Tag Archives: fashion

Pop Culture Focus: Randy Bowles and the Sixties

Randy Bowles at Simply Desserts

Randy Bowles at Simply Desserts

Here at Comics Grinder, we not only love pop culture but we dig deeper–all the way to its roots. With musician Randy Bowles, I have a friend who can share insights into the Sixties from a unique perspective. As a co-founder of Yakima, Washington’s Velvet Illusions (1966-67), Bowles found himself in a catbird seat to view and participate in his generation’s journey through identity, rebellion, and so much more. It was the beginning of a career in music that would take him in many directions.

Randy Bowles of the Velvet Illusions

Randy Bowles of the Velvet Illusions

Ultimately, Randy Bowles carved a niche for himself in folk music and he’s remained active in that, and general storytelling, ever since. You can enjoy his special brand of insight at his WordPress blog right here. We became friends through the WordPress community and it just goes to show you yet another benefit of being part of WordPress.

The Velvet Illusions (1966-67)

The Velvet Illusions (1966-67)

Getting back to Randy, an important thing to know is that he was in this cool band, The Velvet Illusions, and then he went on to other cool bands and his own solo work. As for Velvet Illusions, listen for yourself and you’ll find a fun and steady beat. Here they are singing the Velvet Illusions theme:

In our recent chat, we discuss the Sixties for a bit and mainly focus on fashion. Bowles provides some insight on the passions and interests of the Sixties generation: what was homegrown versus what was manufactured to sell to a mainstream audience.

Randy Bowles is a good guy. I look forward to sharing more with you in the future!

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Filed under 1960s, Counterculture, Music, pop culture, Randy Bowles, The Sixties, The Velvet Illusions

Review: GIRL IN DIOR by Annie Goetzinger

Christian Dior at work on a new collection at his county house.

Christian Dior at work on a new collection at his country house.

Annie Goetzinger has quite a light touch to her drawings that manage to speak volumes. It is one thing to draw pretty women in chic settings and quite another to convey the humanity and complexity behind the story. Goetzinger’s graphic novel, “Girl in Dior,” does just that with her behind-the-scenes look at the life and work of legendary fashion designer Christian Dior.

The launch of a "New Look."

The launch of a “New Look.”

The House of Dior, at 30 Avenue Montaigne, was meant to evoke a cross between Louis XVI and the dawn of the 20th Century. It was to be made up of white paneling, pearl gray satin, taffeta lampshades, and discretely placed bouquets and kentia palms. It was not based upon anyone’s reality but upon Dior’s own childhood daydreams. It was to be the perfect place, the epicenter for high fashion, beginning with the first Dior fashion show for the Spring-Summer collection for 1947.

No.3, "Chérubin"!

No.3, “Chérubin”!

Amid the refined mayhem that ensues, we meet our main character, Clara Nohant, a budding fashion columnist. It is through the fictional Clara that we can savor certain key moments and get a sense of the world of Dior. As only a graphic novel can offer, we can get very specific upon what you view and linger upon. In the right hands, this results in such a masterpiece as this. Goetzinger is a master cartoonist. She well knows that she cannot show you every last detail. Instead, she must pick and choose.

She spends a good portion of time simply reveling in that special moment that was the launch of the House of Dior. After all, it sent shockwaves throughout the fashion world and led women, around the world, to consider lowering their hemlines. Having given the reader a solid grounding on that event, she quickens the pace. Clara goes from one major blunder to landing herself the role as the latest model to join the Dior inner circle.

This book is a delight to read through and through. Some books you keep, and this one is a keeper. The art is stunning in how it works within the confines of elegant refinement. Goetzinger’s background in fashion illustration serves her well as she effortlessly captures the flow of fabric and the carriage and grace of the models. And her stylish line is complimented by her gorgeous use of watercolor. In her hands, the fashion world, while always cool and detached, never goes cold. In the end, there’s a warm human touch to this tale of high fashion.

“Girl in Dior” is a 128-page full color hardcover, priced at $27.99, published by NBM Publishing. For more details, visit our friends at NBM right here.

And, if you are in the New York metro area this weekend, be sure to visit the MoCCA Arts Festival and see Annie Goetzinger in person. You’ll be able to see her as part of a panel on writing about the lives of artists:

MoCCA 2015 Programming Spotlight

“Biography: The Lives of Artists”
Sunday, April 12 at the High Line Hotel
12:30 pm in the Rusack Room

Memoir, non-fiction and biography have emerged as significant categories in comics. Comics about artists represent a special challenge: the cartoonist must represent the work of an artist through his or her own visual approach, revealing points of disjunction and harmony. Hyperallergic Senior Editor Jillian Steinhauer will discuss these issues with French comics legend Annie Goetzinger, whose Girl in Dior chronicles the first season of the storied fashion house; James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook, whose 7 Miles a Second was both a biography of and a collaboration with David Wojnarowicz; and Dutch cartoonist Barbara Stok, whose Vincent makes Van Gogh approachable through a style completely unlike his own.

For more details on the MoCCA Arts Festival, go here.

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Filed under Annie Goetzinger, Comics, Fashion, Graphic Novel Reviews, graphic novels, NBM, NBM Publishing

Interview: Matthew “Griff” Griffin, Combat Flip Flops, and the Process of Rebuilding

An Afghan Special Forces policeman walks through a poppy field as he searches for Taliban fighters in the village of Sanjaray in Zhari district early April 26, 2008. (REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic)

An Afghan Special Forces policeman walks through a poppy field as he searches for Taliban fighters in the village of Sanjaray in Zhari district early April 26, 2008. (REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic)

It all began with the idea of combining the combat boot with the flip flop, a sort of yin and yang. More precisely, it was about finding peaceful alternatives to war.

One thing that I look forward to once the weather warms up is getting back into flip flops. They can be a haven from the world. But the flip flops that I’m wearing right now face the world head-on. These are Combat Flip Flops. They are more true to their name than you might imagine. And they represent an inspiring story about rebuilding where only chaos and destruction once existed.

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Yep, the above flip flops would do anyone proud in terms of style and comfort. But there’s a lot more going on here. Every item created at Combat Flip Flops was made by people from a region that has known extreme conflict.

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These fashion-forward sandals shown above are made in Bogota, Columbia. This is one of the newest items available from this most enterprising company.

Combat-Flip-FlopsThe story of Combat Flip Flops began in Afghanistan when Army Rangers Matthew “Griff” Griffin and Donald Lee had an epiphany. After serving multiple deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq, they knew they could do more to help people in war-torn countries. Initially, the focus was to transform a boot factory in Afghanistan into a viable flip flop business. But, that specific plan did not work out the first time out and meant reworking one’s way back with a different product that fit that region’s particular economic base. It just meant that one initial setback led down another path. And this process has led to a venture with a wider, and ever-growing, scope.

Matthew "Griff" Griffin models The Cashmagh

Matthew “Griff” Griffin models The Cashmagh

Support Business, Not Bullets

I got a chance to talk with co-founder Matthew Griffin, who goes by Griff, and he proved to be very confident and enthusiastic about the future of Combat Flip Flops. At one point in our conversation, I noted the arrival of spring and how everyone is ready to venture out in flip flops. Griff’s thoughts went back to the arena of combat. It’s spring that marks the beginning of renewed conflict. And, with that in mind, Combat Flip Flops has been doubling its charitable efforts to war-torn regions all through the month of March. And you could say it has been doubling its efforts in more ways than one. What you find here is a direct link back to helping those in great need. You can listen to my interview with Griff by clicking the link below:

Do visit the Combat Flip Flops site and view the assortment of products offered like The Cashmagh:

The Cashmagh
They say you can leave Afghanistan, but it it never leaves you. Over multiple combat deployments, the shemagh became a necessary tool for shade, warmth, cover, and style. It never left the toolbox. Typically made from cotton or polyester, the standard shemagh didn’t meet our standards for a world class product. So we made one. This 100% Afghan Cashmere Shemagh was born in the mountains of Afghanistan. Produced from the finest cashmere in the world, this endlessly functional accessory shows your global perspective, open mind, and willingness to do what others won’t—support business, not bullets. Lightweight, supple, and functional, this performance cashmere shemagh is fitting from the battlefield to the boardroom. We prefer the latter.

Visit our friends at Combat Flip Flops right here.

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Filed under Afghanistan, Business, Combat Flip Flops, Entrepreneurship, Fashion, flip flops, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Iraq, Middle East, Peace, War

Review: Earth Runners and the Earthing Movement

Earth-Runners-Earthing-Minimalist-Sandals

Roy made himself comfortable by the fireplace. “You should get on with sharing your findings on those Earth Runners.”

“You’re right,” I said, “Now’s a particularly good time, don’t you think?”

“Well,” Roy nodded, “anytime is a good time. Now is a very good time. I’d add it to your burgeoning holiday gift coverage.”

“You’re right! No time to lose! I mean, considering how many people are still not aware of Earthing, tapping into the earth’s healthy energy. Thomas Jefferson’s regular morning routine was to dunk his feet in ice-cold water. He knew his feet were portals to jump-starting his mind and body. I can’t help but think that, if Jefferson tried on a pair of Earth Runners, he’d quickly pick up on the craftsmanship and design and would wholeheartedly approve! And when it comes to Earthing, Jefferson would have been a big fan too.”

“Alright then, get on with it!”

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Filed under Creative Living, Creativity, Earth, Earth Runners, Earthing, Grounding, Minimalist Sandals, Sandals

Book Review: ‘Art & Sole: A Spectacular Selection of More Than 150 Fantasy Art Shoes from the Stuart Weitzman Collection’ by Jane Gershon Weitzman

Art-Sole-Weitzman-4thOfJuly

David, a new assistant at Comics Grinder marched right into the offices of CG. He had a rather sheepish grin on his face. I wasn’t sure what to make of his quick familiarity. Like past friends of CG, he had a treat for us to consider. But he wasn’t going to give it up until he gave me a little grief. “Alright then,” David said, “you have a thing for feet, don’t you?”

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Filed under Art, Art books, Book Reviews, Books, Design, Fashion, Feet

Review: SOFT STAR SHOES

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If you like to march to the beat of a different drummer, and prefer to do it barefoot, then here’s some good news coming to you from quirky, and forward-thinking, Oregon…

Comics Grinder is always on the look out for the very best to enhance your life. Sometimes it might be a graphic novel or movie. For this post we explore a most comfortable and healthy treat for your feet. Soft Star Shoes are, without a doubt, one of the best places for minimal footwear on the planet. I’ve done my research. I refer you back to my review (read here) of Christopher McDougall’s “Born to Run,” the eye-opening bestseller that makes the case for us to return to our bare feet. We need to trust our feet and our natural way of walking. All else follows.

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Filed under Barefoot, Creative Living, Feet, Health, Soft Star Shoes

Fashion: Star-Spangled Flâneurs: Converse x Ace Hotel Pro Leather Sneakers

Converse-x-Ace-Hotel-White-Pro-Leather-High-Tops

Comics Grinder is always on the lookout for something that’s a cut above and worth a shoutout in the world of pop culture, fashion, and all points in between. Consider this item just released by our friends at Ace Hotel: Special Limited Edition Ace Hotel Converse Pro Leather High Tops. It’s got style, comfort, and will get you first in line this summer and beyond.

More details follow from Ace Hotel:

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Filed under Ace Hotel, Comics, Fashion

Paul Pope’s ONE TRICK RIP-OFF/DEEP CUTS

One Trick Rip Off Paul Pope 2013

Paul Pope. Can’t get enough of his super quirky comics. And this one will have you compelled to raise the roof, scream naked down the streets, or whatever your pleasure. “The One Trick Rip-Off/Deep Cuts” collects much of the master’s crazy magic from the ’90s. The main plot here is about a couple of crazy lovers who have hatched the ultimate bank heist sort of thing. Will it work? Who cares?! It’s all about the journey. This one rolls out January 29, 2013. You can get yours here.

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Filed under Art, Art books, Comics, graphic novels, Paul Pope

LUISA VIA ROMA’s FASHION SUPERHEROES

High end fashion meets superheroes in this beautiful Luisa Via Roma photo shoot, “Fashion Superheroes.” Let’s just say it’s what Tony Stark would wear. I know I would love to wear their fashion too! In fact, this is an open letter to Luisa Via Roma to dress me up in time for this year’s San Diego Comic-Con. I promise to be a good model. Well, it’s so nice to know that superheroes are welcome at Luisaviaroma.com.

And I do recommend taking the time to browse. I especially like the down jacket with detachable hood, which will definitely make you look like a superhero.

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Filed under Fashion, Superheroes

Official Fiesta Huarache Review

What welcomes warmer weather better than a great pair of huaraches? They are part of the heart and soul of Mexico as well as America, included in such notable places as the lyrics to The Beach Boys song, “Surfin’ USA,” Jack Kerouac’s novel, “On The Road,” and Kathryn Stockett’s novel, “The Help.” I have found some huaraches you should know about.

Official Fiesta is the place to go for comfortable, stylish and authentic huarache sandals made in Mexico. We all like to treat ourselves to the best when we can. We like to treat our feet to the best too. So, let’s take a closer look at one standout item, Torero Men’s Grueso Huaraches. It has that cool iconic look we all know. And it fits like a dream. You can’t go wrong: It’s affordable, it’s hip and it fits right out of the box.

I decided to give the Grueso Huaraches a test, really walk around in them and make them my new friends. Right from the start, you don’t notice them once they’re on your feet since they’re light without complication, just like a good friend should be. You also want to be able to savor them and that’s where the leather weave and leather footbed will have you covered in comfort.

As a Mexican-American, I am particularly pleased to wear huaraches. It’s one of those things that you sort of take for granted, that you’ll get around to, but I’ve been missing out on a pair for many years! And, they look so cool. They are not as common as flip flops so people will compliment you and ask where you got them. Yeah, a lot of people out there are like me, they’ve been meaning to get huaraches! That’s the thing, you just need to get a pair–or two!

Here is a quick comparison to another pair of huraches also available at Official Fiesta. This other pair is the Torero Men’s Huaraches Pachuco. It’s a different style but it provides similar comfort. And it also has that same cool attitude. If you’re interested in getting more than one pair of huaraches, you may want to consider getting both of these styles. You definitely need to get some huaraches and Official Fiesta is where to go.

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Filed under Fashion, huaraches, Official Fiesta, Reviews