The Rise of Jersey City Street Art

Art. It is all around us but not everyone chooses to see it. Street art was once viewed as a crime thought to be ruining the beauty of a simple neighborhood. However, a lot has changed in the last few years and the whole concept of street art has turned from a negative to a positive.

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Art murals like the ones in this post are now viewed as a way to draw interest to an otherwise ugly space, such as a parking lot. Different colors, patterns, and images are being painted in areas with the purpose of changing the perception of neighborhood elements that have otherwise been thought of as unpleasant to the eye.

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From parking lots to the back entrances of restaurants, murals have turned these places into popular picture spots. Walking around this area of Jersey City I saw multiple photoshoots occurring; not just fashion bloggers like myself, but engagement and couple shoots. Ten years ago these murals would have been viewed as vandalism rather than a place where couples want to share some of the most important pictures of their lives.

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Once the exact opposite, street art can now be viewed as a way to gentrify a neighborhood and attract a new crowd of people. Neighborhoods like Jersey City, Shoreditch, Chelsea, and even my hometown, are embracing this new approach to enliven a neighborhood. So what exactly changed to all of a sudden make street art “cool”?

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Is it the rise of millennials and our culture that are making this a new trend? Maybe. Or maybe it was society’s increasing interest with Banksy, the anonymous British artist known for making political statements with murals popping up on city walls overnight.

We may never really know how society began to accept this form of art that it was so strongly against in the past. However, it is important to consider its importance and how it has changed society for the better. It has given artists a platform where their art is guaranteed to be seen and recognized. It has also introduced the concept of art to many people and has shown them just how powerful it can be.

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Similar to street art, I aim to express myself through what I choose to put on my body each day. The way we dress and what we wear paints a picture of who we are in other’s minds. As cliché as it is, we all judge a book by its cover. It is important to express who you are and what you believe in through what you wear, just like street artists express their views on society through their murals.

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Whether you are a fan of street art or not, the next time you see a mural, stop and try to interpret what the artist was thinking at the time he or she painted it. Art has the power to express meaningful messages if we allow it to. Also consider what message you are projecting to the world when you get dressed tomorrow morning. Clothes, colors, and patterns have the ability to say so much without having to actually say it.

Check out Parisian Street Art (the 10th arrondissement) and Amsterdam’s Art Scene to see some of my favorite street art in Europe.

 

 

 

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Summer Bummer

Now that Labor Day has rolled around, it is officially the end of the summer. No more beach days, daily ice cream cones, runs along the ocean, or endless lobster rolls. It is time that reality rolls back into our lives.

While I have spent my summer interning 5 days a week as well as working most nights, summer still felt like a time of relaxation and winding down. Responsibilities seem a little less apparent when the sun is shining bright and the salty breeze is blowing through your hair.

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Being a Gemini, with two very different personalities, my simple side tends to come out in the summer while my hustling city slicker personality tends to shy away for the time being. That being said, my summer involved lots of yoga, reading, and enjoying the beauties that nature had to offer me.

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I am a firm believer that we all need to take some time to step back and re-evaluate our goals and what we are working towards. Summer is the perfect time to do this. It allows you to clear your head of the stress and worries and to focus on what really matters. Clearing your mind allows you to step into the back-to-school season with crystal clear intentions of what you really wish to accomplish in the next year.

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Working this summer taught me exactly what I need out of my future career once I graduate college in the spring. It taught me the type of people, environment, and work itself that I value in a career. However, more importantly, spending the summer with my family by the beach taught me an even more important lesson; life is short.

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Life is very short. Whatever your biggest worry is today, there are much more meaningful things to worry about. Your little worries mean absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things. If you want to go out with your friends one night when you have work early in the morning, go out. If you want to wear your favorite kimono that is way too dressy for the beach, wear it. If you have to drive 4 hours in one day just to say hi to your grandparents, do it.

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Do what you will end up remembering years from now. The lasting memories that certain choices shape for you are worth the sacrifice. So stop stressing the littlest of worries and easiest of decisions and live your life to its fullest capacity.

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After all, life is short, and so is summer.

What important lesson did you learn this summer? Leave me a comment below! If you enjoyed this post be sure to read my reflection of last summer, And the Summertime Sadness Sets In…. For similar pictures and posts follow me on here, InstagramTwitter, and Facebook.

Show Your Love for the Earth Through Sustainable Fashion

April 22nd. Do you know what day that is? No, it’s not International Pancake Day or International Wine Day, two “holidays” that millennials are probably more familiar with than this day. April 22nd is Earth Day, a day that is dedicated to caring for our planet and making eco-conscious choices.

I find it ironic how millennials are “Earth-activists” and care about the environment, yet most do absolutely nothing to help it. While yes, part of Earth’s future lies in the hand of our President, it is our decisions in our everyday life that ultimately effect the health of Mother Nature. Being a millennial myself, I admit that I am not the best at recycling or reusing my resources. However, I am also not preaching for everyone else to help the Earth but not help it myself. So this brings me to ask you, how have you planned to help the Earth on this lovely upcoming Saturday?

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I think we can all sacrifice a few hours of our day to pick up litter in the neighborhoods surrounding us. I highly recommend organizing a neighborhood clean-up and picking up  litter in your surrounding area. Just imagine if everyone did this; the Earth could be completely clean for a few hours! Growing up, my mom would bring my sister and I to participate in our neighborhood Earth Day clean-ups. I actually ended up always enjoying them, walking away with a sense of accomplishment that the patch of ground was clean because of my efforts. One time I even found an old love letter hiding in the litter alongside the highway. Not only are you helping your community, but you could find your own little treasures!

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You may be asking yourself, well how can I make a change that will permanently help the Earth? My answer for that is sustainable fashion. Many people, specifically Earth-activists, do not realize just how detrimental the fashion industry is to Mother Nature. Not only is it the fabric itself that is unethical, but the services of those who are making the clothing, the dying of the clothing, the shipping of the clothing… It is truly unfathomable how much harm fashion does to the environment.

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Fast fashion stores like H&M, Forever 21 and Zara are doing nothing but harming the environment with the toxins their factories release into the air, the unsustainable fabrics, and the strenuous practices that they put their workers through. Unless we stop buying from these stores, fast fashion companies will only continue to gain power.

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While I know it is hard not to shop at these stores, because lets face it, they are the only thing in our budget, but it is essential that we at least support companies making efforts towards sustainable fashion. My favorite company working towards this goal is EILEEN FISHER. Last summer I worked as a Social Media and Public Relations Intern for them and  experienced first-hand how ethics and safe environmental practices are the core of their company (read more about my experience here). We need to support companies like EILEEN FISHER who are making an effort to change the fashion industry as we know it.

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Not only do these two companies design and produce their clothing with the environment in mind, but they make an effort to truly educate consumers. Look on either of their websites and you will see environmental statistics plastered all over. They don’t try to hide how and where they produce their products, which most companies do. Try to find out where fast fashion retailers make their clothes. Hint: you won’t be able to. They don’t easily disclose this information on their website. If this information is found, it is usually in a news article titled “Forever 21 Clothing Made in U.S. Sweatshops for $4 an Hour” or “Forever 21, H&M, Zara, Uniqlo: Who’s Paying for our Cheap Clothes?“.

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Earth Day may be April 22nd, but every day should be Earth Day. I know we are all not perfect, but we all can do something a little extra to make the environment a healthier place. I’m not talking fighting legislation or joining the Green Party, but something we can all easily do every day, like make sustainable fashion choices.

Shoreditch Street Style

Shoreditch is the coolest place in London to live; I will take that statement with me to the grave. Being a fashion and art lover, the environment really spurs so much creativity. Every time you walk down the street you notice a new painting or music poster on the exposed brick buildings. There is constantly something that inspires me with a new idea.

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Maybe it’s just me being crazy, but I think I’ve gotten a lot cooler since moving to Shoreditch. The neighborhood openly accepts the most artsy form of yourself, which I love. I can where whatever I want to wear without being looked at twice (unless your outfit is just so cool it requires a few extra glances). Everyone is always expressing themselves and simply living their lives. If you have a new idea or a creative soul, this is the only place to pursue it.

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Staying true to my own style, I love to take business-like pieces and pair them with more eclectic, hip accessories. I took this rather fancy silk blouse and paired it with my new favorite Topshop jeans and Asos rose gold loafers. The cold and rainy weather clearly hasn’t stopped me from sporting my favorite pair of shoes.

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I have been wearing a lot more blue since being in London, and I can’t help but think if the weather is what is inspiring this new wardrobe change. It really is as gloomy as everyone says it is (although this was shot on a super sunny day, of course)! Luckily, living in Shoreditch, there is always a colorful art mural just around the corner to brighten my day.

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Fashion and art are two topics which can be interpreted in many different ways. We all see different things as forms of art and different styles as “fashion-forward”. Living in London has reinforced this viewpoint of mine more than ever. There are so many different parts of the city, each with different kinds of people, restaurants, and architectural styles. There truly is a neighborhood that is meant for everyone.

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I am lucky enough to live in the neighborhood that fits me the best. Shoreditch is for the so-called “hipsters”. Kensington is for the posh museum-goers. Camden is for the eclectic, edgy character. Westminster is for the tourists…

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The next time you are looking for a unique source of inspiration, explore a new area- whether it is a small street just a few minutes from you or a completely unknown neighborhood. You never know what you will find and how it will inspire you.

See more Shoreditch street art and style posts by following me on here, InstagramTwitter, and Facebook.

Photos by Colton.

The Rise of Concert Merchandise in Street Style Fashion

Kanye West and Justin Bieber have become just as famous for their stylish concert merchandise as they are their music. Their designs can be seen on some of the most influential fashion bloggers and celebrities as well as everyday people wanting to support their favorite artists. Justin Bieber’s collection is even being sold in Barney’s. Since when did concert merchandise fit in right next to Prada, Gucci, and other designer labels at high-end department stores?

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I have been quietly observing the rise in this trend for awhile now. When these artists first released their designs, fans were buzzing over them simply to support the amazing albums these artists had just released. Fans bought their merchandise as a thank you for a wonderful album. So when did it become the fashion-forward choice to sport this merchandise?

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Every artist represents a certain lifestyle and a specific “coolness” factor. Kanye sings about subjects that are offensive and degrading to women, giving him a bad representation in the world; yet people seem to still love him? Meanwhile, Bieber just seems to be making bad decisions in his daily life, outside of the lyrics he sings. It is clear that Kanye and Bieber represent the “I don’t give a f***” attitude that many millennials aspire to have. Millennials see Kanye and Bieber’s popularity within the world and think, if I act the same way, maybe I can be just as idolized as them. Wearing their apparel is just one way to act just like them without being a complete asshole.

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Not only this, but they both are artistic geniuses. So maybe it’s that celebrities and street style bloggers wanted to support other artists in today’s creative-centric society? Pushing the controversy of his lyrics aside, Kanye is a musical genius, and now a well-respected designer. Bieber has also blown the world away with hit after hit from his latest album Purpose. Many creative people are jumping into all different kinds of sectors of the artistic community. Fashion bloggers have started their own clothing lines, fashion designers have started their own blogs, models are collaborating with brands on creating collections… everyone is dabbling into each and every artistic field. It is almost expected that every creative person does it all.

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All in all, I love this trend of concert merchandise. Not only are you supporting your favorite artist through a trendy t-shirt or bomber jacket, but you are supporting an entire community of budding entrepreneurs. Of course I wouldn’t call Kanye and Bieber entrepreneurs, but they are just the beginning of a world of creative people creating their own clothing lines and changing the fashion industry. Designer labels are becoming less of the “cool” fashion to sport rather than the new designs that bloggers, models, and musicians are creating for us to wear. And, hey, they are way more affordable!

Through My iPhone Lens: Lower East Side

With classes all day or a 9-5 job it can be hard to get out of your comfort zone and explore new things. I’ll be honest, after a long day at work all I want to do is go home, lay in bed, and watch the Bachelorette all night long. So yes, even I have to give myself a little extra push to go do something new or fun with my time after the work day is done.

After getting out of work an hour early last Thursday, I decided to just walk around New York City with no end destination in mind. This is always something I enjoy doing even if I am running on only 4 hours of sleep. You never know what little treasures you will find when you just explore and take in your surroundings. New York is full of wonderful surprises!

During my stroll around the Lower East Side, an area I love but never have the chance to visit much, I took all of these photos. The neighborhood inspired me and made for one of the most enjoyable afternoons I have had all summer.

Go out in your city. Walk into stores you’ve never noticed before. Let art inspire you. Try something new. You never know what small joys you may discover!

 

The Beauty in the Broken

I was running along the Hudson River during my favorite part of the day, sunset, when I ran past this sculpture. I removed my ear buds which where blasting soft electronic music, stopping to admire the sculpture. As humans, art has the power to move us. It moves us in ways we may not even be able to explain. I often find myself compelled by a certain piece of art that I would have never looked at twice if presented to me in a different way.

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While I already experience an Adrenaline rush during my nightly runs, seeing an art piece as powerful as this one only heightens that high. It is art like this that really makes me think about life, which is exactly what the artist intended when she created this sculpture. The emotion on these faces is so raw and genuine that you cannot help but stop in your tracks and feel a connection while looking at it.

Tanda Francis sculpted this structure from concrete and steel, ending with a towering 10-foot-tall masterpiece called Everyone Breaks. She was inspired by the fact that life always forces us down at points in time. Every person experiences situations which bring them to tears or anger they cannot control. However, we always have the power inside us to push past these struggles in order to find happiness once again. The cracks in this sculpture simply show that something which was once broken is even more beautiful after being pieced back together again.

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When I stopped in front of this sculpture I was not sure exactly what attracted me to the art piece, which often happens. Sometimes you later find answers to why this state of awe occurred and sometimes you do not. After learning the meaning behind Francis’s sculpture it made sense to me why I was originally so attracted to it. I, just like every other human on this Earth, have had points in time where I have been so upset, heartbroken, or angry over situations beyond my control. It is from these situations, however, that I have grown into who I am today. I have learned to always value my self-worth over anyone else’s. I have learned to appreciate my loved ones while they are with me. I have learned to always trust my first intuition about someone.

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Without these lessons I would not be the confident, beautiful, hard-working young woman I am today. I would not treat people important to me with the level of affection and respect that they deserve. I definitely would not express myself through fashion in the same way I do now. I can promise you that you would not be the unique, wonderful person you are today without your life experiences, for your hardships have only made you more beautiful.

My look is not only inspired by the beauty of the sculpture but by the beauty of life itself. I choose to wear my favorite bodysuit to show off one of my favorite features- my back. Never be afraid to show off what you feel is the most beautiful part about yourself, whether it is your legs or a scar, for every feature makes you who you are.

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I think of myself as a fun, carefree person so I like to express that in my style. While I do love black, I am never afraid to add some fun accessories like these sunglasses and red crossbody bag. Of course, I added a contrasting puff to the bag to express even more of my personality.

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As Tupac Shakur once recited in The Rose That Grew From Concrete, “Did you hear about the rose that grew through the crack in the concrete? Proving nature’s law wrong, it learned to walk without having feet. Funny, it seems to be keeping it’s dreams; it learned to breathe fresh air. Long live that rose that grew from concrete when no one else even cared.” In other words, the most beautiful and pure version of yourself develops due to life’s obstacles and heartbreaks.

A Modernistic Feminist

The word feminist. What does this mean to you? Do you think of a raging hippy woman wearing a white t-shirt where her nipples peak through? Or do you think of a well-polished woman like Sheryl Sandberg, taking over the tech industry one idea at a time? The word feminist often has more negative associations to its name than positive ones. I know I have argued with my mother over exactly what this word means. She instantly thinks of the first example I named while the second comes to mind for me and many other women of the younger generation (or at least I hope).

I am a huge supporter of feminism and everything that it stands for. I am always trying to explain to people, like my mother, what exactly feminism means nowadays, or what it should mean. The exact definition of feminism according to Google is “someone who supports the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of political, social and economic equality to men.” Don’t we all want to be treated, respected and paid equally to the male gender? So why doesn’t every woman want to call herself a feminist?

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It is ashame that women automatically think of the radical feminists that were at a peak in the 60s and 70s, for it is the modern age and that is simply not what should come to mind anymore. We should be thinking of women like Sophia Amoruso, Jessica Alba, Emma Watson and Malala Yousafzai. These women have all broken the stereotypes of women by creating multimillion dollar companies, sharing their opinions on inequality with younger generations, and breaking cultural expectations.

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While I believe everyone should be a feminist and that many more women are opening themselves up to the idea of embracing the title, Google Analytics has shown that the talk of feminism was at an all-time high in 1998 (also the year Time released its famous cover with the title “Is Feminism Dead?”) and has been declining ever since. Why do you think this is? Are we third-wave and fourth-wave feminists digressing in the feminist movement or are we simply tackling the issue in different ways?

I personally believe the way we women dress is a huge part of feminism, not only on a large scale but on a personal scale. Today’s society makes it a difficult choice in deciding to wear what you want or wearing what others will take you seriously in. I often have found that I am degraded and turned into an object when I go out in something as simple as denim shorts or a crop top.

This is still a huge issue in today’s society; men often blame women’s attire for the reason they are cat called or sexually assaulted. I should be able to wear what I want without being degraded or blamed for encouraging this behavior.

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Fashion is a large aspect of the feminist movement whether you realize it or not. Do I wear clothes that people will take me seriously in, even if that isn’t expressing who I am? Or do I wear an outfit that I feel good in and showcases my artistic views? Fashion is an artistic expression and the struggle with feminism in today’s society often restricts that.

In this look I incorporate pieces that are sophisticated and timeless with trendier pieces that show off my playful personality. Something as simple as the slits in the side of this sweater are a way of showing a little skin while still remaining conservative. Aritzia is one of my favorite places to shop for just this reason; they combine business-like pieces with trendier, sexier items that allow you to show off certain parts of your body.

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Accessories are always the perfect way to show off your personality through what you are wearing. I have been loving the Fendi Monster trend, and while I can’t afford the actual monsters, I have been able to find ones similar to it at small vendors like those in China Town and at flea markets.

I am currently reading a classic novel, The Second Sex, written by Simone de Beauvoir, which discusses the history of the female race and how the sex came to be viewed as inferior to men. At one point she says, “The body is not a thing, it is a situation: it is our grasp on the world and our sketch of our project.” What we put on our body expresses who we are and leaves our mark on the world. It is so important that we wear what we want and the feminism movement is progressing in a way that just might allow us to be able to do this without being devalued or judged in a certain way.

The Art of the Neck Scarf

If you are stumbling upon this post because you were wondering how to pull off the season trend of the neck scarf, let me warn you right now of what wearing one endures. Yes, they allow you to embody your inner Kate Moss when paired with simple blouses like this one. And yes, they allow you to incorporate fun patterns into your otherwise monochromatic look. However, nobody tells you that you will be choked the entire time you are wearing it, making it more difficult to breathe than usual. But hey, fashion is painful, right?

As I mentioned in my last post, my wardrobe consists of primarily black pieces. This is pretty ironic for a girl who loves colorful art murals. I was recently inspired by some of my favorite works of street art to add a bit of color to my wardrobe. Although my Instagram feed is full of colorful street art and green smoothies, I often find it difficult to incorporate color into my outfits.

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I have had a few adventurous moments where I have added bright yellow crop tops and outrageously colorful, floral print dresses into my cart. Lets just say I quickly learned that bright yellow is not my color. After much trial and error of buying these pieces and soon returning them, I discovered that the easiest way to add color to any outfit is with accessories- shoes, handbags, jewelry, scarves, you name it. If suburbia can add color to a primarily commercialized town with this art mural than so can I!

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Every girl needs a little red bag in her accessory collection. Red bags add an element of surprise to any look while still matching and keeping the outfit classic. You would be shocked by how much use I get out of this crossbody purse.

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Vintage neck scarves are the best kinds of scarves there are. NEVER buy one of these scarves at a fast fashion retail chain. These are mass-produced prints that you are likely to see on another fashionista while passing them on the streets of Soho. By heading over to your local thrift store (in my case Goodwill), you can find a beautiful and uniquely patterned scarf for less than $5. You are guaranteed to be the only one sporting that scarf this season. When this way of wearing these scarves wasn’t on trend I tied them on my black bags to add a flash of color. This is just proof that these scarves are a purchase that will prove useful long after this particular trend passes.

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