#whatiwore 2019w20 + Sunday links

Oh, I’m sure that exhausting brain gymnastics and doom’n’gloom is what you came here for… cheers!

1. Here, a dose of varying kinds of climate realism: (a) Safia Minney’s first podcast episode with George Monbiot on his “Environmental Breakdown and How to Stop It” and (b) Why Is This Happening? with Chris Hayes podcast episode on “The Uninhabitable Earth” by David Wallace-Wells. Wallace-Well’s original article that he then turned into a book is here: The Uninhabitable Earth.

2. In the recurring section of ‘ugh, I cannot believe we are still debating this shit’: The Criminalization of Women’s Bodies Is All About Conservative Male Power by Laurie Penny. And some additional sound parenting advice from Feminist Ire: How to talk to your children about abortion.

3. Why do we all have to be beautiful? bubbled up in my feeds, and I wish I had something intelligent to add. I offer you these instead: (a) Nina Simone’s Face; (b) Incomparable Lightness of Being Ugly and (c) a whole line-up of men (!) who made a point via their not conventionally handsome features: Pablo, Georges, Bill, Jacques. Among women, Diana Vreeland comes immediately in mind for having announced her conscious decision – helped by social class, mind you – to rise above the beauty trap in favor of style/elegance/whatddayacallit, although her lifelong work probably trapped millions of women exactly there.

4. Because every week should be fashion revolution week in your head: (a) Who Made My Clothes? And Other Important Questions, (b) Less is More: Can Sustainability And Profit Co-Exist? (the key for me here was this quote: “the top three reasons for implementing sustainability targets in business today are driven by the desire to grow revenue (39%), reduce costs (35%), and/or protect their brand (30%)”), (c) Will a 1p tax solve the problems caused by that £5 dress?

5. Style development advice 101: Support Stores That Bring You Value and Developing Your Eye.

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What I was writing about a year ago: May (6th!) Clothes’ Swap Recap. Turns out that the little gray Zara cardigan has been with us for a year now, after one fix (though requiring another one soon) and 83 wears later.

What I was writing about two years ago: Let it go, let go (of non-serving restrictions). Basically, on how self-imposed restrictions can be helpful and transformational but maybe need not to be taken overly seriously when they start to affect the quality of your life. Especially with minimalist, zero-waste, no purchase inclinations… you go, girl, but remember to be kind to yourself while doing it!

What I was wearing a year ago: #whatiwore 2018w20 + Sunday links.

What I was wearing two years ago: #whatiwore 2017w20. Still wearing this week: Veja Arcade sneakers and the No-pasarán t-shirt in its glorious transformation.

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I’m low on uplifting stuff and climate optimism this week. Where do you look for a ray of hope in such moments? Resources I should read, people I should follow, anything good and sustainable anywhere that has sparked joy to you recently?

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Also, the tipjar is available if you ever feel like buying me a coffee!

#whatiwore 2019w19 + Sunday links

A detail: The swap morning elevator selfie!

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And the Sunday picnic of information nom-noms is here:

1. This is just a fun story illustrating a million possible ways how brands that do not update their designs create happiness exactly because of not doing it: My Brother Lost His Pants. My own complaints about Veja just making new designs and not bringing back my favorite sneaker ever, are here.

2. And just a bit of technological musings comparing people’s fear of automatic elevators in 1940s and our fear of driverless cars: Pushing the right buttons. Technology is so outlandish until it is suddenly so commonplace…

3. This is the weird story Sunday, so The Weird and Glorious Culture Shock of “Take Ivy” about the man who went on replicating inexistent styles until they became their own reality in fashion. Basically, the magic that might happen – though usually doesn’t – when you copy an aesthetic without knowing what’s behind it.

4. This could be one of most intriguing headlines ever: When Their Trademarks Are Used, the Hells Angels Resort Not to Violence but to High-Profile Lawsuits. Indeed, I didn’t know either that Hells Angels is a registered trademark…

5. When the answer is simpler than you expected (but that doesn’t make it more feasible because of political reasons): Rewild the World.

6. A mediation on how some pictures of anonymous people come to illustrate whole social / political movements, partly due to how those depicted are dressed: ‘It’s Going to Be the Image of the Revolution’.

7. Ugh, there is so much to say about the Notre-Dame fire and aftermath, and so much has been said. But here you have a bit on the symbolic importance for the fashion world (Woven Into the Fabrics of France) juxtaposed with the lavish promises of donations for rebuilding: French Titans’ Pledges to Notre-Dame Pass €850 Million. And a piece from a couple of years ago describing the symbolic value of such gestures (and how that symbolic value can be turned into euros) – ‘you have to think about exactly how you are engaging with the consumer […] the new model is representing something a whole lot deeper and more meaningful to consumers’ – For the Wolf of Luxury, a Chance to Be a Lamb.

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What I was writing about a year ago: Swap VI and the problem with the threadbare. Complaining about how having fewer things make them wear out sooner, that’s just pure statistics.

What I was writing about two years ago: We shall swap again. Explaining the logic of who leaves my wardrobe to go and be swapped away…

What I was wearing a year ago: #whatiwore 2018w19 + Sunday links. Also, showing off my first #memade garment ever!

What I was wearing two years ago: #whatiwore 2017w19. Still wearing: my mom’s gray cardigan and Monton bird skirt, and Veja Arcade sneakers.

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How did you feel about the Notre-Dame donations? What would you change in the world with €850 million euros? Which sustainability cause you wish the extra rich would start throwing their money at?

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Also, the tipjar is available if you ever feel like buying me a coffee!

#whatiwore 2019w18 + Sunday links

A detail: The 10th (!) swap is coming next Saturday. And these two pieces are leaving my wardrobe for sure… The fake ‘vans’ turned out to be too thin-soled for any reasonable walking, and the cutback top is too complicated to wear. The shape is great but that cut is clearly meant for the no bra people. I just end up readjusting it all the time to hide the bra, and who has time for that? So these two, among many others, will be up for grabs on May 11. See you there!

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Are here come the brain nom-noms:

1. I’ve been thinking a lot about the extent to which some entrepreneurships are made possible by families and significant others, and this popped up in my internets: “Sponsored” by my husband: Why it’s a problem that writers never talk about where their money comes from.

2. One of those random heritage brand stories (and an interview!) on myth creation: The J. Peterman Company: Uncommonly Good Stuff From An Uncommonly Interesting Man. And another one: The North Face: From Summits to Sidewalks. And another one: The Harrington Jacket: A Hit Across the Pond. Fashion history is a fascinating subject, especially if one goes item by item! Like so: Fatigue Fashion: History of the OG-107 Trousers.

3. If you want a reminder on what to hate vehemently, here ‘Cars are ruining our lives. We should cut their use by 90% over the next 10 years’: Auto-Destruct.

4. I had never thought of how a good billboard can be amplified n-fold by people appreciating it and posting that on social media. However, marketing people had thought about it: The Beauty of a Billboard in the Age of Instagram.

5. In hopeful news section, this sounds too good to be true (fingers crossed, though): Fast-fashion retailers like Zara and HnM have a new threat: the $24 billion used clothes market + pro tips on buying second-hand online: Emerging Markets.

6. If you were ever looking for a fashion essay that brings together Samuel Beckett, la Résistance, and the history of industrial chemistry just to talk about ochre, here you have it: The Color of Roussillon, France. I can’t help but love it, this is how I want to write when I grow up…

7. And to crush your aspiration to cure everything with some reusable bags: Your cotton tote is pretty much the worst replacement for a plastic bag.

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What I was writing about a year ago: #FashionRevolution Fix it! workshop + easy fixes. We had a blast doing some basic hand-sewn fixes exactly a year ago, let’s see if another one happens soon…

What I was writing about two years ago: Style ebb and flow, me and others. From that time when I spent a couple of hours in the Chicago Midway International Airport meditating on what I wear and why… mostly on how I don’t do it for anybody else’s pleasure but my own.

What I was wearing a year ago: #whatiwore 2018w18 + Sunday links. Still going strong: Hummel Madelaine jacket, Street One jacket and the now-reborn No pasarán t-shirt, Veja Arcade, the red wooden necklace, my mom’s gray cardigan and her gingham dress.

What I was wearing two years ago: #whatiwore 2017w18. Even two years after, my mom’s gray cardigan, Veja Arcade, No pasarán t-shirt, and Liisa’s black lace top coincide.

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Have you been swapping lately? Any interesting newcomers, any long-needed partings? Do you have those special friends or family members whose wardrobes you keep an eye on for when they are tired of their stuff? Or do you suspect that you are that person with the wardrobe that others are hoping to raid?

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Also, the tipjar is available if you ever feel like buying me a coffee!

#whatiwore 2019w17 + Sunday links

Here, feed the brain:

1. I still don’t have a properly formed sociological opinion about the KonMari fever and all other homemaker-influencers, but it will probably be something along the lines of ‘try to control a least a bit of your life (as the economy in unpredictable and the planet is down the toilet)’ mixed with it being an easier field for women’s entrepreneurship: What the rise of the ‘cleanfluencer’ tells us about women’s lives in 2019.

2. Because I find this explosive mix of niche fashion anthropologies and a fashion giant trying to restrict who can wear their wares hilarious: (a) Patagonia Drops Co-Branded Fleece Vests; (b) Patagonia Is Cracking Down on the Wall Street Uniform; (c) Are Bankers and Venture Capitalists Really Getting Fleeced by Patagonia? and the actual evidence that the conflict is real (d) Midtown Uniform Instagram account.

3. The fashion casualization stuff still appears on my feeds, so here you go: (a) a  historical one on East India Company enduring English garments in highly inappropriate weather for stupid reasons: Idiotic Pride; (b) Casual Friday and the ‘End of the Office Dress Code’; (c) Why American Workers Now Dress So Casually; (d) The Origins of Business Casual; (e) on how fashion advice is routine in politics: Hey, Governor, What Are You Wearing?; (e) and how we are probably all ending up in tights and onesies: It’s Possible Leggings Are the Future. Deal With It.

4. Just for fun and footwear history: (a) History of Wellington Boots: From Battlefields to Potato Fields; (b) Horses to Hollywood to High Fashion: The History of the Cowboy Boot; (c) How the Air Jordan 1 Became the New Chuck Taylor; (d) Nike’s Air Jordan was a key turning point in menswear.

5. And a couple of ladies whose job you might want to have: Kelly Harrington: 100% Denim and Dress For A Role: Style Lessons From A Costume Designer Keri Langerman.

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What I was writing about a year ago: Luīze goes to KonMari Consultant Seminar.

What I was writing about two years ago: Breathe deeply, it’s clean enough.

What I was wearing a year ago: #whatiwore 2018w17 + Sunday links. Still repeating: Inga’s PhD dress and Liisa’s skater skirt. Also, Veja Arcade sneakers.

What I was wearing two years ago: #whatiwore 2017w17. So many still in rotation: Hummel Madelaine, the Indian Prince shirt, Veja Arcade, Inga’s PhD dress, Ginta’s MnS black dress…

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What are your 2 cents on the fashion casualization? Do you think it would be fun going back to wearing little white gloves every time you leave home and starchy underskirt? Or are you among those who cannot wait until it will be acceptable to get married and/or buried in your yoga pants?

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Also, the tipjar is available if you ever feel like buying me a coffee:

#whatiwore 2019w16 + Sunday links

Here, a spoonful of informed and furious:

1. I haven’t participated in any of these yet but even my introvert self is getting there: (a) Climate Change Protests Disrupt London Fashion Week; (b) First Strike; (c) suggestions on how to prep and disseminate from Body Politic / Extinction Rebellion; (d) No More Excuses.

2. Why it might make sense to dress formally when protesting: Wearing a Suit Makes People Think Differently. I actually vaguely recall a protest initiative where people marched dressed in their best… and how it impressed both media and the police. In UK, I think, but cannot seem to find to find it… Help me, please, if you know what I’m talking about!

3. The Earth Day is coming and the Fashion Revolution Week is coming, and you will read the same articles again and again. Like these: (a) My Year of No Shopping; (b) How online shopping and cheap prices are turning Americans into hoarders; (c) Waste Colonialism; (d) Your HnM addiction is wreaking havoc on the environment. Here’s how to break it; (e) Is This the End of Recycling?; and some people like to inject a bit of hope, so we are back talking about plastic-eating bacteria that might or might not be in the market in a couple of years (f) Hello, Little Microbe. Doesn’t This Jacket Look Yummy?

4. And there are always more plastics to worry about: (a) Should We Worry About Little Plastic Produce Stickers?; (b) The truth about fruit stickers because no article that starts with ‘the truth’ will ever tell anything nice; (c) Esta empresa española está revolucionando el mundo del etiquetado de alimentos. Fun fact, these people tell that the laser-tagging technology was invented to prevent melon theft in supermarkets, i.e. people paying for more expensive melons as if they’d be the cheaper kind

5. And some more analysis of ‘why fashion so ugly?’: How Sound Branding Changed Fashion.

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What I was writing about a year ago: #100wears: Red flea sweater.

What I was writing about two years ago: Persuasion or #fuckfastfashion, but gently.

What I was wearing a year ago: #whatiwore 2018w16 + Sunday links (aka what I wore to the KonMari consultant seminar).

What I was wearing two years ago: How I pack or #whatiwore 2017w16 (my minimalist travel outfit planning illustrated).

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What do the designated days of activism mean to you? Do they serve as an additional impetus? A means to reach out? Or are you slightly irritated that suddenly, once a year, everybody is so keen on sustainability just to forget it tomorrow?

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Also, the tipjar is available if you ever feel like buying me a coffee:

#whatiwore 2019w15 + Sunday links

A detail: Here you have a little garment story. First, at the February Swap I picked up this small Benetton 78% wool and 22% angora sweater. It had a rip at the front – somebody had clearly once pinned a brooch on it and unraveled it – that I was afraid to try and fix, but Mara is not afraid of anything, so she bravely mended this beauty:


Then, after less than ten wears (and two hand washes), I noticed that my little swap sweater was piling very quickly. Well, that is cheap wool mixes for you… So I shaved it. With this thing. C invested in one recently, and I am very impressed. However, as he remarked, a few more shaves and I won’t have any sweater left.


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But now, here’s a hearty soup for the brain:

1. On the complicated relations between price and value in fashion: Untruisms: You Get What You Pay For.

2. Ever heard of ‘ecocide’? I hadn’t either until I read George’s column about the work or Polly Higgins (1, 2): Law of Nature.

3. There are certain types of information I always find delightful, one of them is ‘look at this lady you never heard of before who run her fashion business (after some horrible shit happened and she had to make her own living)’, so ta-dah: Hansi Originals and Hansi Landis.

4. If you are dumbfounded by how people create their uniforms (pro tip: whatever stuff you have on that chair that you don’t even put back in your wardrobe because you are wearing the same thing tomorrow *is* your uniform!), here, Caroline will tell you how: Spring style: My uniform for warmer days.

5. Before you stash away your winter stuff, this: I’d Like To Try To Fumigate This Here Sweater: Dealing With Moths, Without Pesticides and A Textile Conservator Explains How To Deal With Clothes Moths.

6. Then, in denim news: (a) Kingpins to Require Denim Exhibitors to Meet Supply Chain Standards; (b) What Does Levi’s Impending IPO Have To Do With Your Leggings? (c) New Levi’s® Wellthread™ x Outerknown Features Groundbreaking Cottonized Hemp; (d) and I cannot help but applaud this brilliant advocacy strategy: Levi’s Leather Patches Come Under Fire by Peta (who are now their shareholders).

7. And just for history fun and a reminder that most writing people have written questionable stuff just to earn their living: The Walt Whitman Method for Acquiring a Manly Chest and Avoiding Syphilitic Taint.

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What I was writing about a year ago: Yes, there are garments that I’ve never washed. From that list I’ve now washed the red flea sweater and my mom’s Monton bird skirt.

What I was writing about two years ago: Journey on Hobbit Feet.

What I was wearing a year ago: #whatiwore 2018w15 + Sunday links. OK, I’m repeating the yellow scarf, the No Pasarán t-shirt in its current incarnation, Liisa’s black velvet skirt, and my mom’s Monton bird skirt. Boom!

What I was wearing two years ago: #whatiwore 2017w15. Oh, this is one of the rare weeks that 0 garments coincide with the respective week from two years ago… See, even my wardrobe changes.

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What are your knit-care experiences? Piling upon first wear from garments you thought were a good investment? Or a random thrift find or a hand-me-down that exceeds all expectations? Any moth catastrophes to grieve?

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Also, the tipjar is available if you ever feel like buying me a coffee:

#whatiwore 2019w14 + Sunday links

A detail: As my stuff is pretty randomly acquired, I’m very excited to see any of my choices worn by other people or suggested in editorials. Also, I think that coinciding outfits have to be celebrated and not avoided; those people ought to be your friends, at least your aesthetics and/or ethics coincide. I still squeal when I see anybody wearing Veja. So imagine my surprise seeing this in the EasyJet in-flight magazine:

The sweater is made in Lithuania of ‘pure new wool’. And I’m really unimpressed by the ‘designed and developed in Norway’ and ‘worn by Norwegians since 1853’ shit, btw. My mom bought it for me in 2015, 32 wears since. I wear it at home (no heating Barcelona winter, remember) or out and about when I’m feeling under the weather. It’s very warm, very bulky, and piles a lot. An example of me wearing it, here.

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Here, maybe your brain wants a nibble?

1. I finally listened to the Articles of Interest, a podcast mini-series from 99% Invisible, lauded as the ‘the Smartest Podcast On Fashion’ by Put This On. Well, it is not as brainy as I expected, but my expectations have been corrupted by years of academic papers… Nope, this is well done edutainment. My favorite episode is the one about pockets, a true ode to pockets as key elements of freedom. And my main historical discovery – also from the pockets episode – is the work of Bernard Rudofsky and his “Are Clothes Modern?” MOMA curation in 1944. Talk about a powerful graphic, illustrating all the useless tailoring that was still the norm for a well-dressed gentleman as recently as in 1940s:

2. Another topic the Articles of Interest touch upon – in the episode on plaid, of course – is the confusing world of majority appropriation of minority fashions making it harder to signal allegiance, this piece dwells on that in much more detail – Straight Copying: How Gay Fashion Goes Mainstream.

3. Before you get a Frida t-shirt or sth like that, just pause for a moment and think. And read this bit from the incredible (insert a heart-eye emoji) Laurie Penny: The real history of women wouldn’t look quite so nice on a tote bag.

4. I am tickled when harmless items cause controversy, when people love or hate something with such intensity (think crocs!), so: The Much Maligned Cargo Pant.

5. And today’s main course goes to fashion in corporate cultures and how sometimes ‘casual’ can be very suffocating too: (a) Interviewing at a startup; (b) Inside the Mirrortocracy; (c) What It Means to Be Professional; (d) The New Business Casual Is Still Uptight; (e) What’s Next, Big Shorts? Goldman Sachs Relaxes Dress Code; (f) A Relatable Casual Uniform.

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What I was writing about a year ago: After (first) 3 months of the big spreadsheet. You can compare this with the first trimester of 2019 here.

What I was writing about two years ago: Constant Gardener: Edit your wardrobe!

What I was wearing a year ago: #whatiwore 2018w14 + Sunday links. The only garment that coincides? My Street One ‘No pasarán’ jacket.

What I was wearing two years ago: #whatiwore 2017w14. Again, only one garment coincides – my mom’s gray cardigan.

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The London trip reminded me about that weird trick our mind does about weather: even if you look up the forecast in your destination, you don’t really believe it until you step out and realize that it truly is 10ºC less or sth. I had packed relatively OK – although a winter hat would have felt nice – and my 3-dresses-for-5-days logic has been tested so many times… My ‘how I pack’ post is here, but what are your wardrobe planning strategies for trips? Are you the tight planner (which means that a stain, rip or rain can ruin it all) or the ‘just in case’ checked-in luggage fan that brings many things home equally fresh because at the end you didn’t feel like wearing them?

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Also, the tipjar is available if you ever feel like buying me a coffee:

#whatiwore 2019w13 + Sunday links

Here, a stone soup of brain food:

1. In ‘online retail is changing everything news’: Why It Doesn’t Seem To Matter That Amazon Will Soon Be The Largest American Clothing Retailer and Sales for the “Amazon Coat” Were $5 Million in January 2019, Alone.

2. On the limits of tailoring and re-tailoring garments which mostly comes down to the scarcity of great tailoring skills and our inability and/or unwillingness to pay for it (which is obviously linked to the disappearance of these skills): On Respoke. I witnessed a much lowers scale problem of this kind this week in the studio I’m learning to sew. A guy who works at the bar next door came in with a jacket he had purchased new online and asked Carmen’s advice for changing the shoulder line… it turned into a lecture on why that was nearly impossible (i.e. implied significant changes and adding fabric + taking out and then putting back in a layer of well sewn lining just to access it all) and hinged on finding and paying a very skilled tailor who would be (a) willing to take up such labor and (b) vouch for the result. You see, while the neighborhood Yaya Costurera ladies will happily shorten your hems and change your zippers, very fine modifications are not really what they are there for. tl;dr: if you’ve found a great tailor, hold on to them as if your life depended on it, because your wardrobe actually might.

3. On men and men’s fashion: How Two Men Are Reshaping Men’s Style Media and With Menswear Revenues Expected to Outpace Women’s, Chanel Wants in.

4. Stories of happy wool: The Journey of Wool through Woolgatherer Carding Mill (with very educational photos what happens to wool ‘from bale to bedding’; yes, you also learn new words) and Heavenly Soft Yarn at Valhalla Farms (this has pictures of alpacas, so also very good).

5. And in ‘fashion as business’ news: (a) Blockchain Applications Could Help the Fashion Industry Address its Most Significant Challenges; (b) the companies about which you shouldn’t feel sorry for: The 10 Most Valuable Fashion Brands in the World 2019; (c) on the logic of sales: Fashion retailers are trapped in a vicious cycle; (d) a short history of fashion as business: The Very Serious Business Of Fashion.

6. How much do you know about zippers as technology? The Humble Zipper is at the Center of an Almost $20 Billion Global Battle and The Great Denim Debate: Button Versus Zipper.

7. The jeans that went to Woodstock are still around… this is why I love Heddels Fade section: Levi’s 646 (50 Years, Unknown Washes).

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What I was writing about a year ago – Guest Post: Marina’s Wardrobe Reset 2018.

What I was writing about two years ago: Vision-building for your wardrobe.

What I was wearing a year ago: #whatiwore 2018w13 + Sunday links. Still wearing? Green patterned secondhand top, the Street One jacket, and Kristīne’s pale pink ruffle blouse.

What I was wearing two years ago: #whatiwore 2017w13. The same as this week? Kristīne’s pale pink ruffle blouse, my mom’s black dress, and the Hummel jacket.

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What have been your experiences with tailoring services? Do you have that one magical professional you’d entrust your rarest fashion treasures? Or have you suffered in hands of inexperienced tailors?

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Also, the tipjar is available if you ever feel like buying me a coffee:

#whatiwore 2019w12 + Sunday links

Here, baby, eat, you look hungry:

1. There was a time when influencers were called socialites and they weren’t paid because that would have been vulgar: Lee Radziwill, the Original Influencer and Marella Agnelli, Society’s ‘Last Swan’ and a Passionate Gardener, Is Dead at 91.

2. While we’re on celebrities, I find it very cute when the NYT complains about Lady Gaga being to classy and boring: Lady Gaga’s Long Road to That Giant Diamond Necklace. On related red carpet news, At the Grammys, Sisters Dressing for Themselves (oh, I loved Cardi B’s pearl oyster costume!) and Who Are You Wearing and Where Did They Donate?

3. And here is a bunch of sexism in fashion news, just if you were missing a couple of reminders: (a) Has #MeToo changed what we wear to work? (b) The Mess of Modern Power Dressing; (c) Women Were Granted Just 4 Percent of Patents in the U.S. Over the Past Decade; (d) Women Finally Get Their Own World Cup Soccer Style.

4. “On Turnbull’s theory, cathedrals aren’t just building sites. They are laboratories. In methods such as this, the thinking and making are one and the same. Craft is design”: Craft as Design.

5. “Technology is essentially about creating utility and spreading it over billions of people. Fashion is about creating a moment, a trend, a romance and spreading it across a small amount of influential people”: Is Apple Saying Goodbye to Fashion?

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What I was writing about a year ago – #100wears: Trench.

What I was writing about two years ago: My minimalist well-being routine.

What I was wearing a year ago: #whatiwore 2018w12 + Sunday links.

What I was wearing two years ago: #whatiwore 2017w12. Still the same: the red flea sweater and the gray cardigan.

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Are there any classical red carpet/showbiz outfits that have inspired you (maybe indirectly but still)? Rihanna’s nude look? JLo’s navel décolletage? Avrile Lavigne’s neckties? Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday? Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s? Katherine Hepburn in Bringing Up Baby?

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Also, the tipjar is available if you ever feel like buying me a coffee:

#whatiwore 2019w11 + Sunday links

Here, the brain nom-noms are in:

1. No-plastic people reflecting (in Spanish): ¿Merece la pena [vivir sin plástico]? and – for those who still haven’t connected the dots and think that balloons are cute – ¿Lanzarías basura al cielo?

2. An example how local action brings meaning and results – “A world-changing experiment in London’s poorest borough shows how to break out of our disastrous spiral of alienation” – Mutually Assured Salvation.

3. Even you are against animal fibers in fashion (me? that’s another post…), you have to know why people have been using them for so long and still do: The Other Kind of Cashmere. And for a bit more practical tips on one type of animal-derived materials from people who go as far as to remind that “leather is just another type of skin […] and, like your own skin, it needs to be moisturized every so often” (that is bad taste imho): The Do’s and Dont’s of Breaking In a New Pair of Leather Boots.

4. I started following The Times’s fashion director and chief fashion critic Vanessa Friedman very recently (it is paywalled after a few free articles per month but you can get around it with ‘private browsing’ that any decent browser will provide you with) and, while the actual reviews of catwalk shows do not touch me, there are a lot of pieces I read with interest and link here. And the whole logic of high fashion is one of most fascinating aspects of it: (a) Why We Cover High Fashion; (b) When a Fashion Statement Has Real Meaning; and, by The Fashion Law but still in line with my interest in the twisted world of high fashion, (c) What Can the Fashion Industry Learn from a Legal Squabble Over Video Games & Tattoos?

5. And that peculiar genre of fashion essay bringing together the history of battlefield medicine, childhood memories, and raincoats: On Nostalgia and Raincoats.

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What I was writing about a year ago: My sustainability fails.

What I was writing about two years ago – Baby Steps: Detoxing A Wardrobe Takes Time.

What I was wearing a year ago: #whatiwore 2018w11 + Sunday links.

What I was wearing two years ago: #whatiwore 2017w11. Not that many items coincide (only the gray dress and the big scarf) but you can see what the No Pasarán t-shirt was like before it became an applique.

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Those white pants is a new thing for me… What are you looking forward to wear this spring? New cuts? New colors? New mix’n’matches? Or just baring some skin will be enough?

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Also, the tipjar is available if you ever feel like buying me a coffee:

#whatiwore 2019w10 + Sunday links

A bowl of brain food for everybody! You are welcome.

1. The International Women’s Day was on March 8, so this is the time of the year for a public service announcement that fashion is an incredibly sexist industry, starting from the gender imbalance among famous designers and unattainable beauty standards down to all girls and women doing the dyeing, cutting, sewing, packing… while being paid painfully low wages and navigating a world of discrimination and exploitation. Exhibit (a) She for She – Why Fast Fashion is a Feminist Issue; (b) Does Your Feminist T-Shirt Empower The Women Who Made It? + more on the Spice Girls t-shirt scandal: How do you know if your clothes are being made ethically? (c) Why Fashion Matters for International Women’s Day; (d) Brands Need Different Priorities on International Women’s Day. The most robust strategy is to wear your old t-shirt again and again to show your solidarity for their work (mend it if need be, or make your own) instead of falling for the pinkwashing pop feminism sells!

2. If you want the politics of it, here: (a) Bangladesh Government set to throw away Accord achievements; (b) What a Modern Slavery Law Means for the Fashion Industry; (c) Fashion Revolution Statement on House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee Report: Fixing Fashion. tl;dr is that efforts are concentrated in making the ‘my supply chain is so complex, I didn’t know’ defense impossible which is a very reasonable step.

3. To restate the obvious, here you have Louise from Miss Pandora reminding that being a feminist does not preclude dressing in a way typically perceived as feminine (in French and English): Le féminisme, la féminité et moi. I already talked about the subversive power of pink here – The Pink Post: Instrumental and subversive uses of the traditionally feminine.

(The only downside of that Louise’s post was learning that HnM released a William Morris collection last year; who was the idiot managing his estate that allowed this desecration of the legacy of a radical socialist reformer?)

4. Apparently a victory for the textile engineering geeks: Synthetic spider silk is finally appearing in products consumers can buy. No, better don’t tell me why a wristwatch band would be the place you’d apply ‘biosteel’… the article does offer more reasonable uses, though.

5. Just for fun and to open a thinking space about the relationship between the author and the public persona we all project: Literary Hoaxes and the Ethics of Authorship.

+ an extra for the Latvian-speakers (čau!) from yours truly: 8. marts bez tulpītēm un jociņiem par Marsu un Venēru.

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What I was writing about a year ago – Some things change: My bag now and 10 years ago.

What I was writing about two years ago: To All New Arrivals (Winter 2017), We Love You.

What I was wearing a year ago: #whatiwore 2018w10 + Sunday links.

What I was wearing two years ago: #whatiwore 2017w10.

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What’s the utopian fashion innovation you’d welcome most? Self cleaning fibers? True no waste circular reuse? Self-lacing Back to the Future shoes for those difficult mornings?

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Also, the tipjar is available if you ever feel like buying me a coffee:

#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?