Tag Archives: the new york times

A Moment with the New York Times

A Moment in Time, the NYT Lens Blog’s interactive compilation of photos from around the globe, all taken at the same time, is genius and beautiful. It’s touching, funny and revealing to see the different objects, people and, well, moments, that readers contributed. They vary widely. A camel rests in QatarA dad takes his new son to church in Texas. I absolutely love this shot of an Ecuadorian woman in arresting orange.

When I finally left behind a Moment in Time, I found my way to this little interactive feature in the Style section: photos of readers’ favorite vintage finds that accompanied Sarah Maslin Nir’s piece, “Prospecting in Manhattan’s Richest Vintage Veins.” (For my own take on the topic, see here.)

A Screenshot of the NY Times’ “Vintage Finds from Around the World”

It’s less grandiose than a Moment in Time, of course, but no less revealing to scroll through readers’ vintage favorites. I’d be smiling too, if I were wearing this striped dress in the sun. But I especially loved the shot below, with the little glimpse of what I imagine to be the photographer’s dresser, captured among her photographs.

A little moment all its own.


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Process and Production

I loved reading Michelle Slatalla’s Wife/Mother/Worker/Spy piece today in The Times, about what she, an impatient writer learned about herself and her creative process from her new sewing machine. 

I just finished a similar experiment, writing a 5,800-word story intertwining the design of J Mendel’s Pre-Fall collection with the act of composing the story. It was a story within a story, about the creative process–a bit of a mind-bender, but so much fun to write. (It was a final project for my Masters, if you’d like to read it, let me know. A 20-page assault on this website doesn’t seem right somehow.)

J. Mendel Pre-Fall 2010

J Mendel, Pre-Fall 2010, from Style.com

Anyway, Slatalla sort of did the same thing in column form today, providing a bit of insight into her process and its little tics via a story about garment (or, in her case, dish towel) production. 

We could take this a step further to compare the collective consciousness of creative types–designers and writers alike, but that might be taking this whole thing a bit far.

Let’s just go back to wondering what to wear.

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The Denim Diaries: Part 2

Well, it seems I’m not alone in my endless fascination with denim, and the industry is certainly providing plenty of material (forgive) to work with. And I’m not the only one. Today, one half of a seemingly life-sized denim-dressed backside, is gracing the front of The New York Times’ style section.

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The story touches on the often arbitrary nature of pricing jeans, which sounds like it has more to do with what the market will bear than with the actual cost of production. Maybe that’s why I’m wearing leggings today, rather than my J Brand jeans (pictured above) which The New York Tailor Shop is patching up for me–yet again.

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Jesus, who works at the Tailor Shop, along with his brother and his dad, said they get jeans with holes at the nexus (read: crotch), like mine everyday.

I loved J Brands when they emerged–they filled a hole (again, forgive) in the market for a clean, dark, straight jean with a bit of stretch. I bought one pair, and then a second. They became my everyday jeans. When I wore them to work my first week for Rogan, another denim designer, he gave me a once over and called me a “sucker.” At the time I thought he was bruised that I wasn’t wearing his jeans (flattered that he cared), but I’m beginning to wonder if he was right.

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When I asked one of the guys working the floor at Barney’s Co-op whether he got a lot of returns on J Brands for these holes at the crotch, he said “tons,” but he thinks they’re getting better. I actually fear they’ve gotten worse. The pair pictured above is my second one, and it’s getting a little overwhelming in the patch department. They’re starting to look like padded bike shorts. Not sexy. (For $158, they can’t last a year?)

It’s funny, in that New York Times story today, Jeff Rudes, a J Brand founder, says that $200 jeans were “just a fad,” and goes on to say that “the floors at most of the major stores were so overassorted that they almost looked like Loehmann’s.” Yet, on J Brand’s website, there are no less than 178 permutations to choose from–some of which appear dark, clean, sexy, and straight, just the way I like them. (Yes, we’re still talking about jeans.)

If I had any indication the price tag had some bearing on quality and durability, I just might consider purchasing a pair. But between my hole-patching fund and that story in The Times I may have to continue the hunt–just so I don’t feel like a sucker.

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The Kids are Alright

This thought-provoking piece about “buycotting” in Sunday’s New York Times said that 62% of American consumers were willing to “willing to pay $5 extra for a $20 sweater produced more ethically.”

I was curious what the criteria for ethical production were, so I found the study, called Human Rights and Public Opinion: From Attitudes to Action for free on Political Science Quarterly’s website, and found they defined an “ethically produced” sweater as one produced without sweatshop labor. Even more interesting was this factoid–an easy way to take years off your age!

“The largest difference in willingness to pay [extra for ethically-produced goods] occurs between those over and under 60 years old. Older Americans are substantially less likely to say they are willing to pay more for ethically produced goods.”

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What Price Freebies?

So the other night I went to a launch party for Cole Haan’s new line, Cole, Rood & Haan. It was a pleasant little affair at the top of a wooden staircase in Soho, and if Todd Selby’s pretty pictures (like the one below) on their website, don’t reveal the collection’s target audience, the list of links on their “other things” page does. These shoes are for people who eat at Marlow & Sons and hang out at Mollusk Surf Shop when they’re not surfing Montauk or reading Monocle.

What’s the best way to make sure these (us?) shaggy young things wear Cole, Rood & Haan’s brogues and bucs? Well, give them a pair!

Maryam and Uday, New York City, August 2009

Photo from The Selby for Cole Haan

So that’s exactly what the company did–gave every guest a free pair. I was invited by extension, as a guest’s +1, which entitled me too, to pick out a pair. As a journalist, I’ve been warned of the perils of accepting freebies, lest I trade my integrity for a new accessory, however handsome. The common cautionary tale is about The New York Times’ questionnaire, where writers must disclose whether they have accepted any free merchandise, before working for The Times.

Now, free stuff happens in fashion all the time, but I’ve never gotten a “gift” in exchange for a kind article–maybe because I’m not that powerful. In any case, I wasn’t on assignment, and I was more interested in a complimentary cocktail upon arrival than I was in the new kicks.

But truly, maybe I’m not the girl they’re after, because I didn’t have to have any of the shoes. When someone asked me which pair I would take home I replied, none. At this point, I said, my wardrobe is more about editing than acquiring. “That’s so mature of you!” exclaimed an editor.

But it’s only sort of true. If they had the boots pictured below in girls’ sizes, I might have been in business:

GLAD RAGS

But alas, they did not. So I turned the whole free conundrum on its head by taking a pair for a friend who incidentally works for free, as an intern, at The New York Times–a business that knows a thing or two about the foibles of freebies.

For more reading on free stuff you could see:

this post on Vanity Fair.com where I, incidentally, work for free (but did not write this): “Mapping Out Your Party Schedule Based on Freebies”

or

this book on the topic: Free: The Future of a Radical Price

It’s a New York Times bestseller.

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