Introduction: Coco Chanel

“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.”


Whether your involved in the fashion industry or not, it is impossible to deny that Coco Chanel is the biggest turning point in the fashion industry. Born in 1883, she grew up during a time of war. She lost her mother at a young age to cancer. Albeit her rough childhood, Chanel created something elegant from something tragic, like a phoenix from the ashes. She changed fashion forever.

However, her upper hand wasn’t her creativity or her impeccable business tactics, but it was her ability to spot change before anyone else knew they needed it. A majority of her work wasn’t original or new, it was simply men’s fashion adapted to fit a woman’s needs.

When Chanel moved to France with the love her life, Boy Capel, she noticed how fussy and uptight woman’s fashion was. She made it her mission to relieve this and make woman’s fashion modern, comfy, and find luxury in simplicity. As a woman during a time of war where men held the dominant role, Chanel couldn’t simply change fashion at the snap of her fingers. She built up her fashion career from the bottom up, starting with a little millinery in France in 1910. While she sold all sorts of hats, she was also designing. She based her designs off her husbands closet, adding and taking things away to make woman’s fashion just as comfortable as men’s, but still gorgeous. This was an insidious war with the fashion industry because Chanel knew that the men leading the fashion industry at the time would not be accepting of her ideas. Her hard work paid off when she opened a boutique in 1913 selling her own products.


Sadly, her splurge joy didn’t last long. Capel died in a car crash in 1919, along with Chanel’s happiness. Her world went from color to black and white. She grieved along with the rest of the women who lost husbands and sons to the war. During this time, some would say that there wasn’t one family that was complete. Women would be seen on the streets draped in black shapeless dresses, mourning their losses. This is when Chanel realized, the other love in her life: fashion. Through her grief and loss, came what we still flaunt to this day, the little black dress. Chanel wanted to empower women, to remember the many lives lost in the war, while still looking elegant themselves.

Coco Chanel is my inspiration, as a fashion designer, as a businesswoman, and as a person. She encourages me to believe in and pursue my passion for fashion designing. she doesn’t let obstacles get in her way, when she has a set goal, she will go through anything to achieve it. She believes that the only way for women to get fashion that is comfortable and elegant is for women to design it themselves, rather than letting only men control the fashion industry. I agree with her all of these insights and I am fascinated by the realm of fashion and how Coco Chanel changed fashion to this day.


All this aside, I will have to work through barriers to really understand who she was. The main barrier is that Coco Chanel went through multiple tragedies in her life; losing her mom, getting put in an orphanage and losing her husband were all big parts of her personality. I personally haven’t gone through anything like that so that will be one of the big barriers. Another thing is the setting, Chanel grew up in Europe during the wars while I live in North America during a time of relative peace. Albeit these barriers, I am still very excited to look more into Coco Chanel and explore her eminence and how exactly she revolutionized fashion.

All the research I’ve done up to now have mostly been around who Coco Chanel is and her life; my next steps will be looking into what shes created, how her fashion line has changed over time and her current stance in media as of today.

With all this said, I can’t wait for another great Night of the Notables!



elaines bloggo 2018-10-03 06:03:47

We as a society are vulnerable to anyone in a position of power. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie stated in her Danger of Single Story talk that power is to be greater than another. These people in power control the stories and unless we investigate different perspectives ourselves, we unwittingly give in to their version of the truth. Adichie stated about Fidles family “It had never occurred to me that anybody in his family could make something.” (4:00). From the single-story her mother told her, she believed that people in poverty were worthless, incompetent, and needed pity, but instead, she found that poverty does not describe a complete person. There were other components to the story that she was blind to before but there was finally light shining through. We often neglect to uncover different perspectives of a ‘single story’, giving us an incomplete story. Instead of looking up and down, left and right to find more sides, we look straightforward and see a dead wall with the story that people who hold power want us to visualize. Despite this, we can start to educate one another, learn to look past the single story, and instead of forming unfounded ideas, we can create fully coloured in stories. Different perspectives create different narratives. One might see Africa and a country of poverty, water shortage, and uneducated; yet another person could view Africa as a country rich with culture, joy, and tradition. When we bond two narratives together we create a story with more than just one perspective, a story that is one step closer to the complete truth. In fact, as soon as we are exposed to different sources of evidence, we can start to create our own story, create our own values and beliefs. However, I understand that it is inconceivable of me to believe that everyone will fully understand a story and see a three-hundred-and-sixty-degree view on it. Nevertheless, even if we only add one more narrative to the story, at least it will no longer be reading a single story.

Independent Novel Study: The Color Purple 1/3

The Color Purple
Alice Walker
Scene 1:
The scene when Sofia confronts Celie about telling Harpo to beat Sofia after Harpo asked Celie how he can get his wife to listen to him is a turning point in Celie’s outlook on life. I’m impressed by the way that Celie reacted to the situation. Although she tried to cover up for it at first, she owns up to her actions and explains herself. The fact that Celie’s immediate response is physical harm reveals that Celie has grown up and lived in an environment where woman and wives are abused and considered objects. Women are supposed to listen to the men in the family and obey if they don’t the consequences are cruel. Celie is beaten down and can no longer stand up for herself; she is weak and defeated and the only thing she understands is that she is a tool. She feels that she is property and is owned by her husband. In fact, she even refers to him as Mr. ¬____. She never writes down his last name, nonetheless calls him by his first name. Albeit all this, she is gentle, she “ain’t never struck a living thing”(43). Her external conflict is that she can’t fall asleep because of her actions. Her internal conflict in this scene is her battle with God. She told someone to beat their wife and she has sinned against somebodies’ spirit, Sofia’s spirit to be exact. Therefore, when Sofia asks why Celie would do such a terrible thing, Celie states “I say it cause I’m a fool […] I say it cause I’m jealous of you. I say it cause you do what I can’t.” (42) The development in this scene is significant. Sofia tells Celie that she can’t keep getting pushed around and the reason Harpo can’t control her because “all my life I had to fight. […] A girl ain’t safe in a family of men.” (42) Celie connects with Sofia and although her actions don’t change as the plot continues, she gains respect for the type of girl that Sofia is. The character development of Celie to this point is slow, yet reasonable. It would be unrealistic for the author to give Celie a dramatic change in her actions because Celie constantly lives in fear of change. I feel that one should emulate some of Celie’s traits but learn from others. One should take away from Celie to believe and to listen; however, learn from Celie’s mistake to not be pushed around and used. I can’t relate to this novel to the same level of severity; however, I do have situations in my life that are similar and to a much smaller scale. Feeling a sense of regret and uneasiness is a microsome of Celie’s situation. I often feel unsettled with myself after I know I did something else and can’t stop thinking about it until I fix it.

Emil response

We live in a time and place where we can take our privileges for granted. We get frustrated when there’s traffic or when the line for coffee is too long. When we see someone who is less of us, we often turn our noses and refrain from acknowledging them as a person. Morley is different. Morley chooses to believe there is more to someone that what meets the eye. In Stuart Mclean’s Emil, Morley befriends Emil, a man who is described as “bearded and dirty, wild and crazy” against her family’s opinions (109). Everyone in the town found Emil a bit strange but that doesn’t stop Morley from giving Emil a helping hand, even if didn’t always want it. Through leaving “the sandwich she had bought for him on the top of the garbage can corner” to buying flowers to help Emil build his garden and all the small deeds in between, Morley learns that to give is to receive (110). No one in Morley’s family gave Emil two thoughts before ridiculing him as retarded or stupid, but Morley is persistent and stays true to her own values. Even when she’s angry that Emil was stealing plants from other people’s garden, instead of yelling at him, she simply asked, “Is that for your garden, Emil?” (115). Morley is patient and kind with Emil and try’s to understand why he is doing what he is doing before she jumps to conclusions. Emil doesn’t forget these actions. When he won the lottery, contrary to Dave’s belief that he would waste it on cigarettes and lottery tickets, he “gave it to his regulars – people who gave him money. Or stopped to talk to him” (118). However, this isn’t the only way that Emil gave back. He built little gardens and started a small library, trying to give back to his community in the best way he could. Not only does he find simple joys in life, but he also returns the favor that the people in the community give him. Morley learns from Emil that giving doesn’t always have to be through materialistic measures, giving could simply mean planting flowers for someone you care for.





Theory Wars

Star Wars: A New Hope has become a keystone of western culture and plays a large role in many people’s lives. However, if one is to look at this film through a different lens, they can see subtexts in the film that differ from the main plotline. One of the most impactful lenses for this film is the gender lens for it uncovers some of the underlying gender issues in the 1970’s. It’s predominant that male characters play a bigger role than female; after all, there are only two female roles in the entire film, one of which being Aunt Beru who had two scenes where she cooked and served and the other being Princess Leia who was born into a title. Despite this, there is prominent effort to make Princess Leia a female protagonist in the movie. She has a couple of action scenes and rather than hiding behind the male protagonists she fights for herself. Albeit her fiery attitude, she is still shown as a damsel in distress through her actions and the way that she is physically presented. She’s introduced into the film as the beautiful princess trapped, waiting for a knight in shining armor to save her. The first thing male protagonist Luke Skywalker noticed about her wasn’t the message she was trying to send, but rather her looks. As the movie progresses, there’s an undertone that Leia turns into a romantic interest. Han Solo shuns her, unwilling to help her, calling her a privileged princess until he hears she’s rich. In fact, all the characters talk to the female roles with a certain attitude. On the Death Star, all the troops spoke to Leia as if she were less. They snarled out terms such as princess or sweetheart and spat condescending flirts while interrogating her. They view her feminity as vulnerability and see her as a weakness in the rebellion, hence forcing information out of her. These actions illustrate how women were objectified and displayed as static/flat characters in cinema. With all this said, Star Wars doesn’t romanticize being male either. Throughout the film, it’s difficult to find scenes where male characters show emotions that aren’t anger, frustration or confusion. The male leads are constantly fighting or planning to fight, perpetuating the toxic male stereotype that men are thick-skinned and have rigid personalities. For example, Luke didn’t hesitate to go back to Obi-Wan to get revenge after the death of his aunt and uncle. This is parallel to a society where boys are supposed to never show sensitive emotions and stay strong. Using the evidence, I uncovered above, I’ve come to the conclusion that Star Wars: A New Hope is a film displaying how in the 1970’s, men had the power to make a change as long as they kept a high profile while only women of power had limited opportunities to fight for themselves.

a message from your majesty

Ladies and gentlemen, we are gathered here today to negotiate the British North American Act, whether or not the provinces should confederate and govern for themselves, leaving the arms of England. Present here today, we have the province of Canada, the Maritimes, prince Edward island, Newfound land, and Nova Scotia.

While the colonies are under England’s control, England must provide the colonies with funds to cover for the expenses that they need for any development, and some of these funds can be expensive such as the railroads. The British mainland is paying for the expansion of two land masses, and is taking up valuable money and time. And though taxes could be raised to cover for these funds, we have seen the outcomes of what happened before, and do not want a repeat. Have we let the colonies govern for themselves, England could save precious money and time to expand on the mainlands.

We have seen and experienced what happened when we put hostile restraints on our empire. The bloodshed and wars with America have taught us, that we don’t always need political control when the colonies can be independent. We are glad that the colonies have approached us to avoid trivial conflicts and war, and instead to seek out for a better future for both parties.

However, we cannot neglect to recognize, that if we were to let go of the colonies, there would be drawbacks. The colonies have provided many resources and materials for England, and if we were to follow through with confederation, England would lose easy access to resources that we take for granted. Keeping political and economic control over these resources would benefit the people, development, and economy of England greatly, but the repercussions that could come with that could lead to destruction of our relationship with the colonials.

I speak for myself and for the vast majority of England when I say that I take deepest interest in confederation for it will make the provinces great and prosperous. We have watched and learned from our conflicts with America, and believe, that if we were to discuss a peaceful treaty, we could expand and prevent history from repeating itself. The British North American colonies would be independent, while still loyal to English reign.

With all this said, I would like to ask everyone to please be seated and let us begin todays conference.



TALONS Ted Talk: Colour Deficiency

For my TED talk, I decided to cover the concept of colour deficiency and how it affects someones life. I chose to cover this topic because my brother has colour deficiency and I wanted to educate myself and others about this often overlooked, and misread topic. During the video there will be a spot where you can test out colour deficiency tests for yourself, feel free to pause the video for its on the screen for a short period of time. I hope you enjoy!


Independent Investigation #2

To what extent did the War of 1812 lead to the freedom of slavery?

1830, October 15th

A letter to remember

Richard Pierpoint

I was only 16 when they took me from Bandu. I was brought across seas and bought by a white man like I was some sort of product and a price tag and the pigment of my skin could determine my value. I spent around 20 years with the white man, following orders and being a slave, but things would change.

In 1775, I was given a chance to change. The American Revolution gave me a ticket to freedom and all I had to do was fight alongside the Loyalists. And so after Sir Henry Clinton issued the Philipsburg Proclamation, I joined the Butler’s Rangers, stationed in the Niagara Region. I was one of the few black soldiers named on the list of settlers. Many of the others weren’t enlisted, it was as if their service didn’t exist.

My hard work paid off in 1791 when I was granted 200 acres of land in Grantham Township. My insides jumped with joy and it felt like I finally fought for my freedom. This feeling only lasted for a little it, before I realized that I would have to clear all 200 acres of this land before I would be recognized as an owner. This job was impossible. I wasn’t allowed to marry a white woman, nor was I allowed to ask white men to help. It was just me and my 200 acres of land. And so on June 29, 1794, I wrote and signed with 18 other black men The Petition of Free Negroes. It stated that we wanted our land separate from the white loyalists. That way we can help each other clear land and support each other. To no one’s surprise, my request was denied. I eventually cleared my land myself but sold it. I went back to working in labor, nothing had changed except for the fact I’d moved further North.

As the years passed, the War of 1812 rolled around. Slaves were again given the choice to fight. I was 68 years old, and I knew, this was my last chance to fight for my freedom and the freedom of others like me. I started a petition, to start an all-black militia to fight for the Red Coats. I brought up my offer with Sir Isaac Brock and to everyone’s shock, he agreed, but only if there was a white Captain. I took up this offer, my heart beating, knowing I had moved a little bit forward towards equality between black and white.

Image result for the colored corps

I formed a group of about 30 black loyalists, led by Captain Robert Runchey. Many men joined because they knew that if the Americans were able to move further up North, there would be re-enslavement. No matter how bad the labor in Upper Canada was, the Americans could do worse. Together we were called the Coloured Corps, a militia of free black men. I took on the role of a Private due to my age at the time.

October 13th of 1812 was the Battle of Queenston Heights, the first battle my men fought in. We were one of the first enforcement that came in after Sir Isaac Brock was killed on the field. The blacks fighting alongside the whites led to a victory for the British, yet it was still a tragic night, the fall of Sir Isaac Brock won’t be forgotten.

Yet, it wasn’t just on the battlefield where the two races stood side by side. We made up about 15% of naval corps, even when the Americans forbade letting black men ‘meddle’ in the war. As heard from friends, on the sea, the color of your skin didn’t determine your status, instead, it was your skill. Many people admitted that us black men were the strongest men on the boats. After the white men saw what we could really do, they started to feel threatened by us. When the racial division was gone, we were fearless, willing to fight for what we believed in, which was freedom.

In the end, the loyalists won, we thought we were going to get the freedom we served for. I requested to go back to Bandu instead of getting land. For the first time, I was shocked when they denied my request after all I’ve done. It was in that moment that I realized, it didn’t matter how much I served, how much I sacrificed, I was still going to be an outlier trapped on this new land. The grants given in 1821, were only 100 acres now, half of what our white counterparts received. Not only that, the land we received was poor, many of us didn’t settle.

The Black Loyalists were considered lucky, some slaves chose out of fear to stay and fight with their masters, others tried to escape and go off with the Native Americans and the Spanish. In fact, some American slaves didn’t choose to fight with Britain, because they believed that slavery in Upper Canada was worse.* However, for us, some of us were issued to Nova Scotia, others to New Brunswick and a little bit to Trinidad.

Black Canadian slaves were wedged between slavery and freedom, between race discrimination and egalitarianism. We fought as hard as we could, trying to live up to the standards that the British had set for us, striving for our freedom, yet we were still second hand to everyone else. The whites thought they gave us land, and they gave us a chance to fight, that it was derogatory that we wanted to go home, go back overseas to where our hearts lied. Many of the things we did weren’t documented, if no one talked about them, it would have seemed as if our efforts were never there. That we were always less than the the whites, due to the color of our skin and where we came from. All we could do for our own pride and dignity was pass on oral traditions on this new land that we fought for. We shared our stories along the coast, stories from Africa, and stories from the War. In hopes, that one day, we would be viewed the same as an average white man, we would be able to go home, return to our traditions, that one day, we would be free.  

Richard Pierpoint died in 1987, living to the age of 93. Image result for richard pierpointHis birth name was never known, for when he came to America, he was given the Christian name of Richard and the surname of his master. Pierpoint lived an incredibly long life with good health, many hardships, and he left behind a legacy for Black Canadians. There wasn’t complete freedom for African Americans or Black Canadians until after the American Civil war, where black Canadians had a role in the revolution. Even then, there were still some disparities in power. However, many believe that Richard Pierpoint took a big step towards freedom and took a stand for his own rights and his life, giving others the power to do so as well.

There are some points in this blog post that are subjective due to the fact that the records that were kept on African Americans were very loose.

*There were slaves escaping from the North and heading down to Michigan. Slavery went both ways, though it was more prominent in the South.

Focus Questions:

Historical Significance

Cause and Consequence

Historical Perspective

Social Studies Inquiry Process


Slavery Played a Key Role in the War—of 1812



















































































Ecological Footprint


After the long, but helpful, survey, I found out that my ecological footprint is 7.45 hectares. I found that my number was relatively average compared to my peers. It wasn’t the lowest number, yet it also wasn’t the highest. However, considering for just one 15-year-old girl, this number still seemed to be a bit extravagant. I’ve thought it through and I came up with the ten most prominent reasons why my ecological footprint is so large.

The main one is the foods I’ve been eating. Since I am not vegetarian, I do eat meant basically everyday of the week and most of it isn’t locally grown because it is more pricey than regular meat. Another one of the bigger ones was transportation. I have a lot of extra curricular that I get a ride to and this greatly impacted my footprint. This directly connects to the ‘fun’ portion of the survey. The extra curricular I do takes place in a lot of different locations the land area that I use takes up a lot of space and equipment. As well as I spend a lot of time looking at a screen (homework, pass time, communication etc.)

These are the big factors that contributed to my footprint but there are smaller details that also created a dent. Things such as I take 5-10-minute showers and not all my appliances are water saving, or that I produce a good amount of trash on a regular basis (wrappers, papers, organic waste, hygiene products). To add on to trash, I’m not very aware of avoiding disposable items. I’m a messy persona t times, and I happen to throw things around and when I lose them I just get new ones. Examples of this are, lined paper, pens, earbuds, pop cans etc. As well as, around half of my clothes is store bought and the rest are hand me downs. Something else is that I live in a three-story house and there are only 5 people living in it, meaning there’s a lot of empty space.

After seeing how much space that I take up, I wanted to make some changes. I set up these five actions that I could take to make this number smaller. One of which is trying to eat locally. This will mean that this is a change for my whole family; However, changing this will greatly change my ecological footprint. This will be difficult because of the price of locally grown meat is more expensive than regular meat. Something that is easier to change is the transportation aspect. I will try to bus or walk to more of my extra curriculars to cut down on using my family car as much. This will change my footprint because I spend a lot of time afterschool in my car when I could simply walk or take public transportation. I feel that this one is especially important because its such an easy fix that could create a very big impact.

There are also some smaller things that I would like to change. For example, the one that I’m going to be very aware of is my screen time. I want to try to spend a max of 2 hours looking straight into a screen. Because of the homework I have, and the current society I live in, it is unrealistic to say I will limit it to 2 hours. My goal is to between every hour, I will take a 30 min break from blue light. Though this won’t do a big change to my ecological footprint (using the handout we got as reference), it’ll still cut down my screen time and is better for my health. Another thing that I want to change links right back to my In-Depth which is upcycling clothing and sewing. Rather than going out and buying new clothes, I can take old hand me downs, or thrifted clothes and upcycle it into something new. This will cut back the money and resources I spend to get brand new clothing when it’s unnecessary.

Last but not least, I will be more aware of the disposable items that I use. I’m going to cut back on the pop cans that I buy and become more organized, so I don’t lose things like pens, and constantly need new sheets of lined paper. This will help me create less trash, improve my overall health, and work on my organization skills.


After around a month of these changes, I found that some of these actions were hard to commit to; However, others were very simple changes that made a big difference. One of the biggest ones that were easy was transportation. I started to take the bus to my extra curricular that were nearby, no matter the weather. This increased my physical movement and cut down on the amount of time I spent in my family car. Sometimes when the weather was nice I would walk.

Something else that I changed that I liked was avoiding disposable items. I cut down on my pop drinks intake and didn’t buy as much fast food. The best part was I avoided plastics when I could. I’ve switched to bar shampoo (to avoid the plastic) and I’m more aware of categorizing my garbage (compost, recycling, trash, glass etc.) This change made me feel better as a person because though this was small, it was a noticeable change. On Wednesdays when I would take the trash out, I realized how much my trash decreased and this gave me a wave of joy to know that I was making a change.

The next change was related to my clothing. This one just so happened to link right back to my In-Depth which is sewing and up cycling clothing. During the month in which I was trying to cut down my ecological footprint, I didn’t buy one new piece of clothing. All the clothes I bought/got were either thrifted and uplifted, or an upcycle of a piece of clothing I already had. This saved me money and allowed me to get clothing that I knew I liked because I ‘designed’ it.

Up till here, the changes I made were small, easy, and impactful. However, the last two changes were a little bit harder. One of the two is screen time. I said I would try to cut down on my screen time, but I didn’t stay true to my word. At first, I did well and didn’t spend much time looking at a screen. However, I started to have to use a screen to communicate, do work, and occasionally waste my time. I would tell myself I had to stop after an hour, but I always lost track of time or just disregarded the rule. This change was majorly based on self control that I haven’t fully grasped yet. Even if I didn’t achieve my goal, my screen time has cut down a little bit though.

The final and hardest change to try to achieve was buying local foods. Plants such as vegetables and fruit were easy to access. In fact, I even had some planted in my backyard. However, when it came to meat, it was a bit more of a struggle. Not only would it be more expensive, it was harder to find. And to find meat without preservatives, to be local, and within my family’s budget, it was just unrealistic to achieve. Luckily though, I was able to influence my mom to buy more locally grown and fresh vegetables and fruits which is better than nothing.

Overall, I think I have made a difference in my lifestyle and some of these changes will stick. For example, I will be more aware of disposable items, and I will take more public transit. I will keep an eye out for local foods with no preservatives or pesticides and be warier when it comes to buying brand new clothes. I will continue to work towards less screen time. As for the meat aspect, maybe I’ll go vegetarian, who knows?