This week I’m thinking about our need, no, instinct to adorn ourselves, to express ourselves through what envelopes our body.
I’ve reached the age when I begin to not understand some of the stuff that young people are wearing. And I still vividly remember, oftentimes with a shudder, the clothes that seemed so cool to me as a teenager. But I am not going to list examples of either the first or the second group here.
Because, even if I shudder or I have to look twice to make sure that I have seen a passersby correctly (trying to be discreet, I swear), the freedom to wear anything is so glorious and important. And I try to see the movements of fashion, the fads surging, merging, appropriating and reappropriating each other, in a similar way.
For me fashion is not a rigid social requirement whose transgression implies shame and exile. I’m talking about fashion as opportunities, fashion as random waves that bring up ideas that, perhaps, no one has seen for decades. Or never.
I could not live with a strict uniform. And fashion understood as “don’t even think about going back to what you wore a year ago” is just that. If we all had to wear the same by law, I would probably lead the clandestine resistance to such a draconian ordinance. But I like to watch the tides of fashions, mini-fashions and micro-fashions.
Yes, very often they bring up things that are not pleasant to me, the fashion equivalents of smelly seaweeds and garbage patches. And it’s OK. It is a reminder that my criteria are not universal.
But from time to time those random waves bring to the surface silhouettes, materials, finishes, patterns, or combinations for which I am very grateful. Because now I am aware of them and will continue to wear them for years.
Exactly of the interactions between fashion, politics and the individual expressed through clothes speak Tanisha C. Ford’s memoirs Dressed in Dreams: A Black Girl’s Love Letter to the Power of Fashion (2019). Being a historian, Ford also introduces a broader context to her personal memories, but the book is above all a reflection on her experiences and that is why it is so interesting.
And the recycled Patagonia fleeces are not a true solution either, of course: Ropa de plástico no es la solución.
What not to donate to a thrift store / charity shop (and a facepalm): Thrift Store Workers Share The Weirdest Items They’ve Found In Donation Bins
Embroidery as art therapy, as a form of confession and a claim of sanity in the contexts of constraint and supposed lunacy? Embroidery as soft writing that does not count as real? Here you have the stories of the embroidery of Mary Frances Heaton (1801-1878, a), Lorina Bulwer (1838-1912, a, b), Agnes Richter (1844-1918, a) and Elizabeth Parker (a), Juliette Élisa Battle, Myrllen + for an overview of the general conditions at Victorian lunatic asylums, I recommend Chapter 9 of Stephen Fry’s Victorian Secrets
+ An internet classic on financial reframing and goal-setting: A Story of a Fuck Off Fund
And that’s it for this week! I hope that you enjoyed reading and would be very happy to hear from you, regarding fashion fads or anything else… in the comments below, via Facebook or Instagram, or via e-mail at luize.ratniece [a] gmail .com
Guardarrr is a weekly bilingual newsletter dedicated to sustainability and mindfulness in fashion. It is written by Luīze Ratniece, a sociologist and textile activist based in Barcelona. Guardarrr is both a tool for reflection and a crowdfunding channel for the wardrobe tracking app that Luīze is building. If you read this newsletter and value it, please consider going to the paid version to fund this project for a monthly equivalent of a coffee + pastry. Each subscription warms my heart immensely and helps going on, thank you so much for being here with me!