Culture Feature

This Haunts Me: Were Those Urban Outfitters Mary Janes Cultural Appropriation?

I'm coming to terms with a pair of shoes that I used to wear loyally, despite irreparable foot pain.

Urban Outfitters Cotton T-Strap Mary Janes

I didn't walk much in high school.

Between 2010 and 2014, the longest distance I had to commute on foot was from the parking lot of my high school campus to the band hall. I spent eight hours a day sitting in classes, stagnant, until the bell signaled it was time to make yet another short trek to my next sitting location. All of this is to say: I didn't often consider the comfort level of my shoes.

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How is it Valentine's Day again?

Our editors realize that this is no ordinary year, so any gifting must go way beyond cheap chocolates, heart bedecked boxers, and that cute dashboard teddy bear destined for a gas station trash can.

This Valentine's Day, give the one you love something they will actually use…and keep using. Give them Ekster. They're having a fantastic 15% off sale!!

Famous for its stylish designs and innovative technology, Ekster offers an array of essential carry items from classic smart wallets to aluminum cardholders that are sure to add polish to your look. They combine quality and functionality with cutting-edge tracking capabilities.

The Parliament Wallet is Ekster's flagship wallet - ultra-thin, it has 6 card slots, and comes in 7 colors. The Senate Cardholder comes with a removable multi-purpose strap - a brilliant way to stash your cash. It also comes in 7 colors, can hold a few bills, and up to 10 cards.

Both The Parliament Wallet and The Senate Cardholder have the instant card access feature - one click of the button in the bottom corner and out pops your cards. No more scrambling for the right piece of plastic.

Ekster also has an Aluminum Cardholder, a more classic Modular Bifold wallet, iPhone cases, and more, so you're bound to find something perfectly suited to that special someone in your life!

And you've gotta check out the Ekster Tracker Card. If you misplace your wallet, you can track it worldwide with Ekster's global system. Pair it with your Google Assistant, Alexa, or Siri, speak a command into your phone the instant you realize your wallet's missing, and the tracker will pull it up on a map.

The tracker card is an absolute must with any of these wallets. Once the app is installed, you'll see how valuable it is. Not only is the wallet secure, but your phone can be traced with it too - which is where the Ekster magic really comes through.

Instead of having to drive back to where you think you've left your wallet, the alert notifies you before you drive away in the first place. You'll never lose your wallet again!

And how about this - the tracker's solar-powered. 3 hours of sunlight lasts for 2 months!

Besides trackability, Ekster's wallets offer many other practical features, like RFID protection that keeps your cards safe from electronic data theft. You can even take remote group selfies with your Tracker.

Exceptional price, flexible returns, free shipping on $50+ orders, and a 12-month warranty are icing on the Ekster cake.

And speaking of cake, we'd all love a slice. But the sweetest gift of all this Valentine's Day is one of Ekster's amazing carry essentials. Their superb craftsmanship and sleek design will last for years.

LIMITED TIME ONLY: Don't Miss Out! Shop Ekster's Sale for 15% Off Your Purchase!


I Have a Love-Hate Relationship With "Avant Basic" Influencer Style

You know it. You love it. Or, it just hurts your eyes.

@kjplumb on Instagram

Recently, I encountered a viral tweet that perfectly encapsulated a concept I'd been trying to define on my own for months.

"I hereby christen this style: avant basic," writer Emma Hope Allwood declared in the tweet. Attached was a screenshot of an Instagram feed belonging to Lisa Says Gah, a trendy e-commerce fashion website known for carrying small brands whose vibrant colors, vintage-inspired silhouettes, and whimsical patterns can be spotted in many a microinfluencer's closet.

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The Best Cow Print Clothes and Accessories to Channel Your Inner Beyoncé

Black Is King made us realize we need a cow print dress, stat.

If there's anything more visually stunning than Beyoncé herself in her new visual Black Is King, then it's the fashion donned by Queen Bey and her plethora of co-stars.

Set to the music from Beyoncé's 2019 album The Lion King: The Gift, Black Is King is an artistic spectacle. From elaborate sets to costumes that belong in a museum, the film is chock-full of memorable moments—namely that fantastic cow print outfit.

Animal print has been having a moment for quite a while. Last summer saw the reign of the leopard midi skirt, while winter welcomed an abundance of zebra print. Those prints surely aren't going anywhere anytime soon, but lately, they've faced competition with the latest arrival from the animal kingdom: cows.

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Culture Feature

Wear Whatever You Want. Fashion is Dead.

We unpack the rise and fall of American haute couture.

As Carrie Bradshaw famously said, "Every year the women of New York leave the past behind and look forward to the future. This is known as FASHION WEEK."

While any real New Yorker knows that Sex and The City is a rose-colored depiction of the cockroach-filled-hellhole we happily call home, surely the show at least nailed its representation of fashion week. After all, it's a week devoted to all things shiny and inaccessible: beautiful people wearing beautiful clothes in elegant rooms with mysterious locations. Yeah, someone vomited on your Reeboks on the L train during your commute home to your 4th-floor walk up, but surely, despite all the things New York turned out not to be, it's still this one thing: the home of high fashion and unimaginable glamor.

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Culture News

Tyra Banks Channels Willy Wonka in "Modelland" Theme Park

The Santa Monica attraction is promised to boost people's confidence, revolutionize beauty standards, erase Banks' movie Life Size, and fix Lindsay Lohan's career.

Tyra Banks is finally realizing her dream of becoming the Willy Wonka of unrealistic body standards by opening a "supermodel-themed amusement park."

Open later this year in an open-air shopping center in Santa Monica, Modelland (which is also the title of her 2010 young adult novel based on, what else, herself), will feature interactive entertainment, retail shops, and dining options. Banks told Variety, "It's my calling to bring modeling to the masses." But what could that mean when modeling is already foisted onto the public in Clockwork Orange-style blitzes of ads, photoshop, and constant feelings of inadequacy?

Among the few details available, the ticketed attraction will offer guests costumes created by Hollywood designers and stylists. The park won't feature fashion shows, as that's "low hanging fruit," according to Banks. She's aiming to "redefine what a model is. It's all about inclusiveness." So the park will be a place "where everyone can be a model" and "all beauty is celebrated"—clearly, with the help of touch-ups and better-than-yours fashion that Modelland can provide.

Banks told WWD, "I've always been insanely inspired by attractions like Disneyland and Universal Studios and have wanted to bring that spirit of adventure and storytelling to the world of modeling...Men, women, families, all generations can come and enter this model world for a day, have a fun shopping experience, and an eventful meal." Banks channeled her best Walt Disney-meets-Jim Jones energy in her Instagram announcement: "My dream for you will soon be a reality. #ModelLand. A place where everyone can be a model. A place where all beauty is celebrated. I can't wait for you to Step Into Your Light."

The model-turned-mogul told Variety, "When people leave Modelland, we want them to feel overjoyed and empowered." She added, "of course, there will be an elevated social media component that will allow for our global community to engage and get delightful tastes of Modelland. That is crucial. The extra special treat is at the attraction, in the flesh." It's unclear what Banks is planning for the park's "interactive entertainment," but her emphasis on "elevated social media" makes it sound like a multi-level shopping mall filled with Hollywood glam photo booths where you can film your own confessional video about being prettier than your roommate, America's Next Top Model-style.

Banks seems certain the Santa Monica location will only be the flagship of many similar attractions. Despite revealing few concrete details, she waxed poetic about its power to boost people's confidence, revolutionize beauty standards, erase Banks' movie Life Size, and fix Lindsay Lohan's career. "Modelland is not just a place to us; it's a movement," Banks said. "Yes, it's an attraction and a destination, but above all, it's the genesis for people with all types of different beauty to feel seen and validated. Modelland will empower them to embrace, celebrate and adorn their own unique beauty in ways they never thought possible."

But just as Willy Wonka tricks Charlie into winning the chocolate factory, Banks' overinflated sense of purpose is well-intentioned. She states, "I created Top Model to expand the definition of beauty based on my own pain of being told 'no' that I couldn't do something because I'm curvy or I'm black." While it's a nice intention to bring more inclusivity to modeling, an amusement park offering makeovers isn't going to disrupt an industry with over a hundred years of saying "no" to all but one percent of the population.

Stay tuned for when this 21,000-square-foot doll house will become available to the public.

Meg Hanson is a Brooklyn-based writer, teacher and jaywalker. Find Meg at her website and on Twitter @megsoyung.

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