New shoes make a difference

Image result for New shoes make a differenceChildren sat attentive in rows of chairs with parents behind them as a college student washed their feet and exchanged kind words before putting a new sneaker on each foot.

More than 60 University of Jamestown students greeted area families that registered for the Samaritan’s Feet distribution day event Sunday at Harold Newman Arena. The UJ students collected 275 pairs of new shoes over the first semester and from direct donations and at a UJ basketball game.

“In retrospect it’s been a lot of work but it doesn’t seem like work, it really doesn’t,” said Mika Thorlakson, a UJ professor of kinesiology and program adviser.

The UJ students were moved by the idea of collecting and distributing shoes for kids, some of whom have never had a new pair, he said. Active and growing kids go through a lot of shoes which puts a burden on parents, he said.

The kids and parents were led to a feet washing station and the youth were fitted with new shoes. The kids were then invited to play games with UJ students on the arena floor.

Charles Eastman of Jamestown said he and his wife were grateful to have a new pair of shoes for their 9-year-old daughter. She goes through a lot of clothing, especially jackets and shoes, and any help is appreciated, he said.

“Anytime we can get some type of help it makes things a lot easier on us,” Eastman said.

Jeremy and Justina Jones said their 8-year-old twin boys are active and go through shoes fast.

“It’s great that they provide this help for children,” Justina said. “I just think it’s a great program.”

Denise Blomberg, regional operations director of the Samaritan’s Feet in Sioux Falls, S.D., said Jamestown has a culture of service and the servant leadership example is exemplified at the university. It’s a community that is aligned well with the organizational goal of giving out a million shoes this year, she said.

“This is a natural progression for us to start the Samaritan’s Feet Ambassadors chapter here,” Blomberg said. “This is the first of its kind and it can be replicated anywhere.”

Samaritan’s Feet was founded in 2003 by Manny Ohonme, who came to the University of North Dakota-Lake Region on a basketball scholarship and went on to earn a master’s degree. As a youth in Nigeria, the gift of his first pair of shoes from a missionary at age 9 changed his life.

The UJ Samaritan’s Feet Ambassadors is a first-of-its-kind model that may soon be used at other colleges and communities that form their own chapters, Blomberg said. The UJ students collected more than 200 pairs of shoes in 2018 but had not yet formed the Samaritan’s Feet Ambassadors chapter.

Sunday’s event was rescheduled from a weather-cancelled event on Jan. 26. When the UJ totals are known they will be added to the other events in 15 cities and 12 states when more than 9,000 pairs of shoes were given to children as part of the Martin Luther King National Day of Service Initiative, she said.

More than 6,500 pairs of shoes have been distributed at events in seven North Dakota cities since 2014, she said. More than 6.9 million shoes have been distributed in 41 states in that time.

Tommy Voss, a UJ senior in exercise science, is president of the Samaritan’s Feet UJ Ambassadors. He said it is the largest campus organization. The students embrace a program that does good and involves servitude, he said.

“I find that it’s very humbling to be part of something like this,” Voss said.

People come forward when they are in need and it isn’t taken lightly by the students, he said. This is a big responsibility but a fantastic opportunity to be a part of something bigger than ourselves, he said.

“These little kids are the future so it means a lot to me,” said Jack Talley, a sophomore pre-law student at UJ.

It’s important to help all kids in the community, he said. The bigger impact of doing something meaningful for a child is that the child in turn may remember this and do the same some day, he said.

Sydney Prussia, a sophomore elementary education student at UJ, said she volunteered as a way to do other things that relate to helping kids.

“This is just another reason to help more kids,” Prussia said.


NYFW: A Celebration of Oscar-Nominated Costume Designer Ruth E. Carter

The one-night-only installation showcased the cultural relevancy of Carter’s work today in themed vignettes such as “Women In Protest” and “The Hero.”

Ruth E. Carter looked around the fifth-floor space at New York’s Spring Studios, where roughly 30 costumes from her 30-year career were arranged in a half-dozen vignettes, and she couldn’t help but appreciate the full-circle moment. “I beat these streets for years, looking for costumes, creating costumes for Spike Lee, riding the subways of New York as a stylist, as a costume designer,” Carter said. “I did everything in this city, so coming back here with my clothes and my exhibition is a really proud moment for me and is all about coming home to the city that I love.”

Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for IMG

Carter is currently enjoying high-wattage attention largely due to her Oscar-nominated designs for 2018’s Black Panther – a “Heroes and Sheroes” exhibition featuring her work has been touring the U.S. since that film premiered last February (pieces are included in the 27th annual “Art of Motion Picture Costume Design” exhibition at  L.A.’s Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising through April 12). Wednesday night’s event, which doubled as a kick-off party for fall 2019 New York Fashion Week, highlighted the marriage of film and fashion woven through the thread of Carter’s designs.

“Every time you go to a fashion photo shoot, you’ll find inspiration images on the wall, and many times they come from film,” noted Ivan Bart, president of IMG Fashion. “When I first met with Ruth [in November], I told her, ‘You have to understand, you’re inspiring a whole new generation of fashion designers.’ I wanted to create an event that showcased that combination of inspiration and aspiration, and how that extends to interpretation.”

Anna Webber/Getty Images for IMG
CEO and founder of Harlem’s Fashion Row Brandice N. Daniel, honoree Ruth E. Carter and president of IMG Models and IMG Fashion Properties Ivan Bart.

Bart partnered with Harlem’s Fashion Row, the organization that works to increase visibility for multicultural designers, and enlisted British stylist Ibrahim Kamara to create looks head-to-toe inspired by the range of Carter’s designs, dating to her first film, the 1988 blaxploitation parody I’m Gonna Git You Sucka. The result was a group of six vignettes populated by live models and mannequins: Carter’s yellow suit from that film, complete with goldfish shoes, was placed alongside a model wearing Kamara’s modern interpretation of the look in a vignette titled “Fly Guys.”

Mike Coppola/Getty Images for NYFW: The Shows

Other themes ranged from “Women in Protest,” which included Carter’s designs for 1992’s Malcolm X, 1989’s Do The Right Thing and 2015’s Chi-Raq, to “The Bad Boys,” which featured pieces like the Giorgio Armani laser-cut leather coat worn by Samuel L. Jackson as part of Carter’s work in 2000’s Shaft.

A vignette titled “The Hero”  extended beyond a look worn by Chadwick Boseman in Black Pantherto include Carter’s designs for Denzel Washington in Malcolm X and David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King in 2014’s Selma. Kamara took those ideas and created a modern-day LGBTQ freedom fighter in a silk white suit with a printed overcoat.

Mike Coppola/Getty Images for NYFW: The Shows

“Ibrahim is so humble, and he’s a genius,” Carter said. “There were no egos here; we appreciated each other. I know I pushed him and inspired him, and he inspired me with his quiet confidence.”

Of course, that begs the question: Who or what inspires Ruth Carter? You only have to look at her work to know the answer. “Some people think I got into costume design because I love Dior and Chanel and Tom Ford, but it really was these stories of African-American culture, this story of our journey,” she said. “When I started, I didn’t see very much of us, and I really in my heart wanted to tell my stories. Tonight is the result of 30 years of hard, hard work.”




River Watcher: A pair of shoes

Image result for River Watcher: A pair of shoesAfter my wife died, my daughter Rebecca began the job of sorting clothes, but what sadly struck her at first were several pairs of shoes that Jo had worn … all lined up on the couch like they were waiting for their owner’s feet. “Absence makes the loss grow deeper.”

We take for granted that shoes are part of us in covering our feet ever since mankind went upright on two legs, putting a high importance on foot coverings. Somewhere along the line, maybe 40,000 years ago, hides were wrapped on for protection, and thus began the crafting of footwear that advanced into a vast business and countless styles.

That is not to say that footwear is always necessary, since in moderate weather going barefoot appeals to some people. I, too, was a “barefoot boy with cheeks of tan,” as Whittier described him, when I was a boy in Missouri, who couldn’t wait until winter passed and I could be foot-free and shoeless again. I don’t know how I did it — running barefoot out in the stubble fields over stickers and stones without qualms! Some cite health reasons to go barefoot in grass and sand … but throughout the fields?

I think of Ishi, the last of the Yahi tribe in Northern California, who became known in Oroville when he emerged from the woods in 1911, found crouched in a barn yard, meagerly clothed and barefooted. Ishi was taken to San Francisco museum to live, and continued to go barefoot. It was noted that his feet were wide with toes of equal length having not been confined in shoes. Being barefooted was the mode most of the time for Native Americans until moccasins were worn.

Some “shoes” made of sagebrush bark was found in Fort Rock Cave in Oregon that were dated at 8000 B.C., and other discoveries were made elsewhere that were much older.

One of the greatest barefoot events of the Western Frontier was made in 1806 when mountain man John Coulter was captured by the Blackfeet Nation, and they stripped him naked to run for his life. He outran his captors for eight miles to reach a river and hid in a drift. His bare feet were sliced badly by cactus, but he then walked 200 miles to a Fort to live to tell the tale!

Back in my homeland of Missouri there was a relative, James Hessenflow, who farmed barefooted. At family reunions, Uncle Jimmy would grab a softball and run barefooted out into the field, yelling “let’s play ball.” Never mind that he was 70, his feet were tough as leather!

Leather for more modern shoes was tough but slick-soled unless you fastened “hobnob” nails to the soles, like John Muir did when exploring the Petrified Forest. At Oakland Camp one summer, I led a hike-group to the Cascades, and one senior, Tom, from the city wore leather-soled slippers. He slipped constantly, crossed the log-bridge by crawling — but reached the falls and was happy!

Thousands of styles have been devised, especially in the last few thousand years, and today the market is marooned in endless choices, often as arguable as camera models. Hiking boots are critical. My best pair was Cabelas kangaroo hide high tops — extremely tough, soft and light. They’re worn out but I can’t throw my old friends away, although Neil Armstrong, first on the moon, had to leave his boots behind as there was fear of contaminating Earth. Today, I wear Nike Monarchs, and their bouncy comfort saved my feet.

Wild animals have adapted their feet to earth’s conditions, and must wonder what those things are on man’s feet. The versatility of hoofed mammals, especially mountain goats and sheep, is remarkable, better than any shoe, and provided by nature free of charge!


What Does A Broadway Costume Designer Actually Do?

Ethan Hawke and Paul Dano as warring brothers in ‘True West’JOAN MARCUS

In his script for his 1980 play “True West,” Sam Shepard goes to considerable pains to describe how his central characters, two ostensibly very different brothers, are dressed.

Austin, the timid screenwriter, is wearing a light blue sports shirt, light tan cardigan sweater, clean blue jeans and white tennis shoes.

Lee, the older brother, wears a filthy white T-shirt; tattered brown overcoat covered with dust; dark blue baggy suit pants (from the Salvation Army); pink suede belt; scuffed, pointed, black forties dress shoes with holes in the soles; no socks; no hat. That’s not to mention the apparent need for long, pronounced sideburns, Gene Vincent hairdo, beard (two days’ growth) and bad teeth.

Kaye Voyce, the costume designer for the new Roundabout Theatreproduction of “True West,” starring Paul Dano as Austin and Ethan Hawke as Lee, didn’t feel at all limited by Shepard’s seeming specificity. For starters, she has Lee wearing a shiny maroon dress shirt under his tattered coat, at least at first, and gives Austin a pair of glasses.

“I don’t feel like the details he gives are prescriptive,” she says, of Shepard. “To me, they are beautiful clues to the characters and the world, and a great starting place. And those clues will mean different things to each team of designers, directors and actors. The clues helped to remind me to push for the extremes in these humans.”

“If an actor is uncomfortable it’s hard to believe it as a costume”JOAN MARCUS

Voyce describes the art of costume design, in collaboration with the director, actors and other designers, as a kind of “active collage process.” “With more contemporary clothes, it’s all about hunting down the right pieces, being open to surprise and how things are put together,” she says.

“And often, something just feels right or really wrong on someone’s body. If an actor doesn’t feel comfortable in a garment it’s really hard to believe it as a costume. Sometimes you want something to be ill-fit or a little strange—but the actor has to make the connection physically.”

Sometimes, the effect of costume design might be illuminating in a subliminal way. Asked if there was an aspect of her work on “True West” she found personally satisfying, she mentioned an aspect that, first and foremost, served the actors in their performances.

“In our conversations, we realized how central the absence of the father is in the play,” explained Voyce. “There are elements of Lee and Austin’s costumes that relate to their ideas of this man. Nobody should know it, but it means something to me and the actors.”


We hate being called a value player: Shital Mehta, CEO, Max Fashion India

Shital Mehta, CEO, Max Fashion India

Apart from working towards a bullish revenue target, Max Fashion India hopes to shed its long-standing ‘value for money’ image and be known instead as a ‘fashion destination’. Shital Mehta, the company’s CEO, speaks to Shinmin Bali about Max’s expansion plans, its omnichannel strategy and the insignificance of ‘end of season sales’. Edited excerpts:

What are the growth and expansion plans of Max?
This year, we are likely to clock Rs 3,600 crore in revenue. We are not a retailer or aggregator store alone. We are a fashion brand present across every possible segment, whether it is value or premium, Indian or western wear, men or women.

We would continue to penetrate even the micro markets of the top 10 cities, because we are very strong there. Given our positioning, we can go further into the smaller catchment areas in cities like Bengaluru or Hyderabad. For example, in Bengaluru, we have 27 stores, and we could add another five to 10 stores in the next two to three years. We are also keen on expanding in the East, North, West and Central India, where we have not fully exploited the market potential. Half of our business comes from the South.

How does Max differentiate itself among other players?
Max is the only brand in India that operates on an eight-season calendar, that is, almost 45 days per season. We turn our stock so rapidly that, in around six weeks, our store collection changes completely. We are aiming to create more than 20,000 new designs per year. Currently, no other brand in the Indian market, domestic or international, goes beyond 10,000 designs per year. Ours is a heady cocktail of variety, freshness and trend sensibilities — that we bring in from our experience in international markets — accessibility and, finally, affordable pricing. That is the combination to create value fashion. Just because others sell at affordable prices, doesn’t mean they stand for ‘value fashion’; it only means they are playing a pricing game.

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How important is the digital ecosystem for Max?
We do not sell on any of the marketplaces, but have built our own site and app. At the moment, the app has four million downloads. It was launched 14 months ago. Our online model is currently growing at 60%. Like a lot of large global players, we have gone omnichannel as well, with services like Click and Collect. The Dubai market has one of our very tech-savvy stores, which has a Magic Mirror, QR-code-enabled shopping, etc. We plan to bring that to India.
There is a lot of focus on making sure we are more of an ‘anytime, anywhere’ brand. Families are our core consumers, but we have put in effort in the last two years towards connecting with the millennials. They want the latest fashion made available in the most accessible manner. In serving them, we are a value fashion brand with a fast fashion mindset.

But wouldn’t that be reinforcing the ‘value’ image? 
We hate being called a value player. Our past was only about ‘value’. Max is for consumers who seek value, but are fashion forward. In the time to come, you will see a lot of focus on strategic brand communication and establishing Max as a brand which has a certain stature. We also want to strengthen our brand communication.

What about your omnichannel strategy? How is it faring?
Around 15% of all our online orders are through Click and Collect. Likewise, we are seeing 10-15% of Return to Store happening. What we are also pushing for is online shopping from within the store — endless aisles — where one purchases within the store and it’s delivered to you. Click and Collect and Return to Store have been rolled out across India. Endless aisles has been rolled out in five stores in Bengaluru and will be extended to other cities soon.

How important are sale periods for Max?
Max is, perhaps, the only player for which end of season sales (EOSS) are almost insignificant. Almost 75% of what we sell is sold on full price. We do not mark up and then bring the price down or hand out vouchers. For us, EOSS is a ritual. Our dream is to not have EOSS at Max at all.



Bebe Rexha can’t find a designer to dress her for the red carpet: ‘My size 8 ass is still going to the Grammys’

Bebe Rexha can’t find a designer to dress her for the Grammy Awards next month — because she is “too big.”

The singer, who is nominated in the Best New Artist and Best Country Duo/Group Performance categories, took to social media on Monday to explain her predicament three weeks before music’s big night, revealing she’s struggling to find an outfit.

“A lot of times artists will go and talk to designers, and they’ll make them custom dresses to walk the red carpet…” the Meant to Be star says in a video posted to Instagram. “I had my team hit out a lot of designers, and a lot of them do not want to dress me because I’m too big.

Bebe Rexha attends the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show at Pier 94 on November 8, 2018 in New York City. Theo Wargo/Getty Images

“If a size 6/8 is too big then I don’t know what to tell you. Then I don’t want to wear your fking dresses… To all the people that said that I’m thick… fk you, I don’t want to wear your fking dresses.”

Bebe captioned the video: “Im sorry, I had to get this off my chest. If you don’t like my fashion style or my music that’s one thing. But don’t say you can’t dress someone that isn’t a runway size. We are beautiful any size! Small or large! Anddddd My size 8 a is still going to the Grammys.”

She isn’t the first real-size celebrity to speak out about the red carpet snobbery surrounding designers refusing to dress certain body types — comedian Leslie Jones took aim at the fashionistas when she couldn’t find anyone to dress her for the Ghostbusters premiere in 2016 — she took to Twitter to voice her disdain, writing: “It’s so funny how there are no designers wanting to help me with a premiere dress for movie. Hmmm that will change and I remember everything.”

She refused to name the designers she reached out to, but Christian Siriano stepped forward and offered to dress her, stating: “I love Leslie and can’t wait to make her something fabulous to wear. I dress and support women of all ages and sizes.”

Embedded video

Bebe Rexha


Im sorry, I had to get this off my chest. If you don’t like my fashion style or my music that’s one thing. But don’t say you can’t dress someone that isn’t a runway size. We are beautiful any size! Small or large! Anddddd My size 8 ass is still going to the Grammys. #LOVEYOURBODY


11:48 PM – Jan 21, 2019
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