Monday, March 29, 2010

what i wore today: sugar shack style

cabane à sucre

on sunday, march 14th, simon invited myself, georgina, cristobal and karina to his uncle's sugar shack in bellechasse, québec. i was so excited, since it had been years since i'd been to one and my first time going to one in québec. so i grabbed my pentax and we ran to catch the ferry to lévis. after a short drive and a little stroll through the woods, we arrived to the lovely cabin and were greeted by simon's aunt and uncle. they were very enthused to have guests, especially mexican guests who had never seen so much snow aside from never having been to a sugar shack.

here are some of my favourite photos:

cabane à sucre




sugar shack style


furry woods.

you can see more film photos on my flickr. here are a few digital ones that give you a better idea of my outfit since i suppose that's what we do here on fashion blogs:

happy monday! now back to job applications.

words of wisdom: embodied resistance/oppression

photo by anja, cross-stitching by amelia (who both have awesome blogs you should read)

march has been a whirlwind and i've been trying to think up ways to update this blog on a more regular basis without getting caught up in not having the time to edit my 3,000 word essays every time i try to write about something. so here is a new little feature that i'll try to do from time to time, sort of like feministing's weekly feminist reader where i suggest some links and you can comment with your own favourite things you've read as of late. i'll start with some quotes that have really caught my attention lately.
The theme of rescue through benevolence underpins power relations and gives expression to those relations in a way that "makes sense." Thus difference, which is threatening, can similarly be recuperated through its conversion into exotica, or its neutralization through containment. In speaking of the exotic, it is apparent that imperial literature was replete with representations constructing women from the East and other parts of the wolrd as exotic Others who need to be unveiled so that their hidden natures could be consumed by the colonizers.
- Mapping Race in the Media by Yasmin Jiwani in Discourses of Denial, entire book available for download in pdf form here.
Sympathy or even empathy that is not coupled with power-sharing is meaningless. Any story that purports to show solidarity or uplift marginalised groups, but is not willing to let us tell our own stories in our own way, is not a friend.
- Stories that Ally versus Stories that Appropriate by Thea Lim, via Racialicious

I am a woman, and present myself as such. This does not mean I am anybody else’s expectation of what a woman is, but my own. I’m always reinventing the meaning of womanhood by just being myself, and knowing that whatever the result of being myself is, it is being a woman. I think that goes for everybody and any gender identity they may have.

- Anonymous, via Genderfork
There is no automatic or axiomatic relationship between a particular sexual act and the identity of the person performing it.
- Anonymous, via fuckyeahfemmes

...When we appeal to some notion of an unmodified or undecorated body, we participate in the adoption of a false neutrality. We pretend, in those moments, that there is a natural body or fashion, a way of dressing or wearing yourself that is not a product of culture. Norms always masquerade as non-choices, and when we suggest that for example, resisting sexism means everyone should look androgynous, or resisting racism means no one should modify the texture of their hair, we foreclose people’s abilities to expose the workings of fucked up systems on their bodies as they see fit.
- Dress to Kill, Fight to Win by Dean Spade (you really need to read the whole thing)

and last but not least, a little less about fashion and more about decor (which has been on my mind a lot these days), a quote from the Globe and Mail: Russell Smith's A lament for the bookshelf:

Bric-a-brac is generally unfashionable now. Designers see apartments full of amusing memorabilia – the matchboxes from Berlin, the Soweto tin car, all the stuff that children love – as dust-gathering and space-consuming. We no longer respect the Cabinet of Wonders as a guiding principle of decoration. So we lose forever the pleasure known to humanity for 500 years of taking a stroll up and down the aisles of someone else’s brain by perusing their bookshelves. Gone will be the guilty joy of spending a rainy afternoon at a cottage with the remnants of someone else’s childhood: their Nancy Drews, their 1970s National Geographics. Without bookshelves, you will never know the warning signs contained in the e-reader of your handsome date – you will not know for months that he is reading The Secret and Feng Shui for Dummies, even if you stay over. You will never be able to ask, as casually as you can, “Did you like this?” as you pull down, as if fascinated, Patrick Swayze’s autobiography.

hopefully that gives you some food for thought! share any great quotes you've stumbled upon lately in the comments.

to end off, a lot of people ask me how i find all of these awesome things on the internet, and wonder if i spend every waking minute of the day online simply googling "awesome things." sadly, it is not that simple and i really don't spend that much time in front of my computer. thanks to people i know both in real life and online, we share our favourite things with each other via emails, our livejournals, our tumblrs and our blogs. (unimportant sidenote: i know lots of people would argue that lj, tumblr and blogs are all "blogs" but i always feel the need to differentiate) and since most of these quotes came to my attention via some of these wonderful people i will give you some links so you can cut out the middle (wo)man! i'm posting their tumblrs because those are their most public places and where they most often share awesome quotes like the aforementioned ones.


Monday, March 22, 2010

my favourite thrifts: new feature!

today is the first in what i hope will become a regular feature here: my favourite thrifts. i've been posting my finds for years on thriftwhore but here i will highlight one item per post and tell you where i found it, what i paid for it, and why i think it's awesome. pretty straightforward. so here is the innaugural post of my favourite thrifts.

1970s political dress

found: march 2010
where: emmaus
how much: 3$

why it's awesome:

i promised myself years ago i would stop thrifting things for other people; i would only purchase things that i could fit into and that i would wear. i wouldn't simply take anything that i thought was beautiful or interesting or cool home with me just to have it, or to give to a friend, or to maybe one day sell. this, of course, has failed miserably, namely since i started my etsy store in november 2008 and when i stumble upon things like... this dress.

this dress. this dress is made for a child, but it is by and large one of the world's most wonderful dresses i have ever found. i'm sure you're looking at said dress, thinking, "why, yes, julia that is a cute dress, but one of the world's most wonderful dresses? that's quite a statement to make about a simple little 1970s children's garment."

sure, there's no fancy embroidery, or embellishment, or designer tags. it, by all accounts, looks like any old dress a young girl in the 1970s would scamper around the yard in, spill ice cream on, get dirty in. but let us look a little bit closer.

upon inspecting the perfectly sweet peter pan collar, the awesomeness of this garment should become apparent. no? need more convincing? look closer still...

up with permissive society!
look at the print of the sleeves! there are little children holding placards; they are all protesting for women's liberation, a permissive society and worker's rights! how amazing is that! i can't stop using exclamation marks!

workers of the world unite!
and to top it off, they are the most stylish adorable freckled little protestors you've ever seen.

this one, who holds the sign saying "up with permissive society," reminds me of a turn of the century suffragette. think of the mother in mary poppins.

and there you have it. one of the world's most wonderful dresses i have ever seen.

check out my flickr for a few more photos and for higher resolution versions.

Thursday, March 18, 2010



for the past few months (oh who am i kidding, years) i've been trying to flesh out my ideas about self-portraits. why i take them, why they are interesting, why i find them so thought-provoking. but since every time i sit down to write about them, i end up writing a novel, i decided to simply share some self-portraits with you guys while i work out some actually writing. i realized i still had yet to share my favourite self-portraits i took while i was in mexico back in december. it's about time i shared them with you.

barra de navidad
(view this one larger, it's much better that way)

this one, i love because it's all about the mistakes; i had no idea there would be the shadows of the clothesline and powerlines cast on me. i didn't know i would hear a noise crashing in the kitchen that distracted me so that i wasn't looking (posing) at the camera. my favourite self-portraits are always the mistakes, the surprises.

also, in these photos, we see my uniform from my time in mexico. i bought that dress the first time i went to a tiny thrift store in ste. foy for a whole dollar, and only get to wear it when it's really really hot. so far it was worn for one day in québec city, three days in brooklyn in august, and five days in mexico.

notre cours d'en arrière
(i tried to recreate the mistakes from the first photo i took in that spot but to no avail)

clay pot

la hacienda


i might share a few more later, but these are my absolute favourites. to see more or comment on them, you can see them on my flickr.

Monday, March 1, 2010

a short film inspired by literature, set to music

The Women from jamieson on Vimeo.

a friend of mine shared this with me and i am simply blown away. it is incredibly beautiful and i thought my readers might enjoy it as well.

aside from the staggering beauty of this short film, i'm very intrigued by the marriage of mediums going on here. think about it: a filmmaker makes a short film to promote a book, and uses a song as the soundtrack. if it works well, you want to know more about all three at the end of the three minutes and thirteen seconds.

after watching this (three times now) i want to read the book, listen to the album, and see what other work the filmmaker has done. i wouldn't be surprised to see more people doing these sorts of things, a very creative promoting machine.

feminist fashion show: TOMORROW

buttons salima and i made for les monologues du vagin in québec city

i've had many conversations with fellow feminists about what a fashion show for us would look like. of course, what the clothing itself would be, but also who the models, designers, how our version of the industry circus would present itself. would everything be affordably priced? environmentally friendly? made by women? clothing that is easily adaptable to different bodies? everyone had such different ideas that it was insane to try and visually imagine what it would look like.

imagine my surprise (and happiness!) when i heard that there are feminists who are not only asking themselves these questions, but putting it into action by organizing their very own feminist fashion show tomorrow, march 2nd at 3pm, in toronto on the york university campus. click on the link for more info!

since i can't be there myself, i decided to send off an email to the wonderful organizers of this event, Alyssa and Melanie, to ask them a few questions about their event and also to get you guys out to it! after the event, they'll be sending me a few photos to share with you!

without further ado, i give you our interview:

Garçonnière: What will the models be like?

Mel: The models that we will be having in the show will be bodies that are not normally represented in mainstream fashion, as well as those that are. For this reason, we will be having drag, trans, disability, burlesque, kink, BDSM, as well as mainstream models. We are aiming to be fluid in our representations to allow people to question the normative nature of models in mainstream fashion and what this dominant discourse does to our gender roles, socialization practices, body image etc.

Garçonnière: What kind of set up will you guys have, and how did you decide on it? (traditional runway, standing models, chessboard or holograms a la McQueen).

Alyssa: Working with not only our space but our concepts as well, we don't want to have the typical runway show. If we're trying to resist against normativity, limiting the show to a traditional runway would just be no fun!

We were inspired by the underground queer vogue-ing houses that were popular in the 1980s (for a great article on the history of this underground culture, read more here.). We want it to not lose any of the "show" aspect - We want to take up space to metaphorically represent marginalized bodies taking up public space. Thus our models will not be limited to a stage but will be modeling on tables, dancing, working with staircases, coming from multiple angles, up ramps and down hallways (as we want to have an accessible aspect) and so on.

G: What kind of music are you using in your show?

Alyssa: We're trying to combine feminist awareness but at the same time reach out to mainstream minds. So we've got high energy, loud, vibrant music, but at the same time, the lyrical content and message is feminist -friendly. The playlist works to be inclusive - we've got all types of genres and artists, from Nine Inch Nails to Rihanna to Le Tigre and different cultural music as well.

G: What do you want people to take away after having seen your fashion show?

Mel: Our main goal in the Feminist Fashion Show is try and get people to re-think their normative conceptions of mainstream fashion and the media. We want people to question what they think about fashion, push their boundaries about sexual expression, gender roles, queer beings, feminism and the fashion show style. We hope by doing this we will provide visibility of the feminist and queer community while educating about expressions outside the boundaries of heteronormativity.

G: What other sorts of events is WSUSC organizing?

Mel: In November of last year the WSUSC organized a symposium entitled "The F Word." The aim of this was to try and address why feminism has become a taboo within our generation and why many do not want to take up the label. The panelists that the event feminist theoretical lens to give the audience and diverse perspective on the different approaches and thought within feminist (i.e. fat feminism, feminism and the church etc). This is our last event of this year, but be prepared to see MANY more exciting and boundary pushing events starting in September of 2010.

G: Do you find being students inspires the kinds of events you organize? Or do you find that it shows you that there is a need for events like the feminist fashion show?

Mel: There are many political bodies and student run organizations within York University that allows for many forms of expression. However, what we noticed over the past couple of years is that there has not really been any radical grassroot feminist activism on the campus. Because of this, we decided to run the Women's Studies Undergraduate Student Club (WSUSC) to allow for this voice and to support and recognize the work that feminists do on campus. It has been through the lack of feminist and queer activism that inspired us as third wave, radical feminist's to create this event. It is through events like the fashion show that allows for "mainstream" students to question their dominant ideological lens. If we were to continue to just hold private events we would only be preaching to the converted. Visibility and voices are major keys to change the lens of North American thought.

Where can people find out more about your event (i.e online resources, in person, etc)

Alyssa: We're trying to get our message out on multiple blogs. We have a twitter account, we have a facebook group (Feminist Action @ YU) and event page. We have a webpage linked with the U.N. At York University, we have an office inside Founders College and work closely with the Womens Studies department. And of course, we do most of our communication with those who are interested in our cause through our email, We're trying to reach every form of promotion possible and are still looking for more!

image from the sartorialist

And last but not least, since you're being interviewed by a fashion blog, what are your favourite blogs or readings about feminist fashion?

Alyssa: Personally my favourite fashion blog is The Sartorialist. I like the idea of a fashion based publication that actually reaches onto the streets and finds real people with a personal sense of fashion. It seems sometimes that fashion doesn't translate from the pages of the couture focused magazines onto the streets. At the same time, 'fashion' to the mainstream consumer is often confused with what is mass produced and you're left with clones that actually have a style that runs counter to the root of fashion, self-expression and art related to the body as a canvas. So the Sartorialist kind of plays the middle-man (or middle-woman!) between those two ideas.

thanks so much for giving me your free time when you're so busy organizing what sounds like an amazing event! I can't wait to hear about how it turns out and to share pictures with you guys.

March 2nd, 2010 at 3pm

WSUSC'S FEMINIST FASHION SHOW Plans to blur boundaries, fuck with the gender binary, and revolutionize how we see formerly oppressive institutions such as fashion. We aim to represent all bodies - fat, skinny, trans, black, white, brown, yellow, boy, girl, drag, burlesque, kink, and so on. 

Feminist Action @ YU is going to show you that grassroots activism is STILL ALIVE! 

COME OUT TO THE EVENT where we will be having a FREE RAFFLE and FREE GIVEAWAYS from our SPONSORS!!! Including these sexy prizes:

$100 value prize from Good For Her (
$50 value prize from Come as You Are (
Free giveaways from the STAG SHOP! (