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Zines are an artform rich in history.  From their 19th century origins through today’s flourishing culture, zines have served as a means for folks to express themselves in print.  The allure of self-pressed zines lies within their DIY approach:  zines provide an affordable, accessible way to bring the lived experiences and opinions of a wide variety of writers and artists to the front.  Zines also tend to encompass a wide variety of themes and topics–so whether you’re into rock and roll, gardening, politics, or fast food, there’s probably something out there for your niche interest!

We had the privilege of chatting with Lucy Isadora, a Mississippi-based zine creator about her ever-expanding zine collection, her sources of inspiration, self-publishing in Mississippi, and why you should just the damn thing.

What drew you to making zines?   What was your first zine about?
i’d been reading zines for a long time- i bought my first one kind of unknowingly when i was 14, and then started reading maximum rock n roll when i was 18 and getting into punk for the first time. i also bought a zine from some comedians i liked that was about “back to school” and pranks and cute stuff like that. so i knew i liked them, and i knew they were easy to make, but it was hard to get up the courage to delve in; it’s not like knitting or playing the guitar where you learn the basics from youtube and then branch out, it’s an art form that’s completely changeable and subjective and has no rules.

the first zine i ever made was actually a collaboration zine i made with other students on my college’s campus called MILLSAPS NOW. i basically asked my friends to send me random scribbles, photos, anything that would be considered too silly/trashy/ugly/stupid for the real campus arts publication, and then i published it “anonymously”. i was obsessed with the song “hotline bling” at the time, so i made the cover look like that single cover, a pink background and “1-800-MILLSAPS-NOW” in white helvetica.

i actually think that submission-based zines like that are really great for first-timers, cuz it kind of takes the pressure off you to make The Most Amazing Work Ever and lets you curate a zine of lots of really cool stuff. i’ve made several like that.

How many zines do you own?
i’m really excited that you asked me this, because i JUST bought a filing cabinet to put all my zines in and catalogued most of my collection. current count is 143- but i have a bunch still in storage so i think 200 is a reasonable estimate. i tend to buy them in bulk when i go to radical bookstores or record stores or comic shops or other places that just have a bunch of zines, because no one close to me sells a lot of zines. even my old standby, goner records, has cut down on what they offer. i also get a lot as gifts from friends- when you become the “zine friend,” people just give you what they make. it rules.

Who are your biggest zine inspirations?
i really love maximum rocknroll, although i don’t make anything about music really. i always buy cometbus when it comes out, because it’s amazing but also because it’s closer to what i really like to do, which is longer-form personal narrative writing zines. it’s tough to name people who are ~zine inspo~ to me, because i think very few people have a strong zine brand and i don’t tend to collect certain authors. my work is inspired by stuff i like and stuff that happens in my life.

i love looking at my collection to inspire my layouts and stuff. people come up with innovative ways of assembling zines that blow my mind all the time. people i meet at fests really inspire me- recently JC of “tributaries” zine, wing woman press, lynne monsoon of “butch nor femme“, and forever and always karina hagelin of “femme filth” zine.

What types of zines do you like to read?
i love perzines, AKA “personal zines” or zines about people’s lives. they’re beginning to make a comeback (recently there was a fest in california called “dear diary fest” totally dedicated to them) but they can be hard to find. the good ones are just like journals or casual facebook updates that just tell you little bits about the stuff people do every day. i love reading them from complete strangers and people i’ve never met. i have one i’m totally obsessed with from the early 2000s called “chatty pig”, i think i have the second issue. it’s got some very 90s-looking word clipart in it, and it’s just tales from this woman who works a random office job and hangs out with her friends. completely banal subject matter, but i eat it up! it’s written just like a letter to her friends- super informal, just talking about stuff she’s done recently. i find that kind of writing really difficult and admire people who can bang out perzines like that.

What’s your favorite zine that you’ve pressed and why?
this one is tough! i’d say they’re like my babies and i could never choose, but when you table with them at fests a lot and pitch them to people a lot, you slowly grow to hate them. especially when you write personal narrative and then time passes and you grow as a writer and a person, old stuff starts to look and read kind of bad. probably my favorite is “woo woo woo #1“, just because it was so fun to make and was made for the exclusive and pure reason of just wanting to review fast food with my BFF. it reads in that casual way that i like, because it’s just direct transcripts of conversations between me and my friend zach about fast food. we ate about 5 fast food meals in a couple weeks’ time, and it was terrible for our bodies but the zine is really good. we’re working on the second one right now and they’re definitely the most time-consuming one i make. this next issue will be printed, i hope, rather than just put up online like i did with #1. i love woo woo woo.

What kind of topics do you tend to be drawn to write about?
stuff that affects my life. i’ve written extensively about living in finland, fast food, mississippi politics, personal care, et cetera. pretty much whatever’s consuming my thoughts goes in a zine of some sort. i don’t bother writing much outside of what i know intimately because that’s really where my best writing is and it’s what i love sharing that part of me.

What separates zines from other literature, and why are they important to you?
ACCESSIBILITY. this is what i tell everyone about zines. they tend to be specific to countercultural movements (science fiction, punk, leftism, etc) and intended for widespread sharing. no one cool makes zines to get rich, they’re intended to be easy to obtain and share. anyone can make a zine, too, and you don’t need an editor or a publisher or an agent. you just need an idea and the materials to execute that idea on paper.

so much of zines is about cooperation and giving and doing what you can so that everyone gets to enjoy your work. there is certainly a newer movement of “art zine” type stuff that’s made on really fancy high-gloss paper with high budgets and stuff. kanye west made one. i think they’re nice, but they’re just art books co-opting zine language to be trendy and make no sense as an accessible medium. i’ve paid $25-30 for that kind of publication and they suck compared to the stuff i get for cheap direct from the zinester.

What’s the zine scene like where you live?
it’s just me here in jackson! some other folks here have made one-offs or zines to supplement larger projects, but no one i know of makes them as their primary form of expression. sometimes i get zines from the nice punks down in hattiesburg. i tend to travel to buy zines or meet other people who make them.

You’ve tabled at a couple of zine fests.  What’s that experience like?
so fun! it’s an excellent way to meet a million people who love zines in like an 8-hour timeframe. i really deeply love the process of figuring out how my table should look, setting up my little color-coordinated table covering, splaying my zines out all nice. i love talking to new people about zines and meeting people who make zines. and trading! i love trading. the best part of zine fests is when people ask if they can trade with you. fests are also supremely exhausting because you are meeting a million people in a pretty short timeframe. even just sitting and smiling as people walk by and saying hi to folks wears me out if i do it all day. having to rep your art and just hope people like it is definitely a struggle.

What motivates you to keep moving forward with this format?
i love it. it’s mostly just a mode of transportation for my ideas, and it’s the best way i know to get my ideas out there. it feels good to have a finished thing in your hands. it feels good when someone reads something i write and then follows me on instagram or adds me on facebook to tell me they love it. it’s such a special and personal thing for me, and i get to connect with folks over that. what a freakin gift!

How do you break out of a rut, or a period of writers’ block?
i try to just bang out something stupid. i love doing little one-sheet mini zines because you can finish them in a day and they can be about really silly stuff. that’s the point of zines- they can be silly or imperfect and still be great!

Do you have any advice for potential zine-makers?
just make one. please. stop talking about making one or planning on making one or saying you’ll make one and just make one. make one and then send it to me so i can put it in my filing cabinet. make one because i desperately want to read it. make a zine and make it now! you can borrow my long-arm stapler if you want. your zine is probably going to be amazing. i love you.

Interested in reading more? Check out Lucy’s issu and her Instagram!
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You know the old saying: t’is the season to get more excited about stocking stuffers than than the actual gifts you’re giving people. The little gifts are the best ones, wouldn’t you agree? And I would almost go so far as to argue that it’s more fun to get several small gifts than one big, practical one. Plus, it allows you more opportunity to show off your amazing gifting skills to your friends and family. Just wait until they see how well you know them!

Grab them a serious gift like a gorgeous set of marble coasters, or go for something simple like a slice of a crescent-shaped, raw-edged amethyst! Whether your stocking stuffers are meant to get a laugh, recall a memory, and/or shed a tear, there’s an indie brand with the perfect gifts for your closest companions and friendliest enemies.

12 Indie Stocking Stuffers Under $10
Vintage Silverware Magnetic Bud Vase
$8 each

Adorable, simple, and as a bonus – sustainable at heart! Fly Me Home took the ends of vintage silverware (frequently hollow) and attached magnets to the back. They’ll fit one good-sized flower or a few smaller ones.

Large, Illustrated Vinyl Stickers
$5.28 for 2

These original illustrations are by Aimee Mac, and feature some of her nature-focused pieces. The photo is deceiving, because these vinyl stickers are actually 10cm wide, and would look amazing on a laptop or instrument case. You can buy 2-6 stickers at a time for between $5.28-$11.88, and pick the designs you want!

Dr. Frankenstein Switch Cover
$4.99

I’m pretty sure that my family would be comfortable with me switching out every light switch in the house to this mad scientist-style plate. I’m also confident that I know several horror fanatics and movie buffs who would probably be delighted to turn their kitchen light on in the morning with a satisfying thunk. It comes with installation directions, and you have your choice of a few colors.

Crescent Moon Amethyst Slices
$10 each

These little guys aren’t much bigger than a quarter, but if you know a crystal collector who gobbles up anything with a sparkle or sheen, they’re going to flip out over how perfect and adorable these are. (The more purple stones are a couple extra dollars, but the lighter colored ones are $10 even!)

Da Vinci’s Vetrivuan Man Cookie Cutter & Stamp
$9.92

This company, called Sac Sac based in Kyoto, Japan, makes the most awesome, adorable cookie cutter and stamps. They have art nerd/engineering favorites like this Vetruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci, but there’s also a plethora of adorable cameras, animals, flowers, and even a collection of zodiac signs.

250ml Organic Maple Syrup from Quebec
$9.34

In my family, stockings come before breakfast, and I think maple syrup would be one of the coolest things to find in my stocking! This bottle from Townships Organic is grade A maple syrup, and it’s special because it’s single-forest, made in small batches in eastern Canada. (250ml is just over one cup!)For a really good deal, try picking up 12 100ml bottles of maple syrup for $56.02!

Llamarama Llama Socks
$10 per pair

For some reason, there’s always someone in our lives who loves llamas. I’m not 100% sure what the deal is, but nevertheless, I am completely happy to fuel their passion with a pair of socks. After all, if there’s a classic stocking stuffer item that has withstood the test of time, it’s… stocking socks. AKA socks in socks.

Parks & Recreation Rainy Day Activity Book
$3.29 each

Yes, friends, this is actually as good as you think it’s going to be. This is Parks & Rec themed activity book, complete with coloring pages, themed word searches, and about a billion references to 99% of human people’s favorite show.Not looking for a Parks & Rec version? Don’t worry, Pizza Eaters have you covered. Check out some of their other activity books: X-Files, Buffy, Harry Potter, Twin Peaks, Stranger Things… the list goes on!

Poppin’ Cobs Popcorn on the Cob
$4.99 for a twin-pack

This is a super stocking-friendly gift thanks to its convenience, its novelty, and it’s shape, to be honest. All you need to do is pop one of these cobs into a paper bag and throw it in the microwave for a few minutes. Then, you’ve got popcorn on the cob!

3D Printed Kitty Cat Phone Stand
$4.99

This little dude is gonna help you watch all of your favorite things while you hide from your family over the holidays. Kidding, kidding! The cool nerds over at 3D Geek Wares came up with this adorable solution to phone-hand fatigue, and it comes in a ton of colors!

Corridor Fragrance by Theater Potion
$4 for ~1ml

There was bound to be a fragrance on this list sooner or later (after all, these are indie products), and this one seems like it would be an easy favorite of many of my friends. Plus, at only 1ml per tiny, adorable bottle, if they don’t like it, it’s cute enough to adorn a vanity or perfume collection purely for aesthetic value. Theater Potion created the scent “Corridor” with notes of moss, amber, jasmine, tobacco, and cedar.

Meyer Lemon Salt Gift Set
$4 per box

Who is the salt bae in your life? Well, they need this. It’s a three-piece gift set from Desert Provisions that includes some delicious Sunduran sea salt, a Meyer lemon-infused sea salt, and an adorable, ceramic salt cellar! Am I sure this is only $4? Yes! I am! I checked three times! It even comes in a small, easily-wrappable box.

Snowflake Obsidian Choker Necklace
$6.99/1 bead, $8.99/3 beads

Obviously, this little necklace is a universal winner for jewelry fans, or for those deeply invested in the 1990s resurgence. These little marbles are made from “snowflake obsidian,” which is regular obsidian (black, volcanic glass) with a lattice-like explosion of Cristobalite, a white mineral that creates snowflake shapes across the surface of the stone. Jewelry by Lia kept it nice and simple by stringing them on a simple black cord with a lobster claw closure.

Paper Music Box
$9.26

This cute little music box will play your choice of song, and you get to choose from a list that includes the Game of Thrones theme, Harry Potter theme, Debussy, My Heart Will Go On, and other classic… music box… tunes…? Anyway, they’re awesome, and this little circular box is covered in vintage animals, with a top that pops off to reveal the musical mechanics beneath. There are a few other designs in Miium‘s shop, so go take a look!

Coffee Pot & Mountains Pin
$9

Pins are always a safe bet, and they come in very stocking-friendly sizes! This adorable pin features a coffee pot full of hot, steaming, tranquil mountains. I love this design (for reasons that may be obvious if you know me), but Ramble On Supply Co. has a ton of other cute pins and iron-on patches for your wild, outdoorsy, mountain-loving..

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Shopping for clothing on Amazon can be kind of a gamble. There are already an overwhelming number of brands, and it’s hard to know which clothing brands are vetted versus which are cheap wholesalers trying to turn a profit via one of the internet’s largest marketplaces. I’m no stranger to buying clothing from brands I’ve never heard of, but I’m always going to feel more comfortable buying from brands that have a traceable history of being a real business that sells real clothes.

Thankfully, Amazon knows that random, unknown brands require reviews, and reviews are something Amazon excels at soliciting. But for brands that people already know, the reviews come pouring in on their own. There are actually over 50 brands that are helmed and controlled entirely by Amazon, many of which are fashion brands. Moreover, these Amazon fashion brands are so popular and well-conceived that Amazon has actually overtaken Macy’s when it comes to clothing sales!

Amazon already holds the title of the biggest clothing seller online, but many predicted that it would overtake most of its brick-and-mortar rivals in fashion sales this year, thanks to its own private-label garments and accessories.

Quick Links:

Here are the 14 best fashion brands of the 50+ that Amazon is responsible for, and they are most definitely organized from most favorite to least favorite.

Cable Stitch

What They’ve Got: Unique and colorful knits, sweater dresses, tops, and cardigans.
Price Range: $9.99 – $79.50

After looking at over 70 fashion brands created by Amazon, Cable Stitch tops my list. Sweaters are delightfully cozy and warm, but they can get pretty boring. Cable Stitch isn’t a cookie cutter sweater brand, they are pushing the limits of traditional knitwear with cute patterns, bold shapes, and unconventional silhouettes. When you’re into oversized, boxy, Dad sweaters or form-fitting, eye-catching sweater dresses, Cable Stitch has excellent options for really fair prices.

Cable & Stitch Knit Pointelle Duster Cardigan
$69.90

Cable & Stitch Contrast Sleeve Cotton Sweater
$39.50

Cable & Stitch Peek-a-Boo Shoulder Ribbed Sweater
$49.50

SHOP CABLE STITCH HERE

Ella Moon

What They’ve Got: Easy to wear dresses and tops that range from casual wear to statement pieces.
Price Range: $10 – $110

If you filled my entire closet with pieces from Ella Moon, I could survive for a least a few weeks before needing to invest in some sweatpants or pajamas. The cute shapes and vibrant patterns are uplifting and might even inspire you to dress up a little in the mornings.

Ella Moon Payslee Off Shoulder Top
$49.50

Ella Moon Standard Flutter Sleeve Maxi Dress
$79.50

Ella Moon Renae Ruffle Peplum Dress
$99.50

SHOP ELLA MOON HERE

Mint & Lilac

What They’ve Got: Extremely affordable and soft athleisure and yoga gear with lots of florals, pastels, and ruffles.
Price Range: $11.99 – $24.99

There’s a major soft spot in my heart for wearing workout gear as outerwear, which I guess qualifies me as a fan of “athleisure.” This stuff, from Mint & Lilac, is so cute that I doubt it would ever make it off the street and into a yoga studio, but if you’re that ultra-fashionable girl at pilates, the prices of these cute pieces are gonna buff your workout wardrobe, bigtime.

Mint & Lilac Full Length Floral Mesh Leggings
$19.99

Mint & Lilac Cropped Sleeve Wrap Top
$12.99

Mint & Lilac Lace Panel Performance Yoga Shorts
$12.99

SHOP MINT & LILAC HERE

Daily/Ritual

What They’ve Got: Neutral-toned basics and layering pieces, oftentimes in multi-packs
Price Range: $10 – $30

Daily/Ritual has such a focus on comfort that its products are able to be sorted by feel.Calling this line “basic” is so far from an insult. You might even underestimate exactly how basic this line is, because it has way more than leggings and t-shirts to offer. Among the multi-packs of leggings and and base layers are jackets, coats, sweaters, and dresses for standard and plus sizes.

Daily/Ritual Cotton Slub Tee 2-Pack
$20

Daily/Ritual Plus Size Long Sleeve Turtleneck Dress
$28

Daily/Ritual Primaloft Water-Resistant Puffer Coat
$79

SHOP DAILY/RITUAL HERE

Mae

What They’ve Got: Soft, pretty lingerie including bras and bralettes (best for sizes A-C), bodysuits, and swimwear.
Price Range: $7.20 – $38

If you’re the kind of person with an entire drawer or two dedicated to lingerie and underpinnings, this is about to become dangerous for you. Mae has tons of delicate, lacy, and comfortable foundation pieces and about a billion bralettes that I’d love to live in.

Their bras and swimwear, however, pretty much exclusively fit cup sizes A-C. This makes me… sad. But there’s still a bevy of gorgeous underwear, as well as some pretty cozy-looking loungewear to root though.

Mae High Neck Lace Bralette
$16

Mae Loungewear Joggers
$28

Mae Hipster Cheeky Underwear 3-Pack
$15

SHOP MAE HERE

Camp Moonlight

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When you have friends that come from all different walks of life, gift-buying and gift-giving can be challenging. Fun! But challenging. Things get even more complicated when you have friends who are conscious of their consumption, or who have strong ethical views about consumerism. What is the holiday season if not a consumerist’s playground? But fear not – you can still find gifts of appreciation for your greenest, crunchiest, most Earth-friendly friends, and you can do it on a budget!

Here we have listed five of the coolest, most ethically stan-able gifts that roll in at all price points. Best of all, you can find nearly all of them on Amazon – with Prime shipping!

5 Perfect Eco-Friendly Gifts Under $40 Wonderbag

This innovative kitchen tool is deceptively clever, and not only will it earn you major green points with your hippie friends, but you’ll also be contributing to the health and wellness of people in rural areas across the world.

Before I learned about Wonderbag, I had no idea about the harmful conditions that wood-fired stoves brought to people – mainly women – in resource-limited areas. The creator of the Wonderbag, Sarah Collins, is a proud South African. She saw first-hand the damage that wood-fired kitchens could have on health, from deaths related to smoke inhalation to girls put in danger of assault while gathering materials. (The vast majority of sexual assaults in South Africa occur when women and girls are collecting firewood!) Girls even stay home from school in order to collect the amount of firewood that is sometimes required to run a family kitchen.

But this weird little pumpkin-shaped bag might actually be able to change that.

First, you boil your soup, stew, or whatever you’ve got in a pot over the fire (or stove). Then, you cover the pot with its lid, place the whole thing right into the Wonderbag straight off of the heat, and seal it up for as long as you want. In basic terms, it’s an electricity-free slow cooker that can keep meals cooking at high temperatures for up to 12 hours. Not only that, but it can offer its services to cold items, too. And it could eliminate the need for long-duration wood fires in African kitchens.

Brilliant, right?! Well, people sure seem to think so. The Red Cross has partnered with Wonderbag, which has been used in humanitarian and refugee projects since 2012, and did I mention that a single Wonderbag prevents one ton of emissions from entering the atmosphere every year? Every. Year. No wonder all of these eco-celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio already have their hands on one. Prince Harry and Megan Markle even received one as a wedding gift! So it’s definitely good enough for your Prius-driving friend, Heather. Don’t you think?

BUY WONDERBAG HERE
$35.48

FreshPaper

A few years ago, I bought FreshPaper for everyone in my family who regularly bought groceries (it was a big order). After hearing the story of the FreshPaper brand, and learning about the (still somewhat mysterious) process of creating the paper, I was hooked. Then I saw it in action, and immediately looked for more ways to support this brilliant, woman-owned business with lofty humanitarian goals.

Things got serious when I learned that FreshPaper’s goal is to work with food banks, shelters, and soup kitchens to try to prolong the life of fresh foods. After all, everyone donates cans, but FreshPaper donates shelf life. Many times, food banks overflow with canned food and have very little fresh produce to work with. FreshPaper, whose secret recipe includes a proprietary blend of herbs & spices that contains fenugreek (among other things), can make the difference between a days and weeks when it comes to fresh foods!

Just slip it into the produce drawer of your fridge or in your countertop fruit basket. That’s it! Then, enjoy the decay-fighting powers of FreshPaper. It’s really amazing to see, actually, and you may as well pick up a pack for yourself. Each pack contains eight sheets, and they’re each good for a couple of weeks! After that, just toss them into your compost. It’s seriously that good.

BUY FRESHPAPER HERE
$10.11 each

Soap Saver Bioplastic Soap Coaster

Doesn’t it seem like your eco-friendliest friends have an awful lot of soap? Is there some kind of unspoken contract that, if you intend to reduce your waste generation and carbon footprint, you have to buy your weight in artisanal soap bars? Don’t get me wrong – soap is rad, but there’s a gooey, slimey aspect of soap bars that usually turns me off. If you’ve ever left a bar of soap on the edge of a sink, you know exactly what I’m talking about. But my life hating soap has been over ever since I was given one of these incredible soap coasters.

I don’t know exactly what to call this thing – Soap Saver ($7.99, $13.99 for 2) is pretty accurate. Basically, these little spongey discs go underneath your soap bar to collect all of that goopy soap ooze that runs off your soap bar after you use it. Lay it in a soap dish or just put it on your bathroom counter, and you’ll be amazed at how it keeps all of that gross, gummy crap our of your sink! Plus, it helps your soap dry out faster, and that actually helps it last longer.

My current hypothesis about the hippie-soap connection is this: soap doesn’t come in a big ol’ plastic bottle, it doesn’t come wrapped in wire or plastic, and you don’t need a mechanical pump in order to use it. As far as waste generation goes, it’s the best option when it comes to suds. So, gifting your buddy a Soap Saver may be the only way that you could make soap even less wasteful than it already is.

Even cooler than all of that: this little guy is made completely out of bioplastics. That means corn products and soy products went into this plastic instead of petroleum or other not-so-friendly materials. As far as cleanup goes, just rinse it when it gets full of congealed soap, and you’re back to brand new.

BUY SOAP SAVER HERE
$7.99

Reusable Produce & Bulk Bags

Did you know that tons of grocery stores that have bulk food sections will gladly allow you to bring your own bulk food and produce bags? Once you realize how many plastic bags you go through on one single grocery trip, you don’t forget it. I speak from experience, and will also admit that it’s a tough transition to being “that girl who brought her own produce bags” but I’m trying to make that girl cool, ok? So, if you’re like me and you shop gift guides for presents for yourself, please consider joining me in making bringing your own bags cool. It doesn’t have a great PR team, unfortunately, so it’s up to nerds like us to make the change.

purifyou Reusable Mesh Produce Bulk Bags, $14.97 for 9

And we have support! Obviously, there are companies making reusable bulk bags specifically for grocery store consumers, and they even include the tare weight (aka the weight of the bag, itself, so the checker can subtract it from the weight of the bags when you check out).

Sure, maybe it’s not the sexiest gift ever, but if you have someone in your life who really gives a shit about this kind of stuff, these reusable bags are a super thoughtful gift. Like, mega brownie points.

Best Reusable Produce & Bulk Bags

Naturally Sensible Reusable Produce Bags
$16.10

Colony Co. Reusable Bulk Bags
$24

Brotrade Reusable Mesh Produce Bags
$13.97

H&M Conscious Collection

If you have a fashionable friend who you typically get clothing-related gifts for, fear not! And before you start screaming “fast fashion!” at me, let me remind you that H&M has won sustainability awards for years, and even gives out their own honors, the Global Change Award, through the H&M Foundation.

And no, guys, they don’t give themselves sustainability awards… In 2016, their CEO received a sustainability award from a Swedish organization called NMC that focuses on sustainability in business. If that surprises you, then you may not be familiar with the  H&M Conscious Collection, a permanent line in the H&M family.

The Conscious Collection started around 2014, and has released two full collections each major season, just like every high fashion brand. With a mix of premium garments and affordable basics,  it’s indistinguishable from H&M’s regular offerings. There are glitzy dresses for a night out right next to cozy sweaters made from recycled cashmere. They also have tons of stuff for moms, like maternity pants, comfy tops, and nursing clothes.

The slightly more luxe H&M Conscious Exclusive collection will contain Econyl, which is 100% regenerated nylon fiber made from fishnets and other nylon waste, and recycled silver. Both the Conscious and the Conscious Exclusive collections are still super affordable, with cute basics as low as $6.99, and heavy (recycled!) wool jackets from $129-$299.

Here are some bonus sustainability facts about H&M:

  • By 2020, all of the cotton used in H&M clothing will be more sustainably sourced, and by 2030, all material sources will be upgrades to a higher sustainability rating.
  • H&M is one of the largest buyers of recycled cotton.
  • Currently, 96% of the energy H&M uses to create their products and run their business is from renewable energy sources. Eventually, they hope to make it to 100%. By 2040, H&M hopes to be “climate positive,” meaning they reduce more greenhouse emissions than they actually produce.

Favorites from the H&M Conscious Collection

H&M Conscious Sheer Panel Leggings
$29.99

H&M Conscious Soft-Cup Lace Bra
$24.99

H&M Conscious Floral Patterned Blouse
$24.99

H&M+ Conscious Sport Shorts
$12.99

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Some might call it cheeky, some might call it gaudy, go as far as to call it gauche – all of which would be accurate assessments of the H&M x MOSCHINO fashion collaboration. The ’90s have been en vogue for a while now, but this part of the ’90s (think Kriss Kross and Versace track suits) hasn’t exactly been represented in the fashion cycle. Until now.

For those of you who grew up digesting your fashion through magazines and America’s Next Top Model, you might recognize the work of Jeremy Scott. Aside from being a runner-up for Worst Guest Judge Ever (the internet hasn’t forgotten what a dick he was to Samantha), he also challenged viewers’ perception of what “high fashion” is. Jeremy Scott’s aesthetic is self-described as “cartoon couture,” and he regularly uses logos and characters from pop culture to adorn his colorful, vibrant designs.

Two pieces from the MOSCHINO F/W 2018 collection. (Vogue)

Scott became the Creative Director (read: head designer) of MOSCHINO in 2013, but the brand has been around since 1983. Some might argue that the pop culture aesthetics of the era never quite left the brand despite its founder, Franco Moschino, passing on in 1994.

Despite the price tags, MOSCHINO always strives to be unpretentious. They even have a diffusion line called Cheap & Chic which, by most people’s standards, is mostly just Chic – not so much with the Cheap. Though it is cheaper than the main fashion line, where dresses run between $1,500 and $2,000, Cheap & Chic would still like you to pay a couple hundred dollars for a top. Luckily, it’s easy to find it on sale.

But when it comes to the MOSCHINO x H&M line, which has been dubbed MOSCHINO [tv] H&M, bringing affordable high fashion to the masses is what it’s all about… despite the fact that the collaboration imagery and contents are literally overflowing with luxury.

It all started with a runway show at New York Fashion Week in September. After announcing the collaboration at Coachella earlier this year, Jeremy Scott then enlisted a veritable army of supermodels to helm the collection including pretty much all of the Hadids, and some lady named Naomi Campbell.

As you can see, there is a lot of luxe fabrics, chains, sequins, and a lot of leather. Well, faux leather – after all, this is H&M we’re talking about, so this runway collection is actually going to be in a lot of your budgets!

The vibe of the collection is very much about the 1990s, CDs, and… Mickey Mouse. But in, like, a fashion way… You know? But on top of what I said before – so: luxe fabrics, chains, sequins, 90s, compact discs, Mickey Mouse, and faux leather. Does that give you a good idea of what this is all about? Okay, how about we just look at it. Maybe then we can figure out what exactly is going on here.

As you can see, there are tons of iconic characters, chains, animal print, and antiquated music devices to choose from – and the boots from this collection are well-worth looking for once this collection is in stores, if you’ve got the cash.

I definitely appreciate the diversity in the collection photos. Most of the people in the photos above are friends and family of Jeremy Scott, including his assistant, and Ru Paul Drag Race winner, Aquaria. All of this combined with the new H&M size chart means that a lot of people who don’t usually feel included in designer collaborations might actually be inspired to try this one out!

We know prices of a good number of items, and there are high highs and low lows. The larger accessories are predictably higher in price, especially the shoes,  but there are tons of smaller items like sleep masks, suspenders, and belts that ring in at lower prices. Grab ringer tees with or without Disney characters for under $40, as well as jewelry for under $100, and dresses around $100-$120. Do not buy pants.

From high to low, there’s a lot to take in here. And, yes, I do believe that those are actually gold-plated condom earrings. Don’t ask why, just process it and continue on with your life. On a positive note, did you see that sweatshirt-bralette hybrid?! Never have I seen a more me piece of attempted lingerie, and I’m so ready to spend $25 on it.

It’s commendable, to say the least, that a collection can appease the aesthetic and personal desires of a sexually free adult woman and also a blissfully pure 12 year old girl. So take that for what it’s worth, I guess. The 12 year old girl won’t have any idea what those shiny, circular discs with holes in them are, but maybe she’ll appreciate the opportunity to pair it with a Minnie Mouse sweatshirt.

The MOSCHINO [tv] H&M collection will be in stores and online on November 8. What do you think of the collection?

Check out the H&M feature on the MOSCHINO [tv] H&M collection.

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I’ve been in a rut with makeup lately.

Blame it on the fact that it’s been over 100F every day all summer in Memphis–I’ve just really not been interested in any new products, not really feeling anything in my stash, and generally just resorting to the same daily routine of heavy (waterproof) eyeliner and not much else.  I’m still getting my Play by Sephora box monthly, and I’ve been just kind of idly swatching and filing most of the samples away with little more than a passing glance.  What’s the point if I’m gonna just sweat it all off by 10 a.m., ya know?

A few months ago, I got a small sample of Cover FX’s Custom Enhancer Drops in my box.  As I swatched it, I felt a pang of a feeling long absent: actual interest in a product! Incredible!

These Custom Enhancer drops are basically a super concentrated liquid highlighter that you can blend out to be super subtle, or build up to be blindingly bright.  This style of product really appeals to me for its versatility.  What did not appeal to me, however, was the dang price tag: $42 for a half ounce.  Not even one singular ounce.  Yikes.

I love prestige brands as much as anyone who spends a solid tenth of their day getting caught in the Facebook video rabbit hole of pretty folx putting on makeup, but I just don’t have it in my soul to pay a fourth of my car note for a vial of highlighter.  Sorry Mom, sorry God.

The next time I was in my local Ulta, I stumbled on their newly expanded Makeup Revolution section.  Perfectly placed at my eye level?  Their spin on a liquid highlighter, immediately recognizable in similar packaging to the Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops.  The best part?  They ring in at $9 for 0.61 oz.  Nice.

I swatched every color they had available.  It got messy.  It got sparkly.  And you know what? I got excited.  I ended up buying two shades–Champagne and Unicorn Elixir.

Champagne is almost an exact dupe for the Cover FX drops I had in Moonlight.  Champagne appears gold in the bottle but blends out into a rosy, silvery shimmer.  It’s subtle, lightweight, and good for everyday wear.  I’ve found that I can blend it out with a beauty blender for a chill day look, then stack on another layer with my fingertips and lightly buff for a near-blinding glow for nighttime.  It’s really impressive.

Honestly, I kind of hate the “unicorn” trend right now (as well as the mermaid trend, I am old and unimpressed by these marketing gimmicks), but Unicorn Elixir made me scream out loud in an Ulta so I had to go for it.  It’s intensely pigmented and glittery, with a pearly base and strong duochrome blue-to-purple glitters.  It seems to actively move around in the light!  I don’t usually go for cool toned highlighters, but I’m waiting for the perfect occasion to bathe my entire face in this stuff.

Makeup Revolution’s Liquid Highlighters are not only great quality, they’re mad cheap, too! At $9 a pop, you can stock up on as many shades as you fall in love with–and right now, if you buy $15 of any Makeup Revolution products at Ulta, you get a free Fierce as Fire eyeshadow palette, too!

The Makeup Revolution Liquid Highlighter comes in seven different shades:

  • Starlight: cool pink shimmer
  • Champagne: golden beige
  • Luminous Gold: sandy gold
  • Lustre Gold: warm golden copper
  • Rose Gold: rose gold…?
  • Bronze Gold: bronze… gold.
  • Unicorn Elixir: blue/violet iridescent pearl
Find Makeup Revolution Liquid Highlighter here:

Ulta, $9

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