Summer Fabrics by Cinthia Contreras

_DSC4067rr.jpg

Coming from an island where you experience pretty much only one season, doesn’t exactly teach you about proper use of fashion for a hot weather country believe or not, in my case I would throw on me whatever was on “trend” even high to the knee boots! Oh Lord come and help us! I never paid attention to fabrics and clothing pieces that would keep me from sweating a river and complaining and that lack of knowledge/attention followed me all the way to New York where the summer is even moving humid and the pollution even worst.

This year thanks to the collaborations I did with some brands I got to experience and feel the big difference of wearing the right type of fabric to endure the heat, which doesn’t get me wrong I like.

Tart and Tucker (this one made in Dominican Republic yeyyI have to admit were my biggest standouts! The softness and lightness of their fabrics kept me fresh and comfortable. For the first time in my life, I felt good in summer clothes.

Let me highlight some fabrics I’m sure are going to keep you fresh and on point during this amazing and fun season.

Summer fabrics:

Modal: is a popular fabric used in clothing and everyday household items. Modal is a semi-synthetic cellulose fiber, which is a type of rayon. Modal fabric is made by spinning cellulose that has been reconstituted from trees. More often than not the cellulose is obtained from beech trees.

Even though modal has been around for so many decades, it is now more popular than ever. And the reason for this is that its stretchiness and its softness make it ideal for fashionable active and sportswear. So, now more modal is produced than ever before.

Silk: Is a luxury fabric with an enchanting history.

Characteristics:

 - Low density makes for a light and comfortable clothing

- High resistance to deformation

- Good insulation properties / warm in winter, cool in summer

- Strongest natural fiber available

- Shimmers and shines

- Good affinity to dye

_DSC4202r.jpg

Leaving aside the rather demanding care, silk is one of the most comfortable fiber fabrics in the world

Jersey fabric is a soft, warm stretchy fabric that is made from cotton, silk, or synthetic fibers. ... Jersey is often used for clingy skirts and shirts, as well as casual wear and athletic wear.

Georgette, originally made from silk is made with highly twisted yarns. Alternating S- and Z-twist yarns in both warp and weft creates its characteristic crinkly surface. Georgette is made in solid colors and prints and is used for blouses, dresses, evening gowns, saris, and trimmings.

 Cotton: has very good breathable characteristics, it is hypoallergenic, agreeable to the touch, and it suits perfectly for people with skin hypersensibility. It has low thermal-conductivity, therefore it is an ideal material for both summer and winter clothes: in summer it prevents your skin from heat, and in winter it preserves the warmth of your body. Cotton fabrics are easy to dye and have very low elasticity characteristics, so they almost don't stretch.

Sisterly|Newport, RI by Cinthia Contreras

IMG_0391r.jpg

Do I need to mention again that shooting has become a major torture thanks to the ice freezing cold while wearing Spring|Summer collections and it gest worst when we go to the beach!

This week I was going to visit my sister and since I was going to be close to Newport, RI, a town I love I decided well let’s shoot there.  When we first moved to the US my brother used to bring us there every Sunday, he would do his fishing while we walked and drove around town.

IMG_0247r.jpg

I had only one look ready for this shooting. I had no time to get more in New York and turned out to be good at the end because I went shopping with my sister and guess what?! She was pretty great at giving ideas of how to unusually match looks and pick pieces I would normally ignore at the store. We end up creating simple but classy looks I would love to wear during these seasons, I’m not a fan of spring|summer clothing I have to admit but I love those seasons! Seeing and feeling so good with these combinations make me very excited and looking forward to actually dress up for the upcoming months.

IMG_0090r.jpg
IMG_0299r.jpg
IMG_0334r.jpg
IMG_0176r.jpg

Playa Invernal|Beach Blizzard by Cinthia Contreras

IMG_9283r.jpg

Primavera|Verano se acerca y me dije porque no ir a hacerse las foticas en la playa? Ya estoy cansada de la ciudad como quiera, pero ay! Pleno invierno/post tormenta de nieve, sera que vamos a poder sobrevivir al frio?! Pues les cuento que casi no, jamas había perdido la capacidad de poder caminar y eso fue justo lo que sucedió, porque se me acalambraron las piernas por el frío tan intenso.

Resulta que los mini vestidos vienen para esta temporada con el real mega escote (oh que oportunos mis implantes) y era esa justo la idea, mostrar las diferentes formas en las que van a venir; tipo V, amarraditos en el centro, hasta el ombligo, etc. Pero las condiciones no permitieron que me desmontara los jackets ni mucho menos posar y hacer las tomas con calma, así que buscaré otra forma de mostrarles el trend. Pero debo de admitir que con todo y frío la sensación de calma y belleza de la playa permanecieron latentes y yo por supuesto enamorada como siempre.

IMG_9365r.jpg

Beach Lover

Far Rockaway

Cada photoshoot viene con su propia historia y aventura, y este tuvo muchas, desde la pobre Vivi tener que venir a buscarme mi depa porque como sabrán todavía no puedo estar cargando bultos hasta robarnos el set se una sesión de fotos que tenía una revista, esa toma en ese carro vintage valía la multa o el boche que nos hubiesen pegado.


IMG_9388r.jpg

Spring|Summer is coming and I said to myself why not shot at the beach? I’m tired of the city anyway, but ay! Winter/post-blizzard, are we going to be able to survive the cold? Well let me tell you we almost don’t, I lost the capacity to walk because my legs went numb thanks to the extreme cold.

Sundresses are coming this season with the real mega cleavage (oh how opportune my implants) and the idea was to show the different shapes and depth; V shape, until the belly button, tied in the front, etc, but the weather conditions didn’t allow me to take off my jacket not much less pose and shot with calm and thinking through every frame so I’m going to have to find another way to show you the trend. But I have to admit that cold and everything the calm and beauty of the beach were intact and of course me in love as always.

Every shooting comes with its own story and adventure and this one came with many, from Vivi having to pick me up at my apartment because as you know I still can’t lift heavy stuff to steal the set of a magazine photo-shoot, that shoot in that vintage car worth any problem we could have got into.

Mini Sunnies and It's Limitations by Cinthia Contreras

unnamed.jpg
IMG_6079.jpg

Kanye West texted Kim Kardashian “Dump your big shades, mini sunnies are going to be trending” and down we go. I have to admit I own a pair myself and because of that I can definitely say that they are pretty and stylish, cool for pictures but harmful to be out there in the sun with them, shades have a function and that is to protect the eyes from the UV rays that come from the sun. There are two types of UV rays: UV-A and UV-B. Over time, the effects of UV rays may help cause a number of eye problems.

UV-A

Can hurt your central vision. It can damage the macula, a part of the retina at the back of your eye.

UV-B

The front part of your eye (the cornea and the lens) absorbs most UV-B rays, but these rays may cause even more damage to your eyes than UV-A rays.

These are some of the eyes problems UV rays can cause:

IMG_6003.jpg

Macular Degeneration

UV rays may lead to macular degeneration, a leading cause of vision loss for older Americans.

Cataract

UV rays, especially UV-B rays, may also cause some kinds of cataracts. A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s natural lens, the part of the eye that focuses the light we see.

Pterygium

Another UV-related problem is a growth called pterygium. This growth begins on the white of the eye and may involve the cornea. Eventually, the growth may block vision. It is more common in people who work outside in the sun and wind.

Skin Cancer

Skin cancer around the eyelids is also linked to prolonged UV exposure.

Corneal Sunburn

Corneal sunburn, called photokeratitis, is the result of high short-term exposure to UV-B rays. Long hours at the beach or skiing without proper eye protection can cause this problem. It can be very painful and may cause temporary vision loss.

It is so annoying to see all these influencers saying the same things over and over again is like they sit down and write a script together “Oh I got this on Amazon at 7 dollars” “ Oh I love them and I’m going to wear them all the time” etc etc, when the reality is that we use them for pictures and to walk with them for 3 minutes to catch a show during fashion week.

So make sure to pack your big glasses along with the mini ones if you are going to be outdoors.

 

IMG_5243.jpg

Bibliotecaria by Cinthia Contreras

IMG_6414.jpg

Parte de lo que amo de crear contenido es la oportunidad que me da de conocer y turistear en mi propia ciudad! Cada semana elegimos una locación específica para poder hacer las fotos y escribir los artículos aquí. Tratamos tambien de elegir los atuendos de acuerdo a la locación elegida.

Durante el verano hacemos, como ven fotos en exteriores, y la intención es siempre hacerlas así pero dada la tremenda gripe que adquirí gracias a un shooting en Dumbo con la temperatura a un 1 grado si mal no recuerdo, decidí no seguir inventando y hacer los shootings en interiores lo cual puede llegar a ser muy complicado por el asunto de ilumación, permisos y demasiados curiosos concentrada y fijamente observando todo el proceso.

IMG_6390.jpg

La primera locación en interiores elegida fué la Librería Pública, y debo de admitir que es una verguenza el hecho de que tengo 7 años viviendo en New York y nunca había entrado a este impresionante lugar, repleto de personas, demasiadísimos libros y diferentes salones. Cada espacio tiene algún detalle super especial, techos pintados como cielos e increíbles lámparas colgando del techo. Para esta locación elegí un look que me hiciese parecer bibliotecaria sexy; falda tipo lápiz con una abertura en el frente, botas de pana hasta las rodillas, un top cuello tortuga de rayas y hasta lentecitos me puse!.

Un salón donde habían por los menos doscientas personas leyendo en absoluto silencio puede ser muy intimidante! la verguenza de ponernos a posar en frente de semenjante público nos congeló por aproximafamente 15 minutos, pero ya estabamos allá y jamas íbamos a desperdiciar semejante lugar.

Newest Obsession by Cinthia Contreras

Y quien iba a decir que despues de referirme a las Dr Martens como las botas de payaso cuando las veía en todas partes hace un par de años iba a terminar obsesionada buscando un par negras en charol! Despues de darle mente por un par de días decidí entra a la tienda a la que nunca había entrado y le paso por el frente practicamente todos los días. La sensación fue un viaje en el tiempo cuando estaba en mi etapa de “rockerita” en el colegio y parte de la Universidad; la música, la vestimenta de los empleados la vibra de la tienda… Desde que entré ví las botas que quería y otras con taco que me llamaron mucho la atención las pido en mi size y omg que enormes se veían! Casi me salgo corriendo de la tienda, pero la vendedora me sugirió que las intentara en un size menos porque efectivamente, las botas corren demasiado grandes, me las trae y efectivamente me sirvieron, un poco justas pero según ella las botas van anchando así que esperemos que así sea, porque la verdad es que se ven super stylish y que decir de lo cómodas y fuertes que son.

Esten listos para los looks raros que estaré armando con ellas! 

E4B3153D-E7C2-405E-8308-66BCBEF022B5.jpg
Screen Shot 2017-12-31 at 4.54.38 PM.png

Rosado by Cinthia Contreras

"El rosado es el color universal del amor hacia uno mismo y hacia los demás. El Rosado representa amistad, afecto, armonía, paz interior y accesibilidad".

photo.jpg

El verano se fue y lo que regularmente se espera de mi es un apagón en mi pagina de Instagram, vestida de negro de pies a cabeza! Pero predigo que para este año no y todo esto luego de por puras ganas de relajarme a mi misma seleccione un jacket de leather rosado barbie para mi sesión de foto semanal. Recuero haberle dicho a MrC - "oye, no me relajes pero me voy a poner un jacket rosado".

 SORPRESASSSS (sí porque fueron varias)! me sentí sumamente cómoda con este color tan delicado, el pechito se me infló y mi Instragram, DM Y Whatsapp se fueron abajo cuando publiqué esta primera imagen "Cinthia en Rosado". Por coincidencia mi destape con este color sucedió durante el mes de Octubre que es el mes de la sensibilización sobre el cancer de mamas una causa sumamente importante para mí. 

Es increíble como a veces hacerse una broma a si misma puede resultar en un cambio de perspectiva, punto de vista y quien sabe hasta de vida. 

IMG_0206.JPG

Montreal: Is it really summer? by Cinthia Contreras

I'm glad I took a look at the weather app before traveling to Montreal! I knew up there is never quite hot not even during the summer but to the point of having to bring actual outwear to be comfortable outdoors without having to run back to the hotel because you are freezing, specially at night. I had a few inconveniences before my trip (the result of not traveling with the right people) and that didn't allowed me to pack the right clothes... hiking in leather pants eee not such a good idea but I made it through and enjoyed my chic outdoors adventure.

 

 

The Watch Collector: Grayton's by Cinthia Contreras

And yeah that is my second name now "The Watch Collector". And yes it is going to keep growing as long as I find amazing and unique pieces like this CEET's Art Watch, a collaboration between Graytons and graffiti artist and painter CEET. 

CEET's has been active and prolific on the international art scene since the mid-eighties. Experimenting with various applications of acrylic, oil, and spray paint, CEET's work subtly refers to the history of Pop Art but also has a strong urban identity. In recent years, CEET has focused on his "Chicanos" series.

The cartoonish chickens portrayed by the artist mirror the emotions and personalities of human beings. Through his colorful and humorous approach, CEET makes a bold modern critique of society’s 'followers' who are afraid to stand out as individuals and points out that most people just ‘chicken out’! And that is exactly why this watch caught my attention with its color and fun (things I'm always looking out for!)

   CEET'S Art Watch, photo by me

CEET'S Art Watch, photo by me

Grayton's founder Remi Chabrat spent twenty-five years in the watch industry with Montrichard Group, making timepieces for big name companies before venturing out and creating a line of watches all his own. Remi noticed that while quartz watches were coming down in price, traditional quality automatic watches were not following the same trend. He decided to make a change and give the world better options.

   CEET'S Art Watch, photo by me

CEET'S Art Watch, photo by me

When I received the watch I was very surprised with the packaging, an enormous black box, with the same graphics as my watch on the top of the box. And when I opened it, I was not disappointed with my new watch; just the right size, big but not too big. It can be worn by men and women, it isn't heavy and it’s very urban. I immediately pictured myself in a pair of ripped skinny jeans with a white shirt and my silver sneakers, eating ice cream while walking around the city with friends or with bae.

Grayton is the first brand dedicated to creating luxury automatic watches for men and women for the same price as quartz watches. Grayton has the means and the will to shake up the watch market, all for the benefit of its customers. Welcome to Grayton’s world!

 

Dubai Looks by Cinthia Contreras

Para este viaje decidí organizar mis looks por día y momentos y que alivio haber hecho eso, no solo ahorré espacio de maleta y peso, sino también evitó que me quedara perdida en lalaland con respecto a qué vestir, que es lo que normalmente me sucede y cuando pasa termino poniéndome lo que sea y mmmmmmmm not good! esos collage que elijo suelen ser muy malos plop. 

Existe este pensamiento de que en Dubai si no te tapas hasta la boca vas preso y esto no puede ser mas incierto! Sí, obvio que hay que no pasarse y respetar pero preso no vas.

Otro punto que tome en cuenta es que el New York style no llama la atención en Dubai y es el que me gusta y no lo quería renegar, lo que hice fue diluir un poco el frígido estilo neuyorquino y volverlo un poco más sexy y accesible mostrando alguna parte de mi cuerpo aquí y allá aunque se quedaran mirando seguro preguntándose, a ella que le pasa?

Para los atuendos diurnos, bueno ya me habían advetido que el calor iba a estar tremendo pero se les olvidó mencionar que la humedad estaba de apaga y vámonos (ay los cabellos!!! no pude con ellos). Calor es algo a lo que ya no estoy acostumbrada, ni los jeans soporto cuando hace está caliente, así que traté de buscarle la vuelta eligiendo telas de algodón. Para montarme en aviones jamas jeans! licras/leggins lo mejor del mundo.

Spring: Cherry Blossoms, Washington DC 2017 by Cinthia Contreras

 Washington, DC,  photo by me

Washington, DC, photo by me

Im a flowers lovers with a fascination for cherry blossoms  I just find them magical like I'm part of some fairy tale and I'm just running around the field like a doncella wearing a huge dress and long locks flying with the wind (I'm sounding kind off crazy but that is how it makes me feel) but well back to the reality, Washington DC is famous for the beautiful display of these trees that blooms around the first two weeks of April and last no longer than 10 one week. This year the blooming happened on March 25 and there I was on March 27 on the road prepared and more than ready to leave New York even if it was only for a couple of hours, another ambiance, another sky another view.

The fashion:

For this special occasion, I dared choosing bright and light colors like Yellow, never ever have I worn a yellow dress! but for my surprised it didn't only looked great but I felt super comfortable in it and why not I paired it with yellow booties let's do this all the away. I love leather so I chose a white leather jacket and matched it with a bodycon baby blue and white dress and paired them with a bright peep toe pumps and  a classic cut dress with see thru starts for a more modern look, 40's with a twist.

 

 

The D DAY by Cinthia Contreras

So far the most interesting shooting ever! Too angry to pose I had to end up canceling the shooting and having a very hard time finding a good picture.

I am trying not to have many opinions about our dear president Trump because I think some of his ideals make sense but living in flesh the consequences of his actions and how he expresses himself, changed everything and made me understand why New Yorkers are fighting him all the way. Where is this racism is going to take us? It has always existed but more in silent but now they feel they have the right to go all blunt and crazy about it. Are we going to start killing each other? Because what do white people think is going to happen if one day they mess with someone who is not willing to pull their crap and the person react right in the spot?  Because as for me only one very powerful reason stopped me that day from taking the situation below further.

So here is the story, in my eternal search of different locations to shoot since honestly Soho is already burned out. I decided to make One Beacon Court the location for this shooting, an impressive modern half circle crystal and metal edification perfect for breathtaking images but with a few issues morons lurking around asking people where do they come from to make sure they can "kick you out" of the area (like they own the country) and get away with it. During the first attempt of kicking us out I was nice and responded - just a few shoots, but then my brain sent me an electric shock to advised me - why the heck do I need to leave? this is not an advertising campaign or an editorial shoot, I have no tripods or monopods on the ground and I'm not advertising a commercial establishment without permission so why the f* do I need to leave? After a few minutes shooting a second attempt to kick us out the area happened this time by an old man who came with a dog and an attitude, who I stopped by shouting "THIS IS NOT A COMMERCIAL PHOTOSHOOT"  then he left but not before practically inserting the dog inside our bags to make sure we weren't selling drugs??!!! UNBELIEVABLE, a while later another ass who is supposed to know about law and protect civilians had the balls to approached my friend and got in his face like he has the right not only to challenge people but scream at them just because he has an uniform, of course my reaction was getting all Carrie and shouting how he was violating my rights for which he had no response since he obviously was clueless, because he understood that I was a tourist or and illegal Dominican who had no idea about United States rules and law. 

Dear Bridgman (batch 5019):

You are an ass who has no business wearing that uniform and with your imaginary swastika I wipe my pretty #Dominican derrière.

PD: Funny enough I went back home and googled "how to report police abuse" and only external organizations popped up not even a link from the police department! I ended up "reporting" in two of these organizations and yet no response... 

And now going to fashion, boyfriend jeans are going to be a thing thanks God! Loose clothing for a warmer weather, leather is already a signature in my closet and part of my style, good and valid for every season, always chic and stylish, capable of turning any normal piece into a sophisticated one. Distinct details like a colorful pair of shoes and a flashy purse, just to add a little fun to the outfit. 

 

An Attempt by Cinthia Contreras

After I turned into a blogger attending fashion week have become even more difficult for me if that is possible, the battle of trying to get great pictures of each show Vs now having to look fresh and stylish doesn't go together. I went shopping the day before fashion week and got me some looks with the hope I was going to be able to wear them but I could only wear two of them and the second one I couldn't even photograph it and provoked the weird looks of my fellows photographers after that I just surrendered to my all black and sneakers.

Here are some of the looks: 

Bangs Inspo: Pratical Magic by Cinthia Contreras

I have to admit that I'm a fan of the what I call "wicked", "I put a spell on you", "wicked games" vibe and details, not sure if you got me but well watch the video below.

So last week tired of watching over and over Under The Tuscan Sun, I decided to watch "Practical Magic" very old but definitely and inspiration for me! Nicole Kidman looked sooo damn sexy that I ended up chopping my bangs also and then doing a photo shoot! I have to admit I feel weird, mmm as you grow older changes are kind off difficult to digest, I use to love experimenting with my hair but not so much anymore. 

As for the looks, to be honest I don't follow rules or trends I envision myself certain way and let clothing pieces inspire me. When something capture my attention I don't even bother trying them I just buy and most of the times i'm right about my choices. It is going to be a little difficult to see me encapsulated on one style, fashion is about having fun, try and fail and feeling good! 

Animal print by Cinthia Contreras

Animal print is a clothing and fashion style in which the garment is made to resemble the pattern of the skin and fur of an animal such as a leopardcheetahzebratigerspotted hyenastriped hyenaAfrican wild doggiraffe or monkey. Animal print is also used for room decoration, handbags and footwear and even some jewelry. A major difference between animal prints and fur clothing is that animal prints today very often use fake fur instead of animal coat.

Animal prints have long been a popular style for many reasons. For one, they are generally expensive and considered rather exotic; hence they are a symbol of wealth and status. Throughout history, kings and other high people have used animal print rugs and such as a sign of status just as mounted animals are kept as trophies. Animal print became popular for women in the United States in the late 1960s during the Bohemian movement.

Besides a distinctive natural animal pattern on clothing, "animal prints" may also refer to art prints of animals, printed on canvas or paper. The art prints may replicate the same skin or fur pattern found on the animal, but a flat photographic representation printed on artistic media, such as for as wall decorations. The prints are not limited to just the animal's skin or fur pattern, but may be any part of the animal and still be called an animal print.

Animal print applications extend beyond clothing and art prints and are commonly used for other decorations, including rugs, wallpaper, or painted surfaces. In addition, animal prints may be used in designs for race cars, airplanes, signage, building exteriors, or safety gear such as helmets the NFL team, Cincinnati Bengals, uses.

Other companies like Kate Spade New York have begun incorporating the animal print design into accessories such as iPad hard cases and folios.

To Wear Or Not To Wear: Fur by Cinthia Contreras

Photos: @julitonyc

I have always been an animal protection activist and that is why 5 years ago when my aunt flattered me a beautiful vintage navy blue jacket with fur collar and cuffs, I never wore it because of the cruel practices used to create these garments, but around 2 weeks ago I came back from a suffocating heat in Dominican Republic to a New York bipolar fridge and the only piece of clothing I had available to cover me was THE jacket, that has been hanging in my closet forever and I must say NOW I understand why people wear fur. The sense of power and beauty that radiates from an animal pelt make you feel like the lord of the universe but along with it, a deep feeling of guilt an shame. 

I of course got curious and started reading historical and actual information, since I find really odd that designers are starting to introduce fur in their collections again after so many years of keeping them out of the runaways and doing it in a vegan an vegetarian era, where go green and organic is the only way?. Some claim to  use animals that died by natural causes or accidents and others like Jess Eaton an Stella McCartney are using rodents (still animals) to create garments, I'm pretty sure the demand of fur is bigger the amount of animals that die daily by these causes. 

The Fur Council of Canada, for instance, has a website, promoting the premise that sustainably- produced fur from farm-raised mink or would-sourced beaver is renewable resource, while petroleum, the basis is synthetic is not. As Alan Herscovivi, vice president of the council, said, "there will be fur long after the last oil wells are empty."

Over the years, PETA has marshaled an army of sympathetic designers: Stella McCartney, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger and Vivienne Westwood, among others. The organization also rallies celebrities (Pink and Ricky Gervais lent their voices to “Stolen for Fashion,” one of the group’s anti-fur ads) to assist in “fur shaming.”

Just three years ago, Kim Kardashian, who has a fondness for minks, got flour-bombed at a perfume introduction by a woman, who allegedly shouted, “Fur hag!”

Whether activists create a similar spectacle on Wednesday, when Fendi stages its show, remains to be seen.

But they are facing a different climate: one in which even Ms. McCartney, one of fashion’s most vocal animal rights activists, joined the recent faux-fur boom by presenting a full line of sumptuous faux-fur coats in her autumn and winter collection unveiled this March in Paris, a notable foray into anything resembling fur.

It wasn’t an easy decision, she said.

“For years, we were looking at fake furs, but it never felt like the right message for us to promote the look of fur,” Ms. McCartney wrote in an email. With dramatic improvements in the look and feel of synthetics, she said, “we finally found something that looks great and is consistent with our philosophy on luxury and cruelty free fashion.”

As for me I'm curious about mixing looks with of course synthetic fur this season, lets see how it goes.

Photos by me

A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY:

Animal pelts, or fur and leather, have been used by humankind as clothing since the earliest times to protect their bodies from climatic conditions and harm. Furs and leather have remained popular over the ages because of their warmth, durability, and their status symbol. In certain early societies animal pelts and their by-products took on mystical or spiritual powers when worn by hunters or the ruling classes. In European societies luxury furs became associated with social stratification. In the last two centuries, the growing middle classes in Western Europe and in North America have developed a love for fashion furs as a way of expressing their social status, or to give themselves an ultra-modern look. Since the 1980s questions have been raised about the ethics of using animal products as entire species may have been wiped out by fashion (Lee, 2003, p. 254). Despite the efforts of anti-fur activists and their sensitizing campaigns associated with animal cruelty, the popularity of wrapping oneself in a “sensual second skin” continues to persist. Could it be that some people still believe in a hidden form of “contagious magic” when attired in fur or leather?

The significance of animal pelts in early societies:

In early societies hunters believed in “contagious magic,” that is, in the transference of the strength, power, courage, skills, prowess, and fertility of a particular animal to a human being. For example, when a hunter tied a lion skin around his waist or flung it over his shoulder he believed that he would gain the strength of a lion (Harris & Johnston, 1971, p. 12). In Pagan traditions some people express a reverence for a particular animal. Those with an affinity for wolves or bears, for example, collect emblems of the animal such as their tooth or fur. Harvey (1997) states “that in ceremony, meditation and dreams they ‘become’ their chosen animal” and they will ask the animal “for support and guidance in spirit journeys and healing” (p. 171-172).

Relationship between furs and ruling classes:

Since early times, particular animal skins or furs have been reserved for the ruling and elite classes. For example, in Egypt during the period 3000-300 BC, leopard skin and lion skin was worn only by kings as well as high priests when they performed symbolic ceremonies (Hansen, 1956, p. 11; Tortora & Eubank, 2010, p. 37). Beginning in the 11th Century, in Western Europe, luxury furs such as ermine, mink, sable, and chinchilla, to name a few, were reserved for the royalty, nobility, high ranking clergy, and the bourgeoisie. Durant (1950) relates that some barons “were known to mortgage their lands to buy ermine for their wives” (p. 833).

By the 13th and 14th Centuries, the growing mercantile class who was becoming wealthy and powerful through trade and commerce began to adopt the manners and fashion of dress of the aristocracy. They liked to adorn themselves and their wives in luxury furs which had been restricted for royalty and the ruling classes (Heer, 1961, p. 92-93). To maintain social distinction in dress, in the 1200s the ruling classes began to pass Ordinances or Sumptuary Laws. In Germany, a law stated that sable and ermine were reserved for noble ladies. In France, a Royal Ordinance passed in 1294 stated that no man or woman of the middle classes might wear ermine or vair (the bluish gray and white fur of a squirrel prized for ornamental use in medieval times) (Boucher, n.d., p. 179-180). In the 1300s-1400s Sumptuary Laws regulated the types of fur different social classes could use in the trimming and lining of garments. A law also specified that lower class women were only allowed to wear the fur of foxes, otters, and small burrowing rodents (Tortora & Eubank, 2010, p. 157). But, as Boucher (n.d.) points out, Ordinances passed in 1350, 1367, and 1380 may not necessarily have been observed (p. 206). In the early 1600s, with the growing impoverishment of aristocracy who lived off the land in Western Europe, wealthy merchants and traders began to buy themselves knightly manors and administrative posts (Heer, 1961, p. 41-43; McNeill, 1967, p. 430- 532). In France, it was possible for furriers with enough capital to fill the coffers of royalty to become ennobled (Boucher, n.d., p. 280).

The growing demand for luxury and fashion furs by the nobility, the upper classes and the new mercantile classes over the centuries led to the opening of new trade routes and the establishment of fur trade monopolies. Beginning in the Twelfth Century, German traders had the monopoly of the highly coveted fur industry as they had access to the finest Russian furs, particularly ermine (the white winter coat of weasels). They became known as the masters of the fur trade (Durant, 1950. p. 833).

With the colonization of New France and New England between the 17th and 18th Centuries, Western European furriers, hatters, and leather manufacturers were assured an almost unlimited supply of pelts. However, luxury furs continued to be accessible only to the wealthy and powerful classes. Anyone unable to afford the expensive skins (ermine, sable, weasel, squirrel, bear, beaver, must, lynx, otter, polecat, marten, and fox) had to satisfy themselves with the cheaper varieties (hare, rabbit, lamb, and wolf) (Heer, 1961, p. 92-93). After 1870, the fur trade between North America and Europe was no longer a major industry. Fur farms began to fill the void. Lee (2003) writes that 85% of the fur used today comes from farmed animals (p. 277).

My New York Fashion Week MUST haves by Cinthia Contreras

Summer Spectacular by Cinthia Contreras

Triste de casi depedir el agua salada, los atardeceres romanticos, la energia vibrante de los pool parties, las caminatas en ropa ligera las montadas de bici por el west side highway y los hamptons! La verdad que pasé un verano spectacular, extenuante sin duda pero divertido y productivo.

Dos tendencias que estuvieron muy marcadas en mis looks fueron las trenzas y el color blanco que lo amo tanto como amo el negro, bueno me he vuelto una versión de alto contraste, mi paleta de colores se ha reducido al uso de blanco o negro, solo en ocasiones agrego notas de color a mi vestuario y es que ya me siento extraña usando colores. Las trenzas fueron mis salvavidas, porque entre la humedad y calor lo último que deseaba era soltarme la melena y lucir como escobita.