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Canada’s Counterfeit Culture

Earlier this week, CBC premiered a new documentary titled Counterfeit Culture, which exposes the shady underbelly of designer knock-offs. Since then, the one hour doc has been making headlines and, yes, provoking thoughts for its unapologetic portrayal of the dangers of counterfeiting.

Filmed on location in Canada, the U.S., Asia and Europe, Counterfeit Culture not only looks at the peddling of knock-off luxury goods, but also enters the dangerous and sometimes deadly world of fake, fraudulent and faux products like pharmaceuticals, food (including maple syrup and beer!), toys, electronic goods, car parts and microchips. Basically, if it can be made, it can be faked and we Canucks aren't always able to spot the difference between the fabulous and the phonies.

According to the World's Customs Organization, Europe's top clothing, accessory and footwear companies — Uggs, Hunter Boots and Toms being the fakers favourites — lose $10 billion each year to brand name copycats. Producers of fake handbags and other luxury items have become so good at their craft that they sometimes even manage to trump the real thing quality wise. In January 2006, a Hong Kong market was even selling a knock-off Louis Vuitton design that hadn't even been released yet!

Counterfeit products often lend themselves to organized crime syndicates around the world, but when it comes to cosmetics and other grooming products, there's often an even deadlier bottom line. Only recently did Canada issue warnings about a tainted batch of counterfeit toothpaste, said to have originated in China, that contained the industrial solvent diethylene glycol. Now I'm no scientist, but it wasn't hard to discover that this chemical is usually used as a component in brake fluid and not as an ingredient for minty fresh breath.

The documentary is a real eye-opener, but if you missed the premiere, you can catch it here. There's also a quiz, director's commentary and a game to test how savvy you are at picking out a fake. Honestly, can you spot the real deal among these products?

Images via CBC

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Link Buzz: Happy Birthday Kate Moss; Street Style at the Men’s Shows

  • Happy birthday to Kate Moss / oh she makes our days longer / our nights shorter / our hearts well up with love. [BellaSugar]
  • If you're one of those people that likes to make a good impression, here are thirteen things you can wear to a job interview to appear cute & competent. [FabSugar]
  • Even if you don't care about men's fashion, I KNOW you care about the street style that's been outside the shows. [Fashionologie]
  • I know Claire Danes is still relevant because she'll be on the cover of Elle next month. [FashionETC]
  • Rooney Mara thinks Hollywood parties are a nightmare which is exactly right if you're completely out of touch. [StyleBakeryTeen]
  • RIP Arm Parties. [SheFinds]

Image voa WENN

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Swatch Marries Harry Winston; I Hope They Don’t Breed

Because Harry Winston's were the ones Marilyn Monroe was referring too when she famously sang "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" and because the only time in my life I've ever know anyone to think Swatch was cool was when I was ten years old and it was all the rage to show off your playful and punctual personality with a funky Swatch watch, it's wild to think that those two crazy kids are really getting hitched. 

Swatch, apparently a giant in the timekeeping world (it has the highest global sales numbers, with some pieces that retail for over $300,000), purchased Harry Winston, and will now be incorporating the jeweler's 535 employees and $250 million debt.

This is all quite the love story, but I just hope we don't see the two brands really combine their DNA. I imagine their progeny would be an ostentatious diamond ring the color of cotton candy puke, with a candy cane-colored vinyl band. 

Freja Beha Erichsen for Harry Winston, by Patrick Demarchelier
via TFS Forums


[via Mediabistro]

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Vogue’s Annie Leibovitz-Lensed Hurricane Sandy Editorial: Tribute or Tasteless?

Vogue's Feburary Issue includes a big editorial photographed by one of the glossy's frequent contributers, Annie Leibovitz, which stars Karlie Kloss, Kasia Struss, Arizona Muse, Liu Wen, Joan Smalls and Chanel Iman — a veritable Fashion Dream Team USA. I know this isn't the 90s and we're not allowed to call people supermodels anymore, but a rose by any other name would look as fierce, you know? 

The reason Vogue pulled out all the stops: a Hurricane Sandy relief aid tribute post. Cue exasperated sighing. Vogue likes to pretend its wardrobe staples are all crisp cotton shirts and ballet flats, but everyone knows that the magazine could never get dressed in the morning (err, put out an issue every month … boy this metaphor is really rough) without questionable and clueless editorial decisions. Like this one.

I'm going to take a different approach to this CONTROVERSY IN VOGUE post, because I do realize that the only thing more predictable than Vogue doing something scandalous is bloggers being scandalized. So I'm going to try to restrain my glee as I stir this big steaming pot of controversy. I obviously think Vogue is always in the wrong always, both as a person that works on the fashion Internet and as a principled human being — and I will express how and why I think this editorial is tasteless and dumb, but I will also play devil's advocate in Vogue's favor, just so that I don't bore myself. 

Vogue's "Storm Troupers" Editorial Is An Appropriate Tribute to Hurricane Sandy Relief Workers: As a New York-based publication, it should be completely understandable why Vogue would want to use its wide reach to "raise awareness" (as they say in the biz) for the heroic efforts of the first responders and public servants who jeopardized their lives in the immediate aftermath of the storm. The East Coast was devastated by Hurricane Sandy, and New York was no exception: over 800,000 residents lost power following the storm and recovery efforts are still underway across New England — the House of Representatives just passed a measure to provide $51 billion for further relief. Whatever you think of fashion and the fashion industry, there's no denying that Vogue is a central NYC institutution and that in this city, there's a strong and admirable tradition of disparate parties coming together in the wake of tragedy. To say that Vogue produced this editorial cynically — in an attempt capitalize on the public's gratitude to and concern for the heroes of Hurricane Sandy — is in itself cynical. 

Furthormore, Vogue should be commended for so prominently featuring the real faces of Hurricane Sandy relief in its chic moneyed pages and also for selecting a racially diverse cast of models.

No, This Is Just Tasteless: Ugh, defending Vogue was so hard. 

Look, despite what I believe was an earnest desire on Vogue's part to celebrate the men and women that really did put their lives at risk — men and women that are probably ready to put their lives at risk for New York City every day — this editorial is cheesy and in poor taste. The glossy couldn't help itself, making its favorite models the real stars of this editorial and treating the very people it was ostensibly celebrating as "heroes" as little more than set pieces. 

I respect Vogue's impulse, but still I find it sad that the magazine couldn't run a tribute feature that truly honored the thing it purported to be honoring by giving it space to be itself, instead of lodging it beside the same thin 18-year-old girls and pretty dresses that dominate every other page of the publication. I get that Vogue is a fashion magazine, but do you think that if Playboy wanted to run a tribute to the heroes of Hurricane Sandy, they would do it by plopping a topless lady next to a bunch of firefighters? Nope. They would just run some actual photojournalism. Because you can be a special interest magazine and still acknowledge that the rest of the world exists. 

Images via Vogue



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Today in Boys: Dominic Carisch from Storm Models

Today's Tuesday, which is as good a day as any to take a dip into the pool of male models located in the tFS "Hommes" Forum. 

In the premiere installment of this series (read it here!), I learned it can be difficult to find an already-established model who seems to deserve an extra nudge of attention — so I think going forward, I'm going to stick to the boys that are just starting out. It's all in the spirit of fashion, because nothing's better than the next big thing. 

Dominic Carisch is not new like a newborn baby, but he'll probably be a new sight for your eyes. Signed with Storm Models in London, Dominic first made an appearance on the tFS Forums in August 2012. He just made a respectable showing on the Milan men's runways, walking for Philipp Plein, Dirk Bikkenberg and Vivienne Westwood

His flaws, because why not tear someone down so you can build them back up again: Dominic is almost a little bit too much of a pretty boy for me (that's almost a compliment) and I'll tell you right now that I avoided posting any of the topless pictures floating around in his tFS thread because he's so chesty it's practically pornographic.

But yeah, I don't think I really need to write that much to persuade you that this boy is a very good looking boy. And there's something just a hair off about his face … his jawline is not quite symmetrical, and he's better for it. 

Okay people, please remember that as pretty as he is, he is a suffering, struggling working male model probably surviving off free champagne and toast crumbs. Hire him, take his picture, pay him for it. 

Images via TFS Forums

PreviouslyToday in Boys: Graham Winfield from Sight Management

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Interview Russia Gives ScarJo the Pop Art Treatment

Image via TFS Forums

You know what? I don't like this. Interview Russia's February cover featuring Scarlett Johansson popped up on the TFS Forums early this morning and even though there are only a few comments in the thread at the moment, they're all overwhelmingly positive. So let me tread carefully, as my opinion may be in this (rare, you know?) case, an unpopular one. (Also, sorry: have been reading so many old novels and now I fear I sound like the other other Boleyn girl — you know, the one that lives in Brooklyn and spazzes out over clementines and boys. Mmmhmm, I sound just like that.) 

I am perhaps equally interested in Scarlett Johansson and Marilyn Monroe — and by that I mean, not very. Even though she's appeared in three million movies, ScarJo can't act her way out of a fuzzy fitted sweater. And that's precisely why she's famous, for wearing fuzzy fitted sweaters in expensive movies. 

Marilyn Monroe is another story, talent-wise. However, she's dead. Like, really really dead. This has been the case for a long time! We get it. Dead, not alive. Like, she cannot walk or breathe or eat or love or give interviews. Get it, Interview? Marilyn Monroe has nothing interesting to say, because she is dead! Scarlett Johansson has nothing interesting to say either, but that's not because she's dead but because she's not very interesting. 

Yet still. Here we are, staring at an image of ScarJo channelling Marilyn. Get it? Because they are both buxom Hollywood blondes — no, no one has ever before made a connection between the legendary Marilyn Monroe and a busty blonde working actress. Yes, Interview Russia is truly visionary. 

Another stroke of genius: the pop art effect. GET IT? Because there is an original Andy Warhol print of the real Marilyn Monroe (Marilyn Diptych, 1962) and also Warhol was behind the original iteration of Interview magazine in the U.S. And so pop-artifying a picture of ScarJo embodying Marilyn Monroe for the Russian edition of Interview magazine makes so much sense it's … okay, so fine, I have something nice to say: ScarJo looks really really good. Salable, sure. And if this cover does move magazines on the newsstand — which it probably will — then JobWellDoneInterviewRussiaISuck. 


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