OOTD: Boob crop t-shirt by JEMIMASARA

When I discovered JEMIMASARA, I fell a little bit in love. An online store brimming with fantastic feminist and iconic clothing, tote bags, jewellery, prints and accessories, adorned with wonderful illustrations throughout.

Their unisex collection includes a selection of illustrations inspired by the ‘martini ladies’, and generally they are pretty quirky. The boob crop t-shirt is certainly a fun addition to any wardrobe, with a fantastic feminine print and rough cut finish.

I was very lucky that the wonderfully talented owner of JEMIMASARA, Jemima agreed to answering a few questions about her brand:

A JEMIMASARA interview

How did you go about establishing the brand?

2016 seemed a bad year for us all and for me it was a time when I personally hit rock bottom. I had forgotten all sense of self-love and confidence, due to a number of negative situations happening at the same time, and I had no idea how to bring these key elements back into my life. That’s when I realised I was drawing these naked ladies who “had martinis and loved themselves”. Overtime, I started becoming one of these carefree ladies, thus my alter ego was born. The illustrations helped me find my own confidence and self-love, so I wanted to share this. I want to share this path of recovery for others to use. In the future, I want to break into fashion, testing its conventions by not conforming, just as a ‘Martini Lady’ would do.

Have you always had an interest in illustration and fashion?

The word ‘fashion’ always scared me a little, I think of the film ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ with the main character being this scary lady and a non-accepting environment. So no, I guess I didn’t, but now that I am creating fashion designs and illustrations and selling ready to wear collections; fashion and illustration has changed in my mind. Fashion and illustration is a way of expressing your thoughts, fears and passions for people to wear and have. They can express it in their own unique way too and this is something I have always wanted to do. I have always wanted to influence people and their life – to make them live a happier one and inspire them.

Your tops are fun and some even a little risque – what is your inspiration behind them?

The brand celebrates the female form through the creation of the “Martini Ladies” illustrations. These are positive, fun loving and risqué ladies with few boundaries, ladies who love themselves just the way they are. My clothing and designs is based on these women, just owning their life and doing what they want. My work seeks to find realism within the female form. I take influences from the Renaissance divine, Henri Matisse and the pin-up ladies of the 1920s. These influences have created my vision for ‘The Martini Lifestyle’.

What are ‘martini ladies’, did you coin the phrase? 

The brand celebrates the female form through the creation of the “Martini Ladies” illustrations. These women boast of their uninhibited self-worth for others to take inspiration from. The humorous illustrations I create are of positive, fun loving and risqué ladies with few boundaries, ladies who love themselves just the way they are!

The message of the ‘martini ladies’ is that I want everyone to feel beautiful, elegant and confident in his or her own right and I want to support and celebrate women around the world. So yes, I created the phase of ‘martini ladies’ or ‘the martini lifestyle’ so express this.

You promote self-love and confidence – what makes you feel confident? 

For me, self-love is about acceptance. Acceptance of your beautiful, individual imperfections. The things that make us who we are. That could be a scar, freckle, your little toe, bad habit or a hobby. These individual imperfections are always something we as humans find hard to accept, especially in our day and age where social media plays such a massive role in our life. For me, the most important daily aspect of self-love and confidence, is not to see yourself as a whole but to look at the things you enjoy about yourself and your strengths. It might be your eyes, your elbow or your goofy laugh, I don’t know, but to look at that ‘thing’, whatever it may be, and see it as a unique entity.

As I said before, self-love is about acceptance and for me that’s accepting something I like about myself every day. I usually do this in small ways as the main thing for me is accepting I am an artist and that others may appreciate my works. My designs/illustrations themselves were a road of recovery for me; they are my way of learning more about a different side to me which I am wanting to share and others to be influenced by. When I write the words in those speech bubbles, I feel empowered and actually it’s my way of accepting myself every day, making me feel more confident in my everyday life.

What is the future for JEMIMASARA?

I want JEMIMASARA to break into fashion and lifestyle and I want to break fashion conventions and traditions. JEMIMASARA is all about campaigning to empower women and men too – freeing themselves of boundaries imposed by modern life through illustrations and designs.

Do you have a message for the girls reading this? 

To any girl out there, just know that everyone struggles with themselves, you wouldn’t be human if you didn’t. We all grow at different rates; we are all beautiful unique individuals. Don’t worry if you find it hard to get up in the morning, its normal. I find it hard every day and I preach self-love and confidence. Just know that acceptance is important. Accepting yourself and what you do.

Understanding that you, your hobbies and habits are beautiful and you are constantly moving forward and reaching for the stars.

What do you think of the JEMIMASARA boob crop t-shirt? What questions would you put to JEMIMASARA? 

Stephanie xox

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This boob crop t-shirt was exchanged for an honest review

Ghibli by hyung86

The great animation debate: Studio Ghibli versus Disney

Disney is a universal brand, a timeless reflection back to our youth, brimming with fond memories of cinema trips and cosy nights in with the family. Tales of traditionally perfect Princesses, talking animals and sing-along-songs. The companies ability to hold a special place in the hearts of each generation for almost a century is admirable. So, why is Studio Ghibli, the Japanese counterpart for the East, so much more?

For those who do not know of Studio Ghibli, it was founded in 1985, around 62 years after its fair-to-say rival, Disney. The Japanese company has created over 20 beautiful animated feature films to date, with their own array of wonderfully crafted heroes and heroines.

The two animation giants undoubtedly share similar traits, their work is utterly timeless and adored globally. However, it is a belief shared by many that the East began to take over the West when it came to quality animation, and there are a fair few reasons why Studio Ghibli will always surpass Disney.

Growing up, I watched both Disney and Studio Ghibli films, and the latter continues to move me as I edge towards my mid-twenties (a scary prospect). The heart of Studio Ghibli stems from its animation team, especially from the creative brain of the former lead director, Hayao Miyazaki, who created something with a far deeper moralistic and feminist meaning.

Japanese Studio Ghibli Posters - Ghibli versus Disney - The LDN Gal

Why are strong female leads so important in animation?

Like many, I found myself learning far more from Studio Ghibli, with their tales of female struggle and empowerment (most films tend to have a strong female lead). Unlike the Disney Princesses, the heroines are relatable without the patronising undertone and the magic and depth of their fantasy tales awakens the attention of adults, as well as presenting important moral dilemmas and messages for children watching.

Looking at the female leads in Disney films (predominantly the Disney Princesses) in comparison to those in Studio Ghibli, a striking difference will continuously manifest itself. Time and time again in Disney, it will be seen that these princesses are overtly defenseless without the men in their lives to rescue them (Mulan, Merida and the new Princess Moana being the few exceptions).

Compare this to Studio Ghibli, and you will find feminist icons in abundance,  the majority of Ghibli films have an admirable and strong female lead. Miyazaki says:

“Many of my movies have strong female leads – brave, self-sufficient girls that don’t think twice about fighting for what they believe in with all their heart. They’ll need a friend, or a supporter, but never a savior. Any woman is just as capable of being a hero as any man.”

Not relying on a man (or anyone for that matter) is a recurring theme, everyone is seen as equal in the gender Olympic’s and this is just wonderful for the self-esteem of a small child, who doesn’t love feeling empowered and equal?

Why is female empowerment needed in animation?

An example of utter reliance on men is presented to us in The Little Mermaid (Disney). Our leading mermaid, Ariel, plays centre-stage under the sea, she is beautiful, feisty and terribly naive. Of course, she falls head-over-heels for the ‘wrong’ guy in the opinion of her father, whom she then desperately seeks out upon the land in exchange for her voice. He notices her, but not enough to avoid being bewitched and ensnared by a witch. Says it all but a happy ending is guaranteed, this is Disney.

Old Sophie Howls Moving Castle - Ghibli versus Disney - The LDN Gal

Compare this with female protagonist Sophie of Howl’s Moving Castle (Studio Ghibli), and you are presented with a self-conscious wallflower. Sophie is plain and unnoticed, obviously reinforced as viewers see that even her own mother fails to realise her transformation from a young girl into a twisted hag. This ordinary girl, no ‘beauty’ on her side, must seek out a wizard whose attention she had caught in her youthful state. The issue being that she cannot speak a word to anyone about the curse and therefore must lurk around until she can figure out how to break it herself, while her wizarding companion is on a quest to find himself also.

There is far more depth to Sophie, she’s opinionated, brash and stern (probably something to do with the aged state and being utterly fed up). Whereas Ariel is presented as emotionally motivated and stroppy, only seeking her happiness as an end goal and caring little for the loss of those around her (particularly her somewhat overbearing father who is terrified about her disappearance). On the other hand, Sophie seeks to help all those around her, she is a complex character whose love and compassion motivates her throughout, perhaps even at her own expense and happiness at times.

The problem with Disney is that helplessness, ‘love’ and beauty define the Princesses. With Studio Ghibli, beauty isn’t key, the female leads are admired for their strength, journey, and powerful hearts. It is a stark and reoccurring difference, just select any Disney or Studio Ghibli film.

Some critics argue that Studio Ghibli films exploit these young heroines. However, It would seem that the consensus argues that Ghibli, in fact, challenges girls to solve their own problems. Saying this, modern Disney appears to have approached this too with ‘stronger’ characters such as Mulan and Merida, to name a few. In contrast, Studio Ghibli has been doing this with his characters since day one, in a culture often perplexed by such dominating female empowerment.

Another perk is that Studio Ghibli animations provide far more cultural exploration for us Westerners and prove themselves to be culturally apt. Whereas Disney often fails to truly embrace the cultures of their Princesses in their locality.

Often you will hear of Disneyland being the ‘most magical place on earth’, its stories the basis for this magic. I argue that Studio Ghibli offers far more magic, it teaches us to be kind, to not judge, to respect and cherish our environment (nature being of great religious importance to the Japanese), that pacifism can work and childhood transitioning is tough, no one can save you from it but you.

Their stories are creative, with complex and challenging storylines, developed and iconic characters, heartwarming and meaningful messages, embellished with beautiful animation. Studio Ghibli will remain timeless to its audience, holding many an animated heart for a lifetime with their emotion invoking work. The core and important message will stay the same, despite your gender, appearance, size or background, you can achieve anything you want to, and this is why Studio Ghibli will always surpass Disney.

Does your heart remain with Disney or Studio Ghibli? What is your favourite Ghibli film?

Stephanie xox

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