A Rose in the Desert- Vogue’s Royal Mistake.


-The “Vogue”  piece on Syria’s First Lady.

On February 2011, Vogue Magazine published a very pleasant article of the lovely Asma al-Assad, who is married to the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. This article is entitled “ A rose in the Desert” , which exemplifies the First Lady of Syria, Asma al-Assad,  “who has British roots, wears designer fashion, worked for many years in banking.”  This article praises the Assads to be a “Wildly democratic” family. Although it is known that Bashar al-Assad, who is the president of Syria, is a tyrant whose regime has slaughtered over 5000 civilians and children. Yet the couple strive to “foster Christianity, are at ease with American celebrities, made theirs the ‘safest country in the Middle East’, and want to give Syria a ‘brand essence’.” However this is entirely not the case, that indeed Syria is not one of the safest countries in the Middle East. So why would Vogue want to portray it thus?

Vogue editors defended this controversial article, claiming it “a way of opening a window into this world a little bit, conceding only that Assad’s Syria is not as secular as we might like”. Moreover, shortly thereafter a senior editor publicized that they indeed stood by this article. If that was the case, it is strange that Vogue has stripped the article off from their website without any explanations.

One can relate this article to the theory of the “Propaganda Model, particularly the propaganda model in advertising in newspapers/ magazines. It is clear that for any publication to survive it must first refine itself into an advertisement friendly medium. The media has to be understanding of many things, such as business interests, politics, travel etc. It appears that the reason why this article has been recalled from the Vogue website is because it did not follow nor met these guidelines. In addition the article did not respect the politics between the Western and Middle Eastern societies.

It can see that from this article the profile avoids the horrific injustice that is being inflicted on the civilians in Syria. It was not until after the Syrian uprisings began in spring 2011 that Vogue pulled the article from their website, which they did almost immediately. It is now apparent that what the editor “Joan Juliet Buck” wrote lacked any research or merit.  Although she emphasizes Asma al-Assad as  “glamorous, young, and very chic–the freshest and most magnetic of first ladies”, Buck should have focused more on the bigger picture. Yes we understand that she is “the element of light in a country full of shadow zones”, yet arguably Buck should have focused more on the darkness that lied behind Syria.

Furthermore, It has also been reported that “the global PR firm Brown Lloyd has arranged for this positive propaganda piece to help soften the image of the Assad family to the Western media”. Now it is clear that this is not the case at all, that there are uprisings, which are responsible for the deaths of 11.000 Syrians.



Think about what You Wear

As we talked about it in some other blog posts, clothes or fashion can be a way to express ourselves, who we are but not only. “ Some designers were turning personal fashion statements for the greater good(Ethical, 2012). So clothes are also based on statements. They have a reason to be made, a meaning. But also where they have made matters to people, with what kind of fabric and who made them matter. The controversy about Nike when consumers found out that children were working for the brand showed it.Instead, the work was sub-contracted round local villages, and children were drawn into the production process. Now, it insisted, any factory found to be employing a child must take that worker out of the factory, pay him or her a wage, provide education and re-hire them only when they were old enough.” (Bogan,2001) When Nike found out they changed their politics and showed their were defending children’s rights and supporting they education.

Ralph Lauren also found itself in a controversy recently by admitting that 2014 Olympic uniforms for US will be made in China instead of in the US. Consumers see the brand as a betrayer. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said about it : “I am so upset. I think the Olympic committee should

be ashamed of themselves. I think they should be embarrassed. I think they should take all the uniforms, put them in a big pile and burn them and start all over again.” (Mavrody, 2012) All of this is due because we accord also importance to what represent clothes. They are just what you wear for you but also what they represent to all the people looking at them and specially for celebrities, athletes, politicians,etc…“The Olympics are a kind of costume drama of international relations, in which each country’s team is an emblem of its national identity. “ (Mavrody, 2012)

What you wear casually can also be something that show what you defend and not only what brands or designers think. They permit to defend opinions obviously during manifestations for example. In 1983, fashion began broadcasting social protests when Katharine Hamnettreleased her first protest T-shirt line.” No matter the topic, what you wear is a political or social medium. It can hurt people. Like Karlie Kloss did when she wore a Native American costume for a Victoria’s secret show. “I am deeply sorry if what I wore during the Victoria’s Secret Show offended anyone” (Johnson, 2012). With all the media around us fashion spreads easily so you never really know that something you can wear can have an impact somewhere else or consequences.

Sources :

Boggan, S. (2001, October 20). Nike admits to mistakes over child labor. Common Dreams. Retrieved from http://www.commondreams.org/headlines01/1020-01.htm

Johnson, Z. (2012, November 12). Victoria’s secret, karlie kloss apologize for controversial native american costume. Weekly US. Retrieved from http://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-news/news/victorias-secret-karlie-kloss-apologize-for-controversial-native-american-costume-20121211

Mavrody, N. (2012, July 17). Why the team usa ‘made in china’ backlash is such a giant story. The Fashion Spot. Retrieved from http://www.thefashionspot.com/runway-news/news/174913-olympics-made-in-china

Why fashion needs to get political. (2012, February 23).Ethical Style. Retrieved from http://www.good.is/posts/ethical-style-why-fashion-needs-to-get-political/

When fashion meets communication


  At the end of every month I get really, really excited and I am sure all fashion lovers like me would understand why… it’s the time when all the fashion magazines release their new issues. I love it! The smell of a new magazine, the glossy cover… There’s nothing better than a Sunday morning with a cup of hot green tea, a cozy blanket to cuddle up in and read a fashion magazine. Care to disagree?

Many people feel fashion magazines have the ideology of a perfect woman that of course being tall, slim and a stunningly beautiful face. (Richmond, 2009)  Many feel magazines are a form of bullying, I disagree.

Magazines are nothing but a type of media platform.

Lets take a closer look at the media platform of my favorite magazine Vogue partakes in.

(Monk, 2009) Conde Nast publications publishes Vogue magazine in eighteen countries. The magazine was first published in the United States and made its first appearance over seas in Britain in the year 1916.

(Monk, 2009) “Vogue carries on with a public media sphere…” and targets female audiences. Its no wonder their ideological views are very similar to what Barbie is portrayed as.

A quote by an unknown individual is “the first 10 years of a girls life is spent playing with Barbie’s & the next 10 years are spent trying to look like one.”

It is not within the magazines that have created such ideologies, but yet it is within the female mind, that has created Barbie as the perfect woman.

(Sundar, Xu & Bellur, 2012) Fashion Magazines play a huge part of fashion marketing. They advertise cosmetics high end fashion and sometimes give you tips on how to look your best. As having an add in a magazine like Vogue would be extremely costly, especially If you own a small clothing boutique. Social media can pull you out of obscurity in a matter of, well… clicks!  This would bring us back to McLuhan and the Global Village.

(Sundar, Xu & Bellur, 2012) Any small fashion design store would be foolish not to be a part of the social media storm that is taking over the Internet. Facebook alone can catapult a business from nothing into a sensation overnight. You just got to get people talking. It is called social media because companies are now completely in touch with their customers.

They are hearing what they have to say, listening to their comments and providing feedback all in an effort to make the customer happy. Sites like Facebook and Twitter allow businesses to offer deals and run great promotions, and because a person “likes” the company’s page or talks up the business, friends and family members find out and start to follow and everyone reaps the benefits.

As fashion bloggers too play a huge role in fashion, you can instantly learn what people all are the world are wearing.  Its simply up to you, if you prefer a magazine that supports the higher end multi billionaire companies, or the internet that supports the multi billionaire companies and the small local companies.

Xo Karen

Richmond, V. (2009). ‘i’m pretty. you’re ugly. buy this’ — why fashion magazines are on the decline. alternat, Retrieved from http://www.alternet.org/story/141623/’i’m_pretty._you’re_ugly._buy_this’_-

Sundar, S., Xu, Q., & Bellur, S. (2012). Designing ineractivity in media interfaces:a communications perspective. Informally published manuscript, Media effects research laboratory, Penn State University, University Park, PA, USA, Retrieved from comm.psu.edu/about/sundar-publications/..pdf/at../file

Monk, L. (2009). Magazine journalism:vogue. Informally published manuscript, MA and BA journalism department, University of Winchester, Winchester UK. Retrieved from  http://journalism.winchester.ac.uk/?page=254

Uncensored Fashion

With the ever-growing list of technologies we use today as forms of communication, it is almost impossible to censor fashion. Fashion is everywhere. It appears in advertisements, on the streets, newspapers, television, movies, Facebook, blogs, etc. etc. Of course some of those are easier to censor than others, places like Facebook and other internet social media being the harder ones. People these days can post pretty much whatever they please wherever they please, in one of the many many outlets on the internet. In the rare event that something you post might get taken down or edited, the fact is it still got posted and is still in cyberspace somewhere or could have possibly already been seen. 
With the increasing popularity of the internet, there is nothing stopping anyone from becoming a fashion designer. Now more than ever there are independent fashion designers springing up all over the place. The internet has really given designers outlets though places like Etsy, BigCartel, or even buying your own webpage where pretty much anyone can see your designs.
Fashion is an art form that often has profound messages. The following photos show independent fashion designer Marialia in one of her self-made bandeaus. They were made as a limited edition item for the Fourth of July. Her passion for her country would surely appease the American government but what is stopping someone from other countries such as England or Japan from buying one?


Of course there are exceptions to everything and there are many brand names and companies that are owned by major corporations that suffer from less freedom of expression and have outside influences.
I doubt inventors would be very happy if a sophisticated line like Joe Fresh (as seen in Superstore) came out with a shirt like this one also by Marialia.
Even despite the internet, a lot of peoples fashion influences comes from celebrities. Celebrities have been known to be profound with their fashion statements. There is nothing stopping them from expressing their political ideologies or other possible offensive material through their fashion at which point we are all exposed.

I don’t know how happy the government would be if everybody paraded around in these shirts on television for the rest of the world to see and get an impression from.

Chomsky and Herman believe that the idea that the public needs to be controlled for their own good is the dominant ideology in the US. In fashion, regardless of whether that is the dominant ideology or not, you will never be able to completely censor it.

Fashion through democracy and media


Fashion comes from different things around the world. Its shown through many perspectives from, televison, radios, to magazines and websites. One main thing about the fashion industry is that it takes complete control over the media and the society around us. As we turn on our T.Vs to watch the news or our favorite T.V show there always something the relates to fashion. We attend to follow the lasted trend from what we see or hear through the media and the community around us. Fashion is one thing that’s huge in communications, it gives out a topic for people to analyze and talk over. It also gives a chance for people like “Coco Channel” to make history. If you look at fashion through democracy we look at the fact that fashion has changed thoughts of people of different cultures. We look at how in some religion its forbidden to show skin, or in some religions wearing a bikini one a sunny day is a normal thing, but thoughts of what people think and see if what makes the fashion industry more and more popular. When people see they talk and when they talk they manage to buy. To spread the fashion industry media has a huge part in this. Most of us agree that we get the joy in seeing new things on online or in magazines which comes from the media. Now and days we can buy a whole new wardrobe online and not have to worry about going in a store. Fashion is a powerful thing all around the world, different cultures come together and share the ideas and styles which is why we have fashion shows such as “Vancouver Fashion Show” that hits every year. Almost everyday fashion reaches us in all type of ways and it continues to grow on us. 

By: Nancy Deol 

Social Media Puts you in front row for Fashion week.

Fashion meets Social Media .

Social media is transforming both the nature and delivery of Fashion Week coverage (in New York, Milan, and Paris), by expanding its scope and also increasing its immediacy to meet a growing demand for exact play- by- play coverage and events online. “They argue that what was once a notoriously pretentious and exclusive conversation has been now opened up to the people.”  says Amy Odell. That only the privileged and those who do have a true love of fashion can attend this function. Now one has to ask themselves, if “social media” is actually a good thing to happen to “fashion” let alone Fashion Week. That if tumblr, instagram, twitter etc are truly the blame for the decline of fashion week.

Although that wasn’t the case always, “Ten years ago, the idea of someone in South Dakota watching a live stream of a runway show was outlandish,” said John Jannuzzi, a digital editor at Conde Nast’s Lucky Magazine. “Now, everyone is watching it at the same time, but accessibility does not make it less exclusive. Nothing compares to being at the actual show.” This is showing that fashion was only shown to the elite. That if one were not invited personally they had no right to even see it. But that’s all in the past; we now can see all the Fashion Week events in the luxury of our living room.

One can connect this with the theory of Marshall McLuhan the “global village”.  With the advent of electronic media, you can know the information about your neighbor’s life in the same amount of time as it takes to know what’s happening on the other side of the world. That indeed geography is no longer a hindrance to communication. It is known that social media continues to be a huge growing factor in the fashion industry and has shaped the fashion world for the better. We can now hear and see all the Fashion Week events that take place thousands of miles away in a matter of seconds.

As McLuhan would say that as humans we are wasting our time. He states that we are forced to become aware of things happening globally rather than concerning ourselves with our own smaller communities.  Also that we can now hear and see events that take place thousands of miles away in a matter of seconds; often even quicker than we hear of events in our own villages or even families. He believes that we should be more focused and interested in our “village”.  McLuhan argues that it is the speed of these electronically media that allows us to act and react to the global issues at the same speed as a normal verbal communication done face to face.

This sudden embrace of technology has been a long time coming. There were many reasons on to why the fashion industry hasn’t jumped on the bandwagon for technology. One reason was so the designers would preserve their brand and had total control over it. Every detail has to be according to what the designer wanted.

–  Hanii.

How Magazines Spread Fashion

 “All the latest fashion trends brought to you”. That is what the magazine Glamour claims to do. Magazines seem to be an impactful to spread fashion or give advice to people. As Lauren Sherman write it on Forbes.com (Sherman, 2008), “Anna Wintour, for two decades the editor behindVogue, is known for helping fledgling talent become fashion stars”. So journalists and editors seem to be powerful enough to show what it is fashionable, to critique designers and fashion shows. The readers even ask for advice like Anya, 24 years old in Glamour (August 2012) “How can we look cool and sexy at the beach ?”. Readers trust magazines, they seem them as reliable sources to be fashionable. As Forbes says (Sherman, 2008) “The best editors create and maintain a relationship and a sense of community with their readers.”
Besides most of magazines have different edition depending on the different countries all around the world. The magazine Cosmo has 64 editions all around the world, The New York Times (Zimmerman, 2012) wrote an article about it named
“How Cosmo conquered the world”. In fact, magazines spread Fashion through a lifestyle, as The New York Times (Zimmerman, 2012) says “Cosmo has been very, very popular […] I’d like to think that one of the messages we’re delivering to women is: You don’t have to marry the guy your parents told you to marry. You should marry who you want to marry. You can have a job if you’d like. You can have a career if you want. These choices are open to you today.” Which makes it more impactful.

Magazines spread fashion through their editors, articles, images but also through their advertisement. As tirocchi.stg.brown.edu says “Advertisements provided many more images”. They associate their name with fashion brands. Forbes (Sherman, 2008) talked about the Dos and Don’ts of Fashion magazines and says that they are “seen both hardcover and paperback editions and cemented her role as a sartorial adviser […] [which] inspires reader loyalty by speaking to who the reader is, not who she hopes to be ”
The History make magazines a reliable source too, as tirocchi.stg.brown.edu says that even in the early 1900, “Women saw what they liked in the pages of fashion magazines and were no longer satisfied with dresses that were not identified with the style of a particular fashion designer.“

So even if a study study by Colliander and Dahlen (2011) seems to prove that fashion bloggers have more influence than fashion magazines, as a journalist (Sanders, 2012) saysThe transformation of readers into contributors presents challenges. But there’s no going backwards. Readers aren’t just readers anymore. And the publishers with the best chance of survival may be the ones that are meeting this media sea change head-on.”





Sources :
Sherman, L. (2008, September 04). Most powerful u.s. fashion magazine editors. Forbes, Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/2008/09/04/style-editor-magazine-forbeslife-cx_ls_0904editors.html
Shilpi (2012, May 29). Do fashion bloggers have more influence than online magazines?. Obscure Aesthetic, Retrieved from http://www.obscureaesthetic.com/2012/05/do-fashion-bloggers-have-more-influence.html
Tirocchi. (2001). The influence of fashion magazines. Broadway 514, Retrieved from http://tirocchi.stg.brown.edu/514/story/fashion_magazines.html
Zimmerman, E. (2012, August 3). 99 ways to be naughty in kazakhstan : How cosmo conquered the world. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/05/magazine/how-cosmo-conquered-the-world.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
Sanders, R. (2012, October 18). Bloggers and magazines: Adversaries or allies?. mobileblog.agilitycms.com. Retrieved from http://mobileblog.agilitycms.com/bloggers-and-magazines-adversaries-or-allies