Indian Rape-Themed Fashion Photo Shoot Sparks Major Controversy

 

Let the record show that here at Audrey, we have no problem with creative editorial fashion shoots that showcase photographers and designers who think outside the box. We do however, have a major issue with offensive photo shoots that depict the scenes of a real-life gang rape incident that occurred in New Delhi, India, in 2012, where a 23-year-old woman was brutally raped, tortured and murdered on board a bus home.

This pretty much goes without saying, but it’s just an incredibly insensitive idea to have a rape-themed photo shoot in a country where 93 women are raped every single day. In fact, rape happens so frequently there that Indian women have created anti-rape clothing to protect themselves. Clearly, this is still very much an ongoing problem that has yet to be resolved.

Mumbai-based photographer Raj Shetye, the man responsible for the controversial photos series titled “The Wrong Turn,” claims that the photo shoot was not an act of glamorizing the “Nirbhaya” case  (Hindi word for “fearless,” a nickname given to the 23-year-old victim to protect her identity), but rather as a way to raise awareness for the safety of women in India.

“The message I would like to give is that it doesn’t matter who the girl is,” Shetye defended himself in an interview with Buzzfeed. “It doesn’t depend on which class she belonged in — it can happen to anyone.”

 

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I don’t know if you see what I see, but those photos seem to be an exact, literal representation of glamorizing a truly horrific event.

What do you think? Are you as outraged as we are?

Photos courtesy of Refinery29.

Move Over Harajuku Girl! The Kurogyaru Is the Latest Look Out of Japan

 

Ganguro is one of Tokyo’s most distinct fashion subcultures, which started in the mid-1990s and is well known for some key characteristics: dark tans, bleached hair and dramatic white makeup. Contrary to what some might think, the style originally came about in opposition of the traditional Japanese beauty standard of fair skin, dark hair and a fairly simple makeup look. In order to rebel against this singular idea of beauty, Ganguro decided to express themselves with an extreme style so as to make their message loud and clear that there are other ways to be beautiful. Though the Ganguro look had mostly faded away by the 2000s, a succeeding subculture, Kurogyaru (literal translation: black gals), is keeping the spirit alive and Black Diamond is at the forefront spreading the fashion style all over the world. We caught up with Black Diamond recently and got the scoop directly from them.

 

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Audrey Magazine: What inspired you to form the group, Black Diamond?

Black Diamond: We are all just a bunch of girls who love the Kurogyaru style. Our current manager originally wanted to publish a special edition magazine featuring Kurogyaru fashion, so he tried to bring people together which is how we got involved. Over time, we became a group and now we have more than 150 members in Japan.

AM: Although Ganguro is a trend from the mid-’90s, what made you want to revive it and get into the Kurogyaru style?

BD: As a group, our goal is to spread the Kurogyaru style. Ganguro has completely faded out and now Kurogyaru is a newer evolution of that subculture. We noticed that there aren’t many people dressing in this way, so we want to inspire people to enjoy Kurogyaru.

AM: What is the difference between Ganguro and Kurogyaru style?

BD: Ganguro is also known for the tanned skin, but other than that, we would say the styles are completely different. Ganguro makeup tends to be like heavy and white makeup around the eyes, but Kurogyaru is a lot more colorful. We have a more modern way of doing our makeup and hair, as well as clothing style.

 

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AM: What are your thoughts on the traditional Asian beauty standard of porcelain skin?

BD: We think that there’s nothing wrong with liking pale skin. We just happen to prefer darker skin and we hope people can see the beauty in that, too.

AM: So from your perspective, what is beauty?

BD: Beauty is … flashiness? Flashy hair, flashy clothes, flashy makeup, flashy nails? [Laughs] Beauty is dark skin and flashiness.

AM: How do you accomplish your daily look? How long does it take?

BD: Well, for makeup, we do it everyday obviously. [Laughs] Our outfits depend on our moods and the weather. Like today, Harutama (the one with blue hair) and Rise (the one with pink hair) coordinated together and did their hair like the popular Japanese characters Kiki and Lala [Little Twin Stars]. It really depends on each person, but on average, it takes us about one to two hours to get ready everyday.

AM: What is a must-have Kurogyaru item?

BD: A tanning bed. [Laughs] False eyelashes? Actually if we don’t have everything, the look just isn’t right. Every item is a must-have. [Laughs]

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AM: Black Diamond not only has members in Japan but overseas as well. How has your group grown internationally?

BD: The Internet. People saw and heard about us from the Internet and many people wanted to join our group from their home countries, so we have many subgroups in different regions of Japan and also in various parts of the world.

AM: Can you tell us about your ongoing or upcoming projects?

BD: We are working on starting our own clothing line. One of our greatest motivations is that there are many foreigners who are into Kurogyaru style and they cannot easily get the clothes or the right sizes, so we want to make our line more accessible for Kurogyaru fans internationally.

Kurogyaru are also known for their “para para” style of dancing. Check it out here:

 

 

For more information on Black Diamond, you can check out their Facebook page here.
–Story and photos by Mai Nguyen.

Asian American Teen Dies From Suspected Overdose at HARD Music Festival

 

This past weekend, the Asian American community experienced a tragic loss. Nineteen-year-old Emily Tran of Anaheim, Calif., died of a suspected drug overdose while attending the summer music festival, HARD, in South El Monte, Calif.

According to a statement from the organizers of the concert, Tran began experiencing seizures. The teen was admitted into a health tent at 8:30 p.m. on Sunday, and was then taken to the hospital. Sadly, Tran passed away at about 5:30 a.m. the following morning.

Although the autopsy is still pending, there are major suspicions that drugs were involved in the death. According to LA Weekly, “sheriff’s officials believed the teen had turned up positive for signs of methamphetamine and ecstasy, although the latter is an amphetamine derivative that can set off signals of meth use.”

 

 

Unfortunately, this is not the first death associated with rave-like parties. In fact, electronic dance music (EDM) festivals were shut out of the L.A. Coliseum and Sports Arena in 2011 after a 15-year-old, who had sneaked into the a 2010 rave, died of an ecstasy overdose. Additionally, 24-year-old Montgomery Tsang passed away recently at Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) in Las Vegas due to, once again, ecstasy overdose.

Although security was notably more strict at this year’s HARD festival, more than 100 people were arrested and many were narcotics related.

Some have pointed out that the Asian American community has a rather large presence at these rave-like parties, but we believe this issue of drug consumption is one that not only affects Asian American youth, but American youth in general. Could these overdoses have been prevented if the deceased knew more about the drugs they were consuming? What sort of steps can we take to prevent similar outcomes?

Tell us what you think.

 

 

Monique Lhuillier Designs Wedding Gown For Her Fashion Role Model, Her Mother

 

Wedding gown guru and highly sought-after fashion designer Monique Lhuillier takes frequent trips to visit her family back in her hometown, Cebu City. But when she made the 16-hour flight this year, it wasn’t just to soak up some Philippine sun. Instead, it was for a rather special — and golden — occasion.

This year marked her parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. Her father Michel Lhuillier, a Vietnam-born Filipino entrepreneur of mixed French descent, and her mother Amparito Llamas, a Filipino with Spanish roots and a background in modeling, celebrated the occasion in a grand ceremony and bash at the Cebu Cathedral.

 

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(Can we just take a moment to drool over how gorgeous Amparito looked on her wedding day?)

For an event alternatively called the “Golden Anniversary,” the festivities and, of course, the attire could be nothing less than pure gold. Lhuillier took matters into her own hands to create a wedding gown that was as uniquely special as the first one her gorgeous mother wore. (The perks of having a designer in the family, am I right?)

“What I wanted to do was take elements of her original [wedding] gown, so we took it out of the box after being there for 48 years,” said Lhuillier, who said she began prepping designs for her mother’s gown around a year ago. “We found it in really great shape, and there was something so beautiful and timeless about that dress. So I had her put it on and the wonderful thing is that it still fit!”

Using the lace from the original dress, which featured a Watteau train that flowed from the shoulders down to the floor, Lhuillier designed a new gown with a slimmer silhouette and long sleeves.

“Then I did this beaded antique gold overlay covering the entire outfit to incorporate gold into this dress. I dusted beads on her shoulders, her sleeves and then it trickled down the waist and the sides of the skirt. In the back, I drizzled it all over the entire train,” explained Lhuillier. “After all, it was a golden wedding anniversary!”

 

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The beautifully redesigned wedding dress was the perfect way to pay homage to the lady Lhuillier calls her fashion inspiration.

“I grew up with a very glamorous mother. Her elegance and chic style were my earliest influences. I was naturally inclined to design specialty dresses and gowns,” Lhuillier said in a ShopBop interview in 2013. “I’ve always gravitated toward a more glamorous aesthetic. My mother is such a sophisticated, regal woman, and when I was growing up, I didn’t know anything different. I thought all women lived life that way! My sister and I loved watching her get ready and transform.”

To this day, Lhuillier loves to see her mom get dolled up for an occasion, and the Golden Anniversary was no exception. “My mother looked like a queen that night,” she gushed. (And don’t worry, her father looked equally dashing in classic black-and-white attire with a winning bow tie.)

 

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How Men REALLY Feel About Trading Bachelorhood For Married Life; Columnist Paul Nakayama Spills All

In his regular column for Audrey Magazine, published in the Summer 2014 issue, Paul Nakayama talks about dismantling the man cave and other life changes he’ll have to make as he (finally!) bids farewell to bachelorhood. 

 

In my 20s and early 30s, I did my share of dating. Mind you, I didn’t have one night stands or a monthly swap-out of girls, but rather a steady string of long-term, monogamous relationships. I was generally considered a Nice Guy, and while Nice Guys do often finish last, I met some Nice Girls who found me at the finish line. But then I debunked the myth about Nice Guys being nice, and when things got hard I ended up screwing up the relationship. Now after a few years of mostly being single, I’m hanging up my bachelor hat again. I’ve met an amazing girl who makes it seem easy — I mean not easy easy — but easy. In fact, it’ll be the first time I live with a woman other than family. And therein lies my new dilemma: as I approach 40, I’ve kinda settled into the bachelor life.

For example, I’m a writer and I tend to keep graveyard hours — less people to bother you at night and it doesn’t seem so weird to drink during work. While most of the world is sleeping, I’m sitting at my computer thinking of new ways for evil masterminds to destroy the world or, in my most ironic of gigs, doling out really bad relationship advice to all of you. For a few more months, my girl is in Japan so our hours coincide. When I go to bed around 8 a.m., it’s midnight over there. But when we start living together, I have to start functioning like a normal human being. She even says that I need to be under the sun occasionally, despite my complaints that it’d be impossible to look at my iPhone or iPad and then I’d spontaneously combust from digital withdrawal.

I’m also deprogramming my brain and eyes to not check out girls anymore at restaurants and bars. After years of conscious and subconscious honing of my babe radar, I realize I’ll need some time to shut it off. It’s certainly not a deliberate action when I leer at a girl, particularly one that is exposed to the elements, but I don’t want to risk having my girl think I have eyes for anyone but her. To counter the programming in my internal detection systems, I have started to spend a lot more time reading menus, counting ceiling/floor tiles, staring deep into my girl’s eyes without blinking and ignoring all peripheral motion. Sadly, the only thing that seems to work well is to take excessive photos of my food and drinks. And my leftovers and empty dishes even.

 

 

The biggest visible change is probably going to be the dismantling of my man cave. Over the years, I’ve collected a serious treasure trove of video games, comics, DVDs, books, CDs and geeky art prints — and I love all of it. I can’t just abandon them when I make a new friend. That would just be wrong. But spatially there’s no way for her and her supposedly essential goods, like clothes, to fit into my apartment with all of my stuff. So in trying to be a good, accommodating boyfriend, I’ve come up with an alternate plan. I’ve studied the blueprints, sketched out some ideas and will be constructing a secret man cave by tearing down a wall in the broom closet. That way I can sneak in a few minutes here and there to spend with my precious lovelies. UPDATE: I was informed by my neighbor that he doesn’t appreciate me busting a hole into his living room; he said I was encroaching on his personal space. I suppose he may have a point, but I think that’s why he doesn’t have friends.

Speaking of living together, I’m told it takes a system of compromise and sharing to make it work. I’ve heard a competing theory that it’s more about giving up all personal freedoms and just saying yes. But let’s operate off an optimistic presumption for now. That means that I probably can’t watch Game of Thrones in my underwear while swinging a sword anymore. (I’ll try subtly tossing out the idea, but I have my doubts.) It means I’ll have to give her at least half of the DVR space, which is why I’m convinced that most BitTorrents are downloaded by husbands and boyfriends and not cheapskates. Meals will now have to be more nutritious than my usual fare of beer, steak and Red Vines. I’ll now have to take my music playlists more seriously and not “experiment” with One Direction and Taylor Swift songs … or maybe include more 1D and Taylor. Or something. I don’t know what the “good” boyfriends are doing these days.

I’m sure there’s a lot more to consider in the days ahead. I’m getting all of the cautionary tales from my friends, and there are a lot of them. But somehow, I’m still really excited. I’m looking forward to having a partner in my life. You know, someone to watch movies with or have spontaneous cocktails with or share my meals with, other than my pal Netflix. Someone to bring me toilet paper instead of having to waddle into the hallway. You know, really romantic stuff that’ll change my life for the better. Thankfully, I’ve been writing these columns for Audrey for 10 years now, talking about my bachelor life, so I’ve got a whole record of how I’ve messed up with girls … and I can save all my successes for this one.

 

— STORY BY PAUL NAKAYAMA

This story was originally published in our Summer 2014 issue. Get your copy here. 

Getting Married at McDonalds Is the Latest Wedding Trend in Hong Kong

 

Thousands of girls everywhere dream of saying their “I do’s” with their prince charming on a beach in Hawaii, or maybe in a quiet traditional church with friends and family. Somehow, I don’t think Ronald McDonald’s face ever made it into the picture of the most romantic day of their lives. Certainly not mine at least.

But for those of you who are extreme Big Mac lovers, or if you’re up for joining in holy matrimony with your spouse whilst catching a whiff of freshly fried french fries, then you are in luck. According to Elite Daily, there are now 15 McDonald restaurants scattered all over Hong Kong which offer services for you and your loved one to become husband and wife. Make no mistake, you’ll want to get going on those reservations because there is already a high customer demand.

You can rest assured though that you’ll be in good hands with good ol’ Mickey D’s because they take their business very seriously. They offer four different types of packages for you to choose from, including the Sweetly Party, Full Love Party, Happiness Party, and Love Forever Party. Packages also come with decorations, a balloon bridal bouquet, wedding favors and more. What more could a bride possibly dream of?

 

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Photos courtesy of Elite Daily

 

Natalie Nakase Makes NBA History As the First Asian Female Assistant Coach

 

Natalie Nakase is no stranger to making history in the basketball world. A few years ago, we profiled the Japanese American basketball player who, despite a petite height of 5-feet-2-inches, had undeniable basketball skills since high school. Nakase went on to play college basketball for UCLA before making history as the first Asian American to play in the National Women’s Basketball League (NWBL).

Things took a turn for Nakase when a serious knee injury ended her playing career. Of course, she wasn’t about to let go of basketball all together. She simply decided to take a different route. In 2011, Nakase made history books once again as head coach of the Saitama Broncos in Japan, making her the first female head coach in Japanese men’s professional basketball history.

 

 

Nakase is currently the assistant video coordinator for the Los Angeles Clippers, but she has been quite vocal about her goal of becoming a head coach in the NBA, despite the fact that none of the 30 head NBA coaches are female.

Recently, she took a huge step closer to her goal. Doc Rivers, head coach of the Clippers, asked Nakase to coach the summer league, making her the first Asian female assistant coach in NBA history.

 

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Despite her petite stature, the players have responded well to her.

“When they sit down is probably the best time where I can really get into their ear because they’re sitting and they’re level to me,” she told NPR. “If I say the right things, and things that can help them, then they’ll listen, no matter how tall I am or if I’m a female.”

This is clearly a huge step for the Asian American female community and Nakase has made it clear that she will be ready for whatever comes her way. We certainly can’t wait for this talented woman to become the first female NBA head coach.

 

Forget Surgery, Japan’s New App Makes You “Sexier” Instantly

 

We obviously live in a beauty-obsessed society. Diet tips, weight loss and surgery stories constantly make their way onto my newsfeed on a day-to-day basis. It’s tragic really — the lengths people will go to in order to achieve their ideal standard of beauty. Not to mention the financial costs of a little nip and tuck these days.

But we also have to remember that we are living in the digital age. There is an app for just about everything now, because who has time for anything that requires actual effort these days?

The latest of these apps includes Japan’s new “Spring App,” that will slim you down and lengthen your legs instantly, courtesy of Japan-based developer Kim Taewan. You can literally alter your body in just a few, brief motions. It’s so easy that it makes surgery and even photoshop look old-school.

According to Daily Mail, the app’s goal is to “help you adjust your body proportions, by overlaying lines onto the hips, shoulders and ankles to a more ‘appealing’ size.” The app asks users to pinpoint two to three spots on their body which they would like stretched.

 

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Photo courtesy of Elite Daily

 

 

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Photo Courtesy of Elite Daily

 

Since its recent release on July 21, it has already received glowing reviews on iTunes. One user wrote, “Just so easy to make you look much taller and thinner! Well I love it so much.”

What do you think? Let us know!

 

Calling All Fashion Minimalists: Designer Ann Kim Proves Less Is More

 

By chance, I stumbled upon an amazing 14 karat gold cuff featuring a black diamond by Andy Heart and Mirlo New York, and I decided to do a little research about who was behind this basic yet stunning design. What I found was the addictive style blog of Los Angeles-based designer, Ann Kim, whose fashion preferences are a minimalist’s heaven.

Simplicity is a key element that has continued since her very first posts. Her style isn’t dictated by fast changing trends, but rather by her own personal preference for impeccable tailored fits and all things black. If there is one thing I must note, I love that she never over-accessorizes. Kim proves that less is truly more.

 

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I love Kim’s straight forward ensembles. Head-to- toe in black can flatter any figure or skin tone.

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Uncomplicated accessories give off an elegant appearance even with the tough details of a biker jacket.

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A timeless look that is perfect for being outdoors in the heat with its tastefully cut draping.

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Finally, the cuff that started it all. This collaboration piece between Kim and Mirlo New York can be found at Sweetheartsociety.com for $585.

 

– STORY BY MIN A. LEE

All photos courtesy of Andyheart.com

 

New Restaurant Dedicated to Employing Deaf Waiters & Waitresses

 

If you walk into Toronto’s new restaurant, Signs, you’ll think it’s just like any other restaurant in town. But you’ll change your mind soon enough once you’re asked to use American Sign Language (ASL) and sign your order to your deaf waiter or waitress. Yup, you read that correctly. In an effort to help increase job opportunities for the deaf community and provide a learning experience for customers, Signs encourages non-deaf customers to adapt to a deaf environment.

Just yesterday, we came across a Chinese student who was denied entry into college because her disability prevented her from passing a physical exam. Unfortunately, this is just one of the few obstacles that a handicapped individual may face. Recognizing this, Indian Canadian restaurant owner Anjan Manikumar has decided to take action and provide opportunities that may otherwise be unavailable for handicapped communities such as the deaf community.

The restaurant,which opened just last month on July 31, emphasizes its fun and novel methods to order.Not fluent in sign language? Well, don’t worry. The restaurant offers a “cheat book” which contains popular phrases used in restaurants as well as instructions on how to sign menu options. Of course, you can always just point to what you want, but where’s the fun in that?

 

 

Anjan Manikumar got the idea while working as a manager at a Boston Pizza in Markham. He served a deaf customer who could only point to what he wanted on the menu.

“I felt he wasn’t getting the service he deserved,” Manikumar told The National. He wasn’t getting the personal touch.”

He decided to learn American Sign Language, much to the delight of his deaf customer who quickly became “a regular.” Manikumar was inspired by the experience and wanted a restaurant that not only encourages non-deaf customers to learn sign language, but also provides job opportunities to the deaf community in a workforce they wouldn’t otherwise be able to work in.

“Providing them an opportunity here is something that they deserve,” said Manikumar. “And they’re very talented, every one of them.”

The most recent data on deaf unemployment in Canada points out 37.5% of deaf Canadians are unemployed and the high number is mainly due to “insensitive work environments.”

Luckily, Signs has already hired 50 deaf employees less than a month after its grand opening.

Mehdi Safavi is one of the waiters at Signs who admits this job is his first full-time job. “It’s wonderful. I’m so excited to be here,” he told The National. “It’s a deaf environment where hearing people can come in and experience our world and our culture. It’s amazing.”