Friday the 13th

I don’t know where to start. I am probably still shocked with what happened last week Friday, November 13, 2015. It was a typical Friday, I was invited by a friend to hang out, have late lunch and some apero in a brasserie around the corner. We were sitting outside on the terrace having our wine when she asked me, “Do you know it’s Friday the 13th?” I answered “Yes, But did you know that it’s statistically safer to be on the streets because more people are careful of accidents.” Little did I know I will have to swallow the words that came out of my mouth a few hours after.

I was watching the friendly football match between France and Germany when it was cut right away to some breaking news where 18 people have died. I wasn’t paying much attention and decided to sleep. I was awaken by a call and never-ending messages from friends and family. The incidents have gone worse, more than 100 people have died because of several attacks. I cannot believe I woke up to this. I then tried my best to reply and call back. After reading some news, I cannot help but tell myself, “It could have been me.” The suicide bombings took place just outside the stadium where we watch football or rugby match, and even concerts. The series of shootings happened a few blocks from where we just celebrated a friend’s birthday just last week. The massacre was in a concert hall was were I watched for the first time my favourite artist .

The more I think about it, the more I realize how much better we have it here. We live freely, have entertainment, dine at restaurants or simply spend time with our friends and loved ones. A lot people do not have this luxury and have been living in fear their whole lives.

So in solidarity with Paris, France, my adoptive city, I changed my profile photo with a French flag filter. It was my way of saying I am against the atrocities that happened. I continue to read and watch news and a few days ago I saw that France had launched airstrikes against ISIS in Syria. The first thing that I thought of was that they will definitely fight back and more terrorist attacks will happen. But on second thought, there are civilians who are definitely affected by these airstrikes and have been killed not because they were the target but merely casualties of this retaliation. Innocent lives were lost so how then are these attacks any different? Is it to protect the country? Or to show power?

Violence breeds more violence as much as hate breeds more hate.  I don’t think this cycle will never stop as long as we let ourselves get sucked down into this pit of quicksand. For this reason, I changed back my profile photo. I could have changed it to another flag but I do not think I can represent all countries in turmoil. Just take this change as a representation  my resistance to more violence and my hope for a better and peaceful world.



The Luxury that the luxury industry doesn’t seem to have

Time. I have a lot of that right now. I’m writing emails to companies here and there looking for opportunities and waiting.  As much as I try to make each day productive, it gets hard when you ran out of things to do . The thing is this abundance that I have is a luxury that most people do not have, ironically from the people who work in the luxury fashion industry.

What I’ve been seeing is a fatigue of this fashion system which they say has been moving too fast. Too fast that they do not have time to rethink the collections which in turn suppresses the creativity for the sake of turnover. I assume that this might be the reason for the recent exits of designers from big houses. Come to think of it, the whole fashion industry has been democratised which has lead to a bigger market demand. Larger demand means more products and more products mean you need more seasons.

I do not blame these companies or brands for aspiring for growth because for me it is just organic for one entity to aspire for development. The question is where should this stop? When do you know to slow down and rethink how far you have gone. What does the brand actually represent?

The funny thing is, I had an interview a year ago for a brand which I was applying for a Merchandising Position. It was for a well-renowned company that has iconic products, has all kinds of point of sales and social media and of course has a wide selection of brands that segments their market: a younger brand, a mid-range brand, and a fashion-forward brand.  So when they asked me, what do you think we need to improve on. I was stunned and thought to myself, there’s nothing I could answer to this question. They have done everything by the book. But for some reason, mostly on gut-feel, I said, “Focus. Your brand/company needs focus.” I continued by saying that “You have done everything right, I just think that it would be better if you have that one thing that you put all your efforts to.” Looking back, I guess I said that because they have done so much on their e-business, the internet, their stores and their brands, that I lost touch of what it was really all about: the history and the brand. The people who interviewed me said that I had a very interesting point of view on things. (Note: I didn’t get the position due to administrative issues. I have a Philippine passport which is basically is a set of papers showing my nationality without much advantages) Fast forward to today, a year later, I just read news articles saying that they are actually unifying the brands into one. I know this move may be far or completely unrelated to my interview but I guess somehow this strategy just makes sense.

It’s not just this one brand. There are numerous brands out there trying to stretch themselves as much as they can. They put so much pressure on themselves to just push and push and push. In the end there’s no more time for creativity or even the time to reflect and understand the raison d’etre.

All of these makes me ask myself: what has the fashion industry turned into? Can you still consider it “an accessible form of art” (debatable) when the vital creative process has been slowly being neglected? Or have we actually reached a point where these clothes are mere commodity?


17 Truths About Working In Retail

Working in retail makes you grounded in many ways. Not only does it give you a better understanding of your customer, how your brand is perceived and how operations is done, but it also helps you empathize with your team. You understand them better because you yourself have been there before. In a way, working from the bottom to top entitles you a big amount of respect because we all know how tough being on the floor is. I myself have been a “victim” of discrimination just because I was on the floor selling. Them making you look and feel stupid is an understatement. You won’t believe how many customers think that since your on the floor you’re worth nothing. With the constant emotional punches they receive trust me they’re one of the most tenacious people I know.

This is article expresses most of, if not all, the actual grievances and challenges working in retail.

Thought Catalog

1. Mystery shoppers give retail workers trust issues for life. Are you undercover? Is this a test? Are you wearing a wire? Blink two times if you’re wearing a wire. Oh, God, I don’t even know what’s real anymore!

2. The only thing more proficient at making gigantic messes than an unsupervised kid is said child’s careless parents. At least toddlers have small hands and undeveloped brains — these grown, full-sized humans are capable of misplacing, unfolding and tossing aside at indefensible rates.

3. Contrary to popular belief, when customers request something and the employee tells them it’s not in stock without walking to the back, that doesn’t mean they don’t care. It’s just that the back room is less like Willy Wonka’s factory and more like a janitor’s closet.

4. Sometimes you’ll play along, heading to the back and pretending to check on a product that you know isn’t…

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You are More Beautiful than You Think : La Mécanique des Dessous

I honestly am particularly a little bit insecure about my physical attributes and to some extent maybe most of women do have insecurities. This is not to promote a certain brand but Dove, about 6 months ago, had this campaign of how women generally project themselves. Here’s a short clip.

In a way, this video has made me think about myself more and appreciate what I have, and going to the exposition at Les Art Décoratifs reinforced this. The exhibit was primarily how the undergarments evolved. How from steel frames changed to corsets to the modern day brasserie. What’s interesting is that the undergarments had a subtle way of showing that through time, the notion of women’s freedom and beauty evolved.  As time progressed, there were less constraints on the body which also paralleled how women had more choices and power over themselves. The ideal body also adapted with society: from voluptuous to straight to more hips to straight again to curvy and to a slim figure.  It is how society perceive as beautiful which has in a way provided a standard of looks. They have imposed what is beautiful and anything out of the set of guidelines are thought to be unattractive. In a way this promotes frustrations and discontentment in how they, or shall I say, “WE”, perceive ourselves because we naturally want to belong to our society. Consequently, we also tend to forget that beauty is relative. As seen in the exhibit, it changes over time. It even changes with society. HECK, it even changes per person. What for me is beautiful is different from yours. So the next time you think you’re not skinny enough, not tall enough or not “whatever” enough, just remember that in another time or a different society, you are the most beautiful of them all. Chin Up Girl!:) LOL #GirlPower (sorry, I just had to hash tag it.)

Here is a short video on the exhibition since photos were not allowed inside.

Denis Bruna vous présente l’exposition “La… by LesArtsDecoratifs

From 5 July 2013 to 24 November 2013

Les Art Décoratifs

107 rue de Rivoli  –  Paris 1er

The 25 Scariest Things About Turning 25

My Thoughts Exactly. Each and every point.

Thought Catalog

While I savor these last few months before my upcoming 25th birthday, I feel it’s important to reflect on the existential tribulations that come along with it. And while I’m more than aware of how very young 25 still is, it doesn’t lessen the blow of these changes to remember that 30 will be more difficult. Let’s not talk about 30.

1. No longer being able to say, with what feels like complete impunity, “I’m in my early 20s.”

2. Realizing that there was a lot of your behavior and general decision-making that you blamed on being in your early 20s, or at least felt excused from because you were just “figuring it out.”

3. Feeling the ever-growing chasm between the friends who have “careers” and the friends who have “jobs,” and wondering what side of it is even better to be on. (Are you drowning in work that you’re…

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Let time take its time: Les Gobelins Cultural Visit

2007 was my first time here in this city. I was 19 and I barely knew anything about art. I would go to the Louvre and see all those tapestry and say to my self “What beautiful carpets they have here!” Yes, I said that to myself.  I was naive and didn’t know about culture. But now that I know better, let me share a thing or two about tapestry from our cultural visit in Les Gobelins.

The workshop from the outside.

Les Gobelins used to be a large community where artisans worked. The artisans basically lived in the world of tapestry. They had everything they need in the area such as residence, shops, etc.  As the times changed, Les Gobelins became a manufacturing complex and museum as it is today. Our class was privileged enough to have access to the actual workshop but photos were not allowed inside.

Tapestry in its most technical description is weaving coloured weft threads using a vertical loom. It starts out as a concept that is rendered in to a small artwork. This is then projected that will be used as a guide for the artisans to weave the colors accordingly. They basically work on the wrongside of the tapestry. You’ll see spools of colored threads hanging from the huge roll of warp that acts as the background or like a canvas to a painter.  As they weave the threads, they use a mirror to see their progress if the colors blend well and if the original concept is followed.

Threads they use are either naturally or synthetically colored. At Les Gobelins, they have a separate building to dye their own threads. They use different dyes both natural and synthetic. From a collection of thousands of colors, they still continuously add new ones as needed.

The whole process takes at least two (2) to as much as six (6) years to complete; from concept, to dyeing and to the actual weaving. It requires a keen attention to detail, hard work, and patience.

The final products that you see in museums usually look like these. These were used by the royalties to decorate their chateaux and like any other form of luxury, to manifest their authority. They commissioned artists to create tapestry and thus the industry flourished.

Tapestry to show how the kingdom flourished in spring time.

Today, they continue creating tapestry primarily to preserve the workmanship or savoir-faire. The creations are not the usual ones you see in the museums. What they create now are, but not limited to, contemporary art, graphic images, and recreation of classics. What’s interesting is that artisans will have a different output even if the design is basically the same. So they may have different versions of Monet’s Waterlilies like this is one below.

Monet’s Waterlilies

Few of my favorites are these because they are definitely products of pure hardwork and excellent craftsmanship.

Pixelized. Drastic change huh?
And its wrong side. Just look at the number of colors they used.

This one below would be my favorite.  It does not look like tapestry at all. The artisan was able to capture the characteristics of a brush stroke with different color intensity and blending. If you can see the small splash marks on the lower right, those used at least 10 colors just to have a natural effect. The technique in the spacing and application it is just pure genius. I just fell in love with it.

I don’t think I will ever be in this industry but its very interesting to be exposed to this kind of craftsmanship. And almost always, craft-making provides a life lesson. There are things in life that we can rush such as Instagram. The very title is to instantly record something. Get an existing photo, crop, filter and VOILA! For some, it’s already art. However more often than not, the things we treasure the most are those that we have worked hard for.  As they say, there are no shortcuts to success, in the same way that masterpieces like these are not realized in 5 seconds. You just got to let yourself and time take its time because in the end you’ll know it is definitely worth it.


Disclaimer: All photos are used solely for my personal interpretation and reflection and are not to be reproduced or reused.

thoughts, rants and sometimes just word salad