900 North Michigan Shops

This project was SOOOOOO much fun to style for the 900 North Michigan Shops in Chicago.  I frequent this mall to hit great stores like Space 519, Bloomingdales, J. Crew and Galt Baby.  Therefore, I was very excited to be able to create a body of work that will be used for many years around the mall and for their website.  For this project, I exclusively pulled all the wardrobe, shoes and accessories from Bloomingdales, which is one of my favorite stores to shop for commercial wardrobe assignments since they have a great selection of designers and killer return policy.  Since I knew this series would be published in black & white and on display for up to 10 years, I wanted everything to be timeless, elegant, full of great fabrics and textures.  I loved what LA photographer, Fab Fernandez was able to capture.

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The True Cost

If you love to shop, or really, if you’ve ever bought clothing for yourself (I’m guessing you have), WATCH THIS DOCUMENTARY.      True Cost Movie is currently available on Netflix.

As someone who has spent over 50% of their career in stores this documentary really struck a chord.  It made me think about the woman who I saw buy 52 pairs of flip-flops at Old Navy the other day because they were on sale for $1.  FIFTY TWO PAIRS OF FLIP-FLOPS.  I’m not pointing my finger, this is just an example of how easy and cheap it is to buy massive quantities of something we may never use.  I get it, we all want more money in our pocket.  We want 3 items for the price of 1 because that’s a great deal.  We’re winning with more stuff and more money.  Unfortunately, just like everything else in this world, when it’s too good to be true, then it’s actually too good to be true.  Someone is suffering and it isn’t your credit card.

Trust me, I’m not perfect either.  I often fall victim to whatever cute/on trend/affordable whateverness I see while I’m at Zara for work and make impulse purchases that I always later regret generally after the first wash when the item falls apart.  I didn’t need it, and now it’s waste.  I donate my clothes, but now I know from this documentary that there’s a small chance that someone else ends up wearing any of it.  Instead, it ends up in a landfill next to my plastic water bottle.  I’m not on a soapbox here.  I understand the irony of the person who shops for their career and makes a good living at it, telling people who shop less and make less money to save their hard-earned cash to only buy things made locally from their crafty neighbors.  It’s the same as people who can afford to live in San Francisco telling all of us to only eat organic.  It’s a luxury to buy hand-crafted goods.  They’re expensive and for good reason.  A lot of heart and soul went into these products.  They’re expensive because they took time and a lot of skill.  But here’s the thing, so did the items that are on the sale rack at Zara and H&M.  These companies don’t have machines that print out clothing.  They’re made by real people who are extremely skilled, but will never be compensated for it.

Just like the green movement, consumers aren’t single-handedly going to change the clothing industry by boycotting these stores and only buying locally.   It’s not realistic.  This problem isn’t completely our fault.  It’s confusing to be a consumer in today’s world.  It’s too much work to know where every item we buy is coming from and at what cost.  With that said, I think we all can reevaluate what we’re really buying when we’re standing in line at the checkout.  When new clothes become cheaper than clothes at a thrift store, there’s a problem and it’s costing all of us more than we realize.

I wish there was a clear answer, but there’s not.  If I were to take a stab at it, I would say that it is pretty clear that the system is corrupt and there needs to be more regulation overseas and we need to crack down on the companies in the U.S. who are supporting these factories by ordering from them.  The government needs to crack down on this industry, and the executives of these brands needs to be held accountable.  Everyone is passing the blame saying it’s not me, I didn’t know my garments were being made in such a horrible working environment, yet that doesn’t create change.  There needs to be some accountability from everyone, including the consumer.  I don’t want the factories to go away.  These people need jobs, but they also need to be treated as humans, not slaves.  The downfall of regulation is that our clothing will become more expensive if the workers start to make more money.  But think of it this way, the clothes we put on our body are no different then the food we put in our body, we’re trading cost for our health and humanity.  If we saw our neighbor burn to death in a factory fire, we’d want change.  If we saw our farmer neighbor have a brain tumor from pesticides, we’d want change.  I want change, I want to figure out how I can help, I want to make more conscious purchases, and I want to see change happen overseas.  It’s overwhelming.  Where do I even begin?!

New Series

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It has been a long time since I’ve been able to style a personal project that completely moves away from what I get paid to do and it felt oh-so-good.  These beautiful images were shot by Marcus Smith.  Hair and make up by the talented Tia Dantzler.  Patrice Julion was our stunning model.

Bob Odenkirk for Chicago Magazine

This was one of those jobs where I had to keep uttering to myself under my breath, “He’s just a person like you, he’s just a person like you,” so my hands wouldn’t shake profusely while I tied his tie from nerves.  Bob Odenkirk is a comedic legend and arguably one of the best actors out there.  He’s a man that shouldn’t be taken lightly, but I also didn’t want him to notice my sweaty upper lip while I dressed him in a Hugo Boss suit from Saks.  This was SO MUCH fun and a shoot I’ll never forget!  You can read the article from Chicago Magazine HERE.

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Motorola X

I had so much fun working with one of my old buds, photographer Colleen Durkin, and some of Chicago’s finest crew members; Jenna Baltes, Morgan Blaul, Angela Finney, Damien Thompson, Melanie Trombley and so many other familiar hardworking faces.  This was a run and gun type of shoot where we didn’t even know if it was definitely going to happen until 24 hours before… I didn’t even get the sizes until two in the afternoon the day before the shoot.  Luckily, along with my awesome assistant Theresa Poborsky, we were able to shop it out at stores like H&M, Urban Outfitters, Levis, Nordstrom Rack, Nordstrom, Macy’s, etc.  As I’ve mentioned before, I always try to shop where I think the demographic that the ad is trying to portray would buy their clothes.  Since this was a group shot, it was a matter of assembling the talent in a way that was cohesive, but to maintain a personality in each of it’s characters.  The shoot actually became a stop motion short film that I still haven’t been able to get my hands on.  This is a compilation of some of the stills in the meantime.

 

Motorola

 

 

Luxe Styling

CSCover RelatedRealty

 

I must admit, I’ve been so crazy busy with projects that I’ve completely neglected my blog.  This week I’m on a mission to make up for lost time and find some of the images that I’ve worked on over the past year.   Something people don’t know about the photography crews that create all the advertisements you see is that we often have no idea where the image is going to appear or when (the photographer may be the only one).  Therefore, if you’re short on time like I always am, many of the projects I work on fall through the cracks and I never get to see the awesomeness that the hardworking crew I get to be a part of had created.

Here’s a shoot that we did this winter for Related Realty.  If you know me personally, you may laugh at the idea that I sometimes get hired to create a luxurious feel to a photograph.  Luxurious I am not, but I’d like to think of myself as a chameleon who’s strong suit is that I can execute any idea an art director presents to me.  On this project, I styled the wardrobe for the talent that you see.  The hero talent (lady holding the tray in white) is actually wearing a dress tucked into a skirt.  How do you like them apples!

 

The unique story of British music and street style by Don Letts

Agh…. This documentary is SO GOOD.  Documentarian Don Letts takes you through U.K. subcultures in the 60’s through the 80’s.  It never seizes to amaze me the references from all of these cultures that still exist, yet most of us who sport these influences aren’t quite sure where their clever pant hem length came from, for example.  Here’s its history.  You’ll like it.

Featuring
-TEDDY BOYS
-ROCKERS
-MODS
-SKIN HEADS
-SUEDE HEADS
-SOUL BOYS
-PUNKS
-CASUALS
-INDIE
-SKA, TWO TONE
-NEW WAVE
-RAVE
-BRITPOP

FRED PERRY Presents.