#whatiwore 2017w38

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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!

#whatiwore 2017w37

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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!

#whatiwore 2017w35 + Sunday links

Barcelona and Athens:

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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.

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Can you already feel the autumn coming? Is your summer capsule over? Is September a summer or an autumn month where you are at?

#whatiwore 2017w34 + Sunday links

Barcelona:

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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!

#whatiwore 2017w33 + Sunday links

Travel & Barcelona:

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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.)

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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!

#whatiwore 2017w32 + Sunday links

Rīga:

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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.

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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?

#whatiwore 2017w31 + Sunday links

Barcelona:

Stockholm:

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This week’s garment-related brain food:

Why I Wore The Same Outfit Every Day for a Year – Just to hear the “nobody cares if you repeat the outfits” from somebody else. Some of her experiences are very similar to my capsule ones while some of them are very different, yet still all of that confirms that “the rest is drag“.

The Afterlife Of American Clothes – A reminder of what happens with the most of the clothing donated in West: they take a trip South to a whole different market. Just to keep in mind when you are planning the next wardrobe purge. Maybe there is another way than the magical container?

Material Guide: Is Viscose Really Better for the Environment? – Again and again, the fiber dilemma… There’s no perfect solution, so don’t get too excited about your regenerated fibers.

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So I’ve been able to wear a jacket again. How is your summer capsule going? Do you have a need for layers in your summer or is it the least amount of clothing possible?

#whatiwore 2017w30 + Sunday links

Barcelona:

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Because learning is living (and a great excuse for not doing):

Label Lingo: Everything You Need to Know About Natural Fabrics – More fiber stuff, as this is the topic that I find most interesting these days and Good on You people are kind enough to provide these little informative posts. Also, to remind ourselves that natural = perfect.

‘Our Industry Follows Poverty’: Success Threatens A T-Shirt Business – I’m still exploring Planet Money documentary-related articles, this one on differences in textile industry working conditions in Colombia and Bangladesh. It is striking that the more efficient of the two factories, the Colombian one, is the one that loses fast fashion costumers (and have to reassess their future) in an industry where labor costs drive the orders.

Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern – I finally got my hands on the book documenting this Brooklyn Museum exhibition (a gazillion thanks, Marina!). A review may or may not follow, but I strongly suggest you explore the biography and aesthetics of this lady: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Such an inspiration!

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I’m thrilled by the knowledge that I’ll be able to wear a jacket next Friday… I miss layering so much! Do you also find summer dressing to be the easiest and the most boring at the same time? What’s your favorite season for dressing, all the cozy (but bulky) winter layers or breezy summer stuff (when even that feels too much)?

#whatiwore 2017w29 + Sunday links

Barcelona:

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Because feeding the brain and knowing the cause well is the key:

Planet Money Makes A T-Shirt – A great 5-part NPR documentary project following the making of a fast-fashion cotton jersey t-shirt. At this point it is almost refreshing to have people almost OK with the industry doing this kind of journalism (as opposed to desperate activists  – yes, that’s me – decrying the whole industry as rotten). The frame they are giving is also a curious one: instead of shock and disgust they are at awe with the technological side of the whole affair, from the GMO cotton to container shipping. Overall, very informative for its length, especially the first two chapters on cotton and converting into fabric.

Nixon And Kimchi: How The Garment Industry Came To Bangladesh – An additional background story for the above project, giving a glimpse at the Multi Fibre Arrangement (whose expiration in January 1, 2005 caused part of the fast fashion boom as we know it), the calculus that big industry players make when taking decisions and reasons why entrepreneurs bring garment jobs to places.

Our Guide to Caring for Your Clothes and Caring for the Earth – A reminder on garment- and environment-friendly washing practices. You can find my take on the topic here but basics are the same: wash less, wash in cold, and upgrade your detergent.

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How is your summer wardrobe doing? Are there things that seemed like a great idea in January but have betrayed your hopes of becoming summer staples? Or the other way around?

#whatiwore 2017w28 + Sunday links

Barcelona:

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This week’s garment-related brain food:

Label Lingo: Everything You Need to Know about Synthetic Fabricsfiber info keeps trickling in, here’s a bit on synthetics suggesting you look for recycled synthetics.

Where many of the clothes you throw away end up (Hat tip to my friend My Lan for this one!) – describes a large scale garment downcycling operation in Panipat, India. The most curious thing about this article is that the tone suggests an appalled reporter while in the big scale of things this isn’t even that bad. While labor intensive, the “shoddy” fabric made by these textile mills is still a reasonable use of “mutilated” (i.e. unsalable in any part of the world) garments compared with slowly rotting at a landfill + it allows mixing of fibers + the end product is a demanded one.

UN Comtrade Analytics – allows you follow commodity import/export routes, quantities and fluctuations. In this case the commodities of interest are “Textile fibers”. You get to play around and explore fun graphs like the following, telling you that cotton dominates the fiber market and that “textile fibers – worn clothing” travel from North to South (and also inside Europe, my guess that this is mostly Western – EU Eastern Europe second-hand shuffle):


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Are you getting bored with your summer stuff already? Have sundresses become the uniform? Do you dream of chilly weather that would permit layers, scarves and all other cozy things?

#whatiwore 2017w27 + Sunday links

Barcelona:

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This week’s suggested reading/watching/listening:

Money talk (at Elizabeth Suzann) – continuing with the value of euros in the age of fast fashion, here you have the most candid ethical fashion pricing description I’ve come across.

Smart garment prototypes by Marina Toeters – “Fashion is surprisingly out of date. The last true innovation widely accepted by the industry is polyester (circa 1953). Dutch academic and designer, Marina Toeters isn’t impressed. According to her, we’re wearing clothes that are technically out of date, and missing a sustainable trick” (Lucy Siegle here).

Wrapped in Nature: Clothing Is An Agricultural Product, by Mary Kingsley – brings you back to the notion that all clothing until that polyester invention and much of it since then has been *cultivated* to start with, so the same concerns that are more and more prominent in food production and consumption should apply. Where was my natural fibers grown? Who planted and harvested them? In what soil? What treatments were used? How did it travel before coming cloth?

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How do you deal with summer outside and AC-ed inside, do you carry an extra piece of clothing for indoors or just endure? How do your fashion priorities change in extreme temperatures? I feel that my style is at its most authentic during the in-between seasons. Cold and heat impose their own priorities!

#whatiwore 2017w26 + Sunday links

Barcelona:

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This week’s suggested reading/watching/listening:

What I Learnt from Karaikal Ammaiyar and Her Closet of Adornments by Sharanya Manivannan – an essay on many things (racism, sexism, slut shaming, transphobia among other) asserting that “Fashion is about far more than vanity, or morality for that matter. It is about identity, memory and emotion. It is a background score to every interaction, conveying ambience, setting the scene, foreshadowing, foregrounding. Every mood-lifting ensemble is a victory. Every garment touched longingly and placed wistfully back on the shelf is a compromise – resignation that sometimes means ‘not yet’ and sometimes means ‘never’.” Oh, yes!

5 Iconic Shoes and Our Ethical Alternatives – brand names are overrated… or you can get new ones to fetishize! Anyways, you can find an ethical alternative for almost any wearable. Yes, it takes time! And, yes, it might cost more! But they exist. So “I wish but…” is not an acceptable stance. Yes, I’m looking at you, Converse, who for years were unable to tell all the poor vegans what glues you are using. Because you just don’t care about your supply chain. Bye-bye, Converse, hello, Veja!

Fiber exploration continues:
Greenwashing Alert: Rayon Viscose Is Made From Plants, but Is Also Toxic and Destructive
Material Guide: How Ethical is Modal?
Rayon, Modal, and Tencel – Environmental Friends or Foes

TL;DR: you have to ask questions and request high environmental and labor standards also with your regenerated fabrics as not all viscose is made equal.

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What are your summer favorites to keep cool (or to keep the cool away if you live in Latvia)? And what inspiring stuff have you been reading/watching/listening this week?

#whatiwore 2017w25 + Sunday links

Riga:

Travel:

Barcelona:

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This week’s suggested reading/watching/listening:

The Hidden Cost of Animal Leather – so you would know what’s wrong with that industry net of animal welfare concerns. Take home message? If you really-really want some leather goods, go for second hand. Or piñatex.

Patagonia’s The Stories We Wear – there are many reasons to love and admire Patagonia, their Worn Wear activities being only one of them (among wonderful workplace policies for US context, use of recycled materials, life guarantee, etc.). They celebrate that people get attached to their garments and have stories about them, especially, of course, about garments that they’ve had for years. Google the full movie “Worn Wear – a Film About the Stories We Wear”, it has disappeared from YouTube but maybe it will come back!

Surprisingly Compostable Textiles – after a serious look at you fibers, you can go on and compost the natural ones! For fun. And to keep the landfill lean.

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Our crowdfunding is half-full, so The True Cost movie screening will happen for sure. While we decide on the date and format of the event… Seems that we will have to draw our stickers by hand, though. If you are more into printed stickers – and hand-written thank you notes, and our neverending love – here is where the euros gather. Thank you so much!

#whatiwore 2017w24 + Sunday links

Riga:

Travel:

Turku:

Riga:

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To add a twist to my weekly outfit posts, I’ve decided to bundle them together with some suggested reading/watching/listening links. Here you go:

Elizabeth Pape on Manufacturing and Selling Women’s Clothing and Elizabeth Suzann – one of the most in-depth and sincere talks about hows and how much of ethical garment production. Also, my leftist-Keynesian self got quite few laughs out of the fact that the classically trained (and clearly a believer in all that HayekFriedman stuff) just cannot warp his head around that an enterprise can be driven by something else but profit. And the fact that an ethical fashion company can actually be profitable just sends him spinning off the cliff!

World Water Day 2017: The True Cost of Conventional Cotton – a reminder that conventional cotton is a big and very dirty issue, i.e. reasons to go organic or second hand.

What Really Happens to Your Clothing Donations? – the basics you need to know before putting your unwanted garments in a donations container.

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And, talking about donations, our crowdfunding is half-full, so The True Cost movie screening will happen for sure. Seems that we will have to draw our stickers by hand, though. If you are more into printed stickers – but hand-written thank you notes – here is where the euros gather. Thank you so much!

Come, fund us! + #whatiwore23

We – me and Liisa – have reached the moment where our ambition of what can be done around topics of fast fashion and greener wardrobes bumps into financial obstacles. The logical next step after three successful swaps (1, 2, 3) seemed to shift the focus towards the reasons for all this. No worries, the swaps will continue! They are the hands-on education that other ways of doing wardrobes and fashion are possible. But let’s have a hot July night with an ice-cold vermouth and even more chilling documentary about the evils of fast fashion… our selected feature for that is The True Cost.

And this is where the money comes in! To make it all legal and hold an official “community screening” we need to pay 130$ to the distributor, and that’s a bit too much than the usual “I’ll make tortilla, you make hummus” cost sharing we have been doing so far.

Also, we have been talking how something small but material would be nice for our friends and un-customers to have after the events and to promote fast fashion résistance around the town (or world, wink-wink!). Business cards are dead, long live stickers! Yet we are finicky customers and instead of buying bunch of tape and drawing them (ha!), we want them nice, round and professionally printed. The smallest order is a roll of 490 stickers and that’s 180€.

So we have made a crowdfunding page to ask our friends if they can chip in. Those living in Barcelona or nearby will be showered with love, vermouth and stickers during the movie night, while those present only in spirit shall receive a love letter in their mail, filled with stickers and thank-you notes. It doesn’t matter if you have benefited from previous Un Armario Verde clothes’ exchanges or just love the idea of a greener wardrobe, every euro helps! So does sharing, following, following some more, reading, commenting and greening your wardrobes. Baby steps towards the slow fashion revolution!

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Oh, I also wore some garments this week. First in Barcelona, then on a plane where the temperature kept shifting from very hot to freezing and then in so-far-very-pleasant-and-dry Riga.

Finding a spot to do the photos in my childhood home (and using the window sill as a makeshift tripod) was a whole additional creative exercise.