#whatiwore 2018w01 + Sunday links

The holidays are over, I’m getting back to my everyday routine and to my thesis… And the ultimate indicator of style change towards slightly more sober choices is that dressing as if Gudrun Sjoden would have chosen my outfit does not bring the same satisfaction as it used to. Oh, well! it will hopefully come back after the next 30 years.

Also, back to brain food, because the little grey cells are starving by now, although all of these make me heart sink exactly as in this Awkward Yeti comic:

If you are feeling too upbeat about future and “a happy new year”, go read some Monbiot. The Unseen World just repeats the basics of how fucked we are and how utterly incapable to address it.

This IPPF boast about the work their member association is doing with garment workers in Cambodia just confirms how exploitation is the new normal: Bringing sexual and reproductive healthcare to garment factory workers in Cambodia. So the efforts go into harm reduction withing the boundaries of the status quo and trying to convince the factory bosses who “are often afraid that letting NGOs or unions into the factories will create problems such as mobilising and inspiring the workers to advocate for better conditions” about the benefits of basic sexuality education and access to services.

The Truth About Outfit Repetition: “There Are Real Issues at Play Here” – Oh, the idiocy of people who have it all (and of the title editor, too): “the pressure to wear a different outfit every time [we] go out”. There is nothing to take apart, we should get our shit together and all follow the superbly crafted advice of Robin Williams:

*

Did you feel any style shifts in 2017? Do you think there are any coming in 2018? What are your old-age style fantasies? (Unsurprisingly, I want to be Iris Apfel when I grow up…)

#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!

*

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).

*

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

*

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.

*

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:

*

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

*

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!

*

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

#whatiwore 2017w46 + Sunday links

*

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

*

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

*

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.

*

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.

*

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

*

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:

*

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

*

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