#whatiwore 2018w29 + Sunday links

Because anger is better than apathy, feed the brain:

On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs: A Work Rant by David Graeber – “This is a profound psychological violence here. How can one even begin to speak of dignity in labour when one secretly feels one’s job should not exist? How can it not create a sense of deep rage and resentment.”

+ an additional interview with him on the same topic, The Rise of Bullshit Jobs: “Most work isn’t about producing things, it’s about keeping them the same, it’s about maintaining them, taking care of them, but also taking care of people, taking care of plants and animals. […] You realize that even a lot of these classic working-class jobs are really caring labor, they’re about taking care of people.”

A tongue-in-cheek adaptation of the Kübler-Ross model to accepting the perversity of fast fashion and breaking up with it – 5 Stages of Grief: Breaking Up with an Unethical Brand. Might be especially useful if you have an identity attachment to a brand, i.e. if you are their exact target audience aesthetically.

While the intention of the author seems to just chide the ethical consumption movement for their shortsightedness instead of proposing solutions, it is a good read to remind ourselves that (a) the typical contemporary supply chains are really complex and hard to control even if the brand wants to, unless they go off-grid and start producing in-house which raises prices, of course; (b) the forms of protest and resistance have to evolve when the target changes; and (c) it is bigger political and economic policies that set the playing field for the economic actors, those are political powers (or lack of them) that allow the corporations to do whatever they want: The Myth of the Ethical Shopper.

And the weekly reminder about haw horrific it is to work for that typical supply chain – #MeToo in the Supply Chain: Violence is a “Daily Reality” for Female Garment Workers.

What I was writing about a year ago: Lessons learnt from the Fashion Revolution MOOC.

Another old post you might enjoy: Persuasion or #fuckfastfashion, but gently.

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Which fast fashion crimes anger you the most? What was the trigger for you to start looking around for alternatives? What fast fashion perks – low prices, constant novelty, retail therapy – are you willing to give up in order to improve this? Which ones have been the hardest ones to give up?

#whatiwore 2018w28 + Sunday links

A random update: By the end of this week I was so fed up with my hair, the heat, the PhD and life in general that recurring to a feminine classic of going to a hairdresser seemed like a very good idea. I showed her this 2012 photo (July 17, btw, 6 years ago almost to a day):

There is wisdom in folk clichés, indeed. The hairdresser did this and I couldn’t be happier:

And now some material to chill your brain with incoming info:

George Monbiot on how memory bias and changing baselines – among other obstacles – prevent us from grasping climate change and mass extinctions: In Memoriam.

Archana is back! And she brings heart warming tales about composting, too.

Has it been a week or so since you added a new item it your list of environmental worries? Ha, here you have a new one: low hanging ozone. Yes, we love it when it’s in the stratosphere but – turns out! – not so much in the troposphere. And I had already put ozone under my very short list of ‘environmental fuckups humans actually reverted‘… while that is still true, it’s not the end of the story of us and ozone.

Is Online or In-Store Shopping More Eco-Friendly? based mainly in this paper by Dimitri Weideli: Environmental Analysis of US Online Shopping… Main message? It depends! Jen focuses on the driving associated with in-store shopping vs. deliveries which – isolated from everything else and assuming that the person doesn’t move their car to browse previously or to do sth else instead – are more efficient in route planning. However, there are so many other issues that are hard to assess (and Weideli tries to estimate it): which mode uses more packaging (because the store wares did came wrapped in something to the store but probably less than when they package one item for shipping), which one has a better carbon footprint (things have been already shipped in bulk to your high street or the super special lip balm from New Zealand; but what about if it’s responsibly made in New Zealand and the high street stuff is much worse in their production practices)?

Here is his break-down of CO2 emissions assuming that it is either online or in-store and not the person who went through all the stores in their city (by car!) and then ordered online, and that the product is the same (which in sustainable fashion niches it tends *not* to be):

So, if you like the in-store experience, don’t drive there! If you like shopping on-line, don’t ask for a speedy shipping and insist on the least packaging possible. And they better make it recyclable if not compostable. Or, even better, just stop shopping!

What I was writing about a year ago: Garment makers and fixers, I salute you.

Another old post you might enjoy: Vision-building for your wardrobe.

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Do you ever struggle with shopping decisions due to multiple considerations: aesthetics, ethics, CO2, distance? Which of those seal the deal for you?

#whatiwore 2018w27 + Sunday links

A random update: I’m still working on incorporating the #memade beige skirt into my everyday life. So far I’m accepting that it crumples *a lot* and that the hem will soon need a dye job to cover the bike oil stains. Yeah, I know, my wish not to save garments for special occasions take through a lot and only the true heroes persist, like so:


And even in 30ºC heat, the little gray cells need to be fed:

Just a reminder on why you don’t want to partake in the fast fashion July sales: Low Wages, Violence Against Women Continues in Indian Garment Factories.

A few long reads on revolutionary attempts? I’ve Jacobin mag‘s got you covered: Ralph Miliband’s 1990 essay on Counter-Hegemonic Struggles; How Beautiful It Was on May’68; and just to inspire to think out of the box – There’s More Than One Way to Strike the Boss.

And this: A Woman’s Work: Home Economics* (*I Took Woodworking Instead) – Carolita Johnson tallies the costs and benefits of love and cohabitation as a woman artist living in a patriarchy.

What I was writing about a year ago: How expensive is an ethical wardrobe? 2017 first half money talk.

Another old post you might enjoy: Breathe deeply, it’s clean enough.

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Have you had an experience of making or acquiring something beautiful and then struggling into making it work in your life exactly because it’s so special? What did you do? Did you accept that it will lose its luster and use it anyway or did you save it for special occasions?

#whatiwore 2018w26 + Sunday links

Here, memento mori:

What strike me most when learning about Kate Spade? On the positive note, the ‘just go and do (although you have very limited knowledge about the job)’ message. On the other, I didn’t know that it’s possible to give up the rights not only to all your intellectual property but also to your own name. Scary shit. For a context: 10 Minutes with Kate Spade, the Person; Kate and Andy Spade on NPR’s How I Built This; American Fashion Designer Kate Spade Dead at 55; Kate Spade’s Legacy Was Bringing Color and Quirk to Fashion + The Fashion Industry is Exclusive, Should We Expect its Coverage to Be Any Different? + Kering is Shuttering Tomas Maier’s Brand But His Trademark Lives On (And That’s Important).

After my take on body positivity, here you have two other bits: Body Positivity Is a Scam and Active ways to cultivate positive body image.

And bits about coherence in fashion (thanks to The Fashion Law ♥): When Is It Okay for Brands to Get Political? Ask Noah and Paris Fashion Week’s Front Rows Speak to Fashion’s Complicated Stance on #MeToo.

What I was writing about a year ago: #30wears and 18 months of counting.

Another old post you might enjoy: Get to know your fibers (and stop cutting the tags).

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As you can see, my outfits vary less in summer. I guess that’s because of lack of layering pieces. Have you had any adventures with outfit repetition, like having to explain it anybody that it’s OK? Do you think that people actually notice outfit repetition?

#whatiwore 2018w25 + Sunday links

Feed the brain (and keep it hydrated, too):

After the glitter shit, want another new environmental worry? Great, I give you *light*. Can Reducing Light Pollution Help Pollinators?

When recycling is a (low-key) crime, and how inefficient the donation system is unless stuff is sent abroad – Here’s What Really Happens to Your Used Clothes: How what you donate in the United States gets smuggled into Mexico.

And from a person trying to – still! – figure out what I think about the Academia, here you have some William Deresiewicz: The Disadvantages of an Elite Education and Don’t Send Your Kid to the Ivy League.

One of my head explosion moment regarding garment manufacturing was that there is no garment-with-seams machines – I can’t find the link now, sorry – in a sense that it all (except the seamless knitted pieces) needs human expertise and touch to properly construct garments. Well, 3D printing is changing some of that: Robots Are Making Gucci’s $650 Sneakers, Balenciaga’s Runway Jackets.

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What do you think, what will be the next true revolution in fashion technology? Large scale 3D printing? Mass composting? Or just a coat of durable finishing à la Ghost in the Shell? My favorite 20th century ones are first nylon stockings being so durable Dupont had to rethink the whole thing to sell more than a pair per person (i.e. redesigned priming sheerness over strength) and the t-shirt – an undergarment! – becoming socially accepted as an ‘essential’.

#whatiwore 2018w24 + Sunday links

And brain food for all:

If you are not a worshiper of Kate Fletcher, here you have a brief taste of her take on sustainability in fashion – Usership: Fashion Beyond Consumerism + this beautiful urban intervention, a Haberdashemergency.

The sticky stuff around wish to eat healthy and an eating disorder easily endorsed by others: The Problem With ‘Clean Eating’ In Eating Disorder Recovery, Disordered Eating and Consumption in the Intentional Living Movement, and Clean is for Underwear, not Food.

And how (post)colonialism slows down fashion emerging off the official fashion capitals: Bridging the Gap Between Africa’s Burgeoning Fashion Brands and the Global Market.

And on links between race, school furbishing, and academic achievement: Staying Cool as Social Policy.

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What interesting things have you read this week? New and unexpected unintended consequences stuff I should know about?

#whatiwore 2018w23 + Sunday links

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.

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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.

#whatiwore 2018w22 + Sunday links

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.

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What are your current reminder to self? Any go-to resources for restoring the inner balance you would like to share?

#whatiwore 2018w21 + Sunday links

And because the little gray friends need nom-noms:

While I’ve never expected high fashion to be socially responsible and caring for poverty or social inequalities, this is an interesting point: Op-Ed: Is Balenciaga Socially Irresponsible? Meanwhile, you can read up about the actual Cristóbal Balenciaga and have some incredible eye candy of what Balenciaga once was.

The whole thing of shipping our garbage off-sight keep coming back, obviously, because stuff – including garments – does not evaporate, so Rwanda Does Not Want Our Used Clothes and is at a Standoff with the U.S. as a Result and, repeatedly, For Dignity and Development, East Africa Curbs Used Clothes Imports.

“Fashion Revolutionaries is a partnership between the British Council and Fashion Revolution which aims to create positive change in the global fashion industry. The programme highlights change-makers and activists who are exploring new ways of working which values people, the environment, creativity and profit in equal measure.
As part of Fashion Revolution Week, the British Council have commissioned a series of 7 short films profiling the innovative stories of 7 practitioners across the world, including fashion designers, artists, architects and entrepreneurs. The films have been created in the spirit of the grassroots movement, using content produced by the practitioners themselves and directed by Kate Cox and produced by the Smalls.” – shorts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7.

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June and summer will be officially here very soon… What are your fashion inspirations for this summer? Colors? Materials? Aesthetics? Mine, as you already know, are here.

#whatiwore 2018w20 + Sunday links

A random update: I did a little happy DIY to keep one of my feminist pins alive (obtained from Norwegian ladies in Women Deliver conference in 2013)! While the visible side had some rust which is not a big deal for me and happens to many pins that have been worn outside, the reverse was giving me grief. I had worn this one on my backpack for quite a while but lately the closure kept opening and too often I was picking the pin off the ground. The only useful transformation that occurred to me was doing the Sugru magnet magic: taking out the metal closure thing and putting a blob of Sugru + a piece of magnet (with the less magnetic side touching Sugru) on it. Ta-dah! This pin now has a calm retirement ahead of it guarding our shopping lists.


And now for something completely different:

While I don’t own any Elizabeth Suzann garments and I’m not sure if that’s an aesthetic I’ll ever wholeheartedly embrace, I’m in love and at awe with her business politics. Here you have both eye candy – Yossy Arefi: Clothing Is A Means & Natalie Chanin: Clothing Is An Expression Of Life – and some more talking about sustainable business development: Times, They Are A’Changing: A Conversation About Growth and Adaptation.

The notions of ‘modesty’ in fashion keep catching my attention. While in these videos the attention is on other aspects of people’s lives in connection with religion, I’m just superficial (and an atheist!) and attracted to the aesthetics. The bridging of the formally ‘modest’ with undoubtedly cool is fascinating: Your Average Muslim and The Queen of Berlin’s Underground Hip-Hop Dance Culture parts 1, 2 and 3.

For some reason, I’ve done some health-care intervention related reading this week… So you might too. The Oxytocin Tent by George Monbiot, Closing the Asylums in Jacobin Magazine and the Daniel Dennett classic Thank Goodness! + It’s Time to Take Back Our Aging, Smelly Bodies by Martha C. Nussbaum.

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Have you recently done any – however small – DIY that makes you very proud of your own ingenuity? Is there a practical-life or item longevity issue you are trying to solve and haven’t found the answer yet? Have you stumbled on any intriguing DIYs you can’t wait to tray out?

#whatiwore 2018w19 + Sunday links

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

And now the brain nom-noms:

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

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

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

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

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

#whatiwore 2018w18 + Sunday links

Nom-nom-nom said the little gray cells:

Back to basics and George! I keep going back to his Career Advice a couple a times a year for the last ten years. Helps.

Puzzled by the great cognitive dissonance of our generation bringing together so much awareness and being such avid fast fashion consumers? Me too… Why Aren’t More Millennials Shopping Sustainably? Look at the Price Tag. Although I suppose there is something more apart from hard cash considerations going on.

And a side of social media can of worms: Fake Followers, Fraud, Huge Budgets Still Dominate the Influencer Marketing Sphere, Devumi: The Social Media Company Selling ‘Fake’ Followers to Stars, Politicians and The Follower Factory.

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What’s your relationship with the social media? Do you judge people by the number of their followers? Have you ever thought of aggressive follower acquisition (fake ones, having an algorithm that ‘befriends’ and then ‘defriends’ after you have followed back, etc.)? Have you noticed ‘like’-related anxiety?

#whatiwore 2018w17 + Sunday links

Let’s feed the little gray cells:

So the Fashion Revolution Week came and went, here’s a related reading list: (1) Op-Ed: Five Years After Rana Plaza, Not all Brands Have Changed, (2) Fashion Revolution Week: Fashion by the Numbers, (3) the Fashion Transparency Index and What Really Goes into a Fashion Ranking & How Brands Game the System.

Any moment is a good moment to rethink your personal finances (and savings rates!), here are some ideas: The Spectrum of Personal Finance and On ‘Being Frugal Is for the Rich’.

While I am very skeptical every time a “that garbage turned into this new thing” headline excites the web (remember the orange waste thread hype?), even I have to admit that this is cute: Sustainable Sneaker Is Made From Chewing Gum.

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Did you do something for the Fashion Revolution Week? Have you made any new sustainable fashion commitments? I’m starting to branch into mending and sewing…

#whatiwore 2018w16 + Sunday links

So I went to London to participate in Marie Kondo consultant seminar…
These are my sartorial experiences, the rest will come later:

A random update 1: The minimalist aspirations are too much at times. I went on a 5 night trip with my everyday backpack and a tote. The tote was mostly food (two big sandwiches, strawberries, an apple, date bars, cherry tomatoes, chocolate and almonds), because hunger always strikes right after the security control. I chose to leave my big camera at home, (correctly) assuming that this trip won’t be spent exploring London for photos (you can see the visuals from my past UK trips here), but did carry a laptop, several notebooks, a Marie Kondo book for her to sign and other life necessities. It worked out well, but was a bit too small… I ended up leaving some stuff (two books and a notebook) with my lovely host for future retrieval.

A random update 2: Given the limited luggage space, I made an exciting wardrobe decision – to take only one (gasp!) proper bottoms: my mom’s hand-me-down bird and flower skirt (+ a pair of leggings but I had no plans to go to the seminar in those) and three tops. So I wore the same bottoms, hence the same silhouette, and repeated two of the tops. And nobody cared! I received three comments about my clothes: two just praising the outfit (they hadn’t noticed that I wore the same skirt the day before) and one remarking on how I was getting the most out of my beautiful skirt. Outfit repetition for the win! Because either it goes unnoticed or you can present it as your personal war against fast fashion.

A random update 3: My effort to look smart and going places had a clear effect – for the first time in my life I was accused (not by a seminar participant but by a friend of a friend of a friend) of dressing conservatively! Not in my face and not as a good thing. It is hilarious, however, and I present all my outfits as an counterargument. I understand how in the age of black skinnies and gray t-shirts uniforms an outfit that looks like I made an effort might be confusing. I didn’t have a bird in my hair or visible radical feminist pins, and apparently the little pale pink sweater was the main culprit:

The perfect blank preppy canvas that it is!

Links for brains!

Talking about outfits as statements, Why Janelle Monáe’s vagina pants make me cheer. And also on feminism and representation, As Vogue Broadens its Gaze, One Might Wonder: What Took So Long?

Why we shouldn’t believe when fashion promises, only when they deliver: Garment Industry Watchdog Calls Foul – Again – on H&M’s Vow to Provide “Fair Living Wage”.

And when spirits falter, A Climate Change Activist on Why Giving Up Isn’t an Option.

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Do people ever misunderstand you through your clothing? Do you ever “deceive” through clothing on purpose? Do you adjust your outfits to the people you are going to meet?

#whatiwore 2018w15 + Sunday links

A random update: Remember my excitement about my new yoga set I found in the swap seed suitcase just before January swap? Shorts-appropriated temperatures have come to at least my yoga studio and the functionality has spoken… those shorts are not for any gymnastics, unless you get a thrill of showing your privates to other people, those are pajama shorts! Although the length is similar when standing up, the construction of the crotch going into legs is different, rendering the new ones equal to a ‘cheeky’ cut when moving or doing splits. Here, one more proof that not all garments are created equal, and one more reason for getting free garments that one can trial out and send back to where they came from. I’m not sure I’ll bring them back to May swap, but that such option exists is already enough for me. And the old worn-out shorts will get at least #30-more-wears.

Old ones (bought second-hand in 2015) vs. the new ones.

And now for something completely different to keep the little grey cells fat and happy:

A sad reminder that ‘made in EU’ or even a more specific (you know my issues with the ‘made in EU’ blanket: 1, 2) ‘made in x country with long artisan traditions’ does not necessarily mean much: What Really Goes into “Made in Italy” Fashion?

Can’t get enough of plastic pollution and want more to be sad and frustrated about? Here you go: nurdles or plastic resin pellet pollution. Or, in Spanish, lágrimas de sirena.

Seeing how other topics – mainly nutrition and food-ethics – were coming into my link section and how time by time even my veganism needs a reminder on why I’m doing this, now there’s a whole masterpost of my vegan / whole-foods plant-based educational materials right on the top menu. You are welcome!

One of the big issues in consumption-based activism is its atomic and (often) online-only character – ethical consumption can be done pretty much in secret and stay between you and your bulk vendors without creating or affecting your community. To get inspiration for IRL activism and events, here you have Monbiot offering reviving communities as a cure for all the neo-liberal ills, and, for more brainy pushes towards people-activities as activism, Robert Ulanowicz on ecosystems and Elinor Ostrom on commons.

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Have you ever had to go back to the old garment after getting a new one and realizing that the old one is better? What did you do then, looked for another new one or went back to the old one?

#whatiwore 2018w14 + Sunday links

A random update 1: After all my wishing and bragging about going to KonMari London seminar by train, the French rail workers are on strike and I preferred to play it on the safe side. Back to f*ing Ryanair we go… I hope to make my dream trip in June, though!

A random update 2: I have a little politico-fashion kerfuffle going on in my head… (a) I was on antibiotics and now have a sore throat, (b) the weather is right for a light scarf, not for one of my woolen ones, (c) my only light scarf is mustard (HnM 2008, I use it for covering when henna dying and for summer turbans), I love the color and love the scarf, but (d) in the current political climate it is likely to be assumed to be a message I do not feel strongly about (and that’s all I hope to say here about the whole Catalan thing). I know it’s mostly in my head, but at least there the struggle is real. Clearly, co-opting colors for a cause is a very dodgy thing, especially if a cause is not an extremely generalized one. The obvious ‘good’ example here would be the fight against breast cancer, with all the needed caveats about pink-washing – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.

The scarf ☝

And now for something completely different… feed the brain!

The Fashion Law is asking if fast fashion is going down: Is Fast Fashion Dying in the Age of Wokeness or is it Just H&M? and Bernard Arnault Tops Zara’s Amancio Ortega as World’s Richest European. However, When It Comes to Millennials’ Fashion Buys, Price and Convenience Trump Sustainability. So maybe fast fashion is growing less because we have a shit-ton of stuff already? Or there are just more players in the field and the profits are less concentrated between the two giants?

For a bit of ‘the real conscious business’ and how the ‘don’t buy our stuff’ drives sales: How Patagonia Grows Every Time It Amplifies Its Social Mission.

And, as human ingenuity has no limits, a new way of – maybe? sometimes? – greenwashing: Is ‘Ethical Fashion’ Made with Deadstock Fabric Just Greenwashing?

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Have you had any fashion mishaps linked to meaning attached to garments, cuts, colors? Like, learning that you have the wrong color laces in your boots? Or have you been accused or have had a remorseful moment about past cultural appropriation? I wore bindis for fun in my adolescence, ugh, and nobody around me knew better.

Here, as a bonus: Headdresses white people can wear that aren’t appropriative of non-white cultures. Mind you, while the idea of this ‘master post’ is good, some people would protest against appropriation of animal-inspired and Middle Eastern headdresses, too. Let’s just stick to flower crowns instead!

#whatiwore 2018w13 + Sunday links

A random update: The spring is here, the spring is here! Finally. The weather switch came suddenly and a month later than last year. April and May are the sweetest months to dress for in Barcelona – I crave shedding the extra layers, the temperatures and the humidity are still pleasant, and the outfit formula is short sleeves + a light layer + bare legs. Yes!

So let’s feed the little gray cells meanwhile:

I find the whole stylist/closet app so confusing! Turns out there are people who appreciate that algorithms suggest them combining their skinnies with a t-shirt… I really should talk to somebody who enjoys this kind of service! Until then: Digital Closet Startups Want to Give You the Cher Horowitz Experience.

The notion of modest fashion is making rounds. There was already a NY Times read in December, and it popped up again this week on The Fashion Law: “Muslim Futurists” are Waiting to be Recognized, Embraced by Fashion. While obviously not buying anything on the site they were mentioning, I peaked of what their modest luxury selection looked like. Extremely expensive pretty dresses without too much cleavage or mini. That’s it, folks!

Back to basics: despite all the tempting sustainable fashion brands out there, the best thing that you can do for the sustainability in fashion is to wear the hell out of what you already have. Boom! The fast fashion stuff you already have is waaaay better for the climate than the ethical and sustainable fashion you don’t own yet. Why We Should Wear Clothes Until They’re Worn Out.

And for eudaimonia:

I’m switching to trains instead of planes whenever possible. For my next two trips I’ll be trying this strategy out on routes Barcelona-London-Barcelona and Barcelona-Brussels-London-Barcelona. Here are part of my reasons: (a) Cut your CO2 emissions by taking the train, by up to 90%, (b) Watch Out, Airlines. High Speed Rail Now Rivals Flying on Key Routes, (c) 27 reasons trains are better than planes. Also, I think I will enjoy it much more!

My sociologist self loves unintended consequences! Here you have one: “Concerted Cultivation” and the March For Our Lives.

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What are you most looking forward this spring? What sustainability adventures are waiting for you?

#whatiwore 2018w12 + Sunday links

A random update: I have a beige-minimalist-weird-shape capsule wardrobe fatigue! I know, I know that to each her own but the hegemony of this one aesthetic is overwhelming and depressing. And gives a false image of what a minimalist-in-numbers wardrobe can and cannot be. Here you have a great example of a capsule I’ll never wear from Fête/Life magazine:



Fashion-related brain food for the little gray cells:

Initiatives aimed at giving full information about supply chains involved in their garments: (1) The IOU Project that will show you both weavers and dress-makers of each item they sell, and (2) Where Your Clothing that will show even which cotton farmers the raw material came from.

One of those usual *maybe* hopeful sustainability news: ‘[In US] After rising for 100 years, electricity demand is flat. Utilities are freaking out.‘ My cranky side would just frown at this due to the fact that the consumption should be actually falling because (a) so much electricity-intensive uses have been shipped away to other countries and (b) all appliances gain efficiency with each new model. So who is using all this electricity anyway?

An artsy attempt at an atemporal capsule (somehow looks much better than most sleek-and-beige capsules mentioned above) Standard Issue by Dosa.

Brain food for eudaimonia:

A practice to try – writing therapy! Two different approaches to choose from or to blend according to your needs, Dr. James Pennebaker’s Expressive writing and Julia Cameron’s Morning pages.

For quite some years I’ve summarized a part of my youth with the Geroge W. Bush quote “When I was young and irresponsible, I was young and irresponsible” (1, 2). Last week on Stephen Colbert I discovered that I could also quote Bukowski to convey the same sentiment: “Oh, I was once young, Oh, I was once unbelievably young!”

#whatiwore 2018w11 + Sunday links

A random update: A person who knows me very little but enough to be aware that we share certain sustainability concerns, asked if I had a lot of clothing as I’m always organizing something clothing related. The logic seemed to be that as I seemed to care a lot about a topic, I necessarily would own a lot of that, ehm, topic… Twisted logic, because it goes the other way: I have so little and approach the incomings with such suspicion that creating spaces that allow to choose carefully and to maintain the already owned is what I truly need. If other people benefit from it, good for them! Yes, you might have guessed, I’m trying to branch out into garment fixing events too…

But until then…

Fashion-related brain food for a rainy spring day:

While I’m mostly pissed off about sponsored content, here you have the other side – Alden Wicker on why content promoting brands should be sponsored and not gifted away by the bloggers. I find all the embedded marketing and sponsored content stuff extremely dodgy and weird, but it’s nice to see people being open about money.

As I am preparing to wander in the fixing and mending, here’s some basic inspiration: The Aesthetics of Mending and kintsugi. Also, this Spark Joy podcast episode featuring Lanecia Rouse Tinsley and her take on wabi sabi.

Behind the very encouraging title of ‘Americans have stopped trying to stuff more clothes into their closets’ the news is that *maybe* the consumption patterns are shifting slightly in the US and that the latest wave of fast fashion since the late 2000s hasn’t been such a change in comparison with the previous decade.

Brain food for eudaimonia:

Thomson, Judith Jarvis. 1976. ‘A defense of abortion.’ In Biomedical Ethics and the Law, pp. 39-54.

Deresiewicz, William. 2007. ‘Love on Campus‘: “Love is a flame, and the good teacher raises in students a burning desire for his or her approval and attention, his or her voice and presence, that is erotic in its urgency and intensity. The professor ignites these feelings just by standing in front of a classroom talking about Shakespeare or anthropology or physics, but the fruits of the mind are that sweet, and intellect has the power to call forth new forces in the soul. Students will sometimes mistake this earthquake for sexual attraction, and the foolish or inexperienced or cynical instructor will exploit that confusion for his or her own gratification. But most professors understand that the art of teaching consists not only of arousing desire but of redirecting it toward its proper object, from the teacher to the thing taught.”

The New Yorker 2016 profile on Martha NussbaumThe Philosopher of Feelings‘ spun me off to her The New Republic pieces and the feminist battles depicted in her ‘The Professor of Parody: The Hip Defeatism of Judith Butler’ (pdf).

#whatiwore 2018w10 + Sunday links

A random update: I saw this job ad in my neighborhood in Rīga this January – ‘seamstresses and pressers needed’. My fantasy is that this is one of those ‘designed in [some cool country], made in EU‘ things. I know, I know it’s much better when businesses outsource to the EU periphery instead of Bangladesh, but it still feels weird when my country is the much-cheaper-and-we-can-still-say-it’s-made-in-EU country. On the other hand, it could be a workshop for an up-and-coming Latvian textile endeavor, who knows…

And brain food to keep the little gray cells round and happy:

Outfit repeating is *in* on the red carpet! And seems that all it took was a couple of persons being unapologetic about the ‘you’ve worn it already’ taboo: Once a Faux Pas, Outfit Repeating Was the Talk of Oscars Fashion and Kate Middleton Isn’t the Only One Repeating Outfits: Vogue Editors on How to Wear a Look Again . . . And Again. Oh, we are such ridiculous animals!

If you need a reminder that community is at least as important as all the constructive steps e can do on our own, here’s George for you: Commonhealth.

The Spark Joy podcast ladies dedicated one to all the derision and myths around KonMari. As I realized after reading all three books, only the third – Spark Joy – actually describes all the way how to stretch Kondo’s system to fit each person. And it is amusing to read passionate criticism from those that clearly (1) have read only the Life Changing Magic if any, (2) have taken it in with the ‘my way or the high way’ tone that that book has, and (3) might have had other expectations for it. This is how you get people who apply it partly but then title their review Why I Absolutely Refuse to KonMari My Life or people who accuse Kondo of not being minimalist or sustainability-focused (something she has never claimed) while suggesting applying her method ruthlessly but with a slightly different overarching question. Relax, it’s a tool not a cult – you can infuse it with your own meaning and take what you need!

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Are you transitioning to spring these days? What are layers you are most eager to shed? (For me the return to canvas sneakers felt especially pleasant this year!) And what are you looking forward to wear?