TREnDS Workshop 2: Who are you becoming?

We were back in Montreal on October 17th to deliver our second workshop – this time for grade 7 and 8 students. Our theme was making smart choices and on using your freedom to become the best version of yourself. As facilitator and former TREnDS Board member Sonia Padamadan highlights, part of choosing wisely is asking what kind of person we are becoming when we make certain choices. Am I growing in qualities that I admire in others

Students also reflect on who a human person is and just how complexes we are, with not just a physical selves but an intellect, a spirituality and even a relational identify as friends and daughters. Girls worked in small groups to think about the different dimension of their personhood and what it means to dress in way does justice to the full picture of who we are. 

The parting message was that we are all role models, communicating ourselves to the world and influencing others. Our words and actions matter, they can empower or they can limit – each of us matters a lot in transforming society. We have the power to present a positive and powerful message about girls and women and about our authentic and complex selves. In doing so, we encourage others to do the same. We don’t need celebrities to tell us what style is – we are all style creators!

TREnDS in Montreal

Over the 2016-17 school year, TREnDS will be delivering a program entitled a Transformative Fashion Reflection at a Montreal highschool. We launched our program in late September with presentations by TREnDS committee member Guin Santaguida (age 16) and TREnDS President Shannon Joseph. And this was followed by a keynote speech by author Wendy Shalit. 

Our big message to student was, be a critical consumer of fashion and media. Sometimes you might be participating, without realizing it, in messages about style and beauty that put unfair pressure on girls. But you don’t have you and you have the power to change the fashion world.

It was a great first event and over the course of our program we’ll provide updates! A big thanks to our volunteers for supporting our opening and to photographer Delphine at Delphine N Photography https://www.facebook.com/DelphineNPhotographie

To my Girls!

By: Bernadette Grondin

One of the most important and often underrated necessities for young girls and women is to have close and true female friends. I'm not talking about those temporary cliques you join to prevent yourself from being swallowed up in the crowds of school and university, but those other women who you really connect with on a deeper level. Why is this so important? Because we are shaped by the people we surround ourselves with and so it's important that those people are the ones who are helping us to become who we want to be. And, likewise, they are the people that we can be proud of helping them become who they want to be. This is a role that guys can't play for us; it's something special and transforming.

 

Now, while I think most people will agree that this kind of friendship sounds terrific and desirable, some people aren't sure either how to find it or what it looks like when they do. Like all friendships, whether transitory or long-lasting, they begin by putting your feet out in the waters and finding who comes to stand with you. I know this can be difficult! As an introvert, I usually spend a month or more people-watching before ever speaking to them. Yet, even in doing this, I am happy to say that I have more than one truly fantastic friends and these ladies have helped me and encouraged me in my journey into womanhood and to understanding myself.

 

The girl-friends that you should be looking for are those who support you in pursuing high ideals. As young women, we can't be half-hearted about life: we need to take a stand for something and be willing to let that be a developing ground for us. However, if the people we surround ourselves with aren't encouraging us, or move us away from those ideas, we will eventually lose our footing. The world is a big place: we're going to be bombarded with all kinds of things and people who bring us down, so it's important that we have a girl-friend beside us who will weather the storms with us.

 

We should be looking for fellow women who make us feel good about ourselves. The media tells us enough how we should look or dress to be attractive and popular: we don't need to surround ourselves further with those messages. As young women, if we want to be able to recognize that inner and unique beauty that is present in ourselves, we need to have people in our lives who can see it when we have trouble seeing it ourselves. In my experience, it is often easier to feel more insecure about our appearance, quirks, and habits in the presence of other women rather than men. That's why it's so important to have girl-friends who make you feel that everything about you is what makes you irreplaceable and loveable.

We should also find friends who want to be with us because they love our presence. We need the girls who will cry on our shoulders and allow us to cry on theirs to teach us empathy and the girls who will stay up until 3am laughing about nothing with to teach us how to be lighthearted. We need friends with whom we can discuss our passions and together learn how to be strong, change-makers. We need girl-friends who we can make lasting memories with who will teach us to enjoy every moment.

As women, we have the greatest impact on each other. That's why we need to have other girls and young women as our best of friends. We're the ones who can really help shape us into the great women we're all destined to become.

Love Your Body.

By: Bernadette Grondin

In different articles I have discussed just how important it is for us as women to really accept how our bodies are shaped and fall in love with them. There's no such thing as the “perfect” body. Whatever shape you are, that is the unrepeatable you! You are beautiful and amazing.

However, it is fair to say that some styles of clothes flatter one figure more than another in the same way that plaid on plaid flatters nobody (despite my ten year old brother's insistence). Although the media tries to convince us that all female bodies should be Hourglasses, there are so many great outfits that an Hourglass can't wear because they only look great on a Diamond or Apple. Many of our most prominent celebrities aren't Hourglasses, but they still rock their body type and dress to flatter every aspect of it.

 

Adele is a classic example of a celebrity who knows how to show off - her beautiful, curvy, female body. Adele has an Apple shape and she looks great as one. Apples typically have a large bust, and their hips and waist tend to blend into each other, which is why Adele shapes her curves with dresses and tops that cinch at the waist and then flare out. It emphasizes her hips and defines her waist in a way that shows off the gorgeous Apple shape. Flared skirts or pants also emphasize the hips and give the legs a nice shape, which is obvious to see in Adele's photos. Going for flares usually looks better on Apples, since tight pants or jeans tend to restrict the natural curves of the body – they try to mold the leg into a particular shape and can make hips and legs look bulky. Adele, however, knows her body and loves it, which is easy to see by how she dresses in a way which doesn't hide her figure, but expresses it with elegance and charm.

Beyond hour glass: a tour of body types:

It is worth exploring some of the other body types, of which there are at least six besides the popular hourglass.

The Diamond Figure is so named because women with this shape have wide hips, slim shoulders and bust, and an undefined waist. Tops and dresses that tend to cinch underneath the bust or waist look great on Diamonds as they let the fabric flow down naturally over a Diamond's already great hips. And, because Diamonds already have awesome hips, it's better to find jeans or skirts that fall straight to give their legs a longer, straighter look. If you have a Diamond figure, be proud of it and love it!

The Pear and the Triangle figures often get put together as they look similar. The Pear shape features large hips, average bust and shoulders, where the Triangle has slightly more petite shoulders and bust. An example of a Pear/Triangle figure is none other than the gorgeous singer, Kelly Clarkson. Kelly, like Adele, is one of those celebrities that has had to fight the long fight against the media to show just how much she loves and rocks her body.

Kelly shows women that the Pear/Triangle shape is a figure worth having, and one that is no less beautiful than any other. Triangles and Pears look good in tops or dresses which try to embellish the bust and shoulders, such as how Kelly wears dresses with lace at the top to make the bust line of the dress more prominent. Triangles and Pears typically have a nice waist and so they can look good with tops that come in to shape the waist, either by a belt or cinching, or have shirts that fall straight to give a nice flow into their great hips. For bottoms, Triangles and Pears look great in skirts or pants which fall straight without too much flare, such as bootcut jeans; more flare can make them look wide rather than flatter their natural shape.

Ah, the Hourglass! The most coveted body type; the figure Hollywood calls the “perfect shape” and says all women should strive for. If you are an Hourglass, you have a great body and you should love it! If you don't have an Hourglass shape, you have a great body and you should love it! The Hourglass is not more special than any other type, although it is so beautiful in its own ways, just as the others are. An Hourglass is known for the aligned waist and hips and the slim, cinched waist. However, because the Hourglass shape has the slim waist to deal with, it can actually be difficult to dress. The Hourglass can’t rock free-falling tops as well as some of the other figures, but looks amazing in ones which cinch either at the waist or under the bust, or tops that have ruching built in. For bottoms, Hourglasses look great in pencil skirts and straight pants, as both types emphasize an hourglass's great hips and slim down her legs.

The Inverted Triangle is a very unique shape, but one we have been seeing a lot recently with the Olympics currently in play. Inverted Triangles have broad shoulders and bust, and a slim waist and hips. Our Canadian swimming Champion, Penny Oleksiak, is one of the beautiful women with this figure. Penny is not only an example of what hard work and dedication can accomplish, but she also shows just how beautifully triumphant the feminine body is.

Inverted Triangles like Penny look amazing in tops that cinch at the waist or below the bust to draw out the waist and hips; ruching would look fabulous on Penny. Because the Inverted Triangle has a slim waist and hips, A-Line skirts or ones that flare out help give some curve, although you could also style a flared jean (which is finally coming back into style!) or a bootcut to emphasize an Inverted Triangle's slender legs.

And finally, the Rectangle. The Rectangle is the most common female body type, with aligned shoulders and hips, nothing necessarily accentuated, and no pulled in waist like the Hourglass. I personally adore this body type, but I am biased as this is my own personal figure. The Rectangle looks spectacular with ruching or tops that pull in at the waist, as they give a bit of definition to the hips and bust. I also find that shirts which have embellishing at the bust or draping fabrics look fantastic on the Rectangle. We Rectangles don't have those glorious hips of the Diamond, Pear, or Triangle, but that's alright: we can still look mighty fine in some straight leg or flared jeans. I personally love flared skirts and think they look great for my figure; they emphasize my hips just enough to make my legs look long and straight. If you have a Rectangle figure, recognize how beautiful it is. It may be the most common body type, but it's also incredibly awesome. Trust me: I love every ordinary aspect about it.

A closing reflection:
The reason women are all built differently is to show the diversity of beauty. We women have to fight the idea that one figure is more “perfect” than the others, and this begins by loving the body you have. I challenge all of you to look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself that your body is yours and that it is beautiful. If you start with that fundamental Truth, dressing your body in clothes that flatter your figure will become a much easier task. No matter the figure, the shape, or the size, we women are pretty dang attractive and it's about time we acknowledge that.

 

The Bra-top: A Summer Fashion Flop?

By: Bernadette Grondin 

It's summer. The sun is beating down, people are hitting the beaches, and sitting in the 5'o'clock traffic is unbearable. The winter gear is put away and the spring jackets are hung up; out come the shorts, t-shirts, and sandals. We all know the signs of the approach of summer. However, we often can get so caught up in the heat and trying to keep cool that we can forget about still looking and dressing in an appropriate way.   

A new fashion (pictured above) is emerging this summer, and as you can see it is little more than a bra and jeans. I think we need to take a second to think about this new fashion statement and ask ourselves: what does this summer outfit say about our view of ourselves when we wear it? And, as it is being promoted by the big fashion industries, what does it say about society's view of women? Unfortunately, it doesn't say anything exceedingly positive. It draws immediate attention to the torso – and let’s face it, the breasts – preventing genuine interactions with people who should be drawn to our face and eyes first. It sends a message that the woman wearing it is looking for attention rather than connection, whether or not that is her true intent. It also tells me that the fashion industry is trying to convince women that attention is better than connection.  

For the most part, many women probably choose to wear this style because it is a billion degrees outside and the “shirt” definitely provides ventilation. However, people read our outfits and respond to what they seem to be saying about us. We owe it to ourselves, and all the other women and girls who may be influenced by our style, to dress in a way that speaks of who we really are as individual persons. 

I've spoken before about how we should dress to suit all of our daily, every day calls to be leaders, teachers, nurses, mothers, wives, and every other duty we take on. Our style can help us to more efficiently convey who we are and why we are there – a lawyer doesn’t wear a bra top to court, although she might be free to do so. She would instead wear a great dress or power suit that tell everyone around that “Yes, I am a woman and I am great.” This new summer style, unfortunately, does not empower women or help them convey who they are. If anything, by making cleavage and belly-button the focal point of the outfit, it shows a lot of skin but not much else. It hides the uniqueness and real beauty of the wearer – which goes beyond the physical. In many ways the style in this store window says that a woman is great insofar as she has an appealing body, and it puts that body on display for judgement.  

The female body is beautiful, great, and amazing, but it alone does not constitute who we are as women and peopleWe should never wear anything that shows less of who we really are by focusing all of the attention on our bodiesEach woman is powerful because of all of the little traits, abilities, gifts, and qualities that only she possesses – somehow our look has to allow all that complexity to shine. 

Yet, in the summer, I won't deny that it is hard to find outfits that flatter our bodies, keep us cool, and are still complementary to our femininity. That's why we have to put together our own and not give in to what is currently the “style of the season”. Shorts and tanks are always a go to, and you can find a never ending supply of blouse-y or casual tank-tops at any store. Maxi dresses and bright, sleeve-less dresses are great for trips to the beach; throwing a blazer or cardigan over one also works to turn it professional for the office. 

 

We have so many options for stylish outfits as women. All we need is to put a little creativity into it, and we can put together so many different adorable summer styles with only a few wardrobe pieces, and without compromising our privacy or unique beauty. This summer, let's brighten the office, the beach, and everywhere we go with stylish outfits that say: “Yes, I am a woman and I am great”. 

 

 

Dressing for Success: a look at three women in politics

By: Bernadette Grondin

Since 1921, women have become increasingly involved in the political sphere of Canada. Many MPs in our government are now women and work tirelessly to bring the feminine genius into the public sphere. Examples of these hard-working women, although there are many, are Ruth Ellen Brosseau (NDP), Michelle Rempel (CPC), and Maryam Monsef (LIB). These women are all young, highly involved in their careers, and are quickly rising in their respective parties. For these women to have made such an impact a career path that was once dominated by men is truly monumental for our country and something Canada’ should be proud of.

Something quite striking about these three women is how their ways of dressing reflect the responsibility of their office, and I think it is fair to say that it plays a role in helping them to be taken seriously. People who are often in the public eye, such as celebrities, tend to dress in showy outfits that make them stand out to garner attention with the media.

These women, however, stick to neutral colours and often simple flowing garments – such as seen in the picture of Brosseau – or wear flattering and feminine blazers, as seen in the pictures of Rempel and Monsef. They dress for the office, to make a statement that they come to do their job, and in a way which complements their individual body types. However, they also manage to retain femininity and charm in their styles, which are both similar and unique to each one of them.

Monsef, Brosseau, and Rempel are alike in that they keep their outfits in neutral colours and simple in taste in order to direct the attention they receive towards their ideas and policy achievements rather than their outward appearance. But at the same time, all three MPs are incredibly unique and have styles that are all their own.

Monsef dresses in business attire, sticking to blazers and cardigans. She complements her dark hair and eyes with darker outfits, but pulls it together with dashes of light colours.

Brosseau claims the flowing garments. She keeps them simple enough to be professional, but she works her draping jackets and shirts to flatter and draw attention to her slender face and great hair. She works a bit of colour into her outfits to add a bit of flair and personality, but never enough to take away from the decorum of her position.

Rempel manages to take casual outfits and turn them professional through the addition of a blazer to an everyday blouse, or dress pants to a white tee. Unlike Brosseau and Monsef, Rempel more frequently makes her style her own by adding accessories, such as bracelets and long necklaces.

As women, we are all called to be leaders: leaders in our families, in our friendships and communities, and in our society. When we dress according to that call, we draw attention to our talents and signal to others that we are ready and competent to lead. Rempel, Brosseau, and Monsef are great examples of feminine leadership within politics, and their ways of dressing is part of the package they bring to public life.

Kate Middleton- Style Inspiration

By Bernadette Grondin

Kate Middleton has become a renowned and impressive figure in modern society. This is not only because of her connection to royalty and her charming and delightful demeanour, but also because she has become a prominent presence to young girls and women around the world for how to dress tastefully while still looking fabulous. From everyday wear to formal dress, Kate never fails to impress.

Perhaps the most significant and incredible part of Kate's fashion is that she never seems to feel the need to have her outfits reveal very much skin in order to let her beauty shine. Kate is aware of her own body type, which allows her to dress it in ways which flatter it; she doesn't try to match her outfits to someone else, but owns herself and allows that to come through by dressing accordingly. Kate's fashion shows that she is proud and comfortable with how she is built, which is inspiring for all of us women. If we can come to love our bodies the way Kate shows us how, then the way we dress will be able to let that feminine beauty shine even brighter.

Looking at some of the outfits she has been captured wearing, we can immediately recognize this. Her dresses all have a similar style to them that flatter her small waist and hips, either flowing out or falling straight to elegantly enhance her figure. However, in the photo of Kate when she is pregnant, her style changes to suit the changes in her body. Her dress is simple in colour and pattern, and flows loosely to accommodate her, avoiding any pinched in sides that would cause her abdomen to become more prominent. Through her style, she manages to capture the beauty of her personality, which is why she is so often mimicked and adored by women around the world.

The problem with using the word “modest” to describe Kate's style is that people can get confused as to what that word means. Being modest means keeping hidden what is meant to be hidden and revealing what is meant to be expressed. As women, we have a great value and intrinsic beauty, and that is meant to radiate for the world to see. The way we behave, the way we dress, and everything that we do is part of this self-expression. However, we also have a great dignity and mystery to us that is meant to be shared with people to whom we show our intimate self. They are radiant mysteries and they are ours, and the way we dress helps to respect this. Our style and fashion is meant to reveal the beauty of femininity and womanhood. Kate Middleton helps to affirm that reality of how modesty and dazzling gorgeousness can be brought together in every girl and woman.

TREnDS Tapping into the Power of Women

By: Bernadette Grondin

The other day, a photo like this one came up on my brother's Facebook posted by a friend of his. We were both saddened and put off by the photo, not because there isn't some sort of beauty in the way she has applied her makeup, but because of the fact that the makeup is all you see. Where is the woman behind it? Who is she? You can only see the sheen of foundation and the grains of powder on her face instead of skin and pores; you see her mascara-painted lashes instead of meeting her eyes; you're drawn immediately to the shimmering red of her lips. My brother, commenting on the picture of his friend, said: “This isn't even anything like what she really looks like.” Makeup is meant to enhance the natural beauty of women, but our Hollywood society has begun to think – maybe without realizing it – that it is the makeup itself that is beautiful and not the woman herself. She is a type of inter-changeable canvass for a product or an image. Hollywood and corporations want to sell products; they want to mass-produce, and to do that they need to mass-produce buyers through media and fashion. They may not give any thought to the possibility that they are burying the true identity of women behind the layers of foundation and mascara.

It is crucial that we, as women, fight back against the trendy stereotypes and particular invisibility of the women we see plastered on so many bill boards. Women are not mannequins, and we are more than potential customers. We have an intrinsic value that is worth more than all of the makeup and hair product in the world. Because of this, blogs like TREnDS are incredibly important; they have taken it upon themselves to fight the good fight for and with women by reminding them of the beauty within them and teaching them how to present that beauty and power in a unique and truly feminine way.

If women want to that unique beauty and power to be seen and valued then we, as women, need to take control of how feminine beauty is presented in society through media, fashion, and everyday living. Women have the power to shape cultures. TREnDS helps girls and young women shape our society into one which recognizes the authentic and unique beauty of the feminine by showing them just how beautiful women are when they dress and behave as themselves: real, unique, feminine women. TREnDS doesn't reach all young women yet, but by living out the authentic beauty that TREnDS promotes, we can slowly redefine a hypersexualized fashion culture that tries to either craft women into china dolls or a dominatrix depending on the latest market research.

Women have that power to change the world if only we would take control of it: in 1429, Joan of Arc led the French army to victory against the English; in 1903 Marie Curie won the Nobel Prize for her scientific discoveries; in 1955 Rosa Parks stood up against racial injustice. Women have the ability to do great things—things which no one else can do—but we cannot perform these feats of strength if we are afraid of being our authentic selves. Once we reclaim our feminine power, I believe that women will change our culture.

False Liberation

By Doriane Angers 

What has sexual liberation meant for young people? This is the question Thérèse Hargot asks in her newly-released book,  Une jeunesse sexuellement libérée (ou presque),  which translates "Sexually Liberated Youth (Or Almost)". Her answer is that “liberation” has in fact created a new kind of oppression for young people, where performance and the drive to please others visually or otherwise is creating anxiety and unhappiness.   

A sexologist with a philosophy background, Hargot sheds light on a phenomenon she observes from various vantage points:  her job  at a  Parisian school, her couples counselling work, or as a mother (see her blog). At the core of her book is the observation that in the past sexuality – from the way we dressed to the way couples once formed - used to be  more about no than about  yesThere were explicit rules provided by social and religious authorities and for many, these rules were experienced as a type of puritanism and negative view of the body. 

Fast forward fifty year and here we are – liberated – or almostAs Hargot points out this liberation is an illusion.We may no longer be blindly accepting the  no of the past, but today’s yes  culture is now making many young people feel like hostages to sexuality. The explicit rules  that came with "no sex before marriage" have given way to  the implicit demands of  a "sex of performance" that accepts everything, endures everything, and allows everything in the name of liberation. Cultural outlets from fashion to the entertainment industry are showing girls and young women in particular, more and more ways to perform, to be “hot” and to see it as liberation even though it often doesn’t feel that way. 

In her bookHargot addresses questions raised by teens and young adults who  face the  demanding  task of constructing their own  identity and relationships in this new and challenging pornography-informed context. Hargot challenges the mainstream approach to  sexuality and offers  a new and refreshing perspective on  a  delicate  but critical  matter. 

 

HargotThérèse.  Une jeunesse sexuellement libérée (ou presque),  Les éditions Albin Michel, 2016. 

 

Take a Stand! #WomenNotObjects

By: Vivian Cabrera

Often we hear the expression – ‘sex sells’ – but really that is not quite accurate. A quick look at most music videos, billboard and television advertisements will tell you what really seems to sell: sexy women.

Granted, this isn’t anything new. For ages, women have been used to sell anything and everything, from undergarment to beer. And the way women are portrayed in these ads in no way, accurately showcases the true beauty and unique dignity of the women being involved. (Because let’s be real. If Victoria’s Secret was really trying to sell bras and panties for women, they would talk about how comfy they are instead of giving us unrealistic expectations of what all women should look like.)

Have we ever thought about why that is? Are we really okay with this? We’ve gotten so used to having semi-nude women plastered everywhere that we might not even notice anymore. Some readers might think to themselves – does it really matter?

The answer is yes. Our acceptance of advertisement and products that portray a woman as a sex object says to the world, ‘Hey, go on ahead and continue to see women as things you can buy and use.’ It teaches society – whether we admit it or not – how women (and girls) should be viewed.

Think about those in our society who are most impressionable – kids. What do you think little girls are going to grow up thinking and believing? That their worth mostly comes from what they can offer to other people, instead of from who they are as a person. And what do you think little boys are going to grow up thinking and believing? That it is normal to view women as a set of attractive body parts and not as a whole, unique person. And that cycle will continue forever unless we do something about it.

Don’t remain silent. Let’s tell people that women are not just eye candy. Women are human beings, worth so much more than you can possibly imagine. Tell them that we, as women, are not ok with the way ads portray women and we’re not stand for it any longer.

Use the hashtag #WomenNotObjects to tell the online world that we expect better. We have a bigger vision of women and we have greater creativity for how to get people interested in a good product, or song or movie. Who knows, someone in the marketing world might be waiting for that bigger vision.

Imagine, what if someone had spoken out during a marketing brainstorm meetings saying, ‘Hey, I’m not comfortable with the way we’re using that woman to get our message across. Instead of cleavage (again) why don’t we come up with a catchy choreography for the ad?’ It could change everything but we won’t know until we try. So what do we have to lose?

We Are So Much More

By Erin Thorpe

After scrolling through my Instagram feed and doing some unnecessary picture exploration, I began to feel a sense of heaviness and numbness on my heart. My mind shifted to thinking about all those picture-perfect blogger images, and all of a sudden my life seemed less important and special. Compared to all those Instagram sensations I was scrolling through, I began to think negatively about my choices of style and reflection in the mirror. It began a trail of thoughts and feelings and then the forbidden “shoulds” came out. I “should” do my hair like that, I “should” decorate my room to like Pinterest, I “should” have more posts, followers, likes,…etc etc etc.

After this unhealthy spiral began to unravel, I came across an inspiring post by a well followed blogger, Jenna Kutcher. She often writes posts about self acceptance, going against the norm, and embracing who you are. She said: “The world wants you, the real, unretouched, version. I am more than my cellulite, more than my wrinkles, and zits and curves. I am more than my appearance and I am worthy of celebrating every inch of me with caution.”

This is the message we need to tell ourselves. Ignore the toxic norms that our society infiltrates on us and remember the truth that makes us real, authentic, and beautiful. Authenticity is so ever needed in our world where “faking it” is not only a trend, but a business model. People appreciate the real you and love you despite your flaws, and even because of them.

We are so much more. We are more than our appearance and we are worthy of knowing this. It is so easy to get caught up in the media world and the messages about having to be and look a certain way. But this cannot be more untrue. The world wants us as we are. Those around us want us as we are.

So be you. Cause there’s no one else that can do it better. Be the girl you were born to be. Embrace your flaws, embrace your beauty, and embrace the love that everyone has for you. Because we are all So Much More.

Malala Yousafzai —An Inspiration For Girls Everywhere

By Erin Thorpe

At the age of 11, Malala Yousafzai became a blogger for the BBC under a fake name, writing about her experiences under Taliban rule and the oppression women were facing in Pakistan. She began speaking out about women’s right to education and soon became a focal point for attention around the globe. Malala sought to promote a solution to discrimination based upon gender and raise global awareness of the barriers women face in certain areas of the world.

As a result of her increased global fame and attention, she became a threat to the regime and in 2012, Malala was shot by the Taliban. Even though this was a brutal attempt to take her life, Malala managed to survive, further increasing her drive to make a difference and fuelling the world’s attention towards Malala’s movement.

Malala has created a petition that aims to ensure the right to education becomes a reality for both males and females. The goal of the petition is to obtain the UN’s commitment to providing enough funds for schools, teachers, and books to make Masala’s dream a reality. As a result of her work, she has become the youngest person ever to be awarded a Nobel Peace Prize. Her story proves that nothing is impossible. These achievements are a testament to her bravery in standing up against the Taliban and speaking out for what she believes is right.

Despite facing major obstacles, she has managed to establish herself as an important force in driving forward female education across the globe. Malala Yousafzai is a symbol for positive change within our world and an example that anything is possible in the fight for justice. Malala is a true example of a young woman fighting for freedom and is a hero for the rights of women everywhere. She is a message of hope and resistance, working to overcome the violent objections to female education, not just in Pakistan but across the globe. Her story is a remarkable demonstration of courage and shows just how much can be achieved through determination about what is right.

Malala is an inspiration to all girls everywhere to stand up for what is right and to be strong in the face of adversity. Although women in North America are fortunate to not face such obstacles to education, we too must still face adversity and must be brave like Malala to fight for what’s right in our own society. We as women have to fight against the cultural norm of society’s view of women. We must be counter-cultural and voice that the objectification of women is not acceptable and must demand a change towards the current standards of beauty. Just as Malala fights for the right to education, we too must fight to live in a world where women are valued more than their physical appearance.

This Winter’s Fashion Line Up

By Erin Thorpe

According to my red Starbucks cup, Christmas is right around the corner. That means eggnog lattes, bright lights, cozy fires, Christmas music, and…..winter fashion.

What’s in this year’s winter line up? Lots of earth tones, bulky scarves, and long coats. When it’s cold outside, your street style has to come from the trendy outerwear and accessories that’s in season. This year the long coats are back, the infinity scarves have gotten thicker, and the boots trendier.

Here’s the deal on the latest and greatest for staying warm and in style this season.

1. Scarves: This year’s style is going for the bulk. That means thick scarves that are wrapped up tight to the face and neck are in. As opposed to previous year’s multi-coloured styled scarves, this winter we are seeing solid earth tones in style. This can work in your favour because these tones tend to go well with other colours involved in the outfit. Tip–Don’t over pay for your scarves. There are a lot of stores that mark up the price too high. Keep your eye on the style you like and you’ll find the right one.

2. Boots: There are two types of boot styles hitting the stores this season: low rise ankle boots and tall knee high boots. Whether it’s a suede or leather style, the low rise ankle boots are great for wearing with straight leg pants and adding a more chic look to your outfit. The knee high boots are great for keeping your legs warm during those cold days and look super cute with a dress or skirt. Both boot styles are great additions to your outfit and can really create a standout look. Tip–Make sure your boots are weather protected before wearing them outside. One surprise puddle could damage them.

3. Tuques: Depending on the temperature outside, tuques are either a fashion accessory or a desperate winter necessity. If you’re going for fashion only, go for the loose fitting tuques that gently cover the top of your head and ears, and be sure to wear your hair down for the full look. When it’s a requirement for warmth, go for the thick knitted styles with a cute pom-pom at the top.

4. Winter Coats: One of the biggest features of the winter fashion line up is the winter coat. When it’s cold outside, often your outfit has to be hidden underneath your layers. So in order to show off your style, you need to be up on the latest outerwear fashion. This year, long warm coats are what’s in. Similar to the army-trench style that we’ve seen last year, these winter coats are everywhere. Green, navy, black, beige, and grey are the popular selections this year. A lot of these coats are also rocking the fur rimmed hoods, creating an added trend feature.

Want to blog about your style? We are looking for a crew of girls to promote great fashion and what they think about real beauty. If you’re interested in learning more about becoming a TREnDS Fashion Ambassador, email info@trendsfashion.ca and be sure to check out our Instagram page @trends_canada.

Say No to the Status Quo

By: Vivian Cabrera

Imagine you’re a waitress. Your job is to wait on people, serve them drinks, bring them food and try to make sure you don’t slip and fall flat on your face. This all sounds a lot harder than it seems, believe me. The last thing you want to be worrying about as you carry a tray full of chips and guac is whether you dress is too tight or too short and ‘Can people see what I’m wearing underneath?’ Unfortunately, this problem is all too real for some people.

A week ago, CBC broke a story about a well-known Toronto-based restaurant that had recently changed its uniform requirements for all employees. Instead of the traditional black polo, black pants and black shoes getup, the men were to wear jeans, a button-down shirt and sneakers. The ladies, however, were subject to a much more drastic change – a tight, form fitting and extremely short blue dress – that they had to buy from their employer with their own money.

There are so many problems with the change of uniform requirements but let’s focus on the real issue at hand: the over-sexualization of women. These employees were being given the message that the best thing that women have to offer is their appearance. And, if looking “sexy” (whether you are uncomfortable or not) will bring in more money, some employers will push for it.

Why was this particular story being told, though? Plenty of restaurants and bars already have their women servers and waitresses wearing skimpy clothes. The story came to light because one of the waitresses affected by this change was said no; she took a stand. She refused to wear the short, tight dress and in doing so, stood up against the oversexualization of women. In our society today, we need more women like that, more people who are willing to fight for the equal dignity of men and women.

The worth of a woman is not determined by how little clothes she wears or how much she is revealing. Yet, that is all we keep hearing and all we will continue to hear unless more people stand up and speak out. So, this is an invitation to all of you reading this. Do not conform to the standards set by society. Speak out. Be courageous.

Thankfully, the restaurant rescinded its new uniform policy and went back to the all-black ensemble. Good result happened because people took a stand.

It’s 2015. Women should not be treated this way. What are you going to do about it?

Finally, thank you Barbie!

By Erin Thorpe

Barbie has recently come out with a new ad campaign entitled “Imagine the Possibilities” and raises the question:  “What happens when girls are free to imagine they can be anything?”

This is extremely refreshing, especially coming from Barbie which is known for their unrealistic ideals set for the female body type. Barbie’s latest campaign however takes a new spin on the defining social norm for girls. It shifts the message from excessive self-image to encouraging creativity and imagination.

Instead of advertising that a girl’s number one priority should be the latest wardrobe fashion, it promotes the fact that girls can think creatively about their professional ambitions and life endeavours.  And if they are free to imagine that they can be anything, just imagine the possibilities.

I think it’s safe to say that the media is starting to make some positive headway towards female empowerment. It has become an active trend amongst large corporations to promote positive body image and encourage women to embrace their true selves.

But although this is a great movement, it is also important to remember that at the end of the day, these companies are still trying to make a profit. So we just have to be mindful of where this profit making actually lies. But if female empowerment is where they think will make the most money, by all means go ahead!

Although I still think there are improvements to be made about the ‘look’ of the Barbie doll, this is still a positive move forward. When the rest of society is pushing for girls to grow up faster, it is refreshing to see campaigns that encourage girls to slow down and just ‘be little girls.’

We live in a society where girls can be anything they want to be. So why not encourage them to dream, imagine, and let their young minds explore?

Aussie and Canada Fashion, Compared (Part 2)

By: Ulrika Drevniok

As promised, here is the second part of my exploration of Australian Fashion! In the last episode we looked at two stores Supre and Country Road to see how they were comparable to Canadian outlets. In this second edition, we will look at three other Aussie stores: Sportsgirl, Portmans and Dotti. All of them have interesting looks across a different fashion personalities (classic, sporty, contemporary, etc.) and have a pretty good Canadian equivalent.

Sportsgirl = Garage 

Catering to a younger demographic, Sportsgirl and Garage have a lot in common. Sportsgirl was founded in Melbourne and Garage was founded in Montreal. I already think these two cities are long-lost twins, so I’m pretty sure that makes my case air-tight.

Portmans = Banana Republic 

If this was early 2014, I would be comparing Portmans to my beloved Jacob (sniff! I will miss you forever!), but because we’ve lost that Canadian fashion great, I will compare Portmans to Banana Republic. So, maybe you don’t go to Portmans to buy stuff that you’d wear on the weekends, but you definitely go to Portmans to buy something for a job interview. And, after you nail the interview, you’d go back to buy clothes for the actual job.

Dotti (www.dotti.com.au) = Ardene (www.ardene.com)

Again, Dotti and Ardene are places you would go to buy a staple item you were thinking of keeping in your closet for many seasons. But, Dotti is a great place for an occasional closet update.

Well that is it! A survey of Australian and Canadian fashion compared! There is more to come so please keep on the look out for my posts from Down Under. G’day!

Image consultant Lula Kiah comes to Toronto!

By: Juliana De Martin

TREnDS recently hosted an event in North York at Hawthorn School, with guest speaker Lula Kiah founder of, “Style Innovators,” an image consulting firm located in Denver, New York , and Chicago.

Lula traveled from New York to give a workshop on the anthropology of fashion. She spoke about the responsibility that young women have today to set the standards high for new fashion styles and trends. We can do this by dressing with dignity and modesty. She mentioned a group of girls in Rio de Janeiro where, after she gave a work shop, went to a local bathing suit boutique and started asking the owner if she had any swimsuits. She replied no, and that she only carried bikinis. But after the girls came enough times to the boutique and kept asking for swimsuits, she finally brought some in. This story is a perfect example of the difference we could make if we only tried and spoke up. We don’t need to give into society and wear what designers decide to put on the market. We should be the ones telling them what we want to wear as teens with dignity and respect.

Lula also talked about different body shapes and what looks good on different individuals, taking into consideration length, colours, fabrics, and shapes of different articles of clothing and accessories. After her presentation, she then did a demonstration of how to find out what your own personal colours are and how to find out what kind of body shape and size you have, which then tells you what sorts of things will compliment your body the best.

I really enjoyed myself, and it inspired me to stay strong and not feel like I have to give in to society’s standards; I should set my own. I encourage everyone to take initiative of what you wear and think about the things you buy; is this something I like and that suits me, or just the same thing that everyone else is wearing?


Visit Lula Kiah’s website by clicking on the link below:

http://www.styleinnovators.com/

Aussie and Canada Fashion, Compared (Part 1)

By: Ulrika Drevniok

Upon arriving in Australia, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I didn’t recognize any of the fashion retail brands here. I was completely expecting to find a mall with a Gap, J. Crew, Forever 21, and Banana Republic. (I know Joe Fresh does have a bit of an international presence, but I wasn’t really expecting to find it here.) Instead, I found stores like Cotton On, JAG, Sportsgirl, Portmans, and Supre. What? Yeah, I’d never heard of them either. Downtown Melbourne does have an H&M, but for the most part, there were totally new-to-me, totally Aussie brands to explore.  So, I present to you, the Aussie-Canadian fashion decoder:

The first store I’ll present is Supre which is the equivalent of Forever 21

Supre boasts new clothes in store every week, making it a destination for fast fashion and lots of deals. Good for a quick wardrobe update, but not where you’d want to buy a classic piece.

The next store is Country Road which is really similar to Roots in Canada.

Country Road is a totally classic Aussie brand. Roots is a totally classic Canadian brand. I don’t think Country Road quite has the cachet factor of being named as official clothier to a Canadian Olympic Team (make that Australian Olympic Team), but it is a little more fashion-forward than Roots. Okay, I might have to fudge this equation a bit and say that Country Road = Roots + J. Crew. (Also, the CR website has a really awesome feature where you can see the model moving in the clothes.)

Have a look at their sites and let me know what you think! Send a note to info@trendsfashion.ca

Also stay on the look out for part two of the post, were I’ll feature a few more Aussie/Canada comparisons.

 

 

TREnDS Speaker Series 2015 Launches in Toronto

Lula Kiah

Hello TREnDS Friends! Fall is upon us and we need your help to spread the word about our latest TREnDS event, a speakers series entitled “Ideas for a new Style Generation.” The series will feature inspiring women who have made names for themselves in the world of style and media. The first speaker of the series will be Lula Kiah, brand strategist, celebrity stylist, etiquete expert, author and international public speaker. The event will take place at Hawthorne School for Girls (101 Scarsdale Rd, Toronto, ON), on Saturday September 26th starting from 3:30 pm until 5:00pm. Tickets are available for purchase ($20/person, $50/family) please contact gta@trendsfashion.ca to reserve your spot! Please also share this post on Instagram and Facebook!

Lula Kiah is role model for young women. Combining her 15 years of professional image consulting experience with her previous successful career in International Banking and her passion for the people, Lula Kiah founded Style Innovators, an image consulting firm in New York, Chicago and Denver. Lula has offered Image Consulting services to over 2,000 individuals and companies from around the world.  

Mad About Mindy

By: Andrea Fascione

Mindy Kaling is a feisty, fashion-forward comedian whose TV show has just been renewed for a much-anticipated 4th season. And we Mindy fans are waiting with bated breath for the exciting conclusion to the last episode cliffhanger which took us to India!

For those of you who don’t know Mindy’s character, briefly, she plays a young, fun-loving gynecologist in a New York practice of like-minded doctors who all seem to get themselves into trouble as a result of their geeky, loveable awkwardness. In other words, hilarity ensues during each short and – lately – riveting episode.

But no matter what misunderstanding or less than desirable situation she is involved in, Mindy is always dressed her best. Daring to be noticed in her wildly colourful, uniquely-paired ensembles, this comedian and actress begs the question “Ex-squeeze me?” at times. But if she weren’t so colourfully-dressed, her charming and endearing personality would simply take over. Her appeal is that she is real: a real woman with real curves who knows how to dress for her shape.

Making Twitter headlines, she recently defended herself against the fashion site gossipgirl.com that tweeted scathing remarks about an outfit she was wearing: “Mindy Kaling is one of those ‘women of the people’ types who basics find so hilars.” Ever the witty woman who is quick on her feet, it took no time at all for her to retaliate. Basic? This smart, beautiful and talented actress-turned-author is anything but.

We are excited to read her new book of personal essays after her first publication Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? got rave reviews. So stay tuned for Why Not Me? which comes out September 29 and of course, season 4 of the Mindy Project, which will also be airing this fall.