Maybe it’s because…

…we’re in it for the fashion. Or maybe it’s because at heart, we’re a bunch of 87-year-old cranks.

But we sure are bone-tired of fashion magazine profiles on silver-screen celebrities.

Anybody else with us on this one?

When we were 18, and it was novel, sure. It was fun to read about Elijah Wood or Nicole Kidman or Whomever Else.

Now when we get to that section of the magazine we suddenly feel a million years old, like we’ve got a job to do we really don’t want to do.

We have the distinct sense that we’ve read them all. We’ve read every possible personality, from the shy kid who overcame a stutter or crippling anxiety to the action hero who’s actually just a really nice guy. They’re nice stories, don’t get us wrong. But eventually – at least for us – they’ve come to negate their original purpose of making celebrities sound like regular people by revealing that there are only so many personalities these celebrities have.

We are also tired of hearing that celebrities are just like us, only look at their sultry, smoldering poses in these $5,000 outfits.

(We’re also annoyed that the word ‘smoldering’ doesn’t have a ‘u’ in it. So…You know. We’re easily annoyed.)

What we would love to see instead, for example, is more “real people” – everyday shmoes on the street – looking stunning. Street style stuff, for example. We’re thinking profiles on street style bloggers, accompanied by a selection of their best work.

Or profiles of people in the business: models, designers, even the people with more unglamorous fashion jobs like merchandising or finance. We’d love to know more, for example, about the story of Zuhair Murad, who put out an absolutely stunning Spring 2016 collection. And not just the Vogue spot about the clothes themselves, but more about the designer’s past and the history of the business.

There are so many talented young designers fighting for a place at the fashion table. We’re sure magazines like Who What Wear or Harper’s Bazaar or Vogue could fill the space of infinite celebrity profiles introducing brands no one has heard of before.

And on the other side of the equation, Saint Laurent, for example (yes, we were also sad to hear about Hedi Slimane’s untimely departure): What does it look like for a brand to become so big, and what does that mean for its day-to-day operations? What does inside Saint Laurent look like on any given day? We’re curious.

Too often, we here at Decline + Fall Studios have to stop reading fashion magazines because the trite, clever, superficial writing makes us roll our eyes. This is an issue bigger than the celebrity profile, and it makes us sad.

It makes us sad that fashion writing so often lives down to the expectation that fashion itself is shallow, because at the very heart of it, what we wear is so inextricably linked with who we are. It isn’t shallow at all, but a deep and beautiful expression of our inner selves.

Fashion writing ought to live up to that.

In 2016, we here at Decline + Fall Studios are going to try our damnedest to bring you fashion profiles that matter. We want you to love fashion for what’s best about it, not roll your eyes at what’s worst about it.

We’re small, and no one knows about us, so we might have some trouble getting noticed. But everyone starts somewhere.

Please let us know what questions you want answered. Odds are, everyone else does too.

Here we go. Wish us luck.

Onward,

The Decline + Fall Studios team

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The Decline + Fall experience

Let’s pretend, for a moment—if you’ll indulge us—that you recently purchased a Decline + Fall Studios tank top. You were perusing Etsy, perhaps. You were worn out from holiday shopping and only half paying attention.

You happened to scroll past a photo. It was bright, and cheery. And it seemed—dare we be so bold?—pleasantly clever. Even amusing. You scrolled back up to it.

Yes, that was nice. You thought about it for a moment. After all, you needed—well, wanted—no, needed—a new tank top. And after all, you’d bought so many lovely things for other people recently. Wasn’t it time to indulge yourself a little bit? Just a little, little bit?

You thought a moment more. Then you bought the tank top. Well done! It should come as no surprise that we here at Decline + Fall Studios fully endorse your purchase. Here is what to expect when your package arrives:

It will arrive in a plastic mailing sleeve—what we in the industry refer to as a “poly-mailer.” Take a look at the luster: Is it bright? Does the candlelight dance upon it? It should.

When you open the poly-mailer, you will find yourself faced with a small burlap sack. Run your hand over the burlap. Is it rough? Does it tickle your fingertips? It should.


Now, lick your lips. Open the burlap sack. Inside, you will find your tank top. It will be accompanied by a small, hand-written thank you note from all of us here at Decline + Fall Studios.


Take out your tank top. Inspect it. Is the ink even? Is it bold? Put the tank top on. Does it fit in all the ways you hoped? It should. It should be soft and loving and beautiful.

Wear your Decline + Fall tank top everywhere. You deserve it.

Welcome to the Decline + Fall family. We’re happy to have you.

Onward,
The Decline + Fall Studios team

stacked tank tops

The Decline and Fall Studios Tank

Welcome to the Decline + Fall Studios tank top.

sizing for tank tops xs thru xl

Sizing notes of note: medium is much longer than small. Extra large is much wider than large.

We are building our brand on a tank top created by Next Level Apparel, and sourcing from a company called S&S Activewear in Bolingbrook, Ill. Our printer is Chicago’s own Transit Tees, home of very beautiful designs based on the Second City. 

I originally fell in love with the Next Level Triblend Racerback Tank at Traverse City Whiskey Co. in Traverse City, Mich. If you haven’t experienced Traverse City Whiskey, I would suggest that you do.

I appreciate this tank top for its easy, casual fit and low neckline. It isn’t skin tight. It gives the body room to breathe. At 5’1″ and 130 pounds, I wear a size small for some breathability. An extra small hugs me pretty close.

A note on sizing: The bigger the size, the longer this tank top gets. Extra small and small hit me around the top to mid hips. Starting with medium, the shirts get inches longer. Extra large is long enough that I could wear it as a tunic.

stacked tank tops

As of TODAY, Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015, we have ordered a short run of 55 of these tank tops, on which we will print two designs.

This is only the beginning. We look forward to releasing our product in time for the 2015 holiday season. Stay tuned for designs, pricing and where to shop.

Onward,

Ariel Ranieri
Owner
Decline and Fall Studios

The greatest failure of our age

merry go round horse_Randy Wick_CC

Flickr CC Randy Wick

will be that we couldn’t snap out of the cycle.

And that’s fine. Failure is fine. There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s not in our control anyway, whether we develop out of the inevitable back and forth of human history. Our age, like any age, will fall to the inimitable march of time, we will fade from memory and the world will go on without us.

And that’s fine.

We here at Decline and Fall Studios choose to celebrate that greatest of wars, the war against our own future, because in striving for utopia we display both the very best and the very worst of human nature. We push for a better future for mankind while thinking there’s such thing as an objective better future for mankind.

We’re not going to get to the top; there is no top. There is only one huge merry go round that we’re all on together, riding our flamboyant plastic horses, craning our necks to see if our parents are watching us. We’re all so grown up, going round and round all by ourselves. It all comes full circle, again and again.

But it’s okay. It’s okay not to achieve utopia, as long as we keep trying to snatch it. If in striving we fail, we can still say we strived. And when we realize we’ve failed then it will be time to strive, strive again.

And that’s fine. Let’s embrace that we will fail, as surely as we will strive,

And that’s fine.

That’s life.

What does it all mean, anyway?

It’s strange to name a fashion label – and accompanying blog – and accompanying anything else – “Decline and Fall Studios.”

In the very first moment I chose it because I liked the cadence.

Then, of course, you look at what people wear and you realize you’ve seen it all before. In another era. In a picture. In the movies.

Everything is cyclical.

So you think, eventually, this too shall pass. It’s inevitable. Like death and taxes. Someday, when taxes are dead, the world will look completely different. We’ll look completely different. Maybe. Who knows?

That’s the foundation of this fashion story. It started with a sound byte. It’ll probably end with a sound byte. And in between, we’ll try not to bound ourselves by the status quo.

Like a flat earth or a codpiece, this too shall pass.

This is just the beginning.

And the end. And the beginning. And the end. And the beginning, and the end, and the beginning. And the endginning.

We’ve been this way before. But never just like this. And yet here we are – again – and it feels a little like deja vu or vertigo.

Fashion is the reflection of an age, and age is the reflection of a fashion. We go in circles and circles and circles.

We’re here, in this place, to remind ourselves that this will all be gone again someday.

But for now, let’s make the most of it.

Let’s begin.