#whatiwore 2017w46 + Sunday links

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While I’m faking winter at 17ºC, you get some brain food:

Jewellery and its ugly underbelly is not my hot topic (I own three silver pieces and have no plans to acquire more) but Inside the ‘conflict-free’ diamond scam costing online buyers millions will tell you about the diamond sourcing issues and – and this does apply as a very crude version of greenwashing – how consumers’ desires for more ethical wares can be turned into scams. Lesson learned: research your supply lines and maybe stay away from especially hard-to-track commodities. Although, when you think about all our electronics, ugh…

A dark irony lies behind Western outcries about pollution in other countries: before those jobs were shipped overseas, the same dirty industries were polluting much closer to home (although, mostly on a much lower scale as the demand for the goods was lower, local, and the prices much higher). In Upstate New York, Leather’s Long Shadow dives into the history of Gloversville, NY and the consequences of the industrial downturn.

El ‘low cost’ multiplica los residuos textiles (in Spanish) – Catalan press chiming in on how both the amount of textile waste and the efforts to recycle it are growing, and putting emphasis on sorting and recycling creating jobs for people in risk of social exclusion. The overall picture is grim, and the social impetus that the article puts the emphasis on is “please, don’t put your textiles in the garbage that goes to the landfill” instead of “stop acquiring virgin textiles”. A novelty for me was learning that there is an association – ASIRTEX, Asociación Ibérica de Reciclaje Téxtil – that brings together companies dedicated to textile recycling. Although their homepage is exceedingly vague, and the focus seems to be on downcycling and shipping textiles away, I’ll be looking into their activities.

And if you missed the piece on East African countries fighting back against our textile waste and problems it could bring to them, here you have another one on the same conflict: Africa vs the USA: A Secondhand Clothing Showdown

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How is your fall capsule going? Do you have a real winter or are you faking (or are you an Australian enjoy spring)? What are the key pieces keeping you warm?

The Pink Post: Instrumental and subversive uses of the traditionally feminine

Yes, pink, florals, and pearls look good on me!

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I hadn’t though much about the significance that might me ascribed to the aesthetics of my style until I came across (via the amazing illustrator Ezra W. Smith!) this post (in Russian!) that apparently shook Russian internets to their core.

Long story short: the article is called “My armour: How I learnt to love pink (and myself with it)” and filed under “Experiment” label. There journalist and pundit Dasha Evans-Radova describes how she realized that pink was a color she had been (unconsciously) ignoring in her life due to the derogatory significance assigned to it (infantile, too sweet, too feminine, stupid), and set up to analyze this lack and integrate pink in her life. The results can be seen here, and I got thinking…

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Trying to be true to third wave feminist notion of individualism and cross-sectionality that could be sloganized as “you do you”, I haven’t wrote much about my aesthetic preferences. The focus of this blog is ethics of fashion and not looks – while my #wiw posts do show a set of clear preferences in case you are interested – and so it will stay. However, #grownuppinkroutine in combination with Kate Fletcher book I’m reading made me wonder about the signals my wardrobe is sending to passers-by (and my acquaintances and co-workers who have unfollowed me on social media since I started this blog). One of many points that Fletcher makes is how sustainable fashion, having been traumatized by unbleached and shapeless eco-chic of the 90s, now often looks exactly the same as conventional one, hence being invisible as social phenomenon. And this is even more so with second-hand and hand-me-down items. If you are saving fast fashion from the landfill by wearing it, nobody will know that you are not earnestly embracing it. And your conscious investment pieces might look exactly like the newest HnM collection. Yes, shit happens!

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With aesthetics it is easier to signal that your choices are ironic and intended to be transgressions. Mixing and misplacing – think of the now classical combination of floral dresses and work boots (that’s a fashion advice that Caitilin Moran gives in her How to Be a Woman as looking nice on everybody) or how people dress up funny for marathons – is an easy way to signal lightheartedness about the attire. Yet, if you are all in on classical “flattering” cuts, New Look, Mad Men wardrobes, minis, maxis, florals, bodycons, and pearls… Ooops! You might be part of a play you never rehearsed for.

Obviously, this has nothing to do with the hue, cut, or pattern as such. Fashion is a symbols’ game and too much get hoisted upon innocent colors and textiles… but as the basic maxim of sociology would have “if [people] define situations as real, they are real in their consequence“. And, as far as these common notions are internalized, shapes and cuts affect behavior and body language. You are not supposed to feel and act the same way in boyfriend jeans and in a non-elastic super-mini. In this way fashion is a form of social ingeneering that we have consented to (not always, of course, and there have been fashion liberation movements such as Rational dress movement when harem pants were revolutionary).

Donna Mae Mims in action, via classicdriver.com.

The practice that is the most interesting to me – and the one I’ve been semi-consciously practicing more and more – is that of traditionally feminine as camouflage. A good example of this (that I learnt about via Dasha’s original post) is Donna Mae Mims, the first woman to win a Sports Car Club of America national championship. While known as the Pink Lady for her pink cars, helmets, overalls, and described in press as “a delightful blonde with an intriguing smile, well-shaped figure and a laughing sense of humor […] and much like most other members of her sex, she delights in leading men a merry chase”, there’s another side of the story. Mims has described her racing as follows:

“I psych myself. I remove all my makeup. I think stern. I bristle. I don’t talk to anybody. You cannot think nice. Chivalry is dead on the racetrack. You’re out there only for one thing. To win. Nobody remembers second place. […] A lot of the male drivers think I’m out there to prove that I can beat them because they’re men. That isn’t so. They claim that I sometimes charge into the corners, cutting them off. I don’t mean to. I’m just trying to win.”

Boom! You see it, right? Embracing her love for pink and knowing that the feminine appearance will help her navigate the ultra-macho world of racing. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but makes sense to me: if you know that your words or actions go against the grain of patriarchy, it might be useful to ease into it via instrumental use of traditional femininity. That’s working behind enemy lines: everybody let their guard down and then you kill them! Yes, it is unfair for those who have never been interested in pretty dresses and might be attracted to aesthetics with negative social dividends. And I have no honest advice for that, apart from suggesting to bring down capitalism and patriarchy.

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I don’t really care about pink, it’s here, it’s queer, and I like it. The only colors I treat with suspicion are neon (because of class prejudice) and crisp whites (for practical reasons and class prejudice). Beige and grays are not my favorites either, but somehow they always find their way into my wardrobe. Here are some of the other pinks happening in my life:



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What are your relationships with the traditionally feminine and pink? Do you feel the social pressures attached to colors and cuts, or are you oblivious to them? And how do you deal with them?

#whatiwore 2017w45 + Sunday links

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So, winter came temperatures dropped below 20ºC. While we have been moaning about climate change and an incredibly hot October, excel says that in 2016 I started to wear tights on November 3. This year it was November 6, not that much off after all.

Remembering how much comfort I got from listing everything I was wearing while traveling in late April, here is the rundown of the Friday outfit:

Knickers: made by Liisa, organic cotton and hemp mix, I think.
Bra: made in Latvia by Lauma, dubious materials.
Tights: made in Italy by Calzedonia, a wool mix, dubious materials.
Dress: swap find from Laura, 100% poly, made in China.
Cardigan: swap find from Julie, cotton and ramie mix, made in China.
Sneakers: Veja Arcade, made of b-mesh in Brazil.
Cape: wool, made in Portugal, gift from my mom; our seamstress in Riga lined it (with synthetics) for greater warmth.
Scarf: wool, made in Russia, gift from my mom; part of the great Pavlovo Posad tradition.
Barrette: H&M from ~2010.
Ring: silver, made in Latvia, gift from my aunt.
Earrings: cultivated pearls and silver, made in Latvia.
Brooch: artisan market find, made in Latvia.
Pin: “Women’s rights are human right”, from 2013 Women Deliver conference, I think.
Hat: hand-me-down from C.
Brooch on the hat: hand-made gift from my cousin.
Backpack: hand-me-down from my dad, made in China, leather details.

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And to learn through frustration, here is some brain food:

Eco-fashion’s Animal Rights Delusion – Alden Wicker’s clickbait on “hidden stories behind materials” and “inconvenient truths for the animal rights movement” is not much more than affirmation that “vegan” does not mean “eco” the same way as it doesn’t mean “healthy”. D-oh! But it is good to remind ourselves that bringing together wellbeing of all species and sustainable fashion is a challenge that neither “vegan” nor “eco” labels guarantee, and you might have to make some uncomfortable choices between petrochemicals and commodified animals.

How to Buy Nothing, Get Stuff, and Make Friends – Oh, look, a digital outlet that has found out that ICT can help us get the most out of our stuff and divert heaps of trash from the landfill by introducing them in a collaborative economy. True story.

And the main dish for stomach-quenching unease – For Dignity and Development, East Africa Curbs Used Clothes Imports – If developing countries decide that they don’t want our trash anymore, they face harsh consequences! Not totally unexpected but hurts anyway. We have to deal with our garbage at home. Now.

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Have you already switched to cold-weather gear? Are all the layers making you happy? Is your fall capsule keeping up with the weather?

#100wears: Ginta’s gray cardigan

#100wears is the most beloved garment section where I show off the longevity of items I’ve worn at least 100 times and urge to elevate the rather low #30wears aspiration. Basically, a love song, a poem, a “there are some garments so good I can’t stop wearing them”.

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The gray cardigan is a basic fast fashion garment with all the tags ripped off (thanks, mom!) that I appropriated circa 2012, cotton and elastane mix probably. The first photographic evidence is from Salamanca in April 2013:


…and in 2015 already in Barcelona

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And it has been around ever since. 124 wears since January 2016 and many more before that. I have had to stitch an unraveling seam and to change the buttons, because it turns out that little gray buttons are *not* ubiquitous and easy to replace due to the grate variety in tone. I learned that in March from very annoyed sewing supply store ladies.

The secret of the success of this little cardigan is a boring one: simple and classical shape + neutral color (with no pattern). My love for colors and patterns is strong, but even I cannot deny the ease of wear of this “invisible” filler layer. That’s why I chose it to be my work layer, living in the office and providing protection against the AC (and this is also the reason you rarely see this cardigan in my #wiw posts): I can throw it on whatever I’m wearing and it gives just the right amount of schoolgirl vibe.
Like this:

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Is there a type of garment that you have keep wearing throughout the years? What pieces easily reach #100wears in your wardrobe? What are the items or materials whose functional superiority you have had to admit despite your genuine preferences pointing you in another direction?

#whatiwore 2017w44 + Sunday links

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Oh, yes, guess who fell for an African set with an African print made in Cape Town? The ladies at WAG Fashion were adorable, the sewing room was in sight, and I allowed the beautiful patterns and flattering cuts to seduce me. I’ll tell you how much it cost in my next fashion expenses update in January; here you can read the previous one. And here are the other two options I was considering:

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To sober up a bit after this splurge for *new* items (gasp!), here comes the educational but depressing brain food:

Behind a $13 shirt, a $6-an-hour worker – a piece describing how “made in …” tag still don’t tell you enough about working conditions due to outsourced production i.e. if the brand is subcontracting a textile factory, they are not legally responsible if that factory violates the labor laws. Ugh.

And as the article above mentions American Apparel as the good example for being having been fully vertically integrated, I was sucked into the internet vortex of the controversial creator of the perfect t-shirt, Dov Charney, and all the bad publicity surrounding their distasteful advertisement strategies, here, have a look at of how even a company with stellar labor conditions might be morally unsavory:

The most infamous story is Claudine Ko’s Meet Your New Boss
+ The NSFW History of American Apparel’s Ads
+ And You Thought Abercrombie & Fitch Was Pushing It?
+ Goodbye, American Apparel

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How is your autumn capsule going? Any irresistible newcomers in your wardrobe?

Curating the 100% comfort wardrobe

While our ideas about what is comfortable couldn’t be different, I agree with Caroline from Un-fancy that dresses are a shortcut to comfort and happiness.

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My wardrobe might not seem to fit the Pinterest understanding of comfort. I have very few oatmeal knits and boyfriend denim going on, zero to be exact. In the world where most of my peers pull on a pair of skinnies and a funny t-shirt/nice blouse, a wardrobe consisting of dresses and loud patterns might seem complicated. However, I insist that the wardrobe editing and curating that I’ve been practicing for last three years (1, 2) is towards 100% comfort: comfort about the ethics of my garments, physical comfort, and the aesthetic comfort in recognizing myself in my wardrobe.

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There is some heterogeneity, I know, but sustainable fashion brands normally do try to cover bigger share of the market by prioritizing neutrals and timeless shapes. Depending on your fashion strategy, for bold shapes and patterns you may have to look very hard, look into bespoke designs and secondhand market. No matter what your aesthetic preferences are – you have read any of my “be reasonable and take care of your feet” sermons, you’ll know that my brand of feminist fashion blogging is the now infamous you-do-you, especially when it comes to purely aesthetic choices (I do get more demanding about ethics, care, etc.) – you need criteria to decide which garments enter your wardrobe. Both buying new sustainable fashion and using hand-me-down chains have possible pitfalls. With new and expensive (because ethical and sustainable fashion is more expensive, and it has to be) you are afraid of wasting your money and a likely victim of sunk costs bias. Secondhand and hand-me-downs have the opposite problem of no entry barrier; why would you not take something that is free or almost free? I’ve been on a main clothing buying ban since 2015, and I sometimes wonder what my wardrobe would look like if my choices would be made among more varied offers of retailers instead of wardrobes of my family and friends. For example, I consider red to be my favorite color but my wardrobe is currently dominated by blues and grays! Go figure.

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My swap acquisitions are not random, of course, but they are restricted to a complex chain of path dependencies and accidents. To get there a garment has to be chosen to be discarded via swap by the owner, brought in (this part might get complicated due to other plans or hangovers), then I have to notice it before somebody else has taken it, like it, and it has to fit… And, no, there’s no other size, color, or one without that stain. Complicated alright!
However, I was surprised to read this Good On You piece claiming that the author was confused and unable to curate her style because of the hand-me-downs. Dude, that’s just weird! You don’t have to take all the garments that come your way! They are not puppies! Unless you have suffered a serious loss of stuff lately, you probably already have more than you need. It makes zero sense to move stuff that won’t be worn from one overstuffed wardrobe to another. That has nothing to do with poor hand-me-down sources, that’s just being hooked on getting new-to-you clothes!

All my swap acquisitions so far: nothing in October 2016, Liisa’s lace dress and velvet skirt in January 2017, Julie’s cardigan and an anonymous striped mini in May 2017, and Laura’s polka dot dress and a floral shirt of unknown previous ownership in September 2017.

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Not to sound creepy, but I pay attention to what people around me wear, I keep mental tabs on my partner’s wardrobe, and one of my biggest pleasures in life is when my mother is up for tidying her wardrobe with me… After almost two years of tracking what I wear, I can claim an advantage over those that don’t: with all that data, I have no way of maintaining illusions around garments. I know with great certainty which pieces are really *mine*, which ones are here as placeholders until something better comes around, and which ones are on trial.

Each garment that offers itself for my wardrobe falls into one of these three categories:
(a) I know it’s not mine, I’m completely unmoved. Examples include: neon colors, leather textures, white underwear, trousers… Meh!
(b) I’m not sure, I’m attracted but have some reservations.
(c) Things jump at me and it’s love at first sight.

Unfortunately, C happens rarely. Most incomers in my wardrobe are Bs, and I do what most reasonable employers do: I give them a trial period! And this is where my spreadsheet love proves fruitful in making sure that those garments don’t just stay at the back of the wardrobe. I include the newcomers in the next weather-appropriate season and challenge myself to wear them at least 10 times during that season. Nope, not once or twice, but 10 times! We, humans, are masters of self-deception, and first few wears can still be liable to lies. At least 10 wears will show the fit – physical and aesthetic – for different weather, activities, moods… if it shows sweat, if you can sit down, raise your arms, walk, tie your shoelaces, etc. Very soon it is clear which pieces fit your needs and which ones are just not that into you. And you shouldn’t keep things that aren’t yours!

Let it go! Overcome both fallacies that might be holding you back: (1) no, you won’t suddenly start to wear it someday, and (2) no, it’s not your duty to keep them out of the landfill by turning your wardrobe into one. Yes, it’s a contradiction with my “use up what you have” commandment, but that rule is about full-time members of your wardrobe and is meant to prevent you from willy-nilly acquiring functional duplicates. The ones that are on trial are only partly in. You are trying out the relationship, and, if it is not working, the garment has to go. Yes, even if you paid for it! Sorry, have an ice-cream, assume the sunken costs, and try to make somebody else happy with that piece. Don’t keep it for one day, when… That day never comes! If you have done any wardrobe editing, you’ll know that you very rarely think of those discarded garments ever again.

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I’ll admit that consciously trialing garments is not always comfortable. Sometimes it becomes clear very early on and only stubbornness will keep me wearing the thing I now know I don’t want to own, sometimes – even worse – doubting goes on until the last moment. The thing is that you are already curating for comfort when you reach for the same pieces again and again. That’s fine, but what are those other pieces doing in your wardrobe then? I prefer to face the torment head on, give garments their chance, and act accordingly after that period.With such discipline in mind I encourage people to take B category garments home from swaps and give them a try: “bring it back if it doesn’t work for you!” I think that all garments deserve a chance to return to the rotation and to keep looking for the right wardrobe to fit in.

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Despite the fact that textile recyclers are overwhelmed by the quantity of discarded garments, a conscious wardrobe starts with a purge. My experience shows that the real editing for 100% comfort starts when you are down to around 50 main garments. It’s an exercise in honesty with yourself and a little field research. Is there a type of garment you keep acquiring but not wearing (fancy shoes? formalwear “for work”? funny t-shirts?)? Are there colors or patterns that attract you as artifacts but end up sad and lonely at the bottom of your wardrobe?

My recent material insight – under Julie’s educational influence – is that I find it hard to resist synthetics because my first criteria when looking at garments are color and pattern. I momentarily forget that I move more than most people and sweat more than most people, so an additional plastic wrapper is clearly not needed. I don’t mind the prolonged moisture of natural fabrics, but I want it breathable! So in January several plastic-oh-fantastic garments will go out and I’m making a pledge to do better work at avoiding them in the future. Not all synthetics will go bye-bye, because there are some that I love unconditionally, but so far I’ve marked five pieces as “outgoing” because of their fiber composition.

All four of these are among my synthetic favorites!

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From the seven dresses of my current capsule, two are going out for sure. They both have material *and* fit issues. I could deal with either, but both in one dress is too much. Laura’s blue dress is 100% polyester with a very nice flow but still plasticky against skin. The top keeps falling off the shoulders (I have been wearing it by pinning the dress to the bra), and the waist keeps climbing up. I’ll put in bra strap fixers before bringing it back to the swap (this is the first item I’ll be returning), that will fix the shoulder fit … I was attracted by the hue, the polka dots, the movement, but after 8 wears so far I know that we are not meant to be.

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The grey bow dress, a hand-me-down from Marina, goes out because of its shortness. After 7 wears, I know I just cannot live like this… Style icons like Twiggy, Jane Birkin or Pattie Boyd would not understand what’s wrong with me as this is not a super-mini, but the fact that I cannot roam around freely – or tie my shoelaces without losing dignity – bare legged is a deal breaker. Yes, there are tight and legging seasons, but that’s just not optimal. Also, it has no stretch (100% poly), so while it’s pretty much precisely my size, shoulder movements feel restricted. I’ve already had the armpit holes fixed, so it’s ready to go to somebody looking for a rather formal dress for no-movement events. Being below my 167cm might be an advantage shortness-wise.

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So this how I curate for comfort: trial period of rigorous evaluation and till death do as part unconditional love afterwards. What are your mental hacks around availability of second hand and hand-me-down items? When do you say yes, and when no thanks?

#whatiwore 2017w43 + Sunday links + Old #ootd

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I took a couple of days off this week for self-care, and this is how it looks when I’m having my own little recharge parties:

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It has been now more than a year of rigorous outfit-of-the-day photo practice. To celebrate this milestone, here you have some of my first serious attempts at focus-and-run… While many of the garments seen here are still with me, my cropping skills have evolved and my outfit corner has been decluttered (actually it is waiting to be re-cluttered with plants).

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And to get those synapses firing:

Artesanos detrás de las pasarelas (in Spanish) – National press lamenting the loss of skill in the fashion industry, namely the phenomena that – except for the top couture sewing – designers abound but they are not necessarily able to make the stuff they envision themselves and few people specialize in garment construction.

H&M Proves the Once-Invincible Fast-Fashion Industry Is Now Crumbling Just Like Every Other Retailer – While some have celebrated this as suggesting that fast fashion might be going under, the news items says exactly what the title announces: consumption has gone online, because stuff can be sold even cheaper there.

While much of her advice might be basic – take a good look at the garment and touch it – as Archana says at the beginning of her post: Invest in good quality is the most useless piece of advice to our generation. We know the intention behind the words but we lack the know-hows to act on it.”

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How is your fall capsule doing? And what’s the most useful fashion or garment care advice you have ever received?

Educational afternoon: The True Cost and Upcycling Barcelona

Despite some challenges – the Catalan procés has monopolized the attention of many people in Barcelona and people seem to enjoy clothes’ swaps more than brainwashing sessions, even if vegan quiches are provided – we had our screening of The True Cost + an additional perspective on the current fashion revolution from Virginia Rondeel, fashion designer dedicated to upcycling and co-founder of Upcycling Barcelona.

Our beloved audience.

Quiches designed to lure in the unsuspecting.

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The True Cost presents itself as “a groundbreaking documentary film that pulls back the curtain on the untold story and asks us to consider, who really pays the price for our clothing?” However, unless you have spent last 15-20 years naked in a hippy/Amish community, you should have at least a foggy idea that garment making is not a local seamstress business anymore and that somehow you can now get garments for ridiculous prices. The True Cost is a well made piece of consciousness-rising that packs into 92 minutes all the basics of what’s wrong with fast fashion. It is well paced and emotionally charged, taking the viewer on a guilt trip across the universe. The perfect choice to start – or restart – the conversation on garment industry and alternatives to fast fashion. And it leaves you willing to take some action, so…

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To give a more local human touch to the story, Virginia from Upcycling Barcelona took the floor after the movie and talked about her way of slowing down fashion here in Barcelona: creating garments from post-consumer shirts and curating a space for other upcycling designers and wannabe upcyclers. In their shop you can find selected second-hand garments and pieces made of tablecloths, inner tubes of bicycle tires,  industry samples, etc. even upcycled bridal gowns + sewing courses for those wishing to take back the power to fix and modify our clothing.

Virginia is also one of the founders of l’Associació de moda sostenible de Barcelona and involved with the Fashion Revolution activities in Barcelona. Here you have a glimpse at the second-hand and upcycled neighborhood fashion show she organized in April, commemorating the Rana Plaza tragedy and reminding that other fashion is possible:

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Not to forget that our very legal screening was made possible by crowdfunding friendfunding. Thank you so much, Kristine, Marina, Jeanne, and Mery + our anonymous tip-jar donors! Unfortunately, their generosity wasn’t enough to fulfill my part of the promise and provide them with so many #fuckfastfashion stickers that they could cover all Cambridge, New York, Salamanca, and Barcelona respectively. I tried to compensate lack of glamour with lots of love, so I got out my magic markers and reimagined my friends as paper dolls… It will have to do this time.


Yes, these are not all. And, yes, I have to work on my scanning skills.

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In this little circle of at least partial converts last Saturday we defined one very important function of events where preaching to the choir is on the menu. It is a way to reaffirm ourselves as not crazy, not marginals, and not alone. And that is already a lot. Because, only if we find the resilience to keep cultivating our own little sustainable parcel, we have the basis to talk to those yet to be educated and convinced.

For the ground I’ve already covered about this topic of converting (your wardrobe) and convincing (others):

Baby steps: Detoxing a wardrobe takes time – on developing a personal strategies of procurement, being honest what sources work for what kind of garments for you; this step will permit you to prioritize your investments.

Persuasion or #fuckfastfashion, but gently – my answers to the most common (fake) arguments in favor of fast fashion. I start the post with a warning that anger and blaming do not help, be gentle.

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What have been the moments / movies / books / people that have quided you towards sustainable fashion? Do you remember the aha! moment? What reassurance in your fashion ethics do you turn to “when you’re weary, feeling small“?

#whatiwore 2017w42 + Sunday links

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This week I also got a reminder that garments wear out…

Wearing my favorite black floral shirt back in 2012.

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Just to make sure I had one comfy outfit for travel and weekend errands, I had added one lazy outfit to my 7-dresses-for-3-months capsule: my black ZIB leggings (viscose – elastane, 2016) and my mom’s hand-me-down black floral shirt (cotton – viscose, ~2012). Well, three weeks into the season, both of them are in need of a garment magician. First I discovered that leggings have several holes in unseemly places, and yesterday the underarm of the shirt ripped apart just beside the panels that my seamstress had already placed there to cover previous holes and strengthen the garment. Like this:

In December, back in Riga, I’ll go cry at my seamstress Elita’s door hoping that she will agree to fix – again! –  these two staples of my wardrobe. She has so much patience with my irrational attachment to garments and hands of a miracle worker, especially when it comes to worn-out jersey, believe me, I know!

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But for the time being a new lazy outfit will take their place, the blue ZIB leggings (viscose – elastane, 2015) and the floral shirt from the last swap (100% cotton, Esprit). This shirt is much shorter than the black one, so I just have to hope that the fashion police won’t track me down to point out that I have forgotten to wear something. Seriously, that already happened to me in Copenhagen with another shirt + leggings outfit, in a Kusama exhibition, of all places!

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For consolation, here comes the brain food (i.e. stop lamenting possible loss of one garment and think about the big issues, Luīze!):

Visions of Utopia: Why Everyone Should Support Community Thrift Shops – Leah from Style Wise in defense of crating communities via garment reuse. While I am highly uncomfortable every time I discover that some of my favorite bloggers are religious, her point is exactly the one we try to bring to life with our – completely secular and communist in spirit – clothes’ swaps. Also, I’ve always been jealous of people who live in places with a local thrift shop culture where things circulate in and out by the same people. Here it’s mostly a downstream movement via Humana and Roba Amiga shops, but Kristīne has told me about re-buying her own stuff from a local charity shop in Cambridge by mistake and I was just floored…

It may not be possible to slow down fast fashion – so can the industry ever be sustainable? – A grim realistic perspective on human behavior around fashion from a perspective that, if we haven’t realized what’s wrong and straightened our consumption patterns out by now, we are pretty much doomed by our basic impulses… So those have to be controlled by somebody else, public authorities or the market. Ugh.

And now comes the hardcore brain food piece I do not agree with. But my feeds have been bringing in this kind of thinking for a while now, so take a look at I’ve Decided: Fur Is the Eco-Friendly Choice, and You Won’t Change My Mind – This is an excellent example of how even those dedicated to certain ethos have an underlying set of preferences that we try to justify via second tier, supposedly rational arguments. The first red flag is the title. If you have to say “I have decided […] you won’t change my mind”, your stance might have little to do with facts…

My humble suggestion when facing a (minor) ethical dilemma would be to allow for an occasional weakness – a spoonful of honey, a piece of smelly cheese, a vintage leather wristwatch strap that a loved one wore – while being honest that there is no rationale behind it. It would have come across much nicer if Ecocult’s Alden, the poster child of all things eco, would have just written a heart wrenching piece of not being able to let go of her mother’s fur coat for sentimental reasons, so she is permitting herself this weakness while being fully aware of the suffering and pollution that fur industry causes.

Her reference on the supposedly suboptimal sustainability credentials of a vegan diet is another example of the same rancid logic. It needs a vegan hater to take this research – a simulation (always a tricky thing because it all depends on the initial assumptions) for the US agricultural land suggesting that there are a multitude of diets that would be more sustainable than the current one, vegan being 83% better than the current and a lactovegetarian 101% better – to create a take-away message that you don’t have to even bother to reduce your meat, dairy, and egg consumption and are allowed to never listen to animal rights organizations again.

As a palate cleanser and a researched piece on the impact of animal industries, have Monbiot’s The Meat of the Matter.

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Back to the garments… Do you have staples that you just wear out threadbare and then some? Have you had any luck with fixing or replacing them? And has the fashion police ever tracked you down for being inappropriate?

#100wears: Veja Taua

#100wears is the most beloved garment section where I show off the longevity of items I’ve worn at least 100 times and urge to elevate the rather low #30wears aspiration. Basically, a love song, a poem, a “there are some garments so good I can’t stop wearing them”.

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I don’t know how I came across Veja sneakers in May 2015, then I couldn’t name any bloggers that were wearing them… Maybe through C., as he is the one better informed about brands in our household. But it was love at first sight, and, despite several shipping and handling problems (If you are not in France and are likely to not to be at home when your package arrives, at least in Barcelona, Spain you are screwed, because Veja people have no idea which courier company their shippers use in Spain. Solution: stay at home waiting, order to to a work address/someplace it will be accepted, or just use a re-seller…), I’ve currently wearing my 3rd and 4th pair. Oh, special vegan section, lovely designs, full transparency… and they fit my feet! After a long history of wrong footwear, this is a great step towards my well-being.


My first Vejas: Taua Black White! I miss them so much…

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What walking and biking does to soles. This is the 1st pair outgoing vs. the third incoming.

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The first three pairs I bought were all the same model: Taua. A very basic tennis shoe! I shred my first pair mercilessly. I wore them on all occasions, and washed them in the washing machine when they got too dirty even for my very low standards (I’ll never be the person with impeccable white sneakers!). Then I invested in another pair a few months later, mostly because of the floral print. My third pair, bought in 2016, is another outrageous a print, this time not in *organic cotton* but in b-mesh *made from recycled post consumer plastic*.

There are two lessons I’ve gathered so far: (a) as I have so few pairs and they get a lot of use + my hobbit feet keep breaking the textile in the same exact place, I really wear these things out; & (b) for the sake of versatility, I’d really love to go back to black, but Veja won’t let me… and that third pair is getting closer and closer to complete fallout.


Nº2 in floral cotton.

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Nº3 in fantasy b-mesh.

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Since I started counting wears in January 2016 (which means that the the two oldest pairs have actually been worn many times more than appear in my books), Veja Taua Black White got 101 wears until their demise in January 2017, the Floral has got 95 and are begging to be replaced, and Bahia’s got 209 and counting (I aspire to replace them in January 2018). Boom!

My 4th Veja pair is Arcade (see here, here, and here) – even I got carried away with the bulky aesthetics of the shitty brand sneakers one sees everywhere – but I was socialized in tennis shoes as symbol of rebellion (thanks so much, Converse All Stars and Avrile Lavigne!) and would like to go back to basics with my next purchase, so the current choice would be between Taua in colors nobody wanted or the chunkier Pierre design… We’ll see. Meanwhile, my street cred with shredded pirate sneakers from 2005 (although I doubt that any of those got to #100wears before they fell apart) for your viewing pleasure:

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Is there a type of garment that you have keep wearing throughout the years? What pieces easily reach #100wears in your wardrobe?