Reasons to Get Excited About Austin Fashion Week 2014

Let’s be honest, Austin does not have the best reputation when it comes to fashion.  So what is to be expected about an event which is centered around a topic that its city is specifically not praised for?  It should come as no surprise that Austin Fashion Week has had its ups and downs, and weird moments.  Remember when Tiffany (yes the 80s pop star) sang at the Austin Fashion Week Kick Off a few years ago? Remember when the runway shows took place at La Zona Rosa and it rained through the leaky ceiling onto the runway?  And, frankly the results of the Mash Up Team photo competition this year left me a little confused as the majority of the photos looked like they shared some sort of weird “fairytale princess” theme.  Sometimes Austin Fashion Week feels kinda like your awkward kid sister who’s still growing up and trying to figure out who she is and where she belongs, and at times I just want to allow her to spend a day with my friend Virginia and let her smoke weed and listen to Bongzilla.

Regardless of the questionable aspects of Austin Fashion Week, at the center of it all is a group of creative individuals who are trying to make something of the fashion scene in Austin.  Whether or not Austin Fashion Week is helping to shape the public opinion of the fashion scene in Austin in a positive way is debatable.  But regardless of your opinions of the event, the fact that anyone is talking about the fashion scene in Austin at all is a really good thing for the growing community of us in this town who have decided to make fashion a part of our lives.

Here’s why I’m excited about Austin Fashion Week this time around:

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The Most Stylish Austinites on Instagram

I should probably do yoga, drink some hot water with lemon in it (apparently this is good for your skin), or meditate.  But no, the first thing I do when I wake up (besides obviously give my dog Boo some kisses), is check Instagram.  I’m not exactly proud of this morning routine, however, things could be way worse.  While I am following almost 1,000 people on Twitter and continually accept friend requests on Facebook from strangers, my Instagram feed is slightly more elite.  I cannot handle late night drunken photos taken with flash, or pictures of Starbucks lattes.  I’m #sorrynotsorry but I don’t have time for basic bitches clogging up my Instagram feed. Therefore, I am at least waking up every morning to some beautiful, interesting, unique, funny, or inspiring images.

I don’t even really have time to look at other style blogs anymore, so I especially love following people on Instagram who show off their personal style.  Not everyone has the time or energy to have their own blog.  Even I don’t have the time or energy to post daily personal style photos on my blog, but there’s always time to Instagram.  However, not every Instagram account was created equal.

Here’s my list of stylish Austinites who I think are the most follow-worthy on Instagram (in no particular order) and why:

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What They Wore: Tribeza Lawn Party

From ladies carrying Chanel bags to guys with bolo ties around their necks, Tribeza parties always bring out a variety of people who aren’t afraid to express their own individual style.  Last Thursday everyone gathered at the French Legation Museum for Tribeza magazine’s now annual “Lawn Party” which has been one of our first major outdoor stylish events since Spring has (kind of) sprung.  It was especially fun to come out to this sunny Austin event after having just gotten back from a little mini vacation in NYC where temperatures caused me to scream out “it’s cold!” on multiple occasions.  In case you were unaware, when you’re walking down a side street in Manhattan and get caught in a cold rainy wind tunnel, it helps to yell and make weird noises.  I’m sure the New Yorkers who have had to deal with the Polar Vortex this winter didn’t mind hearing me scream in 40 degree weather one bit.

Here are some photos of the stylish attendees at last Thursday’s “Lawn Party” (where bowties particularly abounded):

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SXSW Street Style 2014!

SXSW is over, and if you’re anything like myself then you’re probably pretty happy that this 2 week long cluster duck (as my iPhone likes to call it) has come to a close. While most people spend the majority of their time during SXSW standing in line for shows and free booze, I spend most of my time staring at the people standing in line for shows and free booze. I guess you could say I’m sort of an outsider looking in when it comes to music festivals these days. I do enjoy live music every now and then, but I find SXSW to be a difficult beast to slay in terms of cost and reward. I use my energy at SXSW to meet new people and take photos, mostly because I’m impatient (and perhaps getting a little old), but also because that’s what I get the most joy out of doing.

I’ve been documenting the style at SXSW for a few years now and I’ve definitely watched it change.  What I find interesting about the fashion you see at music festivals, is that it is a direct reflection of the music. A few years ago the street style at SXSW was predominately hipsters in cut off jorts along with rockers and metal heads wearing leather jackets in 80 degree weather.  Those looks do still exist to some extent.  However, SXSW continues to bring on more hip hop and DJ acts to the lineups causing the street style to take on a much more mainstream, as well as a hip hop look.  Let’s just say the number of white girls wearing gold chains was at an all time high this year.

What I do think was missing from this year’s SXSW was an influx of fashion-forward trend setters.  Finding people worthy of photographing was a little harder for me this year as there was really nothing but a handful of gems in Lady Gaga’s vomit haboob. But, I sought out the polished stones and washed them off for you:

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Spotted at the Fest: The Different Ways Men are Rocking Polka Dots at SXSW

“This is the only shirt I ever wear” said the dude pictured above right before making the most pleasant face any human could ever hope to lay their eyes upon.  Although I have to assume (and hope, for body odor’s sake) that his statement was an exaggeration, there is something to be said about the wearability of a polka dotted shirt.  The polka dot is of course a classic patterns that in recent years has become, dare I say, even more of a staple in a man’s closet than the beloved and manly stripe.

The best part about our friend the polka dot is that he can be worn in many different ways by different types of men with varying styles. In this way the dot is not much different than the stripe, but, perhaps there is something a little more playful about the polka dot.  As I ‘ve been scouring the streets during SXSW looking for interesting style, I’m left thinking that maybe the polka dot is the go-to pattern for the music festival attending gentleman this Spring.  I’m definitely seeing spots, and it’s not just because I’m completely exhausted and dehydrated.

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DIY: Pimped Out Sunnies

Have y’all been noticing all the elaborate designer sunglasses that are popping up everywhere? I’ve been seriously eyeballing a lot of cool decorative sunnies online recently. Take a look at these bad girls:

That last pair is from Bad Cake, and comes with a price tag of $110. Sunglasses are my favorite accessory for outdoor festivals and summer time activities, and I was thinking that these would be super fun to wear during SXSW.  While I wouldn’t be completely opposed to paying a hundred dollars for a pair of sunglasses that I might only wear a few times before inevitably breaking them, or even more likely, losing them; my preference for an activity such as SX is to buy some cheap sunnies that I don’t care about messing up.

I’m not much of a DIY girl, but this seemed like too easy and logical of a DIY project to pass up. After I consumed some free tacos and booze, my pal Jenny and I had a little craft night. Normally I wouldn’t recommend working a hot glue gun after drinking vodka, but everything turned out great and we’re all still alive. Here’s how to make your own pimped out sunnies on the cheap:

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SXSW Fashion Events!

SX is almost here! Here’s my roundup of all the fashiony type events that you won’t want to miss during SXSW this year (most of them are FREE.)  Check back as I’ll be updating this list throughout the next few days…

Style X

Style X is back this year! Err, the name is at least. Unlike the big retail event which premiered back in 2011 and included pop up shops and runway shows in addition to speaking panels, Style X this year is scaled back to simply encompass all the fashion related interactive events.

Here’s a list of all the Style X panels happening during the Interactive portion of SXSW (Friday Mar.7 – Tuesday Mar.11), which you will need an Interactive badge to attend:

Style X Panel Schedule

Some highlights include Nasty Gal founder Sophia Amoruso, and TOMS founder Blake Mycoskie.

Other Style X Events:

Style + Tech Meetup
SXSW Interactive’s Publicist and Style Programmer, Kelly Krause is hosting her 3rd annual Meet Up for style + tech mavens.
Sunday, March 9, 5:00PM – 6:00PM
Proof Annex – 711 E 6th St

Decoded Fashion at Wanderlust  Neiman Marcus and Decoded Fashion will host a half day of panels, speakers, mentorship opportunities and a lounge at Wanderlust. Tuesday, March 11 from 9am-12pm, Wanderlust 206 E 4th St

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SXSW: What to Wear?!

I hope y’all have been getting plenty of rest and drinking lots of agua, because pretty soon there will be no more of that nonsense.  Besides mentally and physically preparing yourself for the fun, craziness, and exhaustion that is SXSW, you should also start preparing your wardrobe.

For SX you definitely want to try and stand out in the crowd. You never know which out-of-towner’s eye you might catch (hey boy hey), what magazine might want to snap your photo (me on Teen VOGUE last year), or who might decide to invite you to some crazy VIP party.  It’s always best to look put together and unique, however, you never want your style choices to get in the way of your comfort.

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Love It Or Weave It: A Journey Into Hair Extensions

When I tweeted that I wanted a hair weave, one of my followers asked if my account had been hacked.

Nope, my expression of wanting hair extensions was true and honest.  Beneath the fine hair which sits on top of my head, has always been a mind dreaming of thicker fuller hair.  I’ve always known the look I wanted would never be fully achieved with the use of hair products and styling (a volumizing foam can only do so much.)

A few years ago I met a friend who used clip on extensions fairly regularly to add fullness to her hair.  While the clip ons worked well for her (she already had fairly full hair compared to me), I could only imagine myself in clip on extensions being even more of a nervous wreck than I already.  “Are my extensions falling out?” “Can you see my clips?” Already bouncing around a fair amount of bizarre thoughts in my mind at all times, I really didn’t think there was any room up there for the worry that I felt would accompany clip on hair extensions.   I hate to overuse a Sweet Brown quote but seriously, nobody got time for dat.  And after realizing everyone I see on TV has hair extensions (seriously, pretty much everyone in Hollywood wears some form of hair extensions) I decided that permanent hair extensions might be the way to go.

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Tokyo Street Style!

The toilet seats are heated, the subways are actually clean, they sell condoms with anime bears on them, and the men carry hand bags.  Japan is definitely different from the U.S., and honestly in a lot of ways I found it to be superior.  As far as street style goes, I can’t imagine there would be a better place to shoot than Tokyo. Street style photography is huge in Tokyo, especially in the Harajuku area which is where I spent most of my time.  Street style photographers actually roam these streets daily snapping photos for various websites and local magazines.  When I’m in Austin trying to take street style pics I feel like I’m doing something unique, whereas in Tokyo I felt like I was just part of the regular scene.  However, I didn’t speak hardly a word of Japanese so I definitely felt awkward trying to ask people if I could take their photo (imagine me saying the Japanese word for “excuse me” spoken very poorly and pointing to my camera.)

Japanese people are very polite though, and since street style photography is so common there, most people were willing to let me take their photo and many struck poses without even thinking about it as if getting their photo taken on the street was part of their daily routine.  This is the thing that makes Tokyo street style so special.  When I was in New York for fashion week I got a strong sense that the people I photographed had planned their outfits for weeks in hopes to have their photo taken.  In Tokyo, there’s no need for an event. People walk the streets every day on their way to work dressed in a well styled outfit.  The street style in Tokyo is authentic, and the fashion there isn’t ruled by industry standards.

Some common trends I saw during my short trip to Tokyo were beanies, berets, New Balance sneakers, oversized coats, and pants cuffed high with socks showing.  Menswear seems to be a big influence right now in what the ladies are wearing, and overall the style in Japan is always playful.

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