Best of Both Worlds

Sunnies lunch

As some of you may already know, I recently left my gig as a Personal Shopper at Topshop.  The most senior Shopper at the Vancouver location, it was time for me to move on and focus on new goals.  Although I’m going to miss seeing some of my favourite people every day and the excitement of working in fashion full-time, I’m very much looking forward to using my economics background again.  I’m also excited to dedicate time to side projects that have been brewing for quite a while.

Fear not, dear readers!  I will continue to embrace my creative side as a freelance stylist and personal shopper (and I promise to continue to post photos of all of my over the top outfits).  You can email me at sandra.zovko9@gmail.com if you want to inquire about my rates.

Office suit by day, obnoxious bright hot pants by night.  Truly the best of both worlds.  I wouldn’t want it any other way.

(Photo by Rich Liang)


3 Steps to Pulling Off Joggers at Work

Dressed Up Joggers

Fancy joggers can be your best friend.  Stylish and ultra comfortable, you’ll have no reason to dress like shit.  You can find them at most shops but my absolute favourite pair are these lightweight TOPSHOP zebra jungle woven joggers.  I wear them with strappy sandals around the city but when I want to kick it up a notch and make them more work appropriate, I follow these three easy steps. Note: a tamer print might better suit your work environment.

1. Pair joggers with heels.  Opt for pointed pumps – at least 3 inches high – to complement the tapered leg, keeping it clean and chic.  Don’t forget to tuck in the elastic band ankles.

Blue suede shoes

2. Add a sexy tailored blazer to take your look from “drunk at the park on a Friday afternoon” to office cubicle or office with a door or even office coffee break.

White blazer

3. Pair joggers with a button up blouse to keep it business (swap the cropped top for a full-length blouse).  Then add a beautiful statement necklace to tie the look together.  Voila!  Here’s your hottie Monday morning outfit!

Statement Necklace

(All items are TOPSHOP, photos by Eve Obayoriade)


CAG Feedback Series: From East to West

As part of its Tuesday nights Feedback Series, the Vancouver Contemporary Art Gallery invites Iglika Ivanonva, Economics and Public Interest Researcher at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, to discuss social, economic and gender inequality within Eastern Europe and Canada. She will speak to how inequality is reinforced within societies and what can be done to reduce it. The talk, from East to West, takes place tonight, March 26th, at 7pm.

If you can’t attend the talk tonight, visit Superfora this week for a summary of Ivanonva’s key points.


THIS and THAT: Art Spiegelman/Comic Girl

THIS

spiegelman_art

This weekend marks the opening of the Art Spiegelman exhibit CO-MIX: A Retrospective of Comics, Graphics and Scraps at the Vancouver Art Gallery.  Spiegelman was first recognized for his work through the underground Comix scene of the 1970s.  He went on to complete Maus in 1991, a graphic novel in which races were depicted by various animals, telling the story of his father’s experiences in and survival of the Holocaust.  In this Pulitzer Prize winning novel, the narrative was not just in the dialogue; imagery played an extraordinary role as well.

He also created the Garbage Pail Kids trading cards (!!!!).  My inner 7-year-old is exploding.

I don’t know that much about Spiegelman (shame) so I am very excited to be learn more about his genius today at the VAG and expand my knowledge of comics beyond said trading cards and the 300 issues of Archie’s I read when I was 12.

MAUS

(first image from Lambiek.net; second image from Wiki)

THAT

One of TOPSHOP‘s newest and most exciting trends, Comic Girl, is a series of dresses, tees, sweaters and socks that borrow imagery from comic strips.  An hommage to Liechtenstein’s paintings, Batman comics and others, these prints and colours definitely make dressing up more fun.  You have absolutely no excuse to wear beige, people!

Boom Boom Dress

Kaboom Tube Skirt

(Above photo by Tony Vu; second photo via TOPSHOP)

Sources: Wikipedia and Simon’s brain

Happy Saturday! xo


Our New Piece

glock

On November 9th, Simon and I hit up Unassisted, a group photo expo down the road from our apartment in which two photographer friends were participating.  We had a great time and met a lot of cool people but left the exhibit empty handed.  After three days, however, our friend Sven Boecker‘s stand-out image of an Austrian-made glock was still haunting us.  We contacted him and told him we wanted to buy it and soon after, the 5 ft by 4 ft image, created by layering 24 individual photos, was OURS.

We had the piece in our apartment for over a month before we actually hung it due to weight and time constraints.  This puppy weighs 40+ lbs and we needed Simon’s engineer dad to determine whether our walls could support it.  In the days leading up to hanging it, I felt very uneasy about having the photo in our apartment.  I was still blown away by its presence and loved the image but given the tragic recent school shooting and gun controversy, I was afraid that displaying it on our wall might signal that I am pro gun.  If you know me well, you know my weapons of choice are high fives and chest bumps.

I told Simon about my apprehension, and he explained that, like all pieces of art, its meaning depends on both the viewers’ interpretation and the artist’s intent.  He was right.  My initial reaction to the piece was one of surprise at how a weapon associated with death and pain could paradoxically be captured in such a beautiful and intriguing way (remember I said this image haunted me for days).  Briefly, Simon’s take on the piece was that he found it very interesting that Sven chose to enlarge something that is physically small but has a huge social impact to a size that more closely reflects that impact.

I finally asked Sven about his intent with this piece and his response was very insightful.

“It is kind of an extension or almost a metaphor for a struggle I have had within photography.

From a very early age, I was hyper fascinated by really well-engineered objects, particularly cameras. Specifically my parents’ camera.  My wanting to be involved in photography was born out of a fascination with the instrument rather than a passion for imagery.  This continued well into working as a photographer.  It was only probably 8 or 10 years into my career that I identified this as a bit of a problem as I was not allowing myself to develop at all.  At some point, I decided that I needed to overcome my fascination with the camera as an object and start focusing on creating images.  This is something that I still struggle with.  My photo of the gun was made by using my actual skills to create an image, transcending my love of the camera as an object.  To show another very finely-engineered object in the same way that I once viewed the camera: with total fascination of engineering, craftsmanship, texture and quality and a complete disregard for utility.

In the end, ignoring utility, a glock is not too different from a Leica camera.  But, when we start to explore utility, both objects also have similar power.  They are both able to protect, save, exploit and destroy.  A single photo has the power to be as liberating or as destructive as a round from a gun.

They are essentially tools that are very close cousins in both operative function and delivery of consequence.  My photo of the glock, while ignoring utility, I think does invite debate on whether it is the object itself that can be judged on its own or if we need to consider, more importantly, the function of its user.

Having said all that, my intention was simply to use my learned skill as a photographer to show people how I see finely-engineered objects.”

We hung it above our bed because it is the only wall in our apartment that can support its weight. Unintentionally, it reflects how fucked up it is to sleep with a gun by your pillow “for protection.”


Chez Dior

(Photo via Hypebeast)

It was announced yesterday that Raf Simons will be taking over the helm at Dior, a year after Galliano’s infamous exit last Spring.  Strictly a menswear designer until he joined Jil Sander as Creative Director in 2005, Simons has made quite a name for himself in a short amount of time.  I’m excited to see what the Belgian will accomplish at Dior.  Here’s a peak of his last collection for Jil Sander, Fall Winter 2012 Ready To Wear; pure and clean with interesting cutout details.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To compare, below are looks from Dior’s most recent collection, at the hands of Bill Gaytten, which in my opinion had a bigger impact overall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The move releases Simons from the confines of the strict aesthetic at Jil Sander, giving him the freedom to explore his range with the French Fashion House.   I’ll raise a glass of really delicious French wine to that!

(All photos via Style.com)


Learn Some Economics: The Effects of Surname Initials on Academic Success

And, dear readers, after a long hiatus, the (somewhat) educational Learn Some Economics has returned!  You’re totally happy it’s back.  No irony.  None.  Zero.

I was reminded of the paper I’ll be talking about today at my new place of work a couple of weeks ago.  Looking at my initials, SZ, the lovely girl who was training me asked what it was like to be alphabetically last throughout school.  Being called on last for virtually everything may have helped me develop a patient demeanor (nah) but I don’t think it affected my performance in school or elsewhere.  However, there are proven instances where a surname initial can screw a person over and the paper I will discuss looks at one example of this.

In their 2006 paper entitled What’s in a Surname? The Effects of Surname Initials on Academic Success, economists Liran Einav of Stanford and Leeat Yariv of CalTech, set out to estimate whether a surname initial can affect an academic economist’s professional success.  Einav and Yariv analyzed data on faculty at the top 35 economics departments in the US and publication data from the top 5 economics journals between 1980 and 2002.  They found that professors in the top 5 or 10 economics departments with surname initials closer to the beginning of the alphabet (A, B, C, etc.) were more likely to be tenured than those with initials closer to the end.  The top two graphs in Figure 1 below illustrate well that in the sample taken, tenured faculty more often had early-letter surname initials.  For example, about 50% of tenured faculty members in the top 5 economics departments had a last name that began with the letter J or earlier in the alphabet. Amongst untenured faculty, however, less than 30% had a last name in that part of the alphabet.

Further, in the top 5 departments, each surname letter closer to the beginning of the alphabet was associated with a one-percent increase in the likelihood that an economist was tenured, suggesting that an economist whose surname begins with A at either Harvard, Stanford, Chicago, MIT or Princeton is approximately 25% more likely to be tenured than one whose surname begins with Z. Astounding.

Why should a surname initial matter in tenure decisions, made by a committee whose members have information on a number of factors including publications in journals, the arguably biggest deciding factor?  Here’s why: an academic whose surname begins with a letter early in the alphabet, for example Adams, will, according to the norm in economics, have his/her name listed first on multi-authored journal publications.  If there are 3 economists contributing to a paper that is accepted for publication, their names will appear as follows: “Adams et al”.  The argument is that once Adams becomes more and more recognized by his/her peers over someone whose name is grouped in the “et al.”, he/she is more likely to have future working papers accepted to journals for publication. He/she is therefore more likely to obtain tenure, which highly depends on past publications and future publication potential.  And so, as is true with a lot of professions, reputation counts.

Not only do Einav and Yariv observe this alphabetical discrimination with respect to tenure, they observe it for fellows of the Econometric Society, Nobel prize winners and Clark Medal winners. Even when controlling for a number of characteristics such as country of origin and ethnicity, these results still hold true.

It’s important to note that this phenomenon is not present in all academic fields.  No significant correlation exists in the fields of psychology (see Figure 4 below), sociology or medicine.  The reason is that in these fields, authors are more often than not credited according to their contribution to the research, not according to the alphabetical ordering of surnames.  In the top 5 economics journals, multi-authored papers listed authors’ names alphabetically in 88% of instances while in the three disciplines listed above, names were listed alphabetically 40-50% of the time.

With a last name that starts with a Z, I’m pretty happy that I didn’t continue my alphabetically doomed career in academia.  Because that is what would have hindered my success in an academic career.