Connecting With Our Clothes: The Chambray Shirt That Changed The Way I Shop

The Connecting With Our Clothes series explores the meaningful relationships we have with our clothing – the memories, the stories, the interesting ways of getting it that mean so much more than scooping it off the sale rack ever could. (Check out the beginning and a story of my own here )

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I’m very happy to have Ashlee sharing the story behind one of her most meaningful pieces of clothing today!

Ashlee blogs at One Fair Day, where she shares simple and balanced tips on how to incorporate more ethical purchases into everyday life, including Fairtrade fashion, food and beauty products. She strongly believes that shopping ethically doesn’t mean sacrificing style – but means gaining pride in our clothes and the stories behind them.

Take it away, Ashlee!

breakThis is the shirt that changed the way I shop.

It’s not made under fair trade principles. It’s not made using sustainable materials. It was made for fast fashion, but it and I are taking it slow, because this shirt began my journey to change the way I shop. Continue reading

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I Want What She’s Having – Appropriation in Fashion

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We always want what we don’t have, right?

Growing up with stick straight blonde hair and the kind of English that gets you mocked around the world, I dreamed of chestnut waves and a French accent. And then I went to France, where everyone found my hair fascinating and my English amazing.

Fashion is all about this – we can become something or someone else through the way we dress. It’s kind of magical.

But it can also become kind of questionable, fast.

When is borrowing another culture’s images, motifs and techniques a fun, beautiful way to expand our horizons, and when is it just plain exploitation? Continue reading

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Fashion, Power and a Roadcone

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A while back, I looked at how fashion could be a litmus test for feminism. How our reactions to men wearing womens clothing could say a lot about how we see women as a whole. And how dramatic the reaction can be to men wearing clothing that is not considered traditionally masculine.

And then I got to work. Continue reading

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Fast Fashion Doesn’t Satisfy Me

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“Freedom Graffiti” By Tammam Azzam

I was sixteen years old when I first saw Gustav Klimt’s painting The Kiss in real life. It was a hot summer in Vienna and I got lost taking the underground to the Belvedere. Once I got there, most of the paintings slipped by me without lasting impact.

But Klimt’s work was different.

It stopped me in my tracks.

It was so beautiful that everything else disappeared for a moment. Continue reading

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Questioning the Democracy of Fast Fashion

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Fast fashion is often touted as democratic by those who support it.

Out of all the red carpet looks we drool over, which can we actually buy and own? The H&M suit worn by Solange Knowles at the recent VMA’s. Out of all the celebrity outfits we see, which can we actually touch and wear? The shorts and crop top worn by Taylor Swift to a recent movie promotion, also by H&M. Continue reading

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On Hypocrisy, Ethics & Snakeskin Shoulder Pads

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Original Image by Eva Blue. Used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license.

I’ve been loving the new season of Project Runway.

It’s been great to watch someone else sew for a change (I tell a lie, it’s only been a few days since my university hand-ins and I’m making myself a dress already. The sewing machine has me on a short leash)

And of course Project Runway has someone on it this season who comes from New Zealand and went to my university! I swing from being super-impressed to finding it absolutely hilarious to hear a New Zealand accent on the show.

In the last episode the designers are making something for Heidi Klum. Except, well, Heidi’s not so keen on the snakeskin one person proposes. She shuts that idea down pretty quickly, saying, “I don’t think that’s… good.”

Okay, great. I think there are better things we can make clothes out of than the skin of dead snakes, too. But do you really think that’s “not good”… or do you think some other people might think that and cause a fuss? Continue reading

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The Clothing Body Interaction

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When we think about clothes, we often think about which colours go together, how certain silhouettes interact with different body types, or what textures to pair up.

But what we don’t talk about all that much is how clothing affects the way we hold and move our bodies.

And yet one of the first things we notice about other people is just that. Their posture, the way they move, how easily their body falls into place. We notice this just as much, if not more than the colour or silhouette they were wearing. Continue reading

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10 Ways to Lean into Ethical Clothing

Photo by Sam Javanrouh. Used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license.

When I began Project 333 two months ago, I was skeptical. In some ways, I still am. I like to think I add a healthy sprinkling of skepticism and a good dollop of questioning to all things.

But I leaned into it, and made some wonderful discoveries.

It hasn’t made me tidier. It turns out 33 pieces of clothing are quite capable of covering a bedroom floor.

It hasn’t given me more time. This is something I hear a lot in minimalist circles, and I don’t get it. Skeptical, always. This might be because whether I own 33 pieces of clothing or 100, I just don’t tidy up my stuff (see above) and therefore I haven’t won any time from having less to put away.

But it has made me feel lighter. Continue reading

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Fashion is Hardcore.

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Fashion is one least serious things out there, and yet it takes itself incredibly seriously.

Even at the most junior level, the level I’m at (studying), fashion seems to be one of the more intense routes you can go down. We have an extra year tacked on to the typical 3 year degree. We stay at university the longest, work the most hours out of anyone I know.

Except for Med students. And they’re learning to save lives. We’re just learning to make clothes.

There is something faintly ridiculous about this. They’re just clothes! Why run yourself into the ground for something as superficial as a dress? Why do you think you’re so important, fashion designers? Continue reading

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I’m Putting Dudes in Dresses and Watching Chaos Unfold

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Gareth Pugh

I am making menswear this semester.

And yet, it is not menswear as we know it.

The thoughts I shared with you on why women can wear mens clothing but men hardly ever wear womens styles actually inspired me to look at things differently.

I am putting guys in girls silhouettes. And it is confronting.

I put pen to paper and draw shapes that we have been told, again and again, are for women. Curves. Waists. Hips. Bottom heavy. Covering the space between our legs.

It is incredibly simple, and it is incredibly powerful. Continue reading

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