Updated: Feb 28
Outreach Director Gabrielle Vaillancourt covers all you might've missed this past January— from Sex Education to activist baking to Leslie Kirchhoff’s Miu Miu ice art.
It only seems fitting to kick off January’s pop-culture review with a healthy dose of Netflix’s new lovechild with Project Runway: Next In Fashion. Hosted by Queer Eye’s fashion personality, Tan France, and industry mogul Alexa Chung, the show brings together some of the world’s best and brightest designers to compete for $250,000 and a spot on the Net-a-Porter website. For some, this prize is the very boost their business needs; for others, it’s simply an ego boost. Only one participant doesn’t have his own brand– his challenge is to overcome the economic barriers of the fashion world. The designers come from all different backgrounds— not only cultural, geographic, and class, but also prospectively. Each earned their way into their position on and off the show through sacrifice, and each gives a different angle on what it really takes to make it. The challenges themselves get increasingly ridiculous as the show goes on, and the strengths and weaknesses of each designer are showcased in pretty plain sight. It’s also easy to pick favourites; for myself, I can’t get over Italian creative director Angelo Cruciani, nor the powerhouse Central Saint Martins grad Daniel Fletcher— they’re both there for a good time, and it shows. The iconic Super Dragon team of Angel Chen and Minju Kim rarely fail to impress throughout the challenges, and the way they seem to mesh in such an incremental period of time wooed my heart with every episode. Overall, the show is the perfect mix of sentiment and that fashion edge, minus the stereotypical toxicity. You don’t need to be an aspiring Parsons student to love it; all you need to do is start watching.
Mejuri is a Toronto-based jewelry company focused on providing quality fine jewelry without the traditional markups— made for everyday use. It markets to and encourages women to buy jewelry “for your damn self.” Mejuri rejects the old-school ideology of marketing women’s jewelry to men; instead, the brand is focused on the working woman. Mejuri knows that millennials seek luxury in a new light— quality materials, ethically produced by genuine craftsmen, at prices that don’t break the bank. The brand produces in small quantities to ensure these practices and sells in a direct-to-consumer business model. It embodies the spirit of the contemporary working woman thoroughly. They drop new pieces every week; my favourite of their recent additions being the croissant collection— cute pieces at a lovely price. With such a remarkable repeat customer transaction rate (20-30%), it's no wonder how well the brand’s guiding principles work for them; they create quality pieces, market cheaply and through genuine word-of-mouth interaction, and cultivate their brand experience effectively. After all, it’s hard for anything to go wrong when you’re doing everything right.
III. DISCO CUBES
After gazing upon the splendours of Leslie Kirchhoff’s ice pieces— filled with flora, colour, fruits, and various other pretty things— art is given an unexpected medium. I’ve spent many hours cyber-stalking her work. Branding ice for companies such as Glossier and Miu Miu, Kirchhoff has certainly found her niche and dominated it. It is an unusual thing to imagine that someone could build a career off of making beautiful ice, but eccentricity is highly valued in this age of celebrity look-a-likes and oversaturated hashtags. And good for her: Kirchhoff's work and passion have evidently paid off, and I’ve made it one of my life goals to attend a party wherein Kirchhoff’s vivid ice art is on display. I mean— she put a purse! In ice! It literally doesn’t get cooler than that. Kirchhoff is also a photographer and director. Additionally, the Disco Cubes cocktail and ice book are coming this April!
IV. SEX EDUCATION
Netflix did it again— they outdid the American (and frankly, Canadian) sex education curriculum tenfold. The sophomore season dives even deeper into the first season’s plot, covering a wide array of issues such as STIs, dirty talk, fingering, pansexuality, and douching, to name a few. That being said, the show also spends a considerable amount of time on narratives beyond the scope of complex adolescent sexuality, such as addiction, self-harm, and rape culture. All of this is packed into eight episodes that, despite their content, rarely came across as heavy: we experience all of the trials and tribulations of navigating sex, love, and identity as a teenager through a light-hearted and comedic lens. This has always been the primary appeal of the show— nothing appears as vastly devastating as we think it to be in real life. Through much cringe, humility, and laughter from characters, the open dialogue is given context and authenticity, and most importantly, humour. The air of toxicity that can often feel like a cloud around our puny-high school brains as we try to figure everything out is removed, and we feel a bit better about ourselves. Our issues, questions, and quandaries are playing out on screen, most often in the form of their worst-case scenario. And if they can handle that, surely we can too.
As Becca Rea-Holloway describes her work, she is “rage baking in DC.” If you’re not already following the lovely and angry cake, cookie, and pie creator’s work, you should be. Holloway practices her political activism in an entirely new medium, one unique to her. Scrolling through her IG, you’ll find hundreds of the prettiest sweets topped with not-so-sweet messages, on feminism, Trump, healthcare rights, rent control, student loan debt— you name it. How do you make people listen? The same way you get to their hearts: through food. Back in 2019, Miley Cyrus and her team plagiarized Holloway’s work in promotional images for her collaboration with Marc Jacobs x Planned Parenthood, posting an image of a cake decorated almost exactly as Holloway’s piece which read “Abortion is Healthcare.” Although Cyrus apologized and credited the original artist, she seemed to mistake theft for “inspiration,” and offered no compensation. That being said, the Instagram art community was quick to call out Cyrus’ actions, and although no proper amendments were made, it opened the door to conversation on other artists whose work was stolen by Cyrus and other stars alike. Holloway’s work continues, in more ways than one, to spark a dialogue we need.
Haloscope didn't receive any paid promotional material for this article.