawing inspired by a picture of blogger Pernille Teisbaek wearing a navy blue knit and a striped skirt

* I stop the social media race

* Organic household linen in supermarkets

I’ve found organic cotton towels and linen in Carrefour supermarkets. I’m satisfied with the price and quality but I regret the lack of information regarding the factory conditions.

organic cotton face cloths by Tex Home for Carrefour

* Tips to Shop for Quality Clothes

* Wardrobe Spring Cleaning

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I stop the social media race

As I’m questioning my use of social media, I’m writing this article about the different networks I have tested and how to use them well.

It started with Facebook a few years ago. Then I tried Pinterest, Bloglovin, Twitter and Instagram. I met interesting people, I read interesting articles thanks to those social media but I also wasted a lot of time. At the moment, Snapchat is the thing. A few months ago, it was Instagram. When reading bloggers asking their readers to follow them on Snapchat, I realised that it’s an endless cycle. Every year, there will be a new trendy social network that will eclipse the others… until the next one.

I don’t intend to subscribe to 50 social media, especially as I realise that some of them didn’t bring me anything. When you have a blog, it’s normal to be active on the main social networks. But my aim is to be more selective from now. You don’t have to subscribe to all social media. I think it’s good to chose them depending on your interests. For example I don’t do videos so there is no use for me to subscribe to Youtube. On the contrary, Instagram is interesting to share my drawings and pictures. And logically I won’t subscribe to Snapchat because I don’t see what it could bring to me.

comic: snapchat

Besides social media have a major drawback for me: they generate a huge waste of time. Social media are the worst ennemies of the procrastinator. Especially as their conceptors do everything they can to make us addicted (this article explains how). When you look at people having their nose in their phone, it seems they have succeeded.

So how to stop wasting your time on those addictive and time-consuming websites?

* Putting things into perspective

Social media are very useful tools but they can have negative effects: envy when people display their wealth, frustration when people show their seemingly perfect life, cult of thinness concealed behind the ‘healthy’ trend, hidden marketing, judging people by their number of followers… It’s worth reviewing the positive and the negative that social media bring to you. And why not sorting out and unfollowing some accounts that don’t make you feel good.

* Disconnecting

Total disconnection was the choice of instagramer Essena O’Neill. In 2015, her tell-all video created buzz online. She denounced the fact that social media are fake, people are defined by numbers and social media have become a business. Then she deleted all her social media accounts. This is a radical but efficient way to save time.

drawing with a quote by Essena O'Neill: You don't have to prove your life on instagram for it to be a good life

* Detox

Temporarily disconnecting, during a weekend or a month, can get you to realize how much time you save when you’re not connected. If it’s too difficult, you can also define a maximum number of hours per day to spend online.

* Setting limits

You can set some rules regarding the use of social media. For example:
– no smartphone in your bedroom
– no social media at certain times of the day (during the meals, one hour before bedtime…)
– turning off notifications on your smartphone

The best is to write your ‘rules’ on a paper that will stay right in front of your eyes.

As for me, I have reduced my social media consumption but I deserve no special credit: I have taken advantage of my soul-searching, some social media boredom and the current decline of traditional social media to connect less often and I’m happy to save some precious time smoothly.

drawing: I've finished my article that criticises social media! The only thing left for me to do is to promote it on Facebook, Twitter, Bloglovin, Instagram, Pinterest...

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July 2016 favorites

Here are my July 2016 favorites:

* Handkerchiefs are back

It seems that handkerchiefs are trendy again. I found some of them in my cupboard and thanks to them I plan to use fewer tissues.


* A bubbles dress from Iris Van Herpen Couture Fall-Winter 2016-2017 collection

Drawing: bubbles dress from Iris Van Herpen Couture Fall-Winter 2016-2017 collection

* Portrait painter Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun

* France will ban polluting plastic microbeads from cosmetics in 2018

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Portrait painter Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun

Thanks to Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun exhibition in Paris, I have discovered the work of this artist. Before, I mainly knew her portraits of Queen Marie-Antoinette.

Self Portrait with Cerise Ribbon circa 1782 by Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun

Self Portrait with Cerise Ribbon circa 1782 (click the pictures to enlarge)

Her life could have been the subject of a novel. Her father was a pastellist and she started drawing as she was very young. She painted many portraits and finally was recommended to French queen Marie-Antoinette. She soon became Marie-Antoinette official painter.

Marie-Antoinette en chemise vers 1783 par Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun

Marie-Antoinette wearing a nightshirt circa 1783. This painting was criticized because people found disrespectful to show the queen wearing a nightgown.

Marie-Joséphine Louise de Savoie, , Countess of Provence in a nightdress in 1782 by Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun

Marie-Joséphine Louise de Savoie, Countess of Provence and King Louis XVI’s sister-in-law in 1782 (she was wearing a nightdress too)

During the French Revolution broke out, being close to Marie-Antoinette became risky. Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun fled France with her daughter and travelled through Europe. Her reputation and her social skills helped her to fit in different European courts. She earned a living painting high society and celebrities. In her paintings, I found people who were also in history books.

Vigée Le Brun revealed the personality of her models by playing with poses, backgrounds, she represents some characters with a rose, a book or a a sheet of music. But her paintings have in common a form of softness.

Isabella Teoto chi Marini in 1792 by Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun

Isabella Teoto chi Marini in 1792. This painting was for Dominique Vivant Denon, Isabella’s lover.

Princess Karoline Felicitas Engelberte von und zu Liechtenstein in 1793 by Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun

Princesse Karoline Felicitas Engelberte von und zu Liechtenstein in 1793

At that time, painting replaced photography. Portraits were also used to become better known and to look good. And Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun was a master in the art of photoshopping making her models look beautiful.

In addition to portraits, Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun painted a lot of family paintings and child portraits.

Jeanne Julie Louise Le Brun looking at herself in a mirror in 1787 by Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun

Jeanne Julie Louise Le Brun looking at herself in a mirror in 1787. This painting shows Vigée Le Brun dear daughter.

Alexandrine Emilie Brongniart in 1788 by Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun

Alexandrine Emilie Brongniart in 1788

What is interesting too is the evolution of hairstyles and outfits as fashions was changing, such as those two portraits that were painted 30 years apart.

Comtesse de la Châtre circa 1789 by Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun

Comtesse de la Châtre circa 1789

Tatiana Borssovna Potemkina circa 1820 by Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun

Tatiana Borssovna Potemkina circa 1820

Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun wished she were a history painter, the most prestigious category at the time, and she would paint historical and mythological scenes but moral used to forbid women to paint naked men. It didn’t prevent her from making paintings inspired by Mythology such as this painting of Lady Hamilton as a bacchante.

Lady Hamilton as a bacchante dancing in front of Vesuvius in 1792 by Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun

Lady Hamilton as a bacchante dancing in front of Vesuvius in 1792

Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun was allowed to come back to France by Napoléon. She painted portraits and drew pastel landscapes until an advanced age.

For more information:

* Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun exhibition in Paris website

* You can still attend Vigée Le Brun exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, Canada until September 11, 2016

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May 2016 favorites

Here are my May 2016 favorites:

* Jourdan Dunn’s floral dress by Ralph & Russo at Cannes Film Festival

Jourdan Dunn wearing a floral dress by Ralph & Russo at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival

* French Sustainable Fashion calendar

This is a facebook group with a list of Sustainable Fashion events (fashion shows, pop up stores, lectures…) in France

* Dressing Responsable pop up store in Paris in June

I you go to Paris, this is an opportunity to discover some edgy French Ethical Fashion brands.

* A ‘drawinterview’ with Ceri from Style Eyes blog

Until next time!

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Drawinterview with Ceri from Style Eyes blog

Style Eyes is one of the first Ethical Fashion blogs I followed. I love that this personal style blog is written by a person who stays authentic and whose outfits are within reach. Ceri shares her work wear or festival-goer looks and also her sustainable fashion discoveries.

I have drawn Ceri wearing her favorite outfit and I have asked her a few fashion questions.

drawing of Ceri from Style Eyes blog wearing her favorite outfit

Who are you?

I am Ceri, Mummy, Digital marketer, blogger and ethical fashion advocate.

Could you tell me the story of your outfit?

My hat is by pachacuti. It is one of my favourite accessories but for one reason or another, one that I don’t get the chance to wear as often as I would like. It is made by artisans for Pachacuti, a Fair Trade brand which not only makes lovely hats but also creates opportunities for those that have be economically disadvantaged by the trading system. My hat is made in a family run workshop in Northern Equador.

My vest top is made from Fairtrade cotton helping to ensure a better deal for cotton farmers.

The jacket was originally a vintage dressing gown that I found in a second hand shop and shortened to create a jacket and the jeans were from a charity shop both alternatives to buying new.

The necklace and ring are from a brand called Made UK another Fair Trade brand creating handmade accessories in Kenya.

What are your favorite fashion shops/brands?

All of my favourite shops combine style with sustainability and ethics. I buy lots of vintage and second hand from Oxfam’s online shop and Etsy. I also love People Tree, Annie Greenabelle, SkunkFunk, Braintree and Bibico.

Do you have tips to dress more ethically on a budget?

I think buying from charity shops is definitely the best way to shop ethically on a a budget. Not only do you save clothes from landfill and reduce your impact on the world by not buying new, but you also contribute towards a very worthwhile charity.

Thank you Ceri!

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April 2016 favorites

Here are my few April 2016 favorites:

* Microfiber dishcloths

I use microfibers a lot: microfiber dust cloths, floor cloths or even towels. I have completed my collection with some microfiber dishcloths. Normally microfibers last a long time so this is a more economical solution and it produces less waste than classic sponge cloths.

drawing of a man cleaning a table with a microfiber dishcloth

* 2016 Fashion Revolution

* Where Is All the Sustainable and Ethical Plus-Sized Fashion?

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2016 Fashion Revolution

Fashion Revolution which takes place from 18 to 24 April is an opportunity to ask brands more information on working conditions in the factories that make our clothes. This year, I have asked French Ethical Fashion brand Ekyog who made my ‘Hoki’ T-shirt.

drawing of a woman wearing a coral T-shirt worn inside out and grey trousers by Ekyog for Fashion Revolution

A Hoki T-shirt worn inside out and grey Haby trousers by Ekyog

Here is their reply:

“The HOKI t-shirt was made in Izmir, Turkey, in a workshop we have been working with for many years.

For 20 years, the company has been developping and making items such as T-shirts, sweatshirts, polo shirts, nightgowns, tracksuits etc. The company, that was created in 1992, is working exclusively for exportation. It’s a small factory with 25 employees.

It’s also GOTS (GLOBAL ORGANIC TEXTILE STANDARDS) certified. GOTS is an international standard for textiles made from organic fibres. It regulates production environmental aspects but also social and organisational aspects (documentation preservation, implementation of an environmental policy…)

During our audit, we have noticed that the company is working on its employees well-being.

Here are some examples of what managers take charge of:

– Additional paid leave (in addition to legislation), sickness leave, maternity leave, sick child leave…

– Access to training

– Taking care of transportation, meals, tea & coffee

– Support the primary schooling of children near the production sites

The organic cotton comes from Turkey too, it’s knitted and dyed in a town close to Izmir.”

That is what I call a complete reply. Once a gain, a small brand show that it’s possible to be transparent whith its clients and to control the supply chain. It’s all the more important when you know that Syrian children are illegally working in some clothing factories in Turkey.

You can get involved in Fashion Revolution too. Here is how:

1. Take a picture of yourself with a clothing label visible

2. Post your picture on social medias with the hashtag #WhoMadeMyClothes

3. Tag the brand you’re wearing to ask them who made this item of clothing

For more information:
Fashion Revolution website
Ekyog website (in French)

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