Author Archives: I Wear Your Grandad’s Clothes

Upgrades, People! Upgrades!

Notice anything different? And no, I didn’t get a haircut (although I desperately need one). Okay, fine, I’ll tell you… Look how accessible it is in here! I have dedicated some of my time to make sure that I Wear Your Grandad’s Clothes is a website for everyone, and that no group or individual is left unable to consume the content that I am putting out. To some of my readers who do not require any additional assistance when scrolling the web, it might look like much, but I hope that those who do are pleased with the changes I have implemented into the site! Let’s take a look at what’s new:

  • Accessibility Toolbar: 

Thanks to a handy dandy plug-in called One Click Accessibility, you can now find a pretty, orange button on the left hand side of the site which opens the accessibility toolbar. I got the inspiration to add this feature way back when I did my first peer review on Midnight Stories, who had the same toolbar on their site. Some of the toolbar’s features include: the ability to increase or decrease text size, underline links, change text into an easier-to-read font, and options to change the site’s colours to grayscale, high contrast, negative contrast, and light background.

  • Alt Text:

Although it is not written out immediately under the image, I have written out alt text for every image that is displayed on The alt text can be accessed by either using a screen reader through your browser, or if you right-click while hovering your cursor over the image then select “inspect,” you can find the description within the HTML after the tag “alt=”. This was my first time writing alt text for images, so hopefully I did alright!

  • Text-To-Speech:

Even though many who depend on text-to-speech features likely have one already installed onto their computer, I have also provided a button on my blog posts that will provide text-to-speech that can be found at the bottom left-hand side of the post.. I used the plug-in called ResponsiveVoice, which is a little bit slow and has a janky Australian accent, but it definitely does the job. I’m sure there are better text-to-speech Chrome extensions or something like that, but I figured I’d offer one just in case.

  • WP Accessibility Plug-In:

I installed the plug-in called WP Accessibility, which searches over my entire domain and corrects/suggests corrections to my site to make it more accessible. Some of the services that it provides for me are: pointing out images that need alt text, preventing links from opening in new windows, and adding outlines to elements in keyboard focus. 

I am definitely still learning and working to better my site and become as accessible and inclusive as I can be, so please feel free to comment below any suggestions you have to make even more easily usable.

Raspberry Beret(s): The Prequel

You might have seen my recent blog post titled “Raspberry Beret(s),” which is an article that recommends some of the best songs to queue up in your headphones on your next thrifting haul. If you haven’t read it yet, which I would definitely recommend giving it a leaf through, it features a collage of remixed portraits of women wearing raspberry berets (yes, like the song by Prince) in the iconic pop art style of Andy Warhol. Now, I definitely did not draw this detailed group of figures by hand, instead I used a relatively new technology known as an artificial intelligence (AI) image generator.

To create these images I used Picsart’s free text to image AI generator, which is extremely similar to the more well-known DALL-E system. I had heard a lot of buzz going around regarding this new-fangled AI image generator programs – how cool they are, how easy they are to use, how they might be infringing on copyright or people’s privacy, etc… – so when the chance to test drive one of these babies was thrown in my face I knew I just had to take it. 

Andy Warhol pop art style portrait of a woman wearing a beret with unintelligible writing on it.
Andy Warhol pop art style portrait of a woman wearing a beret and big strawberry-shaped earrings.
Andy Warhol pop art style portrait of a woman with dimples wearing a beret.

Picsart, which is usually my go-to free alternative to Adobe Photoshop, is really quite intuitive and pretty straightforward with all of its features, and there was no exception for its AI generator. To get an image, all I had to do was type in a prompt or phrase into the search bar and in a click of a button, its AI engine took care of the rest, however, much like  DALL-E, the images’ “success rate can depend on how the caption is phrased ( It did request for me to provide a moderate amount of detail in my prompt, and it was also recommended that I select a handful of key words from a cache of various adjectives. I suppose the more information you give to the AI, the more precise and personalized it can get with its images, which I was a bit surprised by because I had assumed that too much information might overwhelm its systems and result in a sloppy mashup of digital goop. I settled on the prompt “woman wearing a raspberry beret in pop art style” along with the key words: Andy Warhol, illustration, portrait, and vibrant colours. The results were really quite impressive – if you had shown me those images and told me that Andy Warhol created an entire raspberry beret series of pop art works I would have absolutely believed you. 

So, since I went to all this difficult and tiresome work to type this all out to create the images, do you think that it is fair to consider myself the artist of these pop art portraits? I honestly don’t think so. At the end of the day, I think that images generated by AI systems such as DALL-E and Picsart aren’t really art – the AI image generator is more of a tool to help us humans conceptualize and visualize different and perhaps abstract ideas. The AI makes images out of other images, rather than using images to pull reference from or inspire new images or works like organic artists do. So, please don’t start thinking I’m some visionary digital artist with a whole bunch of Andy Warhol flare – I’m just capable of pressing some keys on my laptop to form a sentence to get some magical robot to draw me things.

Digital Goldilockses

I’m sure you’ve heard of the children’s story about Goldilocks and the Three Bears; a little blonde girl wanders into a house in the middle of the woods belonging to a family of bears who are out for the day, and she makes herself right at home by going through and using their things. First she rummages through the bears’ kitchen, sneaking a taste of each of their porridges to decide which one is just the right temperature for her to devour, then she jumps in and out of each of the bears’ beds to decide which one is the comfiest before snuggling up for a nap. As Goldilocks snoozes away, the family of bears come home to find a trail of half-eaten porridge and chaos that leads them right to the bedroom where they find the cheeky little intruder. Why on earth am I telling you children’s fairy tales? Well, perhaps it’s because you and I are more like little Goldilocks than you’d think…

Even though you may not try to or be aware of it, everything that you do has an in-erasable digital footprint, like you’re Hansel and Gretel dropping digital breadcrumbs as you scroll through the online world. These data trails can provide a lot of information on what you’re doing and where you are in the world; as explained in a podcast titled Digital Breadcrumbs with Dr. Elisa Oreglia, this information can be collected through enabled location services or analytics engines within social apps, your online banking card when making a purchase, or even just a simple Google search. If you use the internet, which I know you do because you’re reading this right now, this fact affects you in one way or another, and you too have your own trail of digital footprints. It really makes you think: what kind of trail am I leaving behind? Thinking about that deeper, I made a little infographic that illustrates my personal online self, which consists of different aspects of me: the filmmaker, the networker, the writer, and the stalker. I feel that these four kinds of categories sum up who I am online, which isn’t too scary, I guess, but I still feel like the internet knows more about me than I remember telling it. With that in mind, how would you sum up your online identity in four categories? Are they something you can be proud of? One way that I like to check up on my digital footprint is by punching my name into the Google search bar and seeing what comes up (this works well for me because I have a fairly unique name, I can’t promise this will work for everyone). Last time I checked, searching “Makena Leyh” on Google will pull up my portfolio of written articles for Simon Fraser University’s newspaper, The Peak, along with my Facebook account, some film screenings that my work has been a part of, and some scholarships that I have been awarded. Honestly, Google is kind of making me look good by highlighting my achievements and showcasing my art, so I don’t mind the breadcrumbs that I’ve dropped at all!

Inforgraphic decorated with abstract shapes. An illustration of a desktop computer sits at the top with its screen reading "My Online Self." Under the computer there is an illustration of a person looking at a film camera, next to text that reads "! The Filmmaker. Actively pursuing a career in the film industry, I have worked on a multitude of short film projects that can be found on platforms such as YouTube and Instagram." Beneath that is an illustration of a woman talking while holding a sheet of paper beside text that reads "2 the networker. I use Facebook for the sole purpose of networking within Vancouver's film and media industry by belonging to a variety of groups." Beneath that is an illustration of a woman talking while holding a sheet of paper beside text that reads "My written works for Simon Fraser University's school newspaper, The Peak, are published online - and I guess I run a blog,, now too!" Beneath that is an illustration of someone in an pversized hoodie looking off into the distance beside text that reads "4 the stalker.  am a relatively quiet entity on social media platforms - I rarely post, but I follow hundreds of other creators and silently consume their content." Beneath is more abstract shapes and text that reads "Makena Leyh
Simon Fraser University
Infographic created using Canva"

Thinking deeper about the concept of being digitally tracked at almost all times in our modern society, does that make you uncomfortable or do you care at all? Personally, I can see both sides of the coin: it’s nearly impossible to achieve any real privacy in today’s day and age, but if no one has privacy anyways, then does it matter? I don’t know. I’m a Gen Z baby born in 2003, and I think growing up in such a technologically driven time has really conditioned me and the rest of my generation to be fine with having little to no privacy; being watched or tracked has just been kind of normalized. I definitely can’t speak for everyone my age, but I do know that’s not an uncommon feeling among young people. At the end of the day, we’re all just a bunch of silly little creatures running around on a floating rock in outer space anyways, so why does it matter? 

Lights, Camera, Action!

For those of you who don’t know, I am a film student based out of Vancouver, BC, which is a pretty cool but expensive career path if you’re wanting to bust into the indie scene like I am. Throughout my studies and personal projects, I have made a good handful of short films by now, all of which I have had to contribute funds towards – meaning that I have had to learn how to work on a tight budget behind the scenes to make movie magic happen. There’s a lot that needs to be expensed on a film set: transportation, equipment, food, and – the most interesting part – the art department. The art department takes care of all costumes, props, and set dressing, and as someone who works as a production designer (and is passionate about it too), thrift shopping is our best friend for finding cheap but unique things to fill the frame with. 

A hand wearing an elbow-length glove adorned with big, gold rings reaches for the silver, vintage telephone sitting on the top of a small, wooden table. A small potted plant sits behind the telephone and the side of an old armchair can be seen beside the table.
Screen grab from my short film: You’re Done, Darling!

Not only are second-hand stores a more sustainable and budget-friendly source for set decorating, but thrift stores are filled with eclectic curios from any and all decades, making it a perfect match for the often unconventional needs of a film’s art department. My very first film was a silly little short about glittery cowboys duelling to the death in an epic match of ping pong, which called for brightly coloured cowboy hats, sparkly boots, and a ping pong set. Conveniently, people can and will donate nearly anything to second-hand stores, and therefore, it was surprisingly easy to get my paws on some hand-me-down cowboy gear and some old ping pong paddles. I once made a piece about a washed-up 1950’s Hollywood star getting chewed up and spit out by the modern-day media, which meant I needed some golden age gowns, shoes, pearls, and everything in-between. What once was will eventually find a temporary home in the thrift store, and there I found someone’s grandma’s Audrey Hepburn-esque wardrobe from 1952, along with a stunning silver phone.

Two girls holding hands enter a 1980s prom scene, walking into the middle of a busy dance floor. Everyone on screen is wearing fancy party attire.
Snippet from my short film: Lovers

Most recently, I made a project with some peers of mine – shot on real, physical film strips! – that opened with a 1980’s inspired prom scene. Although the balloons and red plastic cups were more of a dollar store find, the extensive wardrobe of all the partygoers was brought to life through a trip to the thrift store! 

It’s not just small, student films that use the thrift store as a core resource for the art department; some really large scale productions do as well! This past summer I worked on the set of Riverdale, and I got the chance to chat with the set decoration lead and they told me that almost all of their furniture seen on the set is second-hand! So, next time you watch your favourite movie or TV show, feel free to take a look at the actors’ costumes and the set decorations and challenge yourself to a guessing game of “was that thrifted?” (spoiler alert: it probably was). 

Raspberry Beret(s)

The kind you’d find in a second hand store – Prince knows that shopping sustainably is sexy (we’ll come back to this later)!

A good thrift shopping session is quite the time consuming event, and if you really want to get something really good you have to be okay with spending a lot of time sorting through the racks and racks of miscellaneous clothing. Something that drives me absolutely bonkers when I’m out thrifting for a long time is the sound – the sound that the metal clothing hangers make as I scoot them along the bar. The sound of old metal on the brink of rusting grating against a fail wire hanger, screeching out in agony under the weight of somebody’s grandad’s old leather smoking jacket. Over, and over again. It makes the fillings in my teeth hurt just thinking about it. 

Of course, there is a super simple remedy to this issue: music. That’s right, just pop in a comfy pair of earbuds, crank the volume right up and away you go. However, you’ve got to be in the right kind of mood to really zero in on your thrifting adventure, and a good playlist can definitely remedy that. Without further ado, here are some of my picks for unbeatable vibes while you’re getting your thrifting groove on:

  • Thrift Shop (feat. Wanz) – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

You guys knew this one was coming, and I know you aren’t disappointed in the slightest because this song slaps so hard… Plus it’s where I got the inspiration for the name of this website! The sick saxophone riff on the beat, mixed with Macklemore spitting absolute bars about the ridiculousness of capitalism and consumerism is exactly the kind of fuel you need to feed that thrift fire. You can grin to yourself knowing that you didn’t spend fifty dollars on a tee shirt, and instead are popping tags with only twenty dollars in your pocket. 

  • Material Girl – Madonna

I know what you’re thinking: ”What the heck? Aren’t you supposed to be promoting sustainability?” … Who told you that you couldn’t be an eco-conscious material girl? If anything, Madonna is reminding us that we live in a material world, and we have to change that. I personally think this song is a great accompaniment when you’re sorting through authentic threads from the 1980s, and maybe incites a little bit of extra inspiration to take the leap and pull off that neon pink puffy-sleeved dress! Plus, you can live out the giant shopping spree fantasy without blowing hundreds of dollars on fast-fashion.

  • Raspberry Beret – Prince

And now we’ve come full circle, but my point still stands – Prince knows that sustainability is sexy! Perhaps this is the push you needed to explore the hats and accessories section of the thrift store to try and find a raspberry beret of your own. Even if you don’t, you’ll be inspired to find something that your crooning love interest can lovingly refer to as “the kind you find in a second-hand store,” and you can be proud that you did.

Speaking of raspberry berets, that’s the lyric that inspired the remixed art at the top of the post! I was presented with the challenge of remixing something, so I chose to combine the idea of a thrifty woman in a stylish raspberry beret and the iconic pop art works of Andy Warhol. Originally, I was going to manually photoshop something together, but then I was offered the chance to use Picsart’s new AI text-to-image generator and I couldn’t pass up the chance. I think the work that it came up with is pretty impressive considering that it’s copying Warhol’s art style; however, I can’t help but wonder: is the work of this AI image generator considered art?

(Grammar) Check Me Out

Don’t you hate it when you write a fantastically persuasive essay, just to realize after submitting it that you made a spelling mitsake? Uh… I mean, mistake… whoops. That’s exactly what I have been trying to focus on lately: having correct spelling and grammar in my blog posts. I’d like to believe that I’m usually pretty good at keeping my written work properly formatted and proofread enough to make my high school English teacher proud (shoutout to Ms. Krzus), but accidents definitely can and will happen – I am human, you know! 

Having no spelling or grammatical errors in your content postings is important for various reasons, no matter how casual the language you use with your audience. For starters, it helps for your readers to take what you have to say more seriously, because typos don’t give off trustworthy vibes. Furthermore, if you are trying to get a point across but no one can understand what you are trying to say because there are grammatical errors in your explanation, you lose any and all power of what you have to say because it can’t be properly interpreted. If you guys can’t understand what I’m saying, then why should I even bother going to all this work to publish it? 

No matter how jumbled and messy my internal thoughts are, what I put out as content on my site should be neat and organized, but I definitely need some help to get to that point. To start, I’ll read over my typed out work in Google Docs, then use Docs’ built-in grammar/spell check as my second pair of digital eyes. If my work makes it past that step, then I’ll copy and paste that bad boy into, a free grammar check site that has never done me wrong… well, that might be an over-exaggeration. is perhaps a little over-sensitive, and uses American English as opposed to my Canadian English writing. This just means I have to be on my toes and tell the site to chill out every time it thinks that my “colour” or “neighbour” has an extra “u,” but that’s easy! Copy and paste all that text one last time into my website and bingo, we have a properly proof-read post…I hope.

While playing around with WordPress and all the nifty tools that it has to offer, I stumbled upon a proof-reading plug-in claiming to solve all my grammatical woes with one quick installation. Naturally, I hit download on that sucker and gave it a go, but I’m not totally convinced on its efficiency. It takes a little longer to scan through my work than I’m used to, and it’s not that I have no patience, but with finals season coming around the bend here, I don’t exactly have time to sit and watch some AI judge my spelling at a speed comparable to molasses in winter. Not having to bounce back and forth through tabs of copy and pasting is nice, but I think I’ll just stick to my trusty

Thrifty Holiday ASMR

It’s the holiday season, and here at we are deciding to keep it fresh by providing you with a podcast inspired by ASMR.

“ASMR stands for autonomous sensory meridian response; a term used to describe a tingling, static-like, or goosebumps sensation in response to specific triggering audio or visual stimuli.”

With a very special guest, Haley Dustan (my partner), join us as we recount our experiences with giving and receiving thrifted gifts!

Wait a Minute…Who are YOU?

All this chit-chat of how MY website is going, and what I want out of this blog… well, enough about me, let’s talk about you! Yes, you, my lovely lovely audience – or what I imagine you to be like – if there’s anyone out there at all. Now that I have really started to develop my cozy little space here at I Wear Your Grandad’s Clothes, it’s important to take some time to reflect on exactly who my target public is, how I am actively catering to that demographic, and how I can make my content more inviting to viewers.

Ideally, I would like my website to appeal to a wide audience made up of many different demographics, all with the common interest of environmental activism and fashion. To be totally realistic, does cater more towards a younger crown – probably ages sixteen through thirty – based on the sort of fashion inspiration that I can provide as a young adult myself. The “fun” language that I use is relatively casual, and probably most appealing to that late Gen-Z to early Millennial crowd. However, I do try to make my writing and content family-friendly and easy (enough) to read so that younger teens are more than welcome around here! On the other side of the spectrum, I use a lot of vintage and retro imagery to keep my aesthetic afloat, so perhaps that possible nostalgia can engage the older generations. Thrift shopping in the name of sustainability and looking good has no age limit, and I’d love to reach as many people’s screens as possible. 

With that, I just added a new feature of having an accessibility toolbar to the domain, so hopefully this ensures that everyone who is interested in my content is able to access it. I would hate to exclude anyone from being part of the community, and I will continue to actively better myself and to be inclusive to those in need of digital assistance.

Do you have a suggestion on how I can make I Wear Your Grandad’s Clothes more inclusive or accessible? Feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll be sure to give it a read. Don’t be shy, I won’t bite!

Essay: Social Media & Democracy

In a perfect world, social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook are meant to connect us, and create a safe space where individuals from across the globe can come together to share their thoughts, opinions, or little pieces of their lives with one another. Ideally, this concept of having a digital space creates a perfect garden where democracy can flourish, and allows for the cultivation of diverse and widespread online communities. As a creator and artist who publishes work into the digital space, I utilize these social media platforms to display and promote my own creative projects. Why is this important? What is it about modern online social platforms that is so appealing to artists like myself? 

The content that circulates throughout social media is generally “unregulated except by the collective hands of the people” (Nezam); therefore, its inherent democratic nature creates a unique space for small and indie artists to launch their work. For example, let’s imagine that I just posted one of my short films publicly onto Youtube, and then one of my good friends wants to support me so they copy the link to my video and share it on Twitter to their couple of hundred followers. Now, let’s say a handful of their followers clicked the link to watch my video and liked it so much that they went on to retweet the link to their even larger followings. This chain reaction might continue on and on for a while, exponentially generating more views and publicity with every share, and the next thing you know we have a viral video. Perhaps a large group of social media users get really inspired by the short film that I put out and they start a trend of tagging @WarnerBros in the comment section, eventually gaining the attention of the CEO. The following week I begin my new job directing Warner Brother’s newest upcoming blockbuster, which I wind up winning an Academy Award for, and then I live happily ever after… Okay, maybe I got a little carried away there, but I think you get the point! It may sound a little silly, but this is an example of how the structure of social media spaces can function in a democratic way; a large chunk of the public collectively decided to make the video popular and got me a fake job at a big movie studio.

On a more serious and meaningful note, a self-governing model of social media can be and is often used to spread and develop political ideas and social activism campaigns. In a similar way to how our viral video got around the web, democratic digital platforms can create safe and accessible spaces where marginalized groups can “collectively organize, offer support, and increase visibility online for [community members] and issues that matter to them” (Auxier). It is evident that social campaigning through platforms such as Twitter or Instagram is an effective way of reaching out to expand your group’s following and gain support from a broader audience. For example, the Black Lives Matter anti-racism movement gained some serious attention in 2020 following a series of murders stemming from police brutality towards black Americans. With the use of hashtags such as #blacklivesmatter, the movement “has been able to organize countless rallies and events with large turnouts primarily using social media” (Olson), proving just how powerful the democratic online space can be. 

It is important to note, however, that the idea that all social media spaces are equally democratic is flawed and unrealistic, considering that they are owned, monitored, and regulated by companies such as Meta. A newly developed threat to maintaining a fair democracy within the digital sphere is Elon Musk’s newly acquired role as the owner and CEO of Twitter. Since claiming that title, Musk has failed to protect and regulate hateful and violent speech, and he has also gone on to remove bans from problematic and hateful celebrities’ accounts, such as Kanye West and Donald Trump. Trump, who was removed from Twitter following the January 6 attack on the United States Capitol, has consistently been proven to spread misinformation and incite violent and hateful ideologies into the public domain. In order to protect the social media platform’s democratic structure and “ensure all people can participate in the public conversation freely and safely… [Twitter must] remain committed to not providing a safe haven for users who seek to spread misinformation, incite political violence, fuel hate, and undermine democracy” (Bookbinder).

The freedom of social media which allows for a self-governing and democratic atmosphere is one of the single greatest strengths of modern technology. We just need to ensure that the line is walked carefully enough to maintain a safe space so that all respectful voices can be heard.

Review: YVRchives

Hello again my lovely, lovely readers! On this semester’s final episode of peer reviews, I welcome you to the cozy little gallery known as YVRchives, a local photography blog with an aim to “celebrate different photographers’ take on beautiful B.C.’s Vancouver.” is run by my fellow Vancouverite Shania Bakhtiani, who is an aspiring photographer themself, and is using their blog space to explore and showcase the work of some local artists.

Photography sample by Jaume Creus. A shadowed person stands outside in front of a storefront at nighttime. The storefront has a glowing sign that reads "Tirelli" and has five large boarded up windows. A puddle on the  cement ground reflects the light from the glowing "Tirelli" sign.
Photo by Jaume Creus –

Right off the bat, the witty name YVRchives drew me in, and it didn’t take long after exploring the site for me to fall in love with the blog. Shania’s passion for photography is extremely evident in every post that they publish to the archive gallery; the way they write about each week’s featured artist is so appreciatively critical of the art. It’s beautiful to feel through their writing just how inspired the author is, and they make it easy to share that excitement with them as you follow Shania on their journey through their blog. Perhaps I’m a bit biased as a film student, but I think that the photography showcased on YVRchives is truly captivating, and it’s awesome to get to see some small and local artists get their work shown off in such a positive environment.

As for the website’s aesthetic designs and layout, YVRchives does a wonderful job of staying clean and simple in order to draw the appropriate attention to the photographs being displayed throughout the site. The dark, nighttime work of Vancouver film photographer Jaume Creus really stood out on the blog’s light, neutral background, and successfully pulled me right in to reading my first YVRticle (see what I did there?). Additionally, I found the website’s dark green accents reminiscent of Vancouver’s lush landscapes, which is a perfect allusion to what inspired the blog in the first place. From a more technical standpoint, the design of the site’s homepage is quite intuitive (in reference to Victor Kaptelinin’s “Affordances”), with large coloured buttons obviously leading to go somewhere interesting, and a functioning search-bar that can help viewers navigate using keywords.

If I could add anything to this already well-established website, I would really love to see more of Shania Bakhtiani’s own work out on display somewhere on! Maybe the author could add a new section to the navigation bar titled “portfolio,” where they could add some of their personal photography projects. The addition of a portfolio would be a great way to help the author of the blog further connect with their readers, and also just to get their work out there because self-promoting is totally important for small and indie artists! Speaking of, I should really post some of MY art on here… maybe Shania and I can make a little agreement, I post some art, they post some art, and YOU readers at home go on and give us local artists some love. Anyways, it’s always a pleasure getting to review my peers’ blogs, and YVRchives did not disappoint, so make sure to stop by the archive gallery and tell Shania I said hi!

Victor Kaptelinin. “Affordances.” The Encyclopedia of Human-Computer Interaction, Chapter 44. Interaction Design Foundation.