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Posts Tagged ‘Target’

For several weeks, the Old Navy bag sat on the hallway table. I had promised Charlotte, I would return her shoes. The prospect of going to a store did not particularly excite me. But it had to be done. Today, I finally went, promising myself it would be quick.

Along the way, a new state of mind overtook me, that turned this simple errand into a long shopping expedition. My summer tops were becoming ragged, and I could use some new ones after all. Came out of Old Navy with a dress and a top. All revved up, I set out to drive home. Could not help but notice the Target sign on my left. In a split second, decided to make a U-turn, and check out what used to be my favorite store. There was no stopping me. Made my way fast through an impressive assortment of cheap, ugly rags, all made in China, and still stiff from various dyes, of doubtful provenance. Until I hit the Converse section. I remembered seeing an ad on TV a few months ago:

Prad called. Wanted to know where I was. I had promised a beet salad with feta cheese for lunch. That would have to wait I told him. Too busy trying out stuff from the Converse company. You can’t be disturbing a woman in the midst of a shopping spree. Three pairs of shoes, and a dress, and a pair of jeans. I had done well. I was on my way to becoming a Star, all for only $163.75. 

I thought I had left my Target addiction behind. Today’s experience proved otherwise. Once an addict, always an addict. The hardest part is giving up an addiction, that keeps being encouraged by our consumerist culture

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My Little Sister’s teacher suggested I get her an analog watch so she can learn how to count and tell time. I had to go to Target. Of course, once there, I went straight for their new Go Designer booth. Alice Temperley’ line is really hot. I especially fell for her capri pants with the pleat in the front. I decided to get two, in different colors. Right next to the Go Designer section, was the Dominique Cohen jewelry booth. I ‘needed’ to complete my fake pearl set with the necklace. They had just received a new shipment, and I was lucky. My necklace was there, fresh out of the box. Finally I got what I had come for, the watch for my Little Sister. The whole thing was a steal, and my wallet did not feel that much lighter. Of course the whole experience did not take into account the real cost to the environment.

‘What I need’: A price tag that reflects not just the cost of producing the stuff, but also the cost to the environment, in terms of carbon footprint.

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The opening sentence in this week’s Economist article on Drawing lines in melting ice caught my attention. It confirmed something I kind of already knew, ‘the Arctic has been a fashionable destination this summer’. Some members in my extended family went, and so did my friend Luc. Traveling to the Arctic has become the ultimate green chic, more than buying the latest Hybrid, more than building a totally green house. It is something to talk about at parties, and an experience only the very privileged can afford. If I had the money, I would probably consider it, never mind all the emissions from all the flying and buying the polar accoutrements for the trip. It is just so cool!

The same is at work when I go crazy for Target’s latest designer. Everyday, I go to the mailbox, looking for my Dominique Cohen jewelry shipment. It’s called fashion, and it is very, very powerful. Fashion has the amazing ability to change people’s perceptions and behaviors overnight. I remember as a child growing up, being so embarrassed by my parents’ lifestyle choices for our family. In the small town where we lived, we were the only vegetarians. How much I resented not being like the other meat eating kids in my school! I thought my father was a freak for having such unorthodox ideas. Years later, in California where I live, being a vegetarian is a statement of ultimate green coolness, and one of the ways that teenagers choose to affirm their independence.

I think about the lifestyle choices I need to make to become a truly green girl, the three R’s – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – , the small acts in the privacy of my home, the not shopping bit, the driving less, the changing the light bulbs to CFB’s, . . . I think of all those things, and what strikes me is how unglamorous, how invisible they all are. Not to minimize No Impact Man‘s feat, my sense is it would probably be a lot harder, if not impossible, for him and his family to deliver on their promise, if they did not benefit from all the attention from the blogosphere, the movie in the making, and the book to come. For the commoner that I am, there are none of these immediate external rewards, only the satisfaction of a guilt-free green conscience. And that is not enough.

The challenge I see, is how to turn fashion on its head, and use it to our advantage? There can only be one No Impact Man. How can we each capture a bit of that same green glory, and claim it as our own?

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Greenland Ice Melt Speeds Up‘, reads the headline in yesterday’s San Francisco Chronicle. According to the article, There was less sea ice in he Arctic on Friday than ever before on record, and the melting is continuing, the National Snow and Ice Data Center reported. . . “It is very strong evidence that we are starting to see an effect of greenhouse warming,” he (Mark Serreze, senior research scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center) said. The puzzling thing, he said, is the melting is occurring faster than computer climate models have predicted.

The day before, I reconnected with Luc Hardy, one of my old classmates from Ecole Centrale, my engineering school back in France. Luc has been involved with the Sagax Revo Greenland Project. The goal of the July 2007 expedition was to assess the impact of global warming on wildlife and vegetation in Greenland. He told me scientists on the expedition have noticed a strange phenomenon over the last few years. Ladybugs have slowly made their way to Greenland, and are now a part of the ecosystem there.

More alarming facts, and the sinking reality that we are running out of time. Still, frivolity got the best of me yesterday. I ordered two pairs of earrings and a bracelet from Dominique Cohen for Target. And I took Catherine shopping for clothes at Anthropologie. I let myself become tempted by a cute dress, a pair of pants ,and a sweater. They were almost giving the stuff away. Part of me still doubts the clear connection between my spending behavior, and the mounting increase in greenhouse gases emissions. I still have not made mine the Reduce in Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

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Ever since I mentioned my Target addiction, I have seen a new bump in the number of hits on my site. Half of the folks visiting now, come not with green intentions but the desire to find out about Target’s new designer, Dominique Cohen. The Target magic is working, even in my blog! I find that hilarious, and also indicative of the popular culture. Green related issues may get a lot of press coverage, but still have a long way to go in terms of the popular vote. If Technorati‘s list of ten most popular blogs is any indication, what tickles the public’s interest most is, in that order: gadget and technology (four out of top ten blogs), politics (two), secrets and gossips (two). The most popular green blogging site, TreeHugger only gets the #18 spot.

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The new Converse ad reads

Conscience Requi(red)
Do not wait for other people
to change the world
The time is now. Do something

Although meant as a campaign to help Aids in Africa, it could also be taken as a call to save the Earth. What am I doing right now, to help? How much of my time, am I actually devoting to the environmental cause? How much of my time, am I spending in activities that make matters worse? How much of me is waiting for others to solve the problem? How loud is my green conscience? These are all questions, worthy of being answered. Illusion, laziness, and complacency tend to make me lose sight of the bigger picture, in my day to day life

On the plus side, this blog has been a great tool, to make me more conscious, or at least more honest. Rather than resting on my seemingly green laurels, I have had to look at all the inconsistencies and hypocrisies that permeate my life as a green girl wannabe. If one believe that consciousness is the prelude to action, that is probably a good start. I find making personal changes to be the most difficult. Working on ways to make a difference on a business level is a lot easier, as it does not involve direct personal sacrifices

On the question of how loud is my green conscience, the answer is simple. Not as loud as a Target press release. My obsession with the upcoming Dominique Cohen for Target jewelry line, continues. August 19th is when the much anticipated line will come out in all Target stores. I made sure to write down the date in my day book. Last night, I searched for more images, and was disappointed to not find any yet. I looked at the pricey baubles sold by same designer at Neiman Marcus, and imagined Target would treat us to some similar designs, only in cheaper materials. I remembered my days as a jewelry artist, and started to fancy myself as a guest designer for Target. I quickly abandoned the thought. To paraphrase Jung, I am a modern girl in search of meaning, and jewelry is not where it’s at.

It may be that I need to be more realistic in my expectations. I am a green girl wannabe, who is also frivolous. How do I mediate that reality right now? Can one buy carbon offsets for Target jewelry? How does one measure the effect of cheap jewelry on the environment?

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I am a Target addict. It only took reading one small blurb in Jane magazine, about the upcoming release of Dominique Cohen for Target jewelry collection, to send me scouring through the Target website. I could feel the rush of anticipation, and while I was at it, I did a run through of the entire site, looking for other designer items at Target prices. Handbags, shoes, clothes, other jewelry, I did not miss a thing. How ironic, after I wrote this glorious post yesterday about wanting to become a buddhist! I started feeling guilty. Quickly, my mind fabricated an elaborate rationale for why I should be so obsessed with shopping. It said, you are a woman, you have been biologically programmed to want to adorn yourself, so you can better seduce your mate.

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Two days ago, I thought I was a born again greenie. Several of my blogger friends even joined to celebrate, and commented on my newly found consciousness. They especially liked the small acts, those subtle changes I had been noticing in my wannabe green life. This was to be short lived. Today I had a major relapse. All it took was a trip to Target, and Libertine to get me hooked again. Libertine is the new guest designer at Target. Impossible to avoid. The racks are right there when you enter the store, loaded with unseen before goodies. It did not take long, for me to remember the article in last month’s Vogue, the one with the picture of a navy blue Libertine jacket. I knew competition was fierce, and I had to grab it while I could, assuming they still had my size. They had the jacket, and it fit me perfectly. While I was there, I grabbed a few more items. So cheap. On my way out, I was so excited with my new purchases, I had to call Neela and Christine.

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