The Tale of Warby Parker

This blog post will be showcasing cool new eyewear from Warby Parker.
This post is a bit different in that I was specifically asked if I would write something.
I do my homework on anything I plug and value transparency, so I’m being upfront that this post is a bit different. I’m not being paid or given anything for this beyond a promise to share my blog. So, exposure.

What is Warby Parker?

In simple terms, they are a cheaper, socially conscious alternative to the traditional route of buying glasses. They offer designer eyewear in a range of styles starting around $95. I’ve only ever purchased one pair of glasses in my life, and it cost me upwards of $200 with vision insurance. So, that sounds like a pretty good deal to me, based on my one prescription eyewear purchase. How are they able to cut the cost? According to their website:

“Most high-end brands do not produce their own eyewear. Instead, they sell those rights to massive companies who design, manufacture, and sell branded glasses directly to optical shops. Those optical shops tack on additional mark-ups to frames and lenses before selling them to you. We cut out the middleman by designing and producing our own eyewear, then passing on the savings to customers. We effectively sell glasses wholesale (because it makes no sense for customers to pay for multiple mark-ups).”

The trade off of this that I want to point out, so that you can make informed choices in your purchases, is that the “middle man” is other peoples’ jobs. If you’re seeing an eye doctor from a local business in your community, not buying your glasses from said local business might be cutting into their ability to stay open. If you’re seeing an eye doctor that isn’t connected to their own shop or is located in a big box store, just get your script and buy from these guys.

That said, you’re already reading this online, so chances are you already do oddles of shopping online, sending money outside your local community. I do too. I’m not placing any value judgement or saying one option is better than the other, I just try to lay everything on the table. There are also other options for buying glasses online (which also hurt the local shop), that aren’t as committed to sustainability or fair labor practice or working to connect developing communities around the world with better vision.

They also have a freaking monocle! That’s admittedly kind of awesome…

The Goods

Warby Parker introduced 10 new frame styles for their Winter 2016 collection. I’m going to showcase some of my favorites, but you can see the rest of this collection and all they have to offer HERE

  • Daisy
    These are my favorite. If I ever need to replace my current glasses or decide to get new ones just for a change in style, I’d go with these. They’re like a sleeker, sexier version of the classic nerd look. I like it.
  • Morris
    I don’t really have much of anything of substance to say about these. Another take on the classic nerd look. Mostly I just think this model is hot. And I honestly think the glasses are adding to that appeal – I’m trying to picture him without the glasses and it doesn’t seem the same. So, if you’re a dude with this face shape and want to increase the likelihood that I or someone with my taste would think you’re attractive, maybe go with these ones.

Hey girl, I think we should study together.

  • Goodney
    Cat Eyes! Meow! Updated take on an old school style. Can’t go wrong.
  • Welty
    Alright, clearly I have a thing for the classic nerd look. Here’s something a bit more fun.
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The People’s Dolly

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It’s been just over a year now since Morrígan (my Lammily doll) arrived at my door, moved into my heart, and gave me doll fever. I’ve sung her praises many times on this blog, but today I want to sing the praises of her creator, Nickolay Lamm, and the Lammily company.

When Lammily first came out, there weren’t many options for clothes for her. Her selling point was that she has realistic proportions that, scaled up, would result in a woman with a healthy body. This, and the fact that the company was brand new and figuring things out, meant that there just weren’t many options for her. She couldn’t swap clothes with many other dolls, certainly not with the usual suspects. This gave birth to a DIY market and community – Etsy sellers like Phyllis ShermanHelena HannukainenOph Bruneau, and Em Carroll began making Lammily clothes. I decided to create Handmade Lammily Fashions on Facebook, which was followed by an offshoot group, Lammily Enthusiasts (both groups have mutual respect for and collaborate with each other). We were small but we were mighty. A representative from the company joined Lammily Enthisiasts, where she would interact with and answer questions for eager Lammsters. Soon after, Lammily Enthusiasts became the Official Lammily Fan Group.

As Lammily’s success grew, the company aired their first commercial which let’s us see our girl interacting in the already established Doll World.

In the most recent commercial, Lammily takes time to give homage to the iconic toys and dolls that have come before her, pointing out that without them, she would not exist.  The driving image is showing this doll as an equally valid and inclusive player – not elite, not better-than-the-competition, but just as good. She can play with and fit in right alongside your other dolls. I think that’s big.

Something I have been extremely impressed with in recent months has been  how Mr. Lamm not only acknowledges Lammily’s DIY crowd and fan-base, but is actually *very* supportive of it. On their website, an option right along their “World of Fashion” clothing, are the “Handcrafted Limited Editions“. Further, what you will see when you sign up for their mailing list and start getting their emails, is that he introduces you to the DIY lady responsible for the handmade clothes.

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Screen shot of a Lammily Email

So far, I am really impressed with Mr. Lamm and his company. Between all I’ve stated and the fact that she was the product of a Kickstarter campaign, I don’t think I’d be out of bounds to go so far as to consider Lammily “The People’s Dolly”. (As much as a representative of capitalist consumer culture can be, anyway. The irony isn’t lost here, only amusing.)

Now I just need to learn more about how the dolls themselves are made. From what I understand, though, the company ensures that every step of the doll-making process is done at factories that don’t take advantage of their employees.

I Like Fashion…

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My friend, Brieanne, who has never been afraid to be herself.

…I say, though I feel insecure.
I like fashion, I think, though you’re just not so sure.
You look so presentable, with glamour and flair.
I’m wearing a tshirt and do I know I have hair?

“I like fashion,” you say, citing trends, naming names.
“Who are they?” I wonder, “Why does anyone care?”
“You need the right top, with that skirt, not too tight.
You know what I mean. Keep it classy, alright?”

“You don’t want to dress like you’re old or too young.
This color goes with that. Are you having fun?”
What I wear is expressive, it tells the story of me.
Can you tell I spent time? Picked out the right tee?

This one says “Free Palestine” another says “Dream”.
I look at the labels to learn where they’re seamed.
“Who made your jacket?” I’ll ask, you’ll reply.
“Oh this? It’s from [insert some designer]’s line.”

Yes, but who made it, and what were they paid?
Would you pay what it’d cost, if they made a living wage?
How ’bout your blue jeans? Would you wear them if
you knew their dyes were toxic? Go on, give us a spin!

Rana Plaza. April 24, 2013. 1,129 dead. 2,515 injured. Photo by Ismail Ferdous

Triangle is old, Rana Plaza is new.
One brought about change, the other should too.
Our clothing defines us, it’s a cultural thing.
Ideology, religion, and more do they sing.

The boy with his collar popped, the girl who’s gone goth.
This group or that group? Is it really just cloth?
Break down the boxes! No labels! We’re Done!
At the end of the day, we all want to belong.

“I like fashion,” you say, in your elegant heels.
Wrapped in your rayon scarf – you love how it feels!
You look at me, in my worn out gym shoes.
You’d never guess, I care about fashion too.

Handmade Lammily Fashions – Inspirations

Have you seen the Handmade Lammily Fashions group over on Facebook? I started this group just a month ago and there are already 116 members. I find so much inspiration in seeing all of these talented individuals posting pictures of their creations. I love seeing people create and develop personalities for their dolls. I see the way members help each other by sharing advice, tips, and discoveries and the way they all compliment each other and it lifts my spirits on a bad day. Here are some of the clothes made by members who have given me permission to share their work:

Amber McGlynn:

AmberTMcGlynn1 AmberTMcGlynn2 AmberTMcGlynn3

Armel Pélardy‎:

ArmelPélardy‎2 ArmelPélardy‎1

Deborah Griggs:

DeborahSGriggs1 DeborahSGriggs4 DeborahSGriggs3 DeborahSGriggs2

Deluded Martita:

DeludedMartita5 DeludedMartita4 DeludedMartita3 DeludedMartita2 DeludedMartita1

Julie Soper:

JulieSoper1

Oph Bruneau:

OphBruneau2 OphBruneau1

There are many more wonderful works over on the group page. I encourage you to give it a look 🙂

In Love with Lammily

Lammily the day she came home.

Lammily the day she came home.

This is a post I really should have written before now. I’m sure by now most of you have heard of the new Lammily doll – she’s made with proportions that are equivalent to that of the average 19 year old female in the United States – average here is defined by the stats obtained through the Center for Disease Control (CDC). But, this post is not to educate you about Lammily’s story – if you’d like to learn more about that I will direct you to these others articles and postings:

Back in March, when Lammily was being crowd-funded, I ordered 2 of these dolls. My primary thought was to get one for Ava-face Baby-head for when she gets older (she’s nearly 1 year now) and to keep the other for myself in the box (just in case these dolls gets super popular).

My little baby cousin, Ava-face Baby-head.

My little baby cousin, Ava-face Baby-head.

However, as time went by, I could feel myself becoming more and more anxious for Lammily to arrive. When she finally did arrive, I was so excited that I could not resist taking her out and playing with her. And so it has been, for roughly a month since I took her out of her box, that I have found myself spending hours putting her into poses to take her picture to share online and, what I really enjoy – making clothes for her.

See, because Lammily has proportions that are so novel to fashion dolls, she currently has no other options for clothing beyond what she was dressed in. I don’t know why I’ve gotten so enthused over a doll or making clothes for her – perhaps she’s brought out my inner child – but I am. But, I know, that for months I haven’t been making anything. I haven’t felt anything worthwhile, creatively. Even the mess I was working the last time I posted (which was months ago, as seems to have become the norm), never really became anything. I tore up some pictures and I ironed them to some fabric and then it all just sat in a pile on the floor in my craft room for months before I eventually picked it up and moved it. But this doll, I don’t know, I’m actually making stuff and having something to show for my work when I’m done. So, at least for now this is has become a thing.

If you’re on Facebook and are so inclined, I’ve created a Facebook group called Handmade Lammily Fashions that you might be interested in joining. I figure it can be a place where we can show off all the neat stuff we make for this doll and share patterns and tips (which, I will likely post here as well).

Lammily taking a tour of my workplace:

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Some of the shirts I’ve made for Lammily so far:

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Stop Telling Us What to Wear: Mini Rant

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Yesterday, while I was at the library, I picked up a copy of Packaging Girlhood: Rescuing our Daughters from Marketers Schemes by Sharon Lamb, Ed.D and Lyn Mikel Brown, Ed.D. I’m only about 40 pages in so far, but it’s already been something of an eye opener. I’ve been aware of rampant consumerism and the way the clothing industry tries to push people (not just girls and women) into the little categories it wants us to be in (male/female, preppy/rebel/geek, “urban”/”rural”, etc) for awhile and I’ve been aware of the brand-worshiping aspect of consumer culture for as long as I’ve been scratching my head over the importance of wearing clothes just because there was a certain word or logo on it (that happened around age 9, when I moved to a new school and everyone seemed to have to wear stuff from The Limited or Limited Too and if you weren’t wearing those clothes then ohmygodwhatiswrongwithyou?). However, it turns out that there’s a little more than I ever wanted to admit going on.

What I have gotten out of this book, thus far:

  • There is always this push to make girls want to be older, faster. This is nothing new to me, but, they’re marketing “bras” and pretty underwear and bikinis to 4 year olds now. *4*!!
  • Girls are being pushed into camps from a early age
    1. Camp 1: pink, the classically feminine color is soft and sweet (which there is now a bit of a split in the pink camp, with the pastel hues reflecting innocence and bolder hues (or pared with black) reflecting a bit of a sexier edge.
    2. Camp 2: red, a bold and assertive color.
    3. From the book, “The red girl is the girl who is not like the other girls can develop into not liking what makes those other girls who they are, putting them down for being too girly and weak. The girl wars mentality we see in the media is often between girly girls and tomboys, between what we fear starts out as the pink girl and the red girl.”
  • The same items are marketed to 6 year olds and 13 year olds.
  • The hetero-normative push into what is supposed to be the most important thing on a girl’s mind: Boys! (which, even I fell victim to with the Backstreet Boys and N’Sync when I was 12-15) Stores are happy to sell all manner of trinkets and shirts that espouse love for whatever male teen star is hot at the time… and this is marketed to 8 and 9 year old girls as well as teens. Why would 8 and 9 year olds be concerned with the cuteness of boys? When I was 8, I was still listening to what my parents listened to (and Michael Jackson).

Like I said, I’m only about 40 pages in. However, while I was scrolling through teh internets, I came upon one of those stupid “what you should/shouldn’t wear” lists. From LifeScript: Healthy Living for Women (I’m already laughing, folks), is an article telling me the “Top 10 items [I will soon be] Too Old to Wear” Here are some of my favorites:

  •  I can only wear my beloved Tshirts that say stuff for another year and a month. According to this article, I have to retire my tshirts at 30 because, “the freedom to express yourself via your wardrobe is part of the teen and 20-something years… but beyond that?… ‘The message tee boom was fueled by Young Hollywood… it’s mostly a way for people to express frustration.'”  So, I guess I’m only allowed to express myself for another year, then I need to shut up and hand it all over to people younger than me.
  • Not that I like to expose my cleavage, but I am now aware that after 50, it’s no longer an option for me. That’s because, according to the article, “‘An older woman shouldn’t feel she needs to show it all off. Anything below the middle of your [bustline] has got to go,’ DeMartino says. ‘A little goes a long way,’ writes Krupp, who in her book bans excessive ‘boobage’ past the age of 40 and warns readers not to display too much sagging skin.”  That’s right, women who are 50+ need to cover up because they have “too much sagging skin” [read: not attractive anymore; gross – read: younger *should* show cleavage – read: women are to constantly be aware of, and compliant to, the male gaze]
  • Now, I don’t do much with my hair beyond a simple pony tail, because I don;t like it down and I’m too lazy to do anything else with it. BUT. If I feel like putting something cute in my hair (it happens), like my tshirts, I’m only allowed to don these items until I’m 30. Because, “whether it’s flowery scrunchies, banana clips or your daughter’s plastic kiddie barrettes, whimsical hair accessories are not fitting for a fully grown woman.”  For the record, my grandmother, a woman in her 60’s, wore a pretty red hair gizmo over the holidays -the first time I’ve seen her wear anything in her hair in my life – and I thought she looked fabulous.

Dear Internet, Marketers – Kindly stop telling us what to wear or not wear and stop pushing us into boxes. I’ll wear what I want, how I want, for as long as I want.

 

 

 

They’re Almost Pants!

This past week I have been working on making myself some cargo pants (See posts 1 and 2). While I had intended to have these pants completed by now, as always, life has had other plans for me. However, in contrast to the way the story normally works on this blog — I get busy, I don’t make time to update, 2 or 3 months later I write another post apologizing (like here.. or here), long time readers know the drill by now — I’m going to update with what I *have* managed to get done since last time (and force myself to accept the fact that I’m neither perfect nor able to juggle everything the way I’d like to).

Inside out, pinned together.

Inside out, pinned together.

Right side out, front side

Right side out, front side

Right side out, front side, pockets close up.

Right side out, front side, pockets close up.

Right side out, back side

Right side out, back side

As you can see, they are definately starting to look more like actual pants, and the pockets have turned out fairly well. However, between getting hung up on the zipper (this pattern has some oddly written instructions), work, surrendering the table to roommates for their gaming purposes, and spending time with my boyfriend (obligatory plug – check out his podcast sometime), I haven’t gotten further than this. Let us see what this next week brings.