Less is More, More or Less

What does ‘less is more’ mean to you?

The definition of this phrase is: “the view that a minimalist approach to artistic or aesthetic matters is more effective,” but people extrapolate and transfer this definition to fit a variety of ideals. Some see ‘less is more’ as a reason to limit the power of various authority figures, like law enforcement or the government. Others use it as grounds to write a one-page Lean Canvas instead of a full-fledged business plan.

Many still see it as a lifestyle choice where they learn to live with fewer possessions or a smaller social circle,so they can fully appreciate the value of each of those possessions or individuals. We can easily say that this last one is something that we aspire to, but also frequently struggle with on a day-to-day basis.

We’ve grown accustomed to the fast-paced life that comes with fashion photography, where we typically select the 8-10 photos for a blog post from about three hundred raw images. It’s time consuming to edit and narrow down all of those photos, but we love it because it gives us more than enough options to choose from.

As we were collaborating on this photo shoot with the Green brothers, we kept thinking to ourselves, “We need more photos than this!” when we noticed that they snapped far fewer than we were used to. We were worried that we would not be able to do our meticulously crafted outfits justice in only a couple photos at each location.

Yet, as we began looking through them, we realized that we really only need one or two killer photos in each spot, and we actually did have enough. (And it was kind of nice to only spend about a quarter of the time as usual editing them!)

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I used to feel remorseful for simplifying my circle of friends so significantly when I started attending UCA. I felt an obligation towards people that meant so much to me in the past, but the reality is that if they are not improving your present or your future, they have no business being in your life.

Life is too short to constantly preoccupy yourself with this kind of guilt. People will always come and go; that’s just the way life works! At one point in your life, a friend will be exactly who you need, but as you grow and change as a person, that friend may no longer serve in your best interest (or you in their best interest)._DSC1152-2Simplifying your circle causes less frustration and less stress, more freedom lessens anxiety and lessens worry, and more meaning in your life allows you to focus far less on life’s excess in favor of what’s truly important.

When I started to focus on the people who added more value to my life and inspired me to chase after my passions, I began to become more successful in my aspirations. Now I have professional photographers and videographers as my close friends, and computer scientists and incredible artists. Allowing more time to connect with them truly helped me see the value in having less.

-H

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I remember ‘less is more’ as one of my dad’s key phrases when I was growing up. As a teenager, I wholeheartedly opposed this idea, especially when it came to clothing. My dad even used to joke that I could go an entire year without doing a single load of laundry! That was a stretch…but not by much, I’m afraid.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve moved towards higher-quality, staple pieces, and I’ve (begrudgingly, I’ll admit) begun to see the value in having fewer, better pieces in rotation.

 

 

There’s nothing I love more than giving my wardrobe a refresher every season, but I do find myself turning to many of the same pieces when I’m looking for something to wear. I didn’t used to, but now I do see the value in having less. When I’m limited to only ten or so pieces to create outfits from (like on a vacation), I tend to create better outfits than when I have an entire walk-in closet at my disposal.

An art teacher once told me that creativity is best expressed within limits, and for me, that is inescapably true.

 -S

Like anyone else, we would love to have lots of people, places, and things in our lives, but if we spread ourselves too thin, we won’t be able to see the true value of any of them.

We love the fast-paced world of fashion, but it’s also nice to step away every once in a while and get back to the simple artistry of taking photographs. We’ve seen that minimalism isn’t any better or worse than other styles of living your life, choosing your friends, or partaking in artistic adventures; it’s just different.

And who better than us understands the value of being different?

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“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
Leonardo da Vinci

_DSC1225Hannah’s Outfit Details

Top: TJ Maxx
Jeans: Target
Loafers: Forever 21
Hat: Target
Earrings: Earthbound Trading Co.
Sunglasses: Eyeglass Direct
Sabrina’s Outfit Details
Top: Impressions Boutique
Jeans: Impressions Boutique
Cardigan: Impressions Boutique
Heeled Sandals: Impressions Boutique
Purse: BCBG
Necklace: Amazon
Earrings: Fred Meyers
Photos by: the Green Brothers
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Science Not Silence

Today is Earth Day, and this Earth Day is probably the most important in recent history.

Today, scientists and science enthusiasts march on Washington to declare their support for evidence-based decision-making, scientific research and education, and more. There are entire groups dedicated to putting scientists in office in an effort to ensure that the policies we set as a country align with what would be best for future generations and our planet.

It should not have to come to this, but it has.

Our country’s leaders have made it clear that they rebuff science in favor of alternative facts, so the fate of our planet has been put in the hands of the people.

One of our favorite quotes concerning this rejection of facts is by Neil DeGrasse Tyson:

“The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.”

We don’t know if ‘good’ is the word we would use because in this case, the truth is terrifying, but this statement is accurate. You can ignore science and pretend that climate change doesn’t exist and that vaccines cause autism for a little while, but you cannot ignore it for long.

Science is not a belief system, so no matter what you believe, the truth will eventually prevail. _DSC1291

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I was fortunate enough to grow up with two scientists for parents who taught me from a young age to think rationally and look to the facts. Not everyone was so fortunate, but in the age of information, there is no excuse for ignorance.

The fashion industry, which is the second-most polluting on the planet, is slowly trying to become more sustainable through ‘eco-friendly’ clothing companies that only use organic materials and the like. Yet, most people do not realize that a single organic cotton t-shirt still requires a staggering 2,700 gallons of water to produce. At least, these companies are not using harmful chemicals that seep into farmland and waterways and are using coal alternatives to fuel their production, but they are still consuming our quickly depleting supply of fresh water.

This is why we are pushing the importance of secondhand clothing. It takes exactly zero gallons of water to revitalize a secondhand t-shirt. And, by keeping that shirt out of a landfill, it is effectively a negative-waste piece of clothing. We are not delusional, so we do not think that just wearing a secondhand t-shirt is going to save the planet. But, if everyone does something small, like forgoing plastic grocery bags, drinking out of reusable water bottles–or yes, wearing secondhand clothing– all of those little deeds will add up to make a big difference.

-S

In the 21st century, technological advances have become a daily regularity. I get in my Prius each day, and I use less than half the amount of gas the average American car does, which would not have been possible even a couple decades ago. A lot of people do not realize the impact that the science of today has on the technology of tomorrow.

Without funding scientific research and thinking about ways to make products better and more energy-efficient, we would never be able to enjoy things like smartphones or hybrid cars.

I am not a scientist, but I understand the importance of science in our society. Without it, we would understand almost nothing about ourselves or the world around us. It is because of science that I am able to use those ideas and discoveries and transform them into artistic expressions.

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One of my favorite quotes is, “Science is the poetry of reality.” Science and art are more intermingled than you might think, with concepts like the Golden Ratio (which is found everywhere in nature) guiding artistry and design aesthetic, and the science of light to making photography a possibility.

Beyond that, science is what keeps us alive. If scientists from the past hadn’t dedicated their entire lives to research, we would still be dying from infections due to minor cuts and scratches and diseases like smallpox because we never would have developed a vaccine. I don’t know about you, but I kind of like being alive and being able to engage in the activities that I love.

Use your dollar to vote for companies that are advancing this type of technology and use your ballot to vote for elect officials who recognize that science is the only way of thinking that will propel us into a better, more sustainable future.

-H

If we ignore the facts for much longer and keep silent on issues that matter, it will be too late for us. Every year is consecutively becoming the hottest year on record, and it’s getting to the point that it is noticeable on a daily basis. This year in Arkansas, we wearing short sleeves in February, and now, the temperature outside in April feels how it used to in June.

This is one of the most irritating consequences of climate change (particularly as aficionados of cold weather fashion), but it’s not even the biggest.  Ocean levels are rising, which will lead to several of our coastal cities slowly drowning under water, conflict and potential terrorism is brewing in countries that are most affected by rising temperatures, and entire species of plants and animals are going extinct because their habitats are becoming uninhabitable.

As humans, we sometimes mistakenly think we are above the ecosystem because we live in air-conditioned houses and drive fancy cars. We cannot forget that the Earth is our home, and it’s the only one we’ve got. Whether we like it or not, we are dependent on our ecosystem to stay alive, and if we continue to ignore the disastrous effect we are having on it, not only will the environment suffer, but the human species will too.

If we do nothing, in the future we will only exist as a chapter in the history book of the Earth. 

“The radical novelty of modern science lies precisely in the rejection of the belief that the forces which move the stars and atoms are contingent upon the preferences of the human heart.”

-Walter Lippman
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Hannah’s Outfit Details
Dress: Goodwill (refashioned by Awaken Atelier)
Boots: Zara
Necklaces: Amazon
Earrings: Amazon
Sunglasses: TJ Maxx
Sabrina’s Outfit Details
Top: TJ Maxx
Pants: Goodwill (refashioned by Awaken Atelier)
Heels: Impressions Boutique
Sunglasses: TJ Maxx
Necklace: Amazon
Watch: Plato’s Closet

Photos by: the Green Brothers

 

Freedom Lies in Being Bold

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”

– Neale Donald Walsch

DSC_2354 2They say it’s hardest to see what is right in front of you.

We ourselves did not see how much our sense of style was growing and evolving until we looked back at the photographs from some of our first shoots.

Our style is nearly unrecognizable from even a year ago, and that’s pretty incredible.

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Until just a couple months ago, I was stuck in a phase for a long time where I only liked neutrals and basics. They worked, and I knew they looked chic, so it was difficult to break out of that mold. I turned to neutrals because before that, I didn’t really have a ‘style.’ I chose clothes on a whim without thinking about how they would fit in with the rest of my wardrobe. I kind of collected an assortment of pretty clothes with no idea as to what my sense of style was supposed to be.

I’ve loved fashion for my entire life, but it’s taken me almost my entire life thus far to truly figure out my identity in it.

I think everyone goes through those phases in their chosen craft: trying out a whole bunch of random things to see what ‘clicks’, narrowing down those choices in an attempt to make everything appear cohesive, and finally, cultivating some originality and through that, branching out and trying things that are bold and risky.

If you had told me even a year ago that I would be fawning over a floral, embroidered mesh top, I probably would have laughed. I would have never bought this top a year ago because the old me would have thought it was too flashy. But the new me wants to wear it literally every single day.

-S

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People are afraid of being bold in their choices because they’re scared that other people may not like those choices. They’re afraid of indulging in the edgier sides of their passions for fear of what other people might think.

We used to be those people.

We used to care what comments people made, or didn’t make, but thought to themselves.

Yet, we’re a lot happier now that we honestly don’t give a damn what other people think of us or our outfits.

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I knew what I was supposed to do, but I didn’t know how I was going to do it.

I was scared.

For so long, I wrestled with what my major was going to be. I tried out environmental science and journalism at first, in an attempt to be “practical,” and then turned to digital filmmaking because it seemed like a good compromise between practicality and artistry. I liked them all, but none of them ever lit a fire inside of me.

It was time to be bold and do what I was meant to do– the arts.

I jumped in headfirst and took four art classes this semester, and they have opened my eyes as a creator. When I see a garment hanging on a rack at Goodwill, my mind races through the different ways I could reinvent it to make it fresh and stylish, and my heart races with anticipation to get to work on it. I don’t think I could have (or would have) done that with an environmental science degree.

In art, we are always looking for a way to communicate a message through colors, emotion, and lines– and that describes fashion to a tee. When I was bold in my decision to go after my passion and my craft, I became more myself than ever. And my style reflected that as I began to purchase daring pieces. As I became more adventurous in my art, I also became fearless in my style. I would have never worn a mesh top and overalls even just a few months ago!

So, take that job, move to L.A., wear that dress. Be courageous and go after your desires.

-H

Making bold choices is obviously a risk, and sometimes it doesn’t pay off.

Just yesterday, we were talking about how we would like to scrap/change some of the old outfits we’ve worn for shoots! Disliking some the chances you took is part of it. If you don’t take those chances, you are never going to end up with something that takes your breath away. You have to be willing to be bold and put yourself out there if you ever want to get past a plateau.

For us, that plateau was sticking to fashion that was safe.

For you, it might be grinding away at the same sales job without ever actually increasing your commission, or yielding the same results from a research experiment over and over again. If you’re stuck somewhere like that, know that you don’t have to be there forever.

You just have to try something new, or even think about something old in a new way. Change is hard and change is messy, but change is worth it. Step out of your comfort zone, and you would not believe the incredible things you can achieve.

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“Enjoy being bold, and if that is scary at first, marvel at your ability to walk through fear.”
-Rivka Solomon
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Sabrina’s Outfit Details
Mesh Top: Zara
White Button Down: Express
Jeans: H&M
Shoes: Antonio Melani
Earrings: Badgley Mischka
Sunglasses TJ Maxx
Rings: Unknown
Hannah’s Outfit Details:
Top: Forever 21
Overalls: Forever 21
Shoes: Marc Fisher
Brallette: Victoria’s Secret
Earrings: HipSway
Sunglasses: TJ Maxx
Photos by Demetrius McCullough

Nothing To Be Ashamed Of

“…The enemy is not lipstick but guilt itself;
we deserve lipstick if we want it and free speech;
we deserve to be sexual and serious or whatever we please.”
Naomi Wolf
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Its funny how a lot of people want to encourage body positivity, but also support dress codes.

Dress codes in schools, and sometimes even workplaces, excessively lean towards restricting what girls and women wear, not boys and men.

Are we seriously surprised that sending girls home for wearing spaghetti strap tank tops or shorts that hit more than two inches above the knees results in low self-confidence and body dysmorphia?

Are we shocked that reproaching women who wear anything but shapeless suits to the office results in victim-blaming in sexual assault cases because people think the woman was “asking for it” by wearing a mini skirt?

These dress codes reinforce the idea that the female form is something to be ashamed of,and that it is the woman’s job to cover herself up as to not be distracting to men and boys.

We get that we need to dress appropriately for different situations,like not wearing a strapless dress to the office,or a pair of underwear-length shorts to school,but most articles of clothing (like leggings) should not be any cause for concern.

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I remember the first time I got sent home from school for a dress code violation. I had on my favorite a-line, red and white floral dress,white tights, and flats, so I was incredibly confused when my teacher sent me to the principal who told me my dress was an inch too short.

I didn’t understand then why that necessitated me being pulled from my class for two hours and feeling humiliated upon my return in a different outfit,and I still don’t understand now. If the point of school is to learn,the point of dress codes is to not distract from learning,yet we’re yanking female students from their classrooms for hours at a time due to dress code violations,aren’t dress codes completely illogical?

DSC_2178 2I was six years old when that happened to me,and obviously I didn’t think about the “appropriateness” of the length(it went to mid-thigh, by the way). I wore it because I loved it and it never crossed my mind that was inappropriate for school(it wasn’t).

Covering up her body is not something a six year old should be forced to think about,but so many of them have to.

Every single day.
-S
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So many of us struggle with feeling comfortable in our own skin, but we forget that the longest relationship we will ever have is the one we have with ourselves. If you are not happy with who you are, it makes it impossible to be happy in any other area of your life.

 For a long time, I didn’t feel like myself when I interacted with people,and that projection of myself changed depending on who I was with. One day, it clicked that I don’t have to project a different “version” of myself every time I talked to someone new.

I just needed to be who I am.

DSC_2231 2This realization came after I went to college and was allowed to live–and dress–as I pleased. Its no coincidence that having creative freedom allowed me to explore and accept my true self. I can wear pajamas or a cocktail dress to class if I want to (I don’t), but knowing that I am free–and encouraged–to be myself has given me the confidence to fully express who I am,no matter the situation. I’m proud of myself and my body,and I think I probably would have gained that confidence sooner had I not been subject to a strict set of ridiculous rules when I was growing up.

If we want to cultivate a generation of strong women for the future, all girls should have the freedom to express themselves while they’re young.

-H

As you get comfortable in your own skin, you dare to try things that are out of your comfort zone. Branching out is how you grow as a person, and girls and women should not have to wait until after high school or the weekends to do so.

Loving yourself for who you are and having the confidence to show that to the world is a huge step in life, and particularly in fashion.

Before we were given the freedom to express ourselves, we mostly stuck to clothes that were neither risky nor risque. Getting comfortable in our own skin was a phase of fashionability that we recently went through, and we’ve emerged more stylish and more ourselves than ever before.

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“When you send a girl home from school because her shorts are too short or her clothes are immodest, you are telling her that hiding her body is more important than her education. You are telling her that making sure the boys have a distraction-free learning environment is more important than her education.In a way, you’re telling her that the boys are more entitled to an education than she is, and that isn’t acceptable.”
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Hannah’s Outfit Details
Top: Forever 21
Bralette: Victoria’s Secret
Cardigan: Target
Jeans: American Eagle
Heels: Goodwill
Sunglasses: EyeGlasses Direct
Earrings: Dillards
Sabrina’s Outfit Details
Top: Zara
Jeans: Zara
Shoes: Impressions Boutique
Earrings: Gift
Sunglasses: TJ Maxx
Photos by: Demetrius McCullough