#whatiwore 2018w47 + Sunday links

Feed the little gray cells:

1. OK, the retail might be working very hard to reinvent itself, but this is just weird: “Going to a store […] should feel like going to a hotel or resort, where you are taking away a memory because you are touched by an emotion you want to revisit […] As a retailer, this means “you are not serving a person who needs an item,” […] You are serving a person who needs an experience”: Libraries, Gardens, Museums. Oh, and a Clothing Store.

2. When the way how we use our body parts change, also this happens: Surgery students ‘losing dexterity to stitch patients’. Apparently stitcher robots are not really here yet…

3. And the other reason to praise – or at least explain the surge of – the hands-on crafts is their mental health benefits (in Spanish): Las manualidades son el nuevo yoga para la paz mental: Lettering.

4. George Monbiot got on the quit meat bandwagon only after imagining animal-less meat. Here’s another sprinkle of his futuristic excitement, in this case about synthesizing all food: “a group of Finnish researchers has been producing food without either animals or plants. Their only ingredients are hydrogen-oxidising bacteria, electricity from solar panels, a small amount of water, carbon dioxide drawn from the air, nitrogen and trace quantities of minerals such as calcium, sodium, potassium and zinc. The food they have produced is 50 to 60% protein, the rest is carbohydrate and fat. […] They use electricity from solar panels to electrolyse water, producing hydrogen, that feeds bacteria (which turn it back into water). Unlike other forms of microbial protein (such as Quorn), it requires no carbohydrate feedstock – in other words, no plants.”

5. Lessons from the plastic-free people (in Spanish): Tres años viviendo sin plástico and – with focus on our unwillingness to trouble others – Sin plástico y sin vergüenza.

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What I was writing about a year ago: How to Survive *Winter* in Barcelona.

What I was wearing a year ago (see how many items coincide!): #whatiwore 2017w47 + Sunday links.

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What are the sustainability practices that make you feel like a burden? Asking to weight your own containers at the bulk bins? Telling that you don’t eat this, this, this, and that at a social gathering? Asking where and under what conditions was this made? Having to lie about what you did with people’s last year’s presents?

#whatiwore 2018w46 + Sunday links

The best brain food for the best people:

1. Mid-term elections in US, Melania Trump’s fashion choices, Michelle Obama’s book tour, and the season 6 of House of Cards have brought a series of NYT articles (♥ Vanessa Friedman) on the meaning of dress while in office: (a) Melania Trump: Out of Africa, Still in Costume, (b) The First Female President Will Not Carry a Handbag, (c) Dressing Michelle Obama, Then and Now, and (d) The Congressional Uniform Is About to Change.

2. And these two weird-for-me articles (trigger warnings for restrictive beauty standards and class bias) speak to the same interaction between appearance and how people treat one in line with their reading of our appearances: Why do attractive people dress well? I interviewed a random stranger to find out and How to become an International Woman of Mystery.

3. Can you beat Bill Gates’ score on this climate change quiz? And after that, Climate change and the 75% problem. Major takeaway points: cut meat and dairy, reduce your consumption of new things, rethink all those internet purchases, think about making your dwelling more energy efficient…

4. The McKinsey report about how ‘nearshoring’ – still outsourcing to cheaper places but doing it closer so that the production would shorten even more the sketch-to-shelf cycle – is the new business-smart thing to do fashion popped up in my feeds again (this was the first time): In an age of super-fast fashion, Mexico and Turkey may be the new China. Ugh, when relatively good things happen for the wrong reasons…

5. This: Please Stop Clearing Out Your Wardrobe In The Name Of Sustainability. Again and again, every conversation about sustainability has to begin with the fact that the most sustainable thing to do is to wear out things you already have, even if they came from fast fashion brands that you now loathe. Paradoxically enough, wearing your fast fashion stuff a lot is a way of sticking it to them! My advice on this, here – Baby Steps: Detoxing A Wardrobe Takes Time.

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What I was writing about a year ago: The Pink Post: Instrumental and subversive uses of the traditionally feminine.

What I was wearing a year ago (see how many items coincide!): #whatiwore 2017w46 + Sunday links.

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Have you had to curb your impulse to throw away anything that said H’n’M or Zara on it after your first exposure to problems with fast fashion? What did you do? Do you happily pick up fast fashion items at swaps or second hand shops or do you shun them? Do you ever think about this paradox of you wearing and hence representing a brand you do not agree with at all while doing the most sustainable thing possible in giving the most possible wears to their garments?

#whatiwore 2018w45 + Sunday links

Brain food, brain food, what a good idea:

1. Urbanism and fashion industry, oh, yes: Is NYC’s garment district unraveling? and How Manhattan Became a Rich Ghost Town. And, in similar vein, some innovation in how to get their fashion to people (still moving parcels around but at least not with new garments): WeWork Is Getting Into Workplace Fashion With Rent the Runway.

2. Today is the Best Time in Fashion: “Fashion has become closer to modern art. Whereas both forms were once ruled by strict classical ideas, the space is now free with untrammeled creativity and multidirectional experimentation, where people can both celebrate beauty as well as ideas that challenge traditional notions of beauty.”

3. When politics and ethical/sustainable fashion might or might not come together: Made in USA and the Rise of Nationalism.

4. What the ultrarich do if they have similar long term vision of future as I do: How tech’s richest plan to save themselves after the apocalypse.

5. Structural disadvantages in the industry: The Most Diverse Fashion Season Ever on the Runway, but Not the Front Row and What it’s really like to be black and work in fashion.

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What I was writing about a year ago – #100wears: Ginta’s gray cardigan.

What I was wearing a year ago (see how many items coincide!): #whatiwore 2017w45 + Sunday links.

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The weather is confusing, there is a lot of work (at work, ha), the blog is a bit backlogged, and my links are very USA-centric. Yes. How are you do doing?

#whatiwore 2018w44 + Sunday links

Ho-ho-ho, brain food for everybody!

1. I am so not gen-Z, I have no intuitive understanding of the streetwear aesthetics. Hence, (a) The Season of Peak Sneaker Silliness, (b) How America Became a Nation of Yoga Pants, and (c) Is the Streetwear Bubble About to Burst?

2. Because time by time you just need a tongue-in-cheek anarchist essay: The Abolition of Work by Bob Black.

3. And a reminder that gender has always been what people made of it: A Brief History of Unisex Fashion + a contemporary high fashion example: Céline, Hedi Slimane, and the Grown-Up Woman.

4. And one of the beautiful contingencies when technology and new social mores attached to them push away the old: How Cycling Clothing Opened Doors for Women + a contemporary experiment (mentioned in the article) that shows how far we’ve gone since then: Bikes and Bloomers.

5. And this stuff that I’ve never really understood – Hermès CEO: “People Still Want Things That Not a Lot of People Can Get”.

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What I was writing about a year ago: Curating the 100% comfort wardrobe.

What I was wearing a year ago (see how many items coincide!): #whatiwore 2017w44 + Sunday links.

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What are the trends that you do not understand? Does it make you feel old or just out of touch, or just proudly individual? Are your arguments more about (a) lack of practicality, (b) ridicule, or (c) sheer ugliness?

#whatiwore 2018w43 + Sunday links

Here, feed the brain:

1. While most articles about uniform dressing emphasize reduction of decision fatigue and tech millionaires, this 2014 piece turns the argument on its head and talks about uniforms as ‘a stance against trends’ and ‘a consistent recognizable foundation’: The Case for Uniforms. The most inspirational example mentioned is Diane Pernet from A Shaded View on Fashion.

2. On disinhibited creation: Why you should make useless things.

3. I’m such a sucker for ‘look at this person who single-handedly and with great dignity revived an old industry and is doing great’, so: A Legacy of Production at Valley Oak Wool & Fiber Mill. Also, the microscopic-precision handiwork for high fashion as a solution for the youth unemployment (and stupid non-jobs of the digital economy): Teenagers, Forget Engineering. Your Future Is Craft.

4. And I cannot resist a detailed history of a classic and local working class garment when boy fashionistas are fangirling about them: The Other Fisherman Sweater.

5. For our scary future section, How to edit a human. This one comes with a side dish of the dirty business that science often is, in this case making clear also the difference in opportunities for worldwide recognition that funding/location bring to labs and research groups, or how a bunch of genius Lithuanians won’t ever get a Nobel.

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What I was writing about a year ago: An Educational afternoon – The True Cost and Upcycling Barcelona.

What I was wearing a year ago (see how many items coincide!): #whatiwore 2017w43 + Sunday links + Old #ootd.

Other old posts you might enjoy: Adventures of the spring 2017 capsule and The wardrobe ins and outs of spring 2017.

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Do you have any favorite type of stories among the sustainability usuals? Are you more touched by stories of independent wool farmers in West or underprivileged women’s cooperatives in South? Materials, dyes, sewing – which stories you save for special weekend moments of enjoyment? Share some of your favorites, please.

#whatiwore 2018w42 + Sunday links

The Friday outfit is a story of comfort vs. stupid ideas about what’s appropriate… That hoodie, well, actually two of those – organic cotton, made in India, stamped with the corporate identity of the company C works for – appeared in our home after a work event that C went to. First I tried to get him to discard both of them because ‘you don’t need them’, then I accepted that he really was using it around the house, then I started to wear the other one myself noting how warm and fluffy it is… and on Friday I went out on the street with it.
Only to the swimming pool and back, and it was raining, but I had sworn to myself not to wear this one outside… But knowing winters in Barcelona and how all I want to wear to the pool – and that’s three times a week and just down the block – is something comfy and adequate for weather, it will now be my gym uniform. And it has a hood to make up for my unwillingness to blow dry my hair. A win for the ‘relax and be casual’ team.

Lesson learnt I consider myself a tiny step closer to: Letting go, of course, and following the sirens of comfort.

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Now that you are all comfy, under a blanket and with a cup of warm something, here:

1. The typical reminders of all the offshoring problems and onshoring complexities: Why Is It So Hard for Clothing Manufacturers to Pay a Living Wage? and American Manufacturing Doesn’t Have to Die. And just to put a sinister spin on that, out of the Dark side a big consulting company: Is apparel manufacturing coming home? The ironic part is that for them – and people they serve – it’s not about ethics but about a balance between production/shipping costs and timing. So their conclusion is that producing in Mexico for US market or Turkey for EU market makes a lot of sense (and customers love it, too) but not really on situ production, that would be waaay too expensive…

2. In the news of ‘animals we are not exploiting yet that have a great potential’- New Artificial Spider Silk: Stronger Than Steel and 98 Percent Water. Be calm, it’s about replicating ‘the spider technology’ not cramming masses of spiders together and making them work for us, no, we do that mostly with mammals, humans and otherwise, not spiders. Not yet, at least.

3. History time! And about the seasonal wares, no less. The Trench Coat: Before, During, and After the Trenches and From Cavalry to Coco Chanel: The Cardigan Unbuttoned.

4. To bring you back – or for the first time – to William Morris and ‘Some Hints on Pattern-Designing‘ (1881) among his other writings, here are some guidelines from him:

“We ought to get to understand the value of intelligent work, the work of men’s hands guided by their brains, and to take that, though it be rough, rather than the unintelligent work of machines or slaves, though it be delicate;
to refuse altogether to use machine-made work unless where the nature of the thing made compels it, or where the machine does what mere human suffering would otherwise have to do;
to have a high standard of excellence in wares and not to accept makeshifts for the real thing, but rather to go without;
to have no ornament merely for fashion’s sake, but only because we really think it beautiful, otherwise to go without it;
not to live in an ugly and squalid place (such as London) for the sake of mere excitement or the like, but only because our duties bind us to it;
to treat the natural beauty of the earth as a holy thing not to be rashly dealt with for any consideration;
to treat with the utmost care whatever of architecture and the like is left us of the times of art.

I deny that it can ever be our own to do as we like with; it is the property of the world, that we hold in trust for those that come after us.”

5. And I encourage you, yes, repeatedly, to do some pattern play. It’s not 19th century anymore and any basic image editing software can bring you and your doodles a lot of joy. Here is one way to do it: Pattern Play with Jeanetta: How to Create a Pattern in the style of William Morris. As a proof, my 5-minute pattern from mandalas that were in my 2017 agenda:


Or how this:

Becomes that:

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What I was writing about a year ago: #100wears: Veja Taua… Oh, I miss them dearly! And I am stalking some random leftover pairs on Amazon hoping they will still be there when my October salary comes in. Those sneakers were so good, I’m now ready to buy two new pairs and just have them sitting in my wardrobe waiting for the current Wata to wear out. After three pairs worn to shreds, I think that’s an informed decision.

What I was wearing a year ago (see how many items coincide!): #whatiwore 2017w42 + Sunday links.

Other old posts you might enjoy: We shall swap again and May Swap recap.

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Have you had any comfort vs. ‘propriety’ dilemmas or insights lately? Which one do you typically gravitate towards?

#whatiwore 2018w41 + Sunday links

Here, your little brain attic needs more stuff:

1. Trust your own judgement in aesthetics! Surviving your critics.

2. I’m not sure if this is relevant anymore. It might be that fast fashion collabs with big names has given way to influencer collabs long ago, but still – in 2012 people were writing op-eds on Making The Case Against Fast Fashion Collaborations.

3. A little PSA for those residing in Spain and decluttering: (just in case you were in doubt) you don’t have to keep the boxes of electronics in case the guarantee… the only case when you need the box is to return the recently bought item to get your money back during those 15 days when that can be done. Sources (in Spanish): 1, 2.

4. And to provoke a bit, here you have GoodOnYou asking Is Silk Sustainable? and answering with a suggestion to snack on some crunchy larvae after turning their cocoons into silk. Just to order a bit: Is conventional silk vegan? NO. Can it be? Yes, but it’s more expensive. Would silk worms enjoy high quality of life if we’d just leave them alone? According to human criteria, not really. Is animal welfare the only concern about silk? No, human welfare is also not that cool in conventional silk production, including child labor. Solution? Look through your grandma’s wardrobe or your favorite local vintage shop for second-hand silk.

5. This article is a bit of hodge-podge of data, but the graph of reminding how chemical-intensive is apparel production is nice:

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What I was writing about a year ago: Autumn capsule = 3 months and 7 dresses.

What I was wearing a year ago (see if any items coincide!): #whatiwore 2017w41 + Sunday links (looks that a year ago the weather was even more ridiculously balmy).

Another old post you might enjoy: How I pack or #whatiwore 2017w16.

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What are your favorite animal welfare issues? The ones worth talking about? For me, industrial farming is a clear-cut issue: close that shit down and consume maybe a little meat if you are one of those ‘I just can’t quit it’ people, but honey and wool are my new favorite enmeshed issues I have no clear opinion about. They combine animal ‘exploitation’ and husbandry at its best, ha! And it is possible to do it very well and very badly… also, if we end up truly killing off all the bees, we – especially those of us not willing to live only on potatoes, rice, wheat, corn and the New World veggiesare fucked alright. Go, read Generation A.

#whatiwore 2017w51

Here, in the land of darkness, I’ve been reminded about a couple of Nordic winter realities even when the temperatures are above 0ºC:

(a) Tall boots have a function even in absence of snow – they protect your tights from mud splashes. So ankle boots only for those ready to hand-wash their tights after every use (well, on the other hand, here you can wash them at night, put on the central heating radiators, and they will be perfectly toasty in the morning; that’s not the case in radiator-less Barcelona).

(b) The layering is more complex than in the Mediterranean as the contrast between inside and outside temperatures is much greater. Especially if you run errands on foot and using public transportation, it’s a never-ending cycle of sweating and shivering.

(c) And the darkness, oh, the darkness… Just bought a SAD lamp, not for me, but as a gift. The people of Latvia need help!

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How is your winter going? Are you giving your wardrobes any winter contrasts? How are they keeping up?

#whatiwore 2017w50 + Sunday links

And here we go with a plate full of fashion brain-food and inspiration:

The Secret to Vintage Jeans – Tells you the mechanics behind denim weaving and documents the last death in the once famed American denim industry. For me the most exciting part is how the whole industry have turned defects – machine hiccups and shaking – into effects, plus the longevity of the old machines and “despite their simplicity, the newer shuttle looms are often more trouble to operate than the old Drapers”.

(In Spanish) Moda sostenible con sello vasco – A success story of the turn Basque brand Skunkfunk took towards sustainability and ethical fashion. Having started as a little artisanal endeavor of funky designs, expanding using the typical irresponsible fast-fashion outsourcing and then having an a-ha! moment and looking for alternatives in certified manufacturers, material selection, waste reduction, etc. Truly sweet, if you are looking for virgin textiles!

However, my garment ideals and interests are turning more and more towards reuse. There is so much textile already laying around that purchasing virgin fabric seems rather absurd for most uses. One of my greatest eye-openers for this has been the blog of Jillian Owens where she documents refashioning of thrift shop finds (including the funniest “before” and “after”pics).

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Which of the ethical fashion branches is the most exciting for you these days? Reducing the amount owned, swapping for better alternatives, diving into second-hand and upcycling?

#whatiwore 2017w49 + Sunday links

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Let’s start this week’s link list with eye candy instead of brain food – Stella Jean: Wax & Stripes: A personal journey. If my getting dressed maxim is that an outfit starts with four different patterns, Stella seems to start with *at least four different African waxprints*. Oh, wow! Enjoy these and then run to Pinterest to get some more.

Fashion’s Interest in Alternative Fabrics Keeps Growing – New fiber news are almost always exciting at first and disappointing afterwards. I find it very cutesy every time an article introducing pinapple “leather”, orange peel “silk”, and fish skin “leather” (not linking, I find that one pretty disgusting), while the actual answer is reduction, real recycling, and then rethinking of virgin fibers. But reclaiming garbage is always nice (while looking into the actual energy required to extract the fibers, etc.)!

Talking about creating fibers from garbage, here’s an example: How Companies ‘Seeing Goldmines in Landfills’ Are Refashioning Textiles.

And looking really into future of (any! think about electronics, too) supply chain transparency: Blockchain to enable transparency in the fashion supply chain.

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Which novelty fiber do you find the most exciting? What was the last time you read one of those and exclaimed “Really?! You can make textiles out of *that*?” Mine were the fish skin stuff mentioned above (yuck!) and discovering that banana fibers have been used for silky textiles for centuries.

#whatiwore 2017w48 + Sunday links

As a cold weather public service announcement, here you have a step-by-step of my favorite way to tie the big ethnographic scarves:

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As I’ve suggested an under-blanket strike against fast fashion earlier this week, here is some reading matter that may become handy while you are keeping your body warm and your brain well fed:

Modest Dressing, as a Virtue – an interesting take on modest (as opposed to the body shape emphasizing way of dressing for women) clothing as being both class- and feminist statement signalling our way out of the traditionally feminine.

To the Lady Who Mistook Me for the Help at the National Book Awards – A slightly fictionalized biographic essay on the intersections of race, class, and black polyester. There is no way of arguing ourselves out of the fact that fashion is a class marker…

This Is How Big Oil Will Die – Not about fashion (but about the auto- and oil industry instead), this is a very nicely argued piece on how Big Oil will become obsolete thanks to technology that already exists and market forces. I’m not so optimistic for a similar sea change when it comes to fashion, because the superiority of sustainable fashion stems from moral choices not being cheaper for the consumer. It could be the final touch to not making any new polyester ever again but recycling it indefinitely, though.

These Are The 6 Types of Minimalists. Which One Are You? – Half jokingly but makes sense (as in previous internet debates that vegan is not necessarily eco, etc.) to remember that one thing does not equal another. So minimalist aesthetic is not the same as conscious reduction of number of possessions to keep only those that spark joy or living out of one suitcase nomad-style. They might overlap but not necessarily

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What are your cold weather tricks? Have you had to go out and look for warmer garments ad-hoc? Have youstarted thinking about resolutions for 2018?

#whatiwore 2017w47 + Sunday links

While I’m rethinking my wardrobe strategies for the next year – because January 1 is such a nice day to start new things and ways – here you have some textile and garment-related brain food (that can easily be turned into advice and New Year’s resolutions, btw):

Caring is caring (!) and, in case of the most washed items of our wardrobes, the most resource intensive period of the lives of our garments, so here are two (1 and 2) lists of care tips + my own.

From the girl who inspired my pink post, here comes a meditation on make-up (in Russian): Её изумрудные брови: Как яркий макияж изменил мои отношения с внешностью. Although I’ve left make-up behind for good long time ago, this is the perspective I’d like to impart on people like fairy dust: whatever self-expression, including fashion and make-up, is great as far as you are doing it for yourself! Make-up for fun and playing is a great idea if you feel like it, make-up for “concealing” and “putting on an *acceptable* face” tends to be a sign of internalized toxic patriarchy.

Reflecting a frequent conversation in our household, Why despite my best efforts even my friends buy fast fashion: The confessions of an ethical fashion CEO goes through all the usual suspects that our friends and family hide behind after we have sermoned them about the evils of fast fashion. Here is my take on that.

As a special bonus, this is the project that the author of the above piece runs. It brings together info on the ethics and sustainability of brands, have a look!

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What are your garment goals for 2017? Already decided and written down, or still wide open and smelling of future?

#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?

#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?

#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?

#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?

#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?

#whatiwore 2017w41 + Sunday links

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While I’m doing my 3-months-in-7-dresses thing, bon appétit for some brain food:

Planeta Zara (2002) – If you understand Spanish, this is a gem TV segment (55 min) from 15 years ago explaining the aspects of production and organization of the business that made them the fast fashion innovators. You have to know the enemy… plus, these were still times before the haul videos and ultra-cheapness, so you can get some nostalgia (for example, in those days 80% of Zara’s sewing was done by subcontractors locally in Galicia, not overseas).

The Overspent American: Upscaling, Downshifting, and the New Consumer – The first chapter of the 1997 pop sociology book (yes, some quaint very antiquated examples going on!) by Juliet B. Schor advocating – and being criticized of being naive because of that (examples 1 & 2) – deliberate downsizing. Quite some time before the wave of minimalism, tiny house movement, KonMari, etc.

Climate anxiety doesn’t have to ruin your life: Here’s how to manage it – The title is too good to be true, and it is. But the question – and anxiety – is real. Author’s answer is to accept the limited scope of individual action and to quit nagging other people… but keep doing. Easier said than done, hah!

#whatiwore 2017w40 + Sunday links

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All that repetition – even more than usual – is not accidental. I’ll tell you on Wednesday what’s the deal with Autumn capsule! But until then… brain food!

A) How Instagram Makes You Basic, Boring, and Completely Deranged – My hate for Instagram, articulated!

B) Why Trying to Resell Your Clothes Is Always So Damn Embarrassing – The reality of consignment shops and the rosy delusion “I’ll just resell all my stuff [for a lot of money because everybody will want it so desperately]” + the same dynamics from a generational and home-ware point of view: Aging Parents With Lots of Stuff, and Children Who Don’t Want It.

C) I still haven’t finished Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Dress of Women: A Critical Introduction to the Symbolism and Sociology of Clothing (I read it at work during my breaks), but I’ve found one gem I couldn’t resist to share. There are many quotes calling for revolution in women’s dress, of course, but what I’ve found to be the most curious change that has taken place in these 100 years that separate us from Charlotte are prices!

In Chapter 8: Humanitarian and Economic Considerations she writes – not tongue-in-cheek, mind you, but very seriously! – “Some thirty [~1885!] years ago it was estimated that a woman could dress well enough to be in good society, on $300 a year. This allowed for one new evening gown, and one new tailor suit each year, both lasting over as second-best for another; and may be filled out according to preference. […] Even at that time I can remember these estimates being scoffed at as ridiculously low by a group of trained nurses. Yet one would hardly imagine a trained nurse as needing more than that list, substituting her starched uniforms for the richer evening wear.” and continues in Chapter 9: Larger Economic Considerations: “While it is still possible, with intelligent care, for a woman to dress on three to five hundred dollars a year, to say nothing of the millions who do it on fifty or less; the woman who is “in society” finds three to five thousand a moderate allowance, and many spend more.”

Before you shrug at this and point to my own fashion expenses, I have to remind you that these are 1915 or even 1885 dollars! Very different dollars than the ones going around today… The earliest information that the easy inflation calculator I found online offers is 1913 which is fine for a conservative estimate about the dollars that Perkins Gilman is talking about. And – ta-dah! – $300 of Charlotte become $7440. That’s what any *respectable* woman needed back then to be *properly* dressed, and even nurses found that to be a very low number… and the $3000-5000 she’s mentioning for the “society” becomes 74’400-124’000. Now compare that with the fast fashion prices of today!

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We are branching out of swaps and organizing a movie screening to build the consciousness about why we are swapping: A screening of The True Cost. See you there!