#whatiwore 2018w19 + Sunday links

A random update: I made my first sewn garment! I had knitted, crocheted and customized before, but this is a new milestone. And even brand new this garment already has a story. My little South African top needed an additional and more neutral bottom, then my friend Liisa taught me my sewing machine basics, my friend Julie invited me to take from her fabric stash whatever I wanted, and Carmen from Opció Taller accompanied me through all the troubleshooting this supposedly easy project needed. The whole precision thing is something I’m still working on, being accustomed that the code I write for my little statistics at work is basically endlessly tweakable and reiterations don’t leave trace. As far as I don’t show the inside of this skirt to my mom, we are all happy and set!

And now the brain nom-noms:

How could you resist a merge of Japanese shapes with African prints? Why would you? Why hadn’t this happened before? Cameroonian artist and Japanese designer collab for stunning Kimono line. (Hat tip to Sanjukta for this one!)

Just a brief reminder on what’s the problem with faux fur. In case you were wondering.

When reading about several African countries trying to forbid the import of second-hand clothing last year, I didn’t know that China did exactly the same thing in the 1990s (and now they are doing the same with our plastics). About the impact of that policy on the local industry, The State of Fashion Design in China.

And just to rub in how far I am from the actual design and fashion vanguard, turns out that there is a whole color thing going on: Why Millennial Pink Refuses to Go Away, Why Are We So Obsessed With Millennial Pink? There’s A Scientific Explanation For Everything and Move Over, Millennial Pink — There’s a New Sheriff in Town. I live truly oblivious to this stuff… As an extra bonus, of course, the ‘scientific’ explanation boils down to ‘we don’t really know but we can quite confidently blame late capitalism for everything’.

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Do you make garments? If so, how do you then deal with the intimate knowledge of all the imperfections? Or is it that the pride of having done it compensates for all frustrations and suboptimal seams?

#FashionRevolution Fix it! workshop + easy fixes

My Fashion Revolution week fortnight this year consists of two events: an experimental small-scale fix workshop and the swap Nº6. You are still on time to put the swap in your agenda (and you already know the drill) but the fix workshop was something new.

Stemming from my own limited skills in fixing and mending, seeing it as a generational problem mostly (hi, fast fashion, bye, upkeep skills!) and knowing that practice makes perfect, I simply announced a Saturday afternoon when up to ten people could come together at the back of our Ateneu and try to fix their garments. It wasn’t a course and there were 0 powerpoint presentations. The setup included wine, tea, cake, and an opportunity to show your holes and unraveled seams to others, get some input on how to fix in and give it a go.

I was very happy to have my favorite social-sciences-person-turned-textiles-person Julie to host the workshop with me. Her knowledge of materials and dyes and passion for creative fixing (+ she introduced the rest of us to the notion of sashiko and with India Flint!) did so much to ground and structure my enthusiasm. At the end it felt like a little tea party in a parallel dimension enjoying the sorority and fixing the world one stitch at the time.

The concept was to bring only simple (we are just starting here, you know) manually (not to hassle with sewing machines) fixables, and the list was pretty much the expected. Here you have the issues we came across and suggestions what to do about them; these are a mix of the very basics and a bit advanced that we didn’t tackle this time but there were questions about the possibility of doing it:

Unraveled seams: 1, 2, 3.

Holes in jersey: 1, 2.

Holes in socks: 1, 2.

The typical jeans inseam problem: 1, 2, 3.

Putting in bra-strap fixers: 1.

Making a slit: 1, 2.

Hemming jeans: 1, 2.

Changing the shape of a pair of jeans: 1.

And to dabble just a bit into creative fixing, here you have FashRev suggestions to embroider, put patches or pom-poms on your garments to hide stains or rips or just to refresh them.

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The take-away message? Almost all garments are fixable, just google it! The internets are full of kind people showing how to fix anything. Especially if you let go of the idea of returning the garment to its initial state and think about fixing as giving it a loving upgrade instead, the possibilities are endless. And I have a feeling that this won’t be our last fixing event, so stay tuned.

Have you fixed anything recently? Do you aim for perfection, for creative expression or for just getting it done?

#100wears: Trench

#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”… My Zara hand-me-down trench is one of those.

October 2012 – Montreal, Canada.

Facebook suggests that I started wearing it in spring 2010. However, my memory is of first cleaning it out of my mother’s wardrobe, deciding that it’s not a garment for me and passing it on to my aunt. Then finding it again in her summer house, trying it on and going like “Oh, I think this could work after all…” So the more precise dates could be passing it on in 2008 and reclaiming it in 2009. It took me a long time to really get into it, though. Only after moving to Barcelona and downsizing my overall wardrobe in 2013-2014 it has become a basic staple for my Mediterranean winters. Up to a point when a friend recently hollered at me across the street because “I’d recognize your trench anywhere”.

That time in October 2010 when I dressed up like bleach. Stupid word games and strategic placement were involved. Salamanca, Spain.

December 2015 – Barcelona, Spain.

The cold season here is so mild that I have given up on my Latvian upbringing and C’s objections that ‘this is not a coat’. It’s not! But this is not a real winter either. So my winter coats live in Rīga and Barcelona gets a layered trench. The trench is size XL (Zara sizing, go figure!), so it drapes nicely and there is space for a sweater under it. Layering is how regulate it: thick wool for the coldest of them (~5ºC or so; never below zero, mind you) and cotton-poly blends or whatever is going around for warmer days.

The outer shell is 51% polyester, 39% cotton and 10% nylon with a 100% polyester lining. It does hold wind at bay, especially when bicycle commuting. And when it comes to bicycling, the length also helps to keep my waist well covered, my skirts together and away from the brakes. Also, the color is perfect for an occasional dirt and oil stain. It’s not a small thing, think that Levi’s has a specific line for bicycle commuters that are ready to pay premium for those little practical adjustments.

February and March 2018 – Barcelona, Spain.

Despite being fast fashion and made in China, this trench has gone through its 120+ wears with very few minor fixes. Some buttons have been lost and replaced, one of the metallic holes for fastening the sleeves fell out in late 2017 and the belt buckle finally gave away in early 2018. As these moving details had been a bit of a nuisance for wearing – both belt and the little ‘sleeve belts’ kept moving, opening, crumpling – I decided to put them as I wanted and pin them down! After replacing the sleeve thingy (0.80€ at my local cobbler), I just sewed fixed both the belt and the sleeves, those are the little orange details in the photo below. Now the belt is always straight, the sleeve details are never suddenly open and flapping in the wind, and I use the belt without a buckle – I just make a knot!



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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 that you have doubted first and grown ‘into them’ after? Are there any basic fixes that you are very proud of?