December 4, 2016: Hola everyone! Winter has arrived in Milwaukee and there are snow flurries today. Despite several hard freezes remarkably my "spikes" in two of my patio planters have absolutely refused to die. The rosemary and thyme plants I nursed inside the house through last winter spent the summer in their pot outside next to the side stoop off the driveway, where they get plenty of sunshine all day long. I transplanted them into a cozy sheltered spot right next to the stoop in October and they are still green and growing, too! With the delay in getting the drywall patching done in the relatively minor "reconstruction" work I had done in my kitchen, I am way behind my time in getting the house decorated. But yesterday I got my wreath decked out with extra lights and dressed the front door of the house, and my battery-operated traditional candles were put up on the window sills all around the house Friday evening. It becomes a ritual to go around at dusk and turn the tops to the right to turn the candles "on" and at bedtime to go around and turn the tops to the left to turn the candles "off." Today I put some "glittery" throw pillow covers purchased new last month from H&M on three of my sofa pillows to glam things up a bit in the living room and add some sparkle. Later on, after I sufficiently fuel myself up with wine and snacks and probably to distract myself while I listen to the Packers game on the radio, I will huff and puff and pull my artificial tree up from storage in the basement. I will decorate it simply this year. Every year I say that, and every year I end up throwing just about everything except the kitchen sink on the tree. I am very proud of myself this year, though. I did not buy a single new ornament or Christmas doo-dad for the house (throw pillow covers don't count!!!) Happy Holidays to all, with hope and fervent prayers for 2017. I've a feeling we're all going to need a lot of help from Goddess in the coming year. Jan

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Compassionate Fashion: Vaute Couture

Hola darlings!
Vaute Couture's "Belden" coat
Thanks to a post that my fellow blogger Jill Bielawski did under my "Red Coats" thread, I found out about Vaute Couture, Inc.  Jill left a link and I visited it last night, and spent about an hour exploring the website.  It's not the easiest to navigate but I think I found out everything I needed to know, including looking through VC's fabulous line for its third "run" of custom-designed coats!  I mean, darlings, just check out one of the coats!  This one is called the Belden, and I love, Love, LOVE it!

Unfortunately, I missed the cut-off for online order discount (15% if you ordered by October 24th); AND, as I mentioned in my response post to Jill, every single one of the designs that I liked the most were already sold out!  EEK!  Well, I guess that means I have good taste -- or I'm not avant garde enough to think outside the comfortable norm where everyone else is at!  [Check out Vaute Couture's Fall/Winter 2011 Look Book - tres cool!]

Hmmmm.....   Am I avant garde in my fashion sense?  Hell no.  But I'm working on it, I'm working on it.  In other areas of my life, am I avant garde? Hell yes! 

Anyway, I signed up for the Vaute Couture email newsletter and hope to get word of when the next fashion run will be produced.  I would like to order something to show my support.  I especially want a RED COAT.  LOL!  Yes, I know I'm totally obsessed.  I'd much rather spend a couple hundred more to support a business that is supporting such a wonderful cause and also helping support unique American-based designers, artists and sewists/tailors, not to mention the producers of the sustainable and animal-free materials that are used in the production of Vaute Couture's garments.  I will also be purchasing a garment that will last a long time - not wear out in 2 or 3 years like the crap sold to us from China.
Vaute Couture "elephants" sweat shirt, made
with water-based ink.
The idea of compassionate fashion is new to me, but very very appealing.  Sustainable fashion isn't enough; after all, wool is a sustainable product, coming from sheep, but after reading Jill's and other people's accounts of how wool is process today (absolutely horrifying, don't read about it unless you have a very strong stomach or have no feelings about mistreatment of animals)  I've nixed the idea of buying anything ever again that contains wool.  And you know, it doesn't have to be like that! 

If I ever get any readers, I urge you to do some independent research on how animals are treated - or mistreated - as they provide us with various types of wool (cashmere, for instance) and other natural materials that are woven into fabrics or processed (alpaca, camel hair, horse hair, any kind of fur, any kind of leather, where an animal has to be killed in order to be skinned to provide his or her pelt/skin).  There are humane ways to harvest these materials that we use, and cruel, barbaric ways.  In this day and age, really, why are we still using any method that is cruel and barbaric? Just because it's cheap?  Just because we can?

This isn't an animal rights blog, I'm writing about my personal experiences in discovering a sense of fashion, so I'll leave it at that for now.  However, if we can buy clothes that are made from materials that don't hurt animals, why do anything else?  I mean, really, why do anything else?  Do some research before you buy, check labels before buying.  That's all it takes to live with a clean conscience. 

I love this Vaute Couture sweatshirt that I call "pink elephants!"  I have a collection of glass, ceramic and metal pink elephants, started with one little old pink ceramic elephant I inherited from my Grandma Newton when she died in 1960.  It holds front center stage today, all these years later, in my curio cabinet in a collection of pink elephants (or elephants that have some sort of pink on them) that I assembled so Grandma Newton's pink elephant wouldn't be lonely. 

Elephants, of course, are closely associated with the ancient game of chess.  The piece that today in chess (the western version of the game) we call the Bishop was actually once a mighty war elephant, sometimes in later years depicted with a tower on its back that sheltered bow-wielding warriors.  Yeah, I know this is a blog about fashion, but I'm a chess history fanatic as well, darlings, so you'll have to bear with me :) 

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