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On April 1, 2013, Internet commerce site Firebox.com released a new product — the 70s Hairy Chest Sweater.

From the product description:
What makes lumberjacks, 70s television stars and the giant Brown Bears of Alaska so irresistibly attractive to others? Simple. Their long, luxuriant chest hair.
Sadly, the recent 'man-scaping' trend has led to an epidemic of people pedantically plucking their pecs. Oh, the humanity.
Thankfully, we’ve found a solution (while you wait for your rug to regenerate). The 70s Hairy Chest Sweater. This 100% polyester sweater is almost guaranteed to increase your masculinity, virility and ability to chop wood.
Pull it on to cover that embarrassing hairless body, or add it to your existing rug for additional ‘70s style points.

Of course, it was an April Fool's Day hoax, but it's one of those April Fool hoaxes that continue to fool people well past April 1st. For instance, I saw it discussed recently on HomeAccentsToday.com.
Categories: April Fools Day, Fashion
Posted by Alex on Sun Mar 02, 2014
Comments (0)
These shoes were quite popular during the prohibition era. You could buy them in many shoe stores. They don't look like they were very comfortable.

Categories: Fashion
Posted by Alex on Wed Apr 11, 2012
Comments (2)
Italian artist Anna Utopia Giordano (great name... can that be the name she was born with?) has created a series of works that comment on the media obsession with photoshopping models to look thin and flawless. She's taken famous classical nudes and made them thinner. So Botticelli's Venus gets slimmed down for the beach, as does Francesco Hayez's Venus. The New York Daily News quotes her as saying:

Art is always in search of the perfect physical form. It has evolved through history, from the classical proportions of ancient Greece to the prosperous beauty of the Renaissance, to the spindly look of models like Twiggy and the athletic look of our own time.




Categories: Art, Fashion, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Tue Mar 06, 2012
Comments (1)
On April 1st of this year, hundreds of thousands of men with mustaches are going to gather in Washington, DC to demand tax equity for Mustached Americans. They're hoping to persuade Congress to adopt the Stimulus To Allow Critical Hair Expenses Act, or STACHE Act. The act would allow Mustached Americans to claim tax deductions for expenses such as:

Mustache and beard trimming instruments, mustache wax and weightless conditioning agents, Facial hair coloring products (for men and women over 43 years of age), bacon, mustache combs and mirrors, DVD collections of "Magnum P.I." and "Smokey & The Bandit," mustache insurance (now required by state law in Alabama, Oregon, Maine, and New Mexico, and Puerto Rico), billy clubs or bodyguards to keep women away as a mustache increases good looks by an estimated 38 percent, little black books and jumbo packages of kielbasa sausage, Burt Reynolds wallet-sized photos.

The organizations behind this mustached march on Washington are the American Mustache Institute (AMUI) and H&R Block.



At first, I assumed the entire thing was an April Fool's Day joke campaign organized by H&R Block. But I now think that the American Mustache Institute was around before H&R Block got involved -- though it's obviously a rather tongue-in-cheek organization.

John Yeutter, an accountant at Northeastern State University, wrote a paper in 2010 titled, "Mustached Americans And The Triple Bottom Line: An Analysis Of The Impact Of The Mustache On Modern Society And A Proposal For A Mustached American Tax Incentive." The idea for the Mustached March on Washington seems to have been inspired by that paper, and gained momentum, eventually attracting H&R Block as a sponsor.
Categories: Advertising, April Fools Day, Fashion
Posted by Alex on Mon Mar 05, 2012
Comments (0)
Rep. Katie Hobbs has introduced a bill into the Arizona state legislature that would require advertisers to put the following disclaimer on advertisements if the image in the ad was "photoshopped" (link: zacentral.com):

"Postproduction techniques were made to alter the appearance in this advertisement. When using this product, similar results may not be achieved."

Similar legislation has been introduced in the UK and France, its purpose being to try to counteract the social pressure on people, particularly young girls, to feel the need to look perfect -- to remind them that the way models look in ads isn't reality.

The problem, of course, is that every ad nowadays uses digital enhancements of some kind to improve pictures. So every ad would have to carry the disclaimer, muting its effect.

Also, why focus on post-production techniques, when pre-production techniques (lighting, focus, makeup) can be just as deceptive?

But having said that, I do sympathize with the spirit of the legislation. If a company says that their product can remove wrinkles or blemishes, and they show a picture of a model with perfect skin, it does seem deceptive if that model's face was made perfectly smooth by photoshop, not by use of the product.

It's the old problem that was raised in the Sandpaper Test case back in the early 1960s. When does the use of photographic tricks by advertisers cross the line from enhancement of a product to outright deception?
Categories: Fashion, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Thu Feb 16, 2012
Comments (3)
Video created by filmmaker Jesse Rosten:

Categories: Fashion, Videos
Posted by Alex on Mon Jan 16, 2012
Comments (2)
A group of French politicians has proposed a law that would require a warning to be placed on digitally enhanced fashion images. From The Telegraph:

A group of 50 politicians want a new law stating published images must have bold printed notice stating they have been digitally enhanced.
Campaigning MP Valerie Boyer, of President Nicolas Sarkozy's UMP party, said the wording should read:"Retouched photograph aimed at changing a person's physical appearance".
Mrs Boyer, who has also written a government report on anorexia and obesity, added: "We want to combat the stereotypical image that all women are young and slim.
"These photos can lead people to believe in a reality that does not actually exist, and have a detrimental effect on adolescents. "Many young people, particularly girls, do not know the difference between the virtual and reality, and can develop complexes from a very young age.


I don't really see the point, unless they were also going to require disclaimers for makeup and flattering lighting. And anyway, the root of the problem is not that images are altered, but that the media focuses obsessively and very superficially on beauty. Replacing airbrushed models with non-airbrushed models won't change that fact, because the models will probably still look better than your average person.
Categories: Fashion, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Wed Sep 23, 2009
Comments (20)
In 1940 Curtis MacDougall wrote in his book Hoaxes about a journalistic hoax involving dissolving bathing suits:

Webb Miller in I Found No Peace revealed that the story from the French Riviera of a British millionaire who embarrassed his guests by inducing them to swim in bathing suits which dissolved in salt water was a pure fake. The reporter inventing it was ordered by his managing editor to ship several of the suits to the United States; he complied with an hermetically sealed box containing some finely pulverized breakfast food to create the impression that, despite precautions, the suits had dissolved in the salt air.

But according to the Austrian Times, a dissolvable bikini has now been invented for real.

The saucy thong swimsuit - sold as the perfect present for dumped boyfriends - looks like a real bikini but disappears completely after just a few seconds in water.
Sellers in Germany bill the Get Naked costume as a chance for men to get their own back after a break-up.
But women's rights campaigner Rosmarie Zapfl stormed: "It is an absolute insult to women that this has been invented."

They're being sold on racheshop.de as the "water soluble bikini".
Categories: Fashion
Posted by Alex on Fri Jul 31, 2009
Comments (8)
The Times Online reports on a recent study by University of Helsinki researcher Markus Jokela, who found that women are getting more beautiful:

Scientists have found that evolution is driving women to become ever more beautiful, while men remain as aesthetically unappealing as their caveman ancestors.

The article doesn't mention where Jokela published his study, so I'll have to go by the article's description of his work. But on the basis of that, his claim is absurd. Beauty isn't something like height that can be objectively tracked and measured over time. Standards of beauty change over time and across cultures. Which makes it meaningless to say that women are getting more beautiful.

The Gene Expression blog also criticizes Jokela's claim, pointing out that "males and females inherit half their genes from an opposite sex parent." Which means that if gorgeous women are mating with ugly cavemen, their children will be half ugly caveman, which contradicts Jokela's thesis.
Categories: Fashion, Science
Posted by Alex on Tue Jul 28, 2009
Comments (13)
Two days ago Boing Boing posted about the discovery of a pair of 116-year-old basketball shoes:

The shoes were manufactured by the Colchester Rubber Company which shut down in 1893. Vintage clothing dealer Gary Pifer paid 50 cents for them at an estate sale in Vista, California. From CafeTerra:
"In a instant, I knew this discovery would be re-writing basketball and sneaker history, as these sneakers are 25 years older than the 1917 Converse All-Stars", added Pifer. The Colchester Rubber Co. was located in Colchester, Connecticut and was in business from 1888 to 1893.

People leaving comments quickly pointed out that the story was almost certainly fake, since basketball was only invented in 1891, and it's unlikely that a) a shoe would have been made for the sport one year later, and b) that the shoe would survive in near-perfect condtion.

It turns out that the story is a marketing gimmick (hoax) to sell retro basketball sneakers. I'm not sure how long this 116-year-old basketball shoe story has been circulating around, but I don't think it's recent.
Categories: Fashion, Sports
Posted by Alex on Mon Jul 06, 2009
Comments (6)
On the left is Avon's Derma-Full X3 Facial Filling Serum. On the right is the T-Virus from Resident Evil. Notice a resemblance? A lot of people have.



When I first saw this, I thought it must be some kind of internet joke. Avon wouldn't really design one of its products to look exactly like a well-known fictional virus with the power to animate dead tissue and create an army of zombies? Would they? But as far as I can tell, that's exactly what they've done. (Thanks to Kingmonkey!)
Categories: Fashion, Products
Posted by Alex on Fri Mar 13, 2009
Comments (6)
I've heard of photo editors airbrushing out navels on swimsuit models (see the case of the vanishing belly button from 1964), but I hadn't heard of navels being inserted into photos. But that appears to be the case with Victoria's Secret model Karolina Kurkova.

Fashion watchers have recently noticed that Kurkova doesn't appear to have a full belly button. Instead she only has a "smooth dimple". Wikipedia speculates that the lack of a belly button is due to an abdominal operation in infancy. Nevertheless, in some photos she sports a full belly button, which means that photo editors must be creating one for her.

Or maybe it's all just an effect of different lighting conditions, and the debate is an excuse to examine photos of her. (via collegeotr.com)

Below: with belly button (left), without belly button (right).



Update: Some more photos of her via underwearqueen. Again, with belly button (left), and without (right).

Categories: Body Manipulation, Fashion, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Tue Nov 18, 2008
Comments (13)
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