Guardarrr #29: Brand love-hate 1

Esta es la versión inglesa de mi boletín, puedes encontrar el mismo texto en castellano aquí.

Do you know any other brand that does this level of traceability? Let me know.

ASKET is one of my favorite brands to observe and endorse without buying from, because, even as they’ve launched a women’s line, I understand their design choices yet don’t want to wear them. Curiously enough, I have the same “good for you but no thanks” relationship with the other one of my reference brands in sustainable textile, Patagonia. I love how these people run their business, yet their products are not for me.

But an ASKET’s newsletter caught my eye in January… over my partner’s shoulder, as his wardrobe is quite ASKET-heavy and he reads their newsletter. I thought they had made a multiplication chart from their pieces spelling out all the different combinations for all the occasions you can make from their basic pieces.

I have always loved those charts because basic multiplication applied to fashion does wonders to our “I have nothing to wear” whining with the simple fact that 5 tops x 5 bottoms = 25 different outfits, so I expected something like these from ASKET.

Nope, I had duped myself.

It was just a chart with all their products. This one (I was unable to find it in a better resolution anywhere on their website). And a promise that “we’ll be spending the next months not talking about anything new, but helping you do more with less – and staying away from filling-up your wardrobe with things you end up not using”.

Great.

And then I read on and got pissed. Which might be an inadequate reaction to an innocent newsletter, but:

“To help you think critically about your wardrobe, we’ve constructed a framework on how to review, evaluate and edit your own wardrobe, based on four simple garment categories: essentials, building blocks, seasonal staples and some statement pieces. Here are the 6 essentials that should form the foundation of any wardrobe to get you started.”

Now wait a minute!

While I love their commitment to

  • Radical supply chain transparency,
  • Having a constant offer instead of ever-shifting collections,
  • A discourse fomenting mindful and minimal wardrobe,

how dare they state that these are “the 6 essentials that should form the foundation of any wardrobe to get you started”. Fuck off, you don’t know me!

That bland “these are the universal basics everybody needs” discourse has always irritated me in fashion writing. Yeah, I know well enough that the bland and basic stuff is exactly what you have to make to create a timeless (eeek, this word) collection to appeal to the maximum number of potential customers. I also know that this type of article is what they publish in magazines when there is absolutely nothing new to say. And I know that there are a lot of people looking exactly for the well made and sustainable yet aesthetically unassuming garments that ASKET is offering. Even more, obviously, the subscribers of the ASKET Newsletter are really into this muted tone and basic shape cinematic universe.

And yet, it feels condescending. Just a brief reminder that I hate prescriptive fashion writing (and selling).

How about you? Are you collecting the universal essentials as if they were Pokémon or would you rather burn every magazine that instructs you on “the 5 timeless garments to invest in”?

Also, I will allow myself the snark that a brand so concerned with timelessness and capsule wardrobes is now selling 36 types of men’s garments. Though, yes, with only 6 of them marked as THE ESSENTIALS that “should form the foundation of any wardrobe”.

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Basic disclaimer: All my mild annoyances with whomever came up with the copy for that newsletter aside, ASKET is doing a great job at showing what can be done if people are willing to be serious about traceability (see, for example, this documentary for more). In case you are new around here, I have no ties of any kind to ASKET or any other brand, I just want the already good ones to be perfect.

Intercambio de ropa | 19 de marzo 11:00 – 14:00 en Ateneu Roig, Torrent d’En Vidalet 32, Barcelona

El conocimiento de la cadena de suministro detrás de nuestras prendas es el nuevo lujo: El recorrido de un suéter de cachemira de lujo (the same in English: Do You Know Where Your Sweater Came From?)

Las ideas de Thorstein Veblen sobre el consumo ostentoso aplicadas a los señores esos: El ego de Jeff Bezos alcanzó el espacio exterior.

Por si no has leído Silent Spring (1962) de Rachel Carson, pásate por tu biblioteca local… Aquí tienes algunas de las razones para hacerlo ya: Un alegato contra la autodestrucción.

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The very basics: Want a more sustainable wardrobe? Take better care of what you have.

Beware of bioplastics greenwashing, which seems to be everywhere these days… Is PLA Actually Biodegrable? “While PLA is arguably technically biodegradable, practically, it’s not. At the same time, how biodegradable PLA is partially depends on your perspective. […] The biodegradability of PLA can look good [only] compared to that of other plastics, such as ABS or the plastics used in plastic bags.”

Tales of how the West was able to work all together in the common interest during WW2 does not fill me with hope. Having only one such experience and under an extremely special set of circumstances is not a sign of replicability: Miracle of Reduction.

Well, apparently the obvious had to be stated, so It’s O.K. to write about women, fashion, and politics — but here’s how to do it better + the mentioned quality examples of doing exactly that: Why We Should Talk About What Kyrsten Sinema Is Wearing + Kyrsten Sinema and the Politics of a Sleeveless Silhouette + the work of Vanessa Friedman, especially when she writes about fashion diplomacy, is the very reason I pay monthly monies to NYT

And that’s it for this week! I hope that you enjoyed reading and would be very happy to hear from you, regarding love-hating certain brands 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!

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