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Posts Tagged ‘fashion travel’

 

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A recent interest in Korean fashion led me to sign up for the Korea Textile Tour, a ten day exploration of traditional Korean culture and textile art. It was my first trip to Asia and needless to say, I was most excited!

Limited to ten women, our group included mostly quilters and a couple of us interested primarily in fashion. We were based in Seoul, South Korea with three leaders:

  • Youngmin Lee, a Korean transplant to the Bay Area and Korean textiles artist.
  • Mirka Knaster makes her home in Northern California and is a writer and an artist working in fiber arts.
  • Lissa Miner is a quilter who hails from Berkeley, CA but currently lives outside of Seoul, South Korea.

 

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Studio of Kyung Yeal Kim, master craftsman. This is where we took the safflower dye workshop.

The days were packed full but we kept to a reasonable pace. Each day we walked an average of five miles, so no need to worry about getting enough exercise. We took docent led museum tours, strolled neighborhoods, met master artists who led us in workshops, including indigo dye and safflower dye. We stayed in Insadong, which is an older part of Seoul known originally as the neighborhood of calligraphy and paper artists. It was a great place to be, located near two subway stations and within walking distance of many galleries and shops. Speaking of subways – I was very impressed with the efficiency (never waited more than 5 minutes for a train), and how clean the stations and trains are kept. Sure it gets crowded and the older folk will push you out of the way but overall the system was a pleasure to ride.

Our hotel was the recently renovated Sunbee. I’m told that it was bought by a retired pharmacist who handed the business over to her son to run. Each of us had her own room, which are remarkably spacious as are the bathrooms. At the end of a busy day, it felt good to come back to a comfortable space. There’s a cafe off the lobby where we met each morning for the included breakfast. Plus free laundry facilities and Wi-Fi.

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Public Library.

As for language, it helps to know a little Korean, at least hello and thank you. In general, many young people speak English and most older people do not. Traditional Korean restaurants don’t have menus in English but some do have pictures to point to. I was lucky to have Youngmin’s help  – often she checked ahead with restaurants to see what accommodations could be made for my egg allergy.  (Several meals are included in the tour.) Modern neighborhoods have English speaking staff  in shops and restaurants. I found that communication is possible and actually fun with a few words in common and a willingness to try.

Tourism in South Korea is on the rise, so people are used to non-Korean speakers. But Korea is not yet on the American radar and I spotted very few of my follow citizens.

What is on the radar of young Koreans is western food. Especially coffee, bread, and pastries. We saw many a French bakery and cafe. Also health food, such as organic salad, is very popular in the modern neighborhoods.

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Handbag Museum.

Among some of my favorite activities on the tour was the trip to Gwangjang Market. The first permanent market in Korea and the main market for fabric, this place is mecca for high quality rare fabrics such as ramie and silk. It was a treat to see. There’s also a food market on the first floor, offering just about any kind of Korean street food you’d like to eat.

I really enjoyed visiting Ewha Women’s University Museum where we had a docent led tour of the special exhibit – Undergarments from the Joseon Dynasty, 1392-1897 (undergarments worn with Hanbok).

On one of our free days four of us visited the Simone Handbag Museum. A few years ago I had read about this museum, which opened in 2012 and displays antique to modern, handmade to designer handbags. The building itself is in the shape of a handbag.

While exploring on my own one day,  I unexpectedly stumbled upon the public library in Bukchon. Another charming historic neighborhood, Bukchon is located near two palaces and is known as a center for traditional arts and artists’ studios.

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Really, I enjoyed everything because it was all new to me. Much of the tour is focused on Korean history and culture, which as Mirka pointed out, gives a context to the traditional art we looked at and talked about. I have come home with a desire to learn more about all things Korean.

This was the second year for the Korea Textile Tour and plans are already in the works for 2019. A list of interested travelers is growing. Click here for more information.

There are lots of photos of my trip on Instagram. Follow OverDressedforLife:

#overdressed4life

Check back for more fashionable adventures in Seoul, South Korea.

 

 

 

 

 

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Trashy Diva’s Angie and Shelby.

I noticed a definite vintage look happening in New Orleans: shirtwaist dresses, full skirts paired with tight fitting tops, head scarves and hats. Soon I was hearing the local buzz about a boutique in the French Quarter called Trashy Diva, which offers vintage inspired clothing for women.

Naturally I made a beeline over to Trashy Diva to see for myself. There I met salestaff Angie and Shelby who told me that they like to think of Trashy Diva fashions as “vintage with a hipster twist.”

The silhouettes are mostly 40s and 50s, the fabric prints in cotton and rayon are all designed by Head Diva, Candice Gwinn and in limited editions. So, almost like buying an actual vintage garment you won’t see yourself coming and going. Well, you might a bit in NOLA but that just means you are  a member of the Trashy Diva tribe.

Ms. Gwinn started TD in the 1990s when she moved to NOLA from Atlanta, GA. Initially she sold strictly vintage but after hearing from her customers that fit was often a problem she began making new fashions with the vintage look in larger sizes. Today there are five store locations in NOLA, one in Atlanta, and a vibrant online presence. TD fashions have been featured on the television series Treme, New Girl, and House of Cards. Celebrities like Taylor Swift and Katy Perry count themselves among the Trashy Diva crowd.

The shop itself is located in one of those fabulous old NOLA buildings on Royal Street.  High ceilings and wood floors mixed with kitschy gold gilt mirrors and chandlers make for a charming environment. Retro tunes played in the background as I perused the wide choice of fabric prints. For spring/summer it’s all about color in floral, bicycles, polka dots. This season’s Preservation Hall print features images from NOLA unique music scene in shades of blue. Choose a print and then find it in dresses, skirts, tops, and pants.

Are you thinking – what’s up with the name? I was wondering that too. Here’s what they say on their website:

Trashy Diva was named nearly 20 years ago (before most people ever heard the word DIVA and certainly before it was common). The name was inspired by an article in W magazine about vintage starlets including Marilyn Monroe and Jane Mansfield. We regularly get questioned about “why Trashy”? The Trashy part of the name expresses two different ideas to us. At the start, we sold only vintage, so the idea was that found objects (aka some people’s unwanted items ‘trashy’ ) could be made beautiful and and stylish. Another reason Trashy Diva appealed to us as a name was that it expressed an idea of an irreverent beauty- the girl who doesn’t always follow the rules!!

Name aside, I really enjoyed my experience at Trashy Diva. The clothes, the friendly staff, the vintage vibe … all great fun. Angie says I’m a Trashy Diva, too. Count me in!

 

 

 

 

 

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img_20161105_142904On our way to a music concert at St. James Church in Piccadilly, my eye caught the most lovely of old buildings and whaddaya know it was a clothing store – Cordings. I took a quick peek in the window and liked what I saw …  tweeds galore.

After the concert we went back and I perused happily taking in all the wonderful and very British jackets, trousers, shirts, and sweaters. It’s a country look for sure, but with a large chic factor thanks to quality fabric and construction.

What is a British country look you might ask? It’s all about appropriate clothing for country outdoor activity such as walking, horseback riding, bicycling, and I have to mention shooting but I don’t approve of that so … enough said. Construction for ease of movement is key as is heavy fabrics for warmth. The look is tweeds in trousers, jackets and waistcoats (vests). Other fabrics include corduroy and velvet. Knits too! Macintosh raincoats and of course boots, including Wellingtons. What attracts me is the simplicity and timelessness of the style.

Cordings has been around since 1839 providing country clothing for gentlemen and in recent years for the ladies. One of the store’s best customers and biggest supporters musician Eric Clapton says Cordings, “… is a place of tradition … the heritage of England.”

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Velvet Cuff Jacket. Image courtesy of Cordings.

Being the anglophile that I am, no wonder I love the place. I also like the idea of mixing a bit of country with city. Such as sporting a tweed jacket over a sharp t-shirt or a cape belted and paired with a mini-skirt (a current trend in London) and thigh high boots.

Thank you Cordings, for making the country chic and for inspiring my inner country.

 

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