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Kayley Loveridge

Animal Fur

Faux Real: End of Animal Fur

Historically, animal fur has been synonymous with the world of luxury fashion. But, in an until recently unprecedented stand, some major luxury fashion brands have pledged to ban fur from their lines once and for all.

The relationship between high-end luxury fashion brands and animal ethics groups has been fraught for decades. However, recent years have seen a rise in major fashion houses and designers denouncing the use of animal fur, marking a monumental victory for animal rights. Some American cities are also taking an independent stand to diminish the retail of the product. San Francisco voted to ban all sales of fur within its limits in March of this year. An historical moment for the city, this new legislation will go into effect January 2019. 

A worldwide stand against animal fur

There is no doubt that fur as clothing is drenched in the glitz of showbiz history. Adorning Hollywood starlets and wealthy clientele alike, female glamour was once defined by a mink coat. If recent years are anything to go by, however, this antiquated approach to style is getting the overhaul animals deserve, and its effects can be seen around the globe.

Norway, which was once the world’s largest producer of fox fur, has committed to phasing out the country’s fur farms by 2025. The Nordic country follows in the footsteps of the UK, Germany, Austria and Croatia, who have all prohibited fur farms. What’s more, according to the Financial Times, 850 retailers globally are now registered as Fur Free Retailers.

“Fur? I am out of that. I don’t want to kill animals to make fashion. It doesn’t feel right”—Donatella Versace

High time, high fashion

The Versace family’s eponymous brand joined the ever-growing list of fashion houses to eradicate fur products from its lines. Head of the family Donatella Versace said earlier this year, “Fur? I am out of that. I don’t want to kill animals to make fashion. It doesn’t feel right.” We’re with you there, Donatella.

Major Italian fashion house Gucci announced its move to eliminate animal fur from its label back in 2017 from its Spring 2018 line onwards. Any remaining fur stock, they said, would be auctioned with proceeds given to animal welfare charities. “Being socially responsible is one of Gucci’s core values, and we will continue to strive to do better for the environment and animals,” said Gucci president and CEO Marco Bizzarri at the London College of Fashion in October 2017. “Gucci is excited to take this next step and hopes it will help inspire innovation and raise awareness, changing the luxury fashion industry for the better,” he added.

According to the Financial Times, fur products in Gucci’s line account for just €10 million of their €6.21 billion worth. A change in consumer behavior also prompted the fashion titan to change course. With the rise of vegetarianism and veganism among millennials (the brand’s main consumer base), sales for animal products were likely to decrease anyway.

Not long ago, accessible luxury fashion brand Michael Kors also hopped onto the faux fur bandwagon. “Due to technological advances in fabrications, we now have the ability to create a luxe aesthetic using non-animal fur,” said Kors himself, following a statement that the company would join others in cutting the use of animal fur from its brand.

John D. Idol, chairman and chief executive at Michael Kors, said in a statement, “This decision marks a new chapter as our company continues to evolve its use of innovative materials.”

Is the future faux?

The concept of replacing animal fur with fake fur has been met with mixed reactions. While it undoubtedly eliminates the possibility of animal slaughter, some have argued that the material’s production is harmful to the environment and not as sustainable as we’d like to think. The principal materials used to make faux fur—including acrylic and polyesters—are made from non-renewable products such as coal and petroleum which deplete the Earth’s natural resources. Mark Oaten, CEO of the Fur Trade Association, said, “Fake fur requires the extraction and fractionating of petroleum, as well as the subsequent conversion into fibers and mass manufacturing into products. These are not only incredibly energy-intensive but also produce a lot of extremely unpleasant chemical compounds.” But is this argument against faux alternatives enough to slow the momentum gained to banish animal fur and encourage fur-aesthetic lovers to buy real?

While commitments to a fur-free future have made a powerful political statement, fur farming is still a major cash cow with the global fur industry estimated to be worth a staggering $40 billion. For now, though, the formidable solidarity between fashion houses renowned for their lavish excess, independent boutiques and countries around the world who are stepping into a cruelty-free future together shows that compassionate fashion is—for want of a better word—“in”.


is the value of mink fur industry each year

Source: truthaboutfur.com

Further reading: Making a Fashion Statement

one-of-a-kind beach accessory

One-of-a-kind Beach Accessory

As you head to the beach this summer, do you find yourself irritated at times by the thought of the sand? Have you ever wondered what freedom from the sand would look like? Well, why get frustrated by the sand when, now, you can have freedom from it!

With finals over, so are the days of hiding your drink under your chair, placing your phone under your towel or storing your reading material behind your head. A seamless solution in the form of a one-of-a-kind beach accessory has arrived to resolve a common problem we all experience when we’re at the beach—where to keep your essentials on the beach?

Shore Shelf, an award-winning, one-of-a-kind beach accessory, is here to enhance your beach, pool or outdoor experience by keeping your essentials (drink, phone, book, suntan lotion, etc.) in one central place, within reach and never touching the ground.

Founded on frustration and built for relaxation, Shore Shelf will have you ready to relax in minutes. In three simple steps, the dual-position clamp of this one-of-a-kind beach accessory allows you to securely attach and position Shore Shelf to any side of your lounge chair. Regardless of where you vacation, this carefully crafted, patent-pending clamp connection accommodates most round or rectangular chair frames.

Most importantly, whether you’re right or left-handed, you’ll be able to find the perfect tray position to reach your beverage, sunglasses or phone. This extension of space will instantly provide comfort and convenience at your fingertips.

The exceptionally high standard of engineering along with the durable construction allows you to place up to five pounds of your key essentials (phone, sunglasses, beverage, suntan lotion, book, etc) on the tray. Fun fact: the weight limit for this one-of-a-kind beach accessory was intended to hold your essentials, not your body weight so please do not lean, sit or use as a lift to get out of your seat.

On a tropical note, Shore Shelf’s eye-catching signature look is a perfect complement with your beach towel, water bottle and necessities. As your day heats up and you soak up the sun, their reflective, vibrant yellow tray easily withstands the intensity of the sun’s rays allowing Shore Shelf to remain cool to the touch. Who knew?!

What’s never cool though, are your phones overheating. So, did you know that Shore Shelf’s drink koozies are just the right size for you to store your phones and keep them safe from the sun? Interesting and even better is that the lightweight, compact design effortlessly folds-up to store in your travel bag—they’ve made it so light, you won’t even notice it’s there. With functionality like this, it makes you wonder how you ever managed without it.

Shore Shelf are family-owned, proud to be American-made and recently recognized with a Gold Medal in the outdoor category for new product invention at the prestigious INPEX show in Pittsburgh, PA.  Shore Shelf will modernize the way you deserve to be pampered at the beach and is guaranteed to transform your next outdoor experience.

This summer, take Shore Shelf with you on your next vacation getaway or outdoor adventure.  Although Shore Shelf was built for the beach, it is also great to take on cruise ships, to the pool, on boats, camping, sporting events, and wherever your imagination takes you! Take it with you anywhere, at any time to any destination.

Before you head to your next getaway, treat yourself and make a vacation statement with Shore Shelf. This must-have beach accessory is only available at ShoreShelf.com.

Free yourself from the sand and order Shore Shelf today!

Noonday Dream

Ben Howard North America Tour Confirmed to Promote Noonday Dream

British musician Ben Howard has confirmed dates for his headline North American tour. The announcement comes following the success of Howard’s hugely triumphant sold out UK European tour. The tour, set to begin this Fall, will promote his new album Noonday Dream which is due to be released June 1 2018 via Republic Records.

Howard wrote and produced the tracks that will feature on Noonday Dream, with contributions from the musician’s bandmate and regular collaborator, Mickey Smith. Noonday Dream was recorded over a two-year time frame in studios throughout Europe.

The first track to be released from Noonday Dream, is Nica Libres at Dusk and the album has already started to gain widespread acclaim. “A Boat to an Island on the Wall is a sprawling, mesmerising track that shifts restlessly, rocking back and forth like that small boat on the waves, with the familiar sound of Howard;s low, gruff vocals,” said UK news outlet The Independent.

Since the release of his debut album back in 2011, Howard has seen unbridled success with major chart toppers and global critical acclaim to boot. Every Kingdom (2011) sold more than one million copies worldwide. The album, which features favorites including Black Flies and Old Pine, received a Mercury Music Prize nomination and led to a win of two prestigious BRIT awards in 2012 for best British Breakthrough and best British Solo Male Album.

The artist’s second album I Forget Where We Were (2014) reached similar levels of success. Alongside a track featured on AMC’s The Walking Dead (2010-present) and receiving a nomination for the Ivor Novello Award, the album topped the charts in the UK.

At the time of writing, Howard’s music has racked up over half a billion digital streams.

Noonday Dream tracklist:

  1. Nica Libres at Dusk
  2. Towing the Line
  3. A Boat to an Island on the Wall
  4. What the Moon Does
  5. Someone in the Doorway
  6. All Down the Mines (Interlude)
  7. The Defeat
  8. A Boat to an Island Part II Agatha’s Song
  9. There’s Your Man
  10. Murmurations

Howard’s North American tour will begin September 20 in Burnaby, BC.

Further reading: Years & Years Announce New Album Palo Santo

Aggravated Indecent Assault

Bill Cosby Found Guilty of Aggravated Indecent Assault

In one of the most high-profile sexual assault cases to be reported, Bill Cosby, former actor and star of hit 80s and 90s sitcom The Cosby Show, has been found guilty of three count of aggravated indecent assault for the drugging and sexual assault of Andrea Constand in 2004.

Thursday’s verdict, which came after the case’s initial previous mistrial one year ago, was reached by a new jury who came to the decision just 14 hours after the trial.

Cosby, who had remained silent during the hearing and throughout the scandal, did not testify for himself and did not react verbally when the verdict was given. Minutes after, however, Cosby erupted. The prosecutors asked the judge to revoke bail because they deemed Cosby a flight risk as he had his own plane. Cosby responded by shouting, “He doesn’t have a plane, you asshole.”

As the prosecutors sought to establish a behavioural pattern in Cosby’s misconduct, five other women took to the stand to testify against Cosby during the trial. The women recounted similar experiences to that of Constand, alleging that the former actor had drugged and assaulted them decades ago.

Cosby’s team launched an aggressive defence attack. They brought Constand’s credibility into question and accused the woman of seeking the actor’s fortune, describing her as a ‘con-artist’.

Yet, even with very little forensic evidence, Constand’s team made a monumental win. Gloria Allred, an attorney who has represented some of the women who have accused Cosby of indecent assault, welcomed the conviction, saying, “We are so happy that finally we can say, women are believed. And not only on #MeToo but in a court of law where they are under oath, where they are testified truthfully, where they are attacked.

“After all is said and done, women were finally believed.”

This verdict comes as a particular victory in the wake of the #MeToo movement, and Cosby could spend the rest of his life in prison for the conviction of aggravated indecent assault.

Montgomery County District attorney Kevin Steele told reporters after the trial, “What was revealed through this investigation was a man who had spent decades preying on women that he drugged and sexually assaulted, and a man who evaded this moment right here far too long.

“He used his celebrity, he used his wealth, he used his network of supporters to help him conceal his crimes.”

Tom Mesereau, Cosby’s attorney told reporters that they would be appealing the guilty verdict of aggravated indecent assault. “We are very disappointed by the verdict. We don’t think Mr Cosby’s guilty of anything and the fight is not over,” he said.

Further reading: Bill Cosby Sexual Assault Retrial to Begin

Palo Santo

Years & Years Announce New Album Palo Santo

Synth pop British trio Years & Years have announced their highly anticipated second album Palo Santo. The new record is due to be released via Interscope Records July 6 in North America.

While there is still some time to wait for the first single of the album to hit the shelves, the band have published an exciting trailer for short film, Years & Years. The trailer features frontman Olly Alexander and Academy Award-winner, Judi Dench, teasing fans and building anticipation in the run up to its release.

Palo Santo follows the massive success of Years & Years’ debut album, Communion which was released in 2015. The album reached number one in the US Billboard Dance/Electronic Album Charts, hit top 10 in the Billboard Digital Album charts and went to number one in the UK Album Charts. As if this wasn’t enough, the album shot to dizzying heights with nominations for five Brit Awards after the sale of more than 1.5 million copies.

The new album has a line-up of big collaborations including Kid Harpoon, Greg Kurstin, Julia Michaels, Justin Tranter and Jessie Shatkin.

A press released described Palo Santo as, “Part full-blooded, escapist fantasia and part social comment, for Years & Years this is about outlier pop as futurism once more, offering solutions when the wider world is transforming beyond recognition.”

The new album sees the band’s talented vocalist pull musical inspiration from pop legends including Lady Gaga, Prince and Bowie by exploring intimate, human themes of sexuality, identity and performance.

The standard edition track list for Palo Santo:

  1. Sanctify
  2. Hallelujah
  3. All for You
  4. Karma
  5. Hypnotised
  6. Rendezvous
  7. If You’re Over Me
  8. Preacher
  9. Lucky Escape
  10. Palo Santo
  11. Here (Interlude)

Fans can pre-order Palo Santo by Years & Years now on iTunes and Amazon and most major digital retailers.

Further reading: Martin Garrix and Loopers Release Game Over

Allison Mack

Allison Mack Arrested for Alleged Role in Sex Trafficking Case

Smallville actress Allison Mack has been arrested in connection to a high profile sex trafficking case, according to police. Mack, best known for her role as Chloe in the popular TV show, was indicted Friday 20 with charges of sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy and forced labor conspiracy.

In a statement released by the Justice Department, the United States Attorney Donoghue said, “As alleged in the indictment, Allison Mack recruited women to join what was purported to be a female mentorship group that was, in fact, created and led by Keith Raniere.

“The victims were then exploited, both sexually and for their labor, to the defendants’ benefit. This Office and our law enforcement partners are committed to prosecuting predators who victimize others through sex trafficking and forced labor.”

Mack was allegedly second-in-command within a New York-based organization called NXIVM (pronounced Nex-e-um). The group, which markets itself as a ‘self-help’ group, was founded by Keith Raniere (the only male member of the so-called cult) in 1998. Raniere was arrested last month in Mexico for the same charges. Both Mack and Raniere deny all allegations made against them.

According to reports, the organization required thousands of dollars for new recruits to participate in courses, and to rise through the ranks and recruit others to do the same.

According to CNN, Mack apparently co-founded a secret society within the organization called ‘DOS’, in which women recruited other women under false pretences for sexual purposes. New recruits are dubbed ‘slaves’. When they have recruited new women, their position transitioned to that of ‘master’.

In more twisted events, some of the organization’s recruits were purportedly branded with Raniere’s initials on their pubic regions using a cauterizing pen while other women held them down.

Mack had allegedly received payment and other benefits from Raniere in exchange for the women engaging in sexual activities with him.

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney said, “As this pyramid scheme continues to unravel, we ask anyone who might have been a victim to reach out to us with information that may further our investigation.”

If convicted, both Mack and Raniere face “mandatory minimum sentences of 15 years’ imprisonment, and up to life imprisonment.”

Further reading: Bill Cosby Sexual Assault Retrial to Begin

Fortnite Battle Royale

Sports Scholarship for Fortnite Battle Royale

Ohio’s Ashland University will be the first university to offer a scholarship for Fortnite Battle Royale as part of its eSports program beginning Fall 2018.

The 100-player online shooter game, in which players fight to the death, has been the most watched game on the Twitch streaming platform in recent months. So popular is the title, online organizations including The eSports Hub and MLG GameBattles have established ladders and tournaments for the game.

Josh Buchanan, who will be the head coach for the program, told Variety, “I think Fortnite has a lot of room for players to get creative.

“There’s a lot of teamwork in [the game’s core building mechanic] that’s really untapped. A lot of players kind of do fancy stuff, and it looks cool, but it might not be the most efficient. I think it’s a game that, due to how creative you can be, there’s a lot of potential to get really, really skilled in the game.”

The eSports team will arrange four-player teams who will begin competing in the Fall, with the program offering up to $4,000 in scholarships. Applications will be based on player skills and academic requirements.

“As part of the program, you’re going to have coaches and a staff dedicated to helping you succeed—not only in the game but also in your academics,” Buchanan said to Variety.  

The statement for the scholarship by the university says that a gaming center will be placed at the school with “25 gaming stations, complete with gaming PCs, accessories and peripherals.” 

The National Association of Collegiate Esports stipulates that Ashland University is the first college to officially announce a Fortnite Battle Royale scholarship, but Missouri Baptist University has announced their plans for adding a Fortnite team.

Further reading: AAA Video Game Titles: A Look Ahead in 2018

Martin Garrix Game Over

Martin Garrix and Loopers Release Game Over

Young EDM superstar Martin Garrix and Dutchman Loopers have joined forces to release the highly anticipated single Game Over today (Friday 20 April) via STMPD RCRDS.

The track was initially premiered during Garrix’s set at EDM and dance music festival Tomorrowland back in 2017, and fans have been urging the DJ to officially release it ever since.

Game Over is nothing short of what fans would expect from Garrix—spunky, fun, full of bass with a big sound—but the collaboration with Loopers gives this new release a unique flair.

The now 21-year-old Garrix shot to fame stardom in 2013 with his hit tune Animals which received worldwide critical acclaim. By 2016, with the number one hit In the Name of Love featuring Bebe Rexha (racking up over a billion streams since its release so far), the artist’s career hit stratospheric heights.

Garrix also launched his own record label, STMPD RCRDS in 2016 to produce and release original tracks and collaborations besides his official global deal with Sony Music International. “There’s so much music out there in this whole EDM thing that sounds so similar,” he said. “I want to make my label more diverse.” Garrix’s commitment to the music industry at such a young age and in such a short time is commendable.

For Looper, Game Over follows a collaboration with dance music titan David Guetta and Brooks with Like I Do.

Watch Game Over by Martin Garrix and Loopers, here:

Further reading: David Guetta and Sia Release Flames

Jessie J

Jessie J Wins China’s Singer 2018 Talent Show

British pop star Jessie J has won major Chinese singing talent show, Singer 2018. The program, which can be likened to television shows like American Idol, is a singing contest for already-established artists.

The London-born artist was one of the first international contestants to ever appear on the show and won the competition with a staggering 48 percent of the vote.

Jessie J sang a selection of her own hits including Domino (2011) and Flashlight (2015), as well as a cover of Whitney Houston’s blockbuster hit My Heart Will Go On.

Many fans of the pop star were initially confused as to why she would enter a singing competition in the first place. “I know a lot of people were shocked when they found out,” she said. “Like why would I compete in a singing competition… I’m probably the least competitive person I know.

“I said yes because I LOVE to do the unexpected and I LOVE to represent the UK and singing everywhere I go. I LOVE to sing. But also it was an opportunity to bridge a gap between two cultures.”

The platinum-winning star added, “Chin is an amazing place and so different to anywhere I have ever been. I have never been made to feel more welcomed and loved as I have done here.”

Jessie J’s appearance on Singer 2018 followed the failed launch of her latest album R.O.S.E at the end of 2017.

Further reading: David Guetta and Sia Release Flames

Pulitzer Prize

Kendrick Lamar Wins Pulitzer Prize

Rapper Kendrick Lamar has won the Pulitzer Prize for music, breaking major records by becoming the first non-classical or jazz artist to receive the prestigious award since the Pulitzer’s inception some 75 years ago.

The prize was given for the 30-year-old’s 2017 album Damn, which also won the 2018 Grammy award for Best Rap Album. The album has sold more than three and a half million copies, including digital streams, since its release last year.

Dana Canedy, administer of the Pulitzer prizes, said, “The time was right.

“We are very proud of this selection. It means that the jury and the board judging system worked as it’s supposed to—the best work was awarded a Pulitzer Prize.”

Canedy added, “It shines a light on hip-hop in a completely different way. This is a big moment for hip-hop music and big moment for the Pulitzers.”

The Pulitzer board described Damn as “a virtuosic song collection unified by its vernacular authenticity and rhythmic dynamism that offers affecting vignettes capturing the complexity of modern African-American life.”

The record has received much global critical acclaim since its release. It topped the charts in the United States and Canada while reaching number two in the Australian charts. Damn was also certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and became the Billboard Year-End Number One Album of 2017.

The Swimming Pools artist has been lauded by critics for his distinct, honest and authentic sound ever since he first broke into the mainstream with the album Good Kid, M.A.A.D City in 2012.

Punch, the head of Top Dawg Entertainment, Lamar’s record label, tweeted that he’d better not hear anyone “speak with anything less than respect in your mouth for Kendrick Lamar.” Lamar has yet to comment on his historical win of the Pulitzer Prize.

Further reading: Panic! At the Disco Back with New Track