Feed the gray cells, they deserve it:
The best thing on #MeToo and #NotAllMen I’ve read lately: The myth of the male bumbler.
Ever wanted to have another environmental issue to worry about? I give you… glitter! What’s The Problem With Glitter?
As North Korea is in the news, here you have a fashion link at least I had never thought about: What is Standing Between the West and “Made in North Korea” Clothing?, North Korea factories humming with ‘Made in China’ clothes, traders say and Your “made in China” clothes may actually have been made in North Korea.
And a bit of anthropologies and random links… First, I read a bit on quinceañera celebrations in Latinx communities: My Super Sweet 15. Then I went to look up the quinceañera Barbie, a commercialized twist of a symbolic tradition described in the Racked piece. And Mattel page sucked me into its magic up to discovering (a) that the 1985 Day-to-Night™ Barbie should be on the cover of my thesis and (b) that there is a Barbie fashion Instagram clearly aimed at my demographic. Creepy! And their attempts to brush off the toxic toy stigma by introducing the ‘fat’ Barbie and by always doubling down of how Mattel has always been feminist because of the ‘you can be anything’ discourse, although usually covering only the very feminized professions… So much material for research.
I actually spent a lot of time on Mattel pages window shopping the special editions back at the dial internet days (~2000), so going down their rabbit hole felt very familiar. Do you have places like that on internet? And was has been your latest weird clicking chain of unsuspected degrees of separation?
Or the latest ethical consumption issue you hadn’t even heard about before? For me both glitter and North Korea – Made in China link were completely new. They kind of make sense if you start to think about it – like ‘oh, those are pieces of some foil, so probably petrol-derived hence microplastics’ and ‘oh, sure, they share border and actually trade’ – but had never come up until this week.
And now for the little gray cells:
On making one more country better for women and our reproductive rights, and celebrating the activism that lead to this change (also because I have had pleasure to meet Stephanie on several occasions): “It Was ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ Type Stuff:” An Exclusive Conversation With Irish Abortion Rights Activist Stephanie Lord.
While clicking around Brit+Co (I know, a weird place to be clicking around, but Stephanie’s interview was there), I also found this: Two Neighbors: Israeli and Palestinian Women Create a Pathway to Peace Through Fashion. Obviously, small scale economical projects won’t solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but it’s a cute story anyway, and a smart sales point, too.
Modest fashion keeps coming up in my feeds, so How the Hijab Has Grown into a Fashion Industry of its Own.
And to remind you why cotton is not among the best fiber crops when it comes to the current industrial practices, here is one reason: Your Cotton T-Shirts Are Likely Linked to Forced Labor.
As I’m finishing my PhD thesis, this a reminder for my current self: Solitude and Leadership: If you want others to follow, learn to be alone with your thoughts.
What are your current reminder to self? Any go-to resources for restoring the inner balance you would like to share?
And a full portion of garment-related brain food:
Is the world really better than ever? – If you are torn between the “oh, everything is down the tubes” and “but there are no plague victims in the streets”, this long Oliver Burkeman piece may help synthesize a middle ground.
Shopping, and the Seduction of “Fixing” Ourselves – Leah from Style Wise meditating on therapeutic consumption. In a similar vein – I’ll Take Care of You – on Billfold. It all comes down to necessity of self-care and how we have learned (or been taught?) that self-care is a purchasable commodity. Well, yes and no. Ha!
Leaves, Mushrooms, Bark and More: 6 Innovative Eco-Friendly Leather Alternatives – Promising proofs of human capacity of innovation if only we get serious about things. Hopeful!
This was the last week of my summer capsule + an adventure with a sprained ankle! I’ll tell you soon what my autumn fun challenge will be… Although it seems weird to bring in the autumn wardrobe with this weather forecast:
A light layer has become a necessity, although to a much lesser extent than you would think by looking at people on the street. Barcelona seems to be craving autumn, and, as people are not getting it, they are faking (and sweating) it. I too ended up underestimating the temperatures and getting my first serious chub rub of the year. So much talking about being smart about heat and sweating, but September got me!
Although, the most worn items of this week have been these:
The summer is almost over, Mykonos confirmed that some of my hot weather garments need new homes, and these were the definite last wears for some of them (oh, little romper, you can’t go away soon enough!). There are two weeks left for this capsule, and Barcelona seems to suggest that I’ll be needing a light jacket over the summer dresses. Oh, finally!
While giving the last rounds to the summer capsule, especially some of the outgoing garments, I’m realizing that this time I will manage to do the at-least-10-wears-per-season with all the pieces. Feels, obviously, rather anti-climatic… Nothing special, I’ve just been wearing my summer stuff.
How did your summer capsule finish? With fireworks or with a meh?
Barcelona and Athens:
And a spoonful for the brain:
Fashion and Animal Welfare: Everything You Should Know Before You Buy – A reminder that much of the conventional fashion items are made of animals and that only very few of those *materials* can be obtained without harming them.
Can you already feel the autumn coming? Is your summer capsule over? Is September a summer or an autumn month where you are at?
Instead of “oh-the-bad-fast-fashion-industry” stories, this week I suggest aesthetic, anthropological, and sociological pleasures:
Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel (2011) & Iris (2014) – Two documentaries on women who became style icons by reinventing their looks and ignoring trends. Perfect easy-watching pieces (make sure to get them in HD to appreciate all the details!) for a dose of sartorial inspiration.
The Dress of Women (1915) by Charlotte Perkins Gilman – Early feminist sociology analyzing and denouncing the ridiculousness of (women’s) fashion. Full of pearls such as “the mere insistence on a totally different costume for men and women is based on this idea—that we should never forget sex” and
The lot of the farmer’s wife was hard, but the lot of no man’s wife was harder. For the unmarried woman life held no opportunities. Hence, within their iron bound limits, women were modified most by this main economic necessity, pleasing man. This effort must perforce express itself in such channels as were allowed; and when we pass the stage of direct labor and service, the way to a man’s heart through his stomach, she found the second road to a man’s heart lay through his eyes.
It is not Beauty that is demanded. It is two things—variety and the visible effort to please. As one honest man explained, the reason men admire paint on a woman is because it shows her ardent wish to attract; and the cruder her performance the more plainly it shows that alone to be her motive.
Google it and the internets will provide!
Travel & Barcelona:
Few pieces of brain-food for this Sunday:
Two Sisters, A Small Room And The World Behind A T-Shirt – Another does of how fast-fashion garment workers live, why they chose those jobs and how, although the choice to work there makes sense for them, they do not wish the same for their children. That’s telling for those loving the argument that garment jobs save people from abject poverty, hence there is no problem with them.
Do Fashion Brands Have a Double Standard When It Comes to Transport Workers? – And just when you though that your plate was already full with fast-fashion problems, here you have another group that you most probably haven’t thought much: transport workers! You are welcome.
Self-Care Interview Series at Golubka Kitchen – One of my favorite cooking blogs has started a series of interviews with other top bloggers about their self-care routines and ways of maintaining sanity. Interesting reads, although most of it comes down to eating well, sleeping enough, and not talking the internets too seriously. Good luck with that! (This is the resolution time for the New Academic Year.)
We have a date for the next swap here in Gràcia! Put it down in your agendas for September 30 and start pruning your wardrobes. If you are not close enough, here are guidelines on how to make a swap in your community.
And our crowdfunding for screening The True Cost is still active! The screening will take place on October 21, and every euro helps. Than you so much!
As even the August news cycle is not what it was, here we go with more brain food:
Natural, Traditional and DIY Dyes from Around the World – A very brief little introduction in the magical (and creepy; see cochineal) world of natural dyes. For daily inspiration in this front, see the IG of Maria Romero and Fragmentario.
The Giant Book That Creates And Destroys Entire Industries – Living in EU (and despite being embroiled in discussions about trans-Atlantic trade agreements) allows us to ignore that tariffs is a force to reckon with. This NPR piece reminds that trade agreements may be the detail that creates or breaks the possibility of competitive exporting, hence the reason for producing.
Fashion Revolution White Paper (2015) – A brief (17 pages) summary of what’s wrong with the fast fashion industry, a good go-to document if you need a serious-enough piece to illuminate somebody about the ills of the modern garment industry. A rather dull read but there are occasions when this is exactly what’s required. The follow-up is a more exciting one.
For the first time since I started pruning my wardrobe in 2014 (read about that here and here), I’m getting the ants-in-the-pants feeling that I’d like to browse through a second-hand shop or two. Things! New-to-me things, please! This has been the 11th week of the summer capsule (7 more to go) and I’ve been traveling, so probably my wardrobe-calm will be back once I’m at home again.
Have you noticed which moments make you likely to browse garments for pleasure? Is it stress, is it anxiety, or is it a real “I have nothing to wear”? How do you deal with those urges: resist, replace with other stimuli, or succumb but minimize the damage by choosing a second-hand shop or a clothes’ swap?