From An Idea To a Garment – How Our Clothes Take Shape (And Why It Matters)

toile

We found a pin in a jacket at work this weekend. Wedged between the lining and the outer of the jacket, this little guy had been left behind when the two had been sewn together, and now he was stuck.

It was a strange moment.

It’s an easy mistake to make and, one I’ve seen a few people make when they are sewing lined jackets.

But here, in this store that sells clothing made by people I will never meet, it was a strange moment. It was a reminder that someone had actually made this jacket, someone’s hands had actually sewn this together, someone had actually touched this pin.

Of course, someone has touched all of the clothes we wear. Many someones. But we often forget that – they come to us magically, finished, in their hundreds, as if human hands had never been involved.

It reminded me how little most of us know about where our clothes come from. What goes into them.

In light of that, I thought I would share the basics behind how a garment goes from being an idea to being an actual three dimensional thing we can wear.

How, for example, did the sleeve in the photo above happen? Continue reading

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Why We Don’t Care (And How to Change That)

Original photo by János Balázs. Used under a CC Attribution-ShareAlike license.

I have often wondered why many people don’t care about the same things as I do.

The world we live in. Other human beings. Animals. Why do so many people just not care? 

I have wondered how people I love, people I laugh with and get along so well with can see things completely differently when it comes to caring about the environment or other people.

I have wondered how people who are kind and generous and honest in so many ways completely ignore what many of their everyday actions mean on a wider scale.

The way I see it, I can do one of two things with this double standard: Continue reading

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Connecting With Our Clothes – A Sneaker Story

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 )

Today Leah from Style Wise is sharing the story behind one of her favourite pieces!

Leah Wise is a recovering shopping addict who sells vintage clothing at Platinum & Rust and blogs about fair trade at Style Wise. She lives with her grad student husband and pet rodents in Charlottesville, VA, USA.

breakWhere did you get the piece of clothing from?

My boyfriend (now husband) gave these yellow Keds sneakers to me in the fall of 2008, right after we started dating. Continue reading

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On Black, Neutrals and Finding Refuge from Fashion

black

The fashion designer dressed exclusively in black is so common it has become a caricature.

Rick Owens, Karl Lagerfeld, Vera Wang, Alber Elbaz, Michael Kors… their outfits are all heavily based on, if not completely made up of, black.

Being completely immersed in extravagant and ever changing fashion makes a uniform of black a sanctuary, a refuge, a clean slate to come back to in the midst of madness.

It makes sense. But they’re not the only ones adopting an all-black-everything approach to dressing.

And when it’s not black, it’s the famous neutrals.

Ahh, neutrals. If I had a sequin for every time someone proclaimed their love for neutrals, I would probably look like this. Wait, I do (as I type this, no lie). And that’s fine – if neutrals are your thing, do your thing. We can still hang out. I just feel a little like a peacock over here.

So why has black become the unofficial uniform of the western world? Why are so many of us reaching for non-colours or searching for neutrality in our dressing? Continue reading

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Whether Guys Can Wear Dresses is a Litmus Test for Feminism

Kristen-Stewart-Elle-Aquarius-Fashion

I am a fashion student. We are, as a whole, an interesting bunch. We live in this micro-environment where style-wise, anything goes. We often end up feeling peoples clothes at parties and having a great time guessing what they’re made of. And we love, love, love androgyny.

Androgyny is defined as “showing characteristics of both sexes”. That can apply to lots of different things, but let’s stick with clothes for now. Androgynous fashion is hugely popular within the collections and designs I see take shape around me, and within the fashion world as a whole.

But does it actually show both masculine and feminine traits? And what does this say about the differences in how men and women are seen in society? Continue reading

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Writing Elsewhere & Upcoming Changes to This Kind Choice

Jump

Photograph by Jesper Hauge. Used under a CC Attribution-ShareAlike license.

Today I wanted to share a few other things I’ve had published around the place, and also ask your thoughts on some possible changes to This Kind Choice.

Stuff I’ve Written Elsewhere

Bridgette has come up with five closet types, which I first read about on Recovering Shopaholic. It all seemed very fascinating and plausible, but none of the five really jumped out at me initially. I put myself down as a mild Sentimentalist and called it a day.

And then I read her follow up post.

And suddenly it became very clear to me that I was a Devaluist. I don’t value myself enough, and it shows up in the way I dress. Not in a traditional sense – I usually look very put together, but this post looks at the Devaluist that lurks beneath the surface.

All too often, I’ve heard people write off unhealthy attitudes towards food or their bodies with a quick “But I don’t have an eating disorder.”

I believe one of the reasons we do this is because we think we don’t deserve to use that word. We don’t deserve to ask for help. It’s not a badge of honor, except in a society that values thinness above all things, it kind of is. That is sad and terrible, but it’s also the truth.

As someone who has been there, in this post I look at the idea that we don’t need to be at our very worst before we’re worth working on.

Expanding My Horizons

For now, I’ve limited what I write about here to ethical and environmental fashion. And I’m still fascinated by and passionate about better ways of making, selling and using clothing.

But I’m also fascinated by and passionate about all of the other things that go on behind the clothes we wear. Continue reading

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Connecting With Our Clothes – Warm Wonder, Staple with Sparkles

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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Long time no Connecting with our Clothing post! Today I’m lucky enough to have Loes from Saint Sartorial sharing the story behind one of her favourite pieces.

Loes is a young woman from Amsterdam with a passion for sustainability. On her blog she likes to share her views on slow fashion and conscious personal style.

She says…

“I’m no Saint, but I do feel that an aware attitude towards fashion and personal style is a pretty cool thing. I try being conscious by not buying too much, by buying second hand, by buying items made out of (preferably) organic materials and by buying quality pieces that last. I try and only hold on to things that I will repeat-wear constantly. “

And damn, she’s nailed with this cardigan! Black and beaded and sparkly? Watch out, Loes… Continue reading

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On Meeting Your Clothing Criteria Without Losing Your Mind

Photo by Satya Murthy. Used under a CC Attribution-ShareAlike license.

Photo by Satya Murthy. Used under a CC Attribution-ShareAlike license.

The black ankle boots with the pointy toe. What if the point gets crushed? What if my legs look stumpy when I wear them without tights? Or the tasseled ones. The tasseled ones. Too clunky? They’re leather. Leather. I shouldn’t be buying leather. But I couldn’t find any good vegan ones I like. The pointy ones. How can I tell if they’ll be able to be repaired? Is the heel too high? I should be buying second hand. But I’ve looked everywhere. Everywhere. What if I buy them and they fall apart and I’ll have spent all this money and bought leather and not second hand and….

And that is a snapshot of what can go through my mind when I’m shopping.

Aiming to buy less can mean you look for perfection in what you do buy.

Looking to choose things that fit in seamlessly with your existing wardrobe can mean juggling a lot at once.

Caring about where your clothes come from and what went into them can mean you’re adding more criteria to an already complicated list.

All of this can lead to shopping being hard, stressful or downright anxiety inducing. Continue reading

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3 Tips for Balancing Cohesion with Change in Your Wardrobe

cohesion change

Since I started putting a bit more thought into my wardrobe, I think a lot about whether any potential piece would go with what I already have.

It’s a values thing – I want to keep my clothes for longer, enjoy what I already have and consume less.

It’s a money thing – I don’t have a ton of money to spend on clothes and always aim to buy less and buy better. Sometimes this means single pieces are more expensive, and sometimes it doesn’t. Whatever my clothes cost, I want to spend my money on things I love and wear often.

It’s a style thing – I’m trying to build this cohesive unit, this whole that works together, rather than taking random stabs at dressing myself with whatever took my fancy while shopping (which was my shopping strategy for a good while).

So closet orphans are definitely unwelcome here. Continue reading

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