Kids:

If you only learn one thing in school, learn that history happens again.

It may look different, when it arrives. It may smell different or talk differently or wear different clothes. But trust us, it’s happened before.

If you know your history, you can see it gaining on you in your rearview mirror.

This election may seem at first glance to have had a lot of firsts. The first time one candidate won the electoral college and another the popular vote. The first time someone so clearly unfit to hold this office rode in on a wave of fear and anger. The first time fake news became such a big deal.

But none of this is new. It’s just been forgotten.

There’s no real way to stop history from happening again. History happens because people are people, have always been people and will always be people. People develop strong emotions and once you’ve convinced people of something, it’s nearly impossible to convince them of something else. So history marches on.

But.

What can change is the reaction.

Today, at this very hour, people all over the country are protesting. They are exercising this most American of rights because they hold certain truths to be self-evident. They hold certain truths to be self-evident because these are the truths they’ve been told to hold that way. They’ve been given these truths to hold in their hands and defend to the last.

They aren’t going to give these truths up.

What we have to foster from here on is conversation and understanding in the face of fear and anger and mistrust. We have to believe in each other as humans and fellow countrymen. We have to respectfully disagree, when we disagree, but we should at least understand where we’re coming from.

And above all we have got to remember that this country is bigger than ourselves.

Otherwise, History.

We’re heading into an upheaval, kids. None of us knows exactly what will happen or when–it could take another hundred years. But if we look behind us we see that it’s coming.

Learn your history.

Onwards,

The Decline + Fall Studios team

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Happy Columbus Day!

In 1492, Columbus arrived in America and promptly enslaved the indigenous peoples here. For a country that then spent the next five centuries picking off natives, this seems apropos for a holiday.

Places such as Berkeley, Calif. and Vermont have eschewed the Columbus celebration and opted to call this day Indigenous Peoples Day, which to us here at Decline and Fall Studios sort of seems akin to an uncomfortable cough in the middle of an uncomfortable silence in the middle of an uncomfortable conversation.

But hey.

Hope you have a good one!

Onward,
The Decline + Fall Studios team

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

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

It’s time to start shopping now.

They’re here. They’ve come.

-Frodo Baggins x Elijah Wood

Ladies and gentlemen (and all others), this is a very exciting day at Decline + Fall Studios. It is almost a year and as much love, sweat and tears in the making.

The Decline + Fall tanks have landed, and here they are:

man wanted

not famous

Each tank top sells for $17 + shipping + handling.

IMG_0520

The first tank says NOT FAMOUS AT ALL and is a perfect gift for the woman in your life who often ends up at hungover Sunday brunch spots. Or for the woman in your life who actually is famous and wants to fly under the radar. Or for the woman in your life who’s not famous at all, and proud of it.

The second tank says MAN WANTED APPLY WITHIN and is a perfect gift for the woman in your life who isn’t in your life. Yet.

If your millennial daughter is discerning in her apparel, she will appreciate NOT FAMOUS AT ALL. If your best girlfriend is perennially single (and straight), she will appreciate MAN WANTED. If your best guyfriend is in between lovers (and gay), he will appreciate MAN WANTED.

If you know any hipsters, add this to their ironic t-shirt collections this holiday season. They will love them. We guarantee it.

All Decline + Fall merch is available at our Etsy shop.

Any questions, comments, letters to the editor, please don’t hesitate to contact us at decline.fall.studios@gmail.com. Or hit us up on twitter @DeclinePlusFall.

Onward,

Ariel Ranieri
Owner
Decline + 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.