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What is a ring light: Quarantine hit for videos



Photographer Shahar Azran has a ring light for joining video calls from his home in Englewood, New Jersey.

Shahar Azran

Maybe she’s born with it. Maybe it’s a ring light.

Ring lights have long been used by photographers and, more recently, social media stars to improve their appearance. They reduce shadows and offer a more uniform glow.

Now, the circle-shaped electric white light, which generally costs less than $100, is one of the more peculiar beneficiaries of the pandemic, alongside online services like Netflix and Zoom.

A ring light has been the No. 1 best seller in the Cell Phones and Accessories category on in recent weeks, and on Friday a ring light was ranked No. 4, behind three iPhone cases. The $59.99 product — from a company called UBeesize comes with a tripod, a USB cable, a phone holder, a dimmer and a remote — has over 10,000 ratings.

Twitter is also full of posts about people’s ring light purchases.

Ring lights were already popular among people making videos for the social network TikTok before coronavirus took hold. But TikTok has become even more popular as people seek out fresh entertainment from home, and posts containing the hashtag #ringlight have proliferated. 

In some videos the ring light has become the spectacle itself. Many users show their hands and heads moving into and out of the ring. One user even jokingly dressed up his ring light and called it his girlfriend.

From dentists to fashion photographers

Here’s the basic idea: Delivering light in a circle rather than from a single point counteracts the shadow that would ordinarily appear in the other direction. If the light were being emitted above a camera lens, a shadow would appear below the person’s nose and other protuberances. Sending out light from below the lens stops any nose shadow.

A circle applies this concept in 360 degrees.

The ring light is not a newfangled contraption. People have talked about them in online articles for at least five years, and the concept has been around at least since the 1950s.

Dentists didn’t have a good way to shoot light into the mouths of their patients. A dentist facing this problem visited a camera facility and discussed it with a worker there named Lester Dine, who in 1952 invented a product called a ring flash. It lights up at the end of a camera lens when the photographer hits the shutter. Dine’s grandson Matt Glassgold is co-owner and president of Lester Dine Inc., which still sells these products for dental use.

“Not only did it eliminate shadows inside the mouth. It also eliminated shadowing on the face, so it made the face prettier,” said Glassgold, who runs the company in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. “You don’t see the lines, the blemishes and the true reality of the face. I assume that’s among the reason why it’s become a favorite for videos, webcams and now for for conference work.”

Fashion photographers picked up on the ring flash in 1960s, Glassgold said.

Shahar Azran, a New Jersey photographer who takes pictures of entertainers, executives and politicians, recalled using a ring flash for the first time about 20 years ago, during a shoot for the now-defunct fashion retailer Nine West. The gadget was meant to provide very clean and clear light, he said, adding that he remembered seeing the paparazzi using them when he used to shoot concerts.

As the quarantine began, clients called him and asked for recommendations on equipment to film themselves at home. He did research online and called photographer friends. It didn’t take long before he started suggesting ring lights.

Azran said his clients are happy with their ring lights.

Shahar Azran

Unlike a ring flash that comes on for just a moment, a ring light stays on for a prolonged period to accommodate a continued video recording. The ring light emerged as digital single-lens reflex cameras became capable of shooting videos, Azran said.

Unlike the camera industry, the ring light market is not ruled by any single company; there are little-known brands like Aixpi, Aptoyu, Crenova, Neewer, UBeesize and Viewow.

Azran’s clients are very happy with their ring lights, Azran said. He bought a ring light to remotely lectures at schools he would otherwise be visiting, and his 17-year-old son Liam in Israel has one at his desk for online classes.

“I know all the girls over there have it,” he said.

Glassgold said his grandfather, who died in 1999, is not the one who came up with the ring light technology. But he understands the draw.

“A ring is a ring,” he said.

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Fashion & Style

Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Fendi and more luxury stores looted amid protests over George Floyd’s death 




As the situation in parts of the United States is growing worse with raging protests over the racism against George Floyd’s death, stores have been looted and vandalised by protesters.

Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Fendi and more luxury stores looted amid protests over George Floyd's death Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Fendi and more luxury stores looted amid protests over George Floyd’s death 

The raging protests are only growing every day following George Floyd’s death. The death of the African-American person who was in police custody has caused unrest in parts of the United States. In cities like New York, Chicago, Minneapolis etc.there have been massive protests and outbreaks of violence. Curfews have been imposed across multiple states to try and curb the violence. The National Guard has also been called but it seems like the situation is just getting worse.

Protesters have taken to the streets and multiple properties including restaurants, public properties and luxury retail stores have been damaged in the process. Luxury stores like Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Fendi. Alexander McQueen, Hermes, Chanel, etc. have been looted and vandalised. Statements like “Eat the rich”, “F*** the police”, “F*** Trump”, “Living in hell” and “The Revolution is coming”, were spray painted across multiple luxury retail stores in photos that popular Instagram page Diet Prada uploaded.

Protesters with their faces covered to keep their identities hidden, have also been looting the stores and practically running away with products, leaving all of them practically empty! 

While questions have been raised about how looting luxury retail stores help in aiding protests, others say that there is no one way to protest. The idea is to get attention to the issue and make a statement. 

What are your thoughts on the ongoing events? Comment below and let us know. 

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Fashion & Style

Style findings: Kiko Kostadinov and Asics’ sneaker nods to tennis




Courtside style

1 June

There’s something space age about Kiko Kostadinov’s latest trainer collaboration with Asics. The womenswear style, designed by Laura and Deanna Fanning brings together the Gessirit sneaker silhouette, with a 2003 tennis model, the Excourt, which was noted for its quilted upper and lack of logo. The result is an eye-catching multi coloured style, with spacey Gel pod detailing which alludes to Asics history of material innovation. We’ll be hitting the tennis court in this cream pair, accented with pops of yellow, metallic blue and red. Game, set, style match.

Writer: Laura Hawkins

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Fashion & Style

Vogue stylist Julie Pelipas is launching an upcycled suiting label—and it’s affordable




“When it comes to creating clothes, we can do better, we can create beautiful things ethically and thoughtfully,” Vogue Ukraine fashion director Julie Pelipas explains over Zoom from her home in Kiev. “That’s the challenge and the magic.”

This month, the stylist who is loved for her revolutionary fashion editorials as much as her indelibly clean personal style, will launch Bettter—the small-batch tailoring label she’s been dreaming of making a reality for the past three years. Her very first collection, June’s ‘00 drop’, will feature just 46 looks destined to give upcycled fashion an upscale makeover. That’s where the name comes in. “It was initially a typo,” Pelipas admits, “but if our plan is to upcycle everything, the thinking was: why can’t we also upcycle the word ‘better’?”

So, what makes Bettter better? First, “it’s about special, one-of-a-kind clothes, not big collections.” Every piece is guaranteed secondhand and vintage, sourced locally from Ukraine’s thriving vintage scene where Pelipas spent so much time growing up.

Photography by Ksenia Kargina. Courtesy of Bettter.

Then there are the signature men’s suiting silhouettes, inspired by Ernest Hemingway, Paraska Plytka-Horytsvit (“the Frida Kahlo of the Ukrainian art scene”), and Russian avant-garde artist Kazimir Malevich. Each suit is designed to fit up to three clothing sizes, and the fact that Pelipas’s own wardrobe is built around ultra-flattering, roomy suiting is no coincidence. (Think vintage Alaïa vests, worn back to front, teamed with Katharine Hepburn-esque slacks).

Spacious, masculine cuts have been something of an obsession for the stylist since her high-school days when she first began taking her grandfather’s suits and redesigning them to fit her rangy frame. “I experienced a sudden growth spurt at 13 and went from being the smallest girl in the school to the tallest in the space of one year,” Pelipas explains. “I was like a giraffe. At 185cm (6ft), nothing fit.”

Years later, at Paris Fashion Week in July 2018, the stylist once again pulled out a vintage men’s suit that she’d redesigned, then a pair of voluminous, tailored white jeans — both Bettter prototypes. The street-style photographers went into a frenzy. Hundreds of Instagram DMs later, and the stylist had a viable business plan.

Julie Pelipas during the Couture Autumn/Winter 2018 shows in Paris, France. Photography by Melodie Jeng. Getty Images

© Melodie Jeng

“I loved the way I felt back when I first walked into school wearing one of my grandfather’s tailored cream suits. That’s what I want to do with Bettter — I want everyone to feel that the look they buy is not a random purchase, but something that will stay with them, like a grandfather’s jacket.”

But it’s not just the label’s heartfelt sustainable credentials or the polished fits that make it a uniquely modern proposition. Pelipas is also overhauling the way we shop. Instead of buying a single piece, Bettter sells full looks (or a “model upcycled wardrobe”), consisting of a one-of-a-kind secondhand suit, with one or two shirts, and one or two T-shirts — in other words, the building blocks of Pelipas’s own 24/7 closet. The bonus is that when it comes to both ethics and aesthetics, you never have to worry about what you wear.

“We track everything, from where we found the original suit to the year of production if we can find it, and information about who inspired the silhouette,” Pelipas adds, noting the importance of transparency. “My dream is that we can share the story behind every piece, including the names of former owners. That’s how, I believe, we will learn to build more sustainable wardrobes where every item has a meaning. I would love to get to the stage where people will give us their clothes to redesign.”

Photography by Dudi Hasson. Courtesy of Bettter.

The focus on ‘honest fashion’ also includes the label’s price points. “We will consider every little thing about the look before we price it,” Pelipas explains, adding that a fully recrafted look will retail at around $500, with some specially crafted looks priced a little nearer to $1,000. Alongside plans to build an algorithmic tool, which will enable shoppers to custom-design their own Bettter suit tailored to personal specifications, the stylist also has her sights set on launching a line of ultra-affordable looks in time for the ‘03 drop’. “I’m here to bring people joy, not struggle, so I hope that with time we will actually be able to lower prices.”

“Years ago when I bought the beautiful Phoebe Philo Céline pink suit, which I love, I remember I gave my whole monthly salary for that. We need to consume more responsibly and thoughtfully now, reconsidering our relationship with all of the things that we have around us.”

Bettter is available to shop online at from 1 June 2020

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