Pope Francis


Ken Adam’s “The Devils”

As the January sales season nears in the West, Pope Francis will call on shoppers not to buy products which may have been made by modern-day slaves – whatever the savings.  In a speech to be delivered on January 1 entitled “No longer slaves, but brothers and sisters,” the Pope will say that despite the financial crisis, consumers should think twice before buying “items which may have been produced by exploiting others.”

Photographer Marc Hom

Photographer Marc Hom

For their part, businesses “have a duty to be vigilant that forms of subjugation or human trafficking do not find their way into the distribution chain.”  His message, published by the Vatican on Wednesday, December 10, slams “the growing scourge of man’s exploitation by man,” an “abominable phenomenon” covering everything from forced prostitution to child soldiers and slave labor in factories.

Lara Stone Vogue Paris December 2009

Lara Stone Vogue Paris December 2009

He warns that a common source of slavery is “corruption on the part of people willing to do anything for financial gain.”  He notes that slave labour and trafficking “often require the complicity of intermediaries”, pointing the finger at “law enforcement personnel, state officials, or civil and military institutions.”

Dolce & Gabbana Fall Winter 2014

Dolce & Gabbana Fall Winter 2014

According to the 2014 Global Slavery index, published last month, nearly 36 million men, women and children are trapped in modern-day slavery, the definition of which ranges from forced marriages to people coerced into prostitution, fighting wars or manual labor like picking cotton.


Kate Moss – W Magazine

The 77-year-old pope calls for better cooperation between countries to combat “the transnational networks of organized crime” and bemoans the “context of general indifference” in which tales of slavery are heard.

French designer Jean-Charles Castelbajac

French designer Jean-Charles Castelbajac

In the speech he says his thoughts go to refugees and migrants “deprived of freedom”, who “in order to remain within the law, agree to disgraceful living and working conditions” as well as those rendered “objects of trafficking for the sale of organs, for recruitment of soldiers, for begging.”

Crucifix heels

Crucifix heels

“I think also of persons forced into prostitution, many of whom are minors, as well as male and female sex slaves… (of) women forced into marriage, those sold for arranged marriages and those bequeathed to relatives of deceased husbands,” he says.

Interpreting Abstract Art

What is abstract art?  There is no right or wrong answer to this question.  Abstract art is open to interpretation, and that is one of the beautiful things about it.


Medium & Artist: Unknown

Understanding abstract art is easy: all it requires is an open mind and a big imagination.

Ink & Marker: Unknown

Ink & Marker: Unknown

Abstract art doesn’t jump out and yell, “Oh hi, THIS is what I’m all about.”  Instead, it requires you to have an open, inquiring mind; you must enter the painting and see where it takes you.

Ink & Paper: Laurent Koller

Ink & Paper: Laurent Koller

Abstract art gives you the freedom to explore the artwork and assign your own meaning to the piece. This intensely personal process enriches a viewer’s experience of an artwork.

“Everyone wants to understand art. Why not try to understand the song of a bird? …people who try to explain pictures are usually barking up the wrong tree.”
-Pablo Picasso

Mixed Media, Collage, Brown Paper: Unknown

Mixed Media, Collage & Brown Paper: Theo Dykhorst

Here are some great references/sources on abstract art: Art Is Fun & Wikipedia

Olympic USA Sweaters

Opening-Ceremony-Sketch-Women-532x899On February 7, 2014 team USA debuted their new sweaters at the olympic opening ceremony in Sochi, Russia.  To put it lightly, the USA sweater design has caused quite a hype.  Criticisms Rebena has been hearing are things like:

“It looks like freedom barfed all over the USA team.”

“Sweaters look like a slap at Putin’s gay policies.”

“Why does Ralph Lauren hate America?”

“It’s like a knitted representation of a Toby Keith song.”

Rebena understands the hoopla.  Yes, the sweaters are loud.  Yes, they are patriotic.  For petes sake, yes, they do look like Ralph Lauren’s grandmother knit all the Team USA sweaters herself.

Now, before you spread any more social-media hoopla, take some time to get to know the origin of the sweater.  It’s 100% American soil.  The yarn comes from a 1860s-era farmstead in East Jordan, Michigan.  How amazing is that?  100 percent domestic wool from a small farm in Michigan.  Think about that.  For the wool workers, this sweater has created more jobs and is building a better economy for the state that needs it most, Michigan.  On a side note, more than 40 local vendors from small-town America helped Ralph Lauren produce its entire olympic wardrobe attire.

USA-Olympic-SweaterIn regards to the design of the sweater, Rebena keeps thinking about how stunning it is.  It’s an authentic an American treasure.  Rebena is loving the granny patchwork vibe.  Don’t like patchwork?  Well, may all of the haute players would wag their pretty little fingers at you.  (Dior Homme – Helmut Lang – House of HollandJonathan Simkhai)  Rebena thinks the sweater collage represents the American athletes well, as they each have their own unique story to tell.

If you’re still not on board with the sweater, you might want to chew on this.  For the first time in American olympic history, 100 percent of the purchase price of the Limited Edition Team USA Opening Ceremony Cardigan will be donated to the U.S. Olympic Committee, an organization supporting the United States of America’s best and brightest.

We think Oregon rancher Jeanne Carver sums it up best:  “It’s a parade uniform for our very best athletes on a world stage. They look sensational. They are making all of us proud.  There is power in the whole effort.”
Olympics: Opening CeremonyNow for the German uniforms..  Did a unicorn fart all over the team before they marched in?  😉  Have a great day folks.