Monday, May 22, 2017

What? Is a Magic Mirror

What is a magic mirror? A lot of us instantly think of something similar to the image above, most everyone knows the story of Snow White. The magic mirror is something that is now referenced in the world of fashion quite often. It varies immensely but the main idea behind all of them remains the same, to enhance the shopper's experience. They have been making appearances for at least 10 years now at different levels of technology but they still haven't really hit mainstream as first predicted when introduced.

I have been coming across them quite regularly in my research on garment sizing. Nothing that is available thus far deals with sizing issues well and they are mostly used in stores as a novelty due to their cost. Normally they are seen in the main retail store area as a giant touchscreen where a customer can scan through available stock. 
Some take a picture of you and then you can tweak images of garments and fit them on your image. You get a rough idea of whether the garment is some thing you may like without actually having to try it on, and you get to play with technology. They don't give you an accurate idea of how the garment will fit.
Others remind me of dressing a paperdoll, the cool thing is that the paperdoll is you. The person is you on the screen and you scroll through different outfits playing dressup. I have seen this method used at fashion related exhibits at museums as a way to make the exhibit more interactive and a chance to see yourself on the red carpet. Both often give you the option of sharing the image through social media or via email.

Another magic mirror type includes RFID(Radio Frequency Identification) technology. The RFID's are being embedded in the mirrors and when you enter the changing room with garments the tags are automatically scanned. The mirror can then suggest other possible garments and accessories to complete the outfit. Some may even suggest options that suit your silhouette better or makeup options. Ones that have a tablet in the change room can allow you to request other sizes or colours from a sales clerk or even the option of purchasing garments without even leaving the change room. 

The question is Do Magic Mirrors enhance the shopping experience? Is technology simplifying or confusing matters more?

Friday, May 19, 2017

Where? Kinokuniya Bookstore

My daughter has discovered Anime in the last while so I decided we would take a visit to Kinokuniya Bookstore here in the International District, Seattle. Of course they have a membership card like most bookstores of today, and surprise I got one. Anyone who knows me at all knows I am a sucker for bookstores and getting a membership card like this to help support my habit, how could I resist.

Until now I hadn't made it to Kinokuniya, though it had been on my radar for a while. Since my daughter has been watching back to back episodes of Black Butler and I finally got her to watch Spirited Away and Howl's Moving Castle I decided it was time to check it out. I think she has fallen in love ;) I envision more Anime movies in the near future.

Here she is checking out the Funko POP selection (she is now the proud owner of Sebastion from Black Butler). She's wearing her newly altered suit jacket and pants as I picked her up right from school and it had been recital day. Of course she is also wearing her Sans hat as it seldomly leaves her head.

I was impressed with the wall of ENFU Stickers and bought myself a new one to put on my laptop. I have boughten a few of these stickers since moving to Seattle. Both of us found many things we wanted and I didn't even check out the stationary area. I was kinda of afraid to as I knew I would find an assortment of writing implements that I need. Another bookstore has been officially added to my list of places to frequent.

A little WEAR? blurb

My daughter wearing her new Sans hat as her old one is looking a little worse for wear. The old one is made of fleece and more of a dingy grey then white. I made her new one out of a nice cotton knit which will be much more comfortable this time of year.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Who? Mary Phelps Jacob or Caresse Crosby

Mary Phelps Jacob aka Polly to her friends was a woman who believed in living her life to the fullest. She had a very eventful and exciting life which also included not the best taste in men. Her first husband after returning from WWI, an alcoholic and was obsessed with watching buildings burn. She had two children with him, a son and daughter. While still married to Richard R. Peabody she began a relationship and scandelous affair with Harry Crosby many years her junior. After this went on for two years Richard granted her a divorce and Mary married Harry and moved to Paris to begin a new life. In Paris Harry Crosby and Mary joined The Lost Generation of American expatriates. They immersed themselves in the bohemian decadent lifestyle which also involved frequent drug use and numerous wild trips abroad. They had an open marriage as Harry had many affairs and after a while so did Mary. 

Caresse and Clytoris

In 1924 Mary took the name of Caresse after deciding against Clytoris, though they did decide to name their second whippet Clytoris. Harry thrived on trying to shock society and became more and more obsessed with death over the years. In 1925 they started publishing their poetry as Edition Narcisse and by 1928 they had renamed their press company Black Sun Press. They were patrons of the arts, had befriended Dali, Max Ernst and published early works of Ernest Hemingway, Henry Miller, Anais Nin, Bukowski and more. The couple continued their decadent lifestyle until Harry's death in 1929, in New York. Harry was found dead in the intimate embrace of his current lover, they were both dead from gunshot wounds to the head. This created another scandal as it was unsure if it was a murder suicide or the results of a suicide pact. After Harry's death Caresse added Mary back to her name.

Mary and Caresse

Mary Caresse returned to Paris and continued to run Black Sun Press until leaving because of unrest due to the upcoming war. Soon after returning to the United States she met and married Selbert Young, an unemployed, alcoholic actor many years younger then herself. Mary Caresse bought a Virginia plantation outside Washington, DC as Selbert had dreams of living on a farm. Mary Caresse finally divorced Selbert after one of his many drinking binges where he would disappear for days, months and even once a year. After the divorce Mary Caresse moved to Washington DC and started a long-term love affair in 1934 with the black actor-boxer Canada Lee. Canada and Mary Caresse had a difficult relationship due to the miscegnation laws of the times and were normally only seen in public together as a couple in Harlem. Their relationship continued into the 40's and during this time she became more and more of an activist. 

Mary Caresse had friendships with many outspoken activists over the years including Ezra Pound and Tiffany Thayer(publisher of Doubt/Fortrean Society Magazine). In 1952 she was arrested by the Greek police as a threat to the economy and politics of the country when trying to visit her house in Delphi, Greece. Mary Caresse was put under house arrest and then expelled from the country. She was a strong supporter of the World Citizen movement and in 1955 at a meeting of the "Commonwealth of World Citizens" she was appointed Counselor to the United States. She then proceeded to open a World Citizens Information Centre in Washington DC the same year. In the summer of 1956 she was elected the 1st President of the Council.

During the 1950's she also rented and later bought Castello di Rocca Sinibalda north of Rome, Italy. She used the castle to support various artists and had many poets seminars over the years. It became an Artists Colony was referred to as "Free World" and many artists visited for a weekend or an entire season.

Caresse's favourite mode of transportation while at castle
Mary Caresse put Rocca Sinibalda up for sale in 1970 shortly before her death in 1970 in Rome of pneumonia related to heart disease. The castle after many years of neglect has been restored and opened to the public in 2014 as a National Monument. They often have exhibits and theatre continuing with Mary Caresse's work and support of the arts.

Anais Nin said Caresse Crosby was "a pollen carrier, who mixed, stirred, brewed, and concocted freindships." Mary Phelps Jacob/Caresse Crosby/Mary Caresse Crosby is an important part of history and is often overlooked except for her claim to fame of "inventing the first bra."

Monday, May 15, 2017

What? Is Vanity Sizing

Vanity sizing is mainly a marketing tool created by retailers when they started making bigger clothes and marking them with smaller sizes. This trend starting occuring as early as the 50's and in todays retail market it is a common occurence. Truthfully this has made sizing labels practically useless. A woman's and yes even a man's sizing can easily vary 2 or 3 sizes brand to brand. It is even possible to take in three pair of pants labeled the exact same size by the same fashion brand and they will each fit completely different. Something that makes it very difficult in the changing room let alone ordering something online. Approximately 40% of online clothing purchases are returned because of sizing issues.

As you can see from the above chart, sizing has greatly changed over the decades. A good example is in the Sears catalog a 32" bust was a Size 14 in 1937, in 1967 it was a size 8 and in 2011 it was a Size 0. Twiggy was considered to be a Size 8 in 1967 now she would be a Size 0 or even 00. Marilyn Monroe was a Size 14 at the height of her fame now she would be a Size 6 or 8. Neither woman is the standard shape of most women of today. 

The reason Vanity Sizing works is because deep down everyone is a little vain. If a customer has taken multiple pairs of pants in a change room to try and they have found two pairs that fit well, one is marked size 10 the other size 8, they will 9 times out of 10 buy the ones marked size 8. They will often even be willing to pay more for the size 8's. The smaller size number on the label makes them feel better about themselves.

In an ideal situation we wouldn't care what size the label said, instead we would only care about the fit and appearance of a garment. Self Esteem should not include a number on a label but sadly it often does, thus Vanity Sizing exists and prospers. Before the Great Depression and WWII Ready-to-wear(RTW) was not readily available so no sizing labels. Instead of RTW if women were wealthy they had their clothing made for them or if they weren't wealthy they made their own garments. This meant clothing was made to their individual measurements and personal preferences. Ideally size labels should not be a concern and Vanity Sizing has only added more confusion in the dressing room but both are here to stay.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Where? Goodwill Capital Hill

My daughter has a ukulele recital for her school coming up and she was told to dress up. She isn't one for dresses or even skirts. So her idea was to get a pair of dress pants and a suit jacket "You know a tux or something". Then she suggested we go thrift shopping :). I think I may be raising her right if her first suggestion was thrift shopping for a "tux or something." So after school yesterday we caught the bus and went to the Capital Hill Goodwill.

Her posing with our oversize bag after our expedition. She found everything she needed for the recital plus I found some things for myself also.

I scored the TV Series "Pushing Daisies" that I have been keeping my eyes open for. The first season was still sealed and the second season was pristine also, so the trip was just worthwhile for that. We also ended up with a suit jacket for her - $24.97, two pairs of black dress pants - $7.99 each, a purple dress shirt - $7.99, and to complete her outfit a pair of Steve Madden blue suede boots - $19.99. I found a pair of black IBEX pants that had never been worn - $12.99, a Calvin Klein black skirt - $12.99, and two black shirts - $4.99 & $7.99. It seems I always find something worth buying at this location and it's clean and the staff is friendly.

Of course all of her stuff needs alterations of some sort, that is except her boots. The men's suit jacket needs the shoulders narrowed and maybe the sleeves need to be shortened, though I suspect the sleeves may be fine after the shoulder alteration. The dress shirt was a mans also so I am shortening the length of it and taking the sleeves back the cuff length. Both pairs of pants need to be shortened also but I am ecstatic that she decided on two pairs, maybe this means she will wear something beyond her standard leisure wear occasionally. She also found a vintage bow tie amongst my stash which needs some TLC to complete her outfit.

Thrift shopping is always an adventure and sometimes it can be challenging when looking for something specific. This outing was fruitful and my daughter actually enjoyed the experience, something which doesn't happen often when it come to shopping for clothes. I have found she is always more cooperative at a thrift shop then she is at a normal clothing retail store though.

Well back to the sewing machine for me :)

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Who? Mary Phelps Jacob Part 1

Mary Phelps Jacob born April 20, 1891 died January 24, 1970

Mary Phelps Jacob was a young New York socialite who at the age of 19 designed what she later called the "Backless Brassiere". The story is that in 1910 she had purchased a sheer evening gown for an debuntante's ball. Mary was dissatisfied with the way her corset looked under the dress, the whalebone was noticable due to the sheerness of the fabric and the plunging neckline. She asked her maid to fetch two silk handkerchiefs, some ribbon and cording, they stitched these together and the "Backless Brassiere" was created. At the ball she had many compliments for her creation and even requests for it. It was a light, soft and comfortable alternative to the corset and after receiving a request for one from a complete stranger Mary realized this could be a viable business venture.

On November 3,1914 Mary was issued the first patent for a bra in the United States. From there she started the Fashion Form Brassiere Company in Boston and employed women to manufacture her wireless bra the "Caresse Crosby". Her brassiere suited the new fashions at the time which was entering the era of the Flapper. It did not provide much support and actually flattened the breasts but it was lightweight, soft and seperated the breasts naturally. Soon afterwards she sold the patent to the Warner Brothers Corset Company for $1,500 who proceeded to use it to make millions over the next 30 years. It was a crucial alternative to the corset during WWI as it did not need ribbing and thus no metal. Warner manufactured the Crosby bra for awhile but it did not sell particularily well and eventually they discontinued it. They did however manage to build a huge business based on the ownership of the bra patent.
Mary said her brassiere was "well adapted to women of different sizes" and "so efficient that it may be worn by persons engaged in violent exercise like tennis."

Mary Phelps Jacob was an American patron of the arts, publisher and peace activist along with being an inventor which I will discuss in Part 2.

Monday, May 8, 2017

What? To Look for when Thrift Shopping

Thrift shopping can be daunting the first few times a person does it for a lot of reasons. I always do a quick assessment of the establishment as soon as I walk in the door. A shop that is clean and tidy and well organized is always a better experience. This normally means that the clothing has been checked better before it hits the floor. 

Basic rules to follow when Thrift Shopping:
- look for flaws - stains in underarms, collars and inseams - always check for any signs of discolouration 
                          - holes - Hold the item up to the light if possible this should make any small holes more noticable. This may sometimes be a problem as many shops do not have much natural light. But do your best.
                          - check all seams to see if they are intact
                          - make sure zippers and snaps still function
                          - see if garment is missing any buttons
- read the labels - fabric content
                          - washing instructions
Other things to check for - Touch and even caress the fabric to judge feel of the garment. Ask yourself is it something you personally like the feel of. Do a scrunch taste to check the wrinkle factor.                          
                                         - Pilling of fabric - Closely examine any area where friction occurs. Think about the human body and what areas have a tendency to rub against each other. This is important to remember with activewear. Some cheaper knits also pill easily.
                                         - In activewear it is also important to check the underarms and crotch area for sweat damage. If fabric is relaxed but looks wavy anywhere there has been damage to the integrity of the fabric, so you should pass on the garment.

If you have basic handstitching skills many simple fixes can be accomplished. Knowing how to sew a blind hem can be quite beneficial. Often someone has gotten rid of a skirt, dress or pair of pants just because they don't want to deal with the loose hem.

Other simple fixes are if there is wear on the hem of a pair of pants, maybe they could just be shortened into capris or perhaps you have shorter legs then the previous owner. If there is a stain or wear on the cuff of a top, you could add some trim to hide the fact or shorten the sleeves. Loose or lost buttons can often be reattached or replaced. 
Zippers and snaps are not always a simple fix. Unless you have experience replacing a zipper maybe pass on the garment. As for snaps check what type of snap needs replacing as they vary greatly.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Wear? - Favourite Jeans MMMAY17

These are my favourite pair of jeans, a friend gave them to me about 4 years ago. Her sister had given them to her and lucky for me they didn't fit her :). They are from a US company called Royal Unknighted and are made from a 4 way stretch denim. I loved the flare width, the contrast stitching and the fit.

The yoke is as added bonus as it sits so much nicer on my physique then the traditional jean waistband. The top stitching is all done with a high contrast thick yellow thread in three rows. The top stitching up the inseam is also a nice feature.

But my favourite jeans are finally calling it quits, I suspected thay they were getting to the stage of showing wear. And after their last washing.... 

They aren't the type of jeans that really suit a patch and I definitely can't make a hole this size just disappear. So the reason for this blog posting, I am going to clone myself a pair. I have been thinking about doing it for a while as I haven't been able to find another pair of these jeans and I really like them if you haven't realized that yet. The end results won't look exactly like this pair as I am starting with a slightly different fabric but the main goal is the fit.

So making a new pair of jeans from my old favourites is probably my MAIN goal for MMMAY17.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Who? - Edna Woolman Chase

This is a quote from Edna Woolman Chase and something she strongly believed. Another thing she used to say was "If we must err let us err on the side of understatement". She was a women of strong convictions and would often come across as old-fashioned and a bit stuffy.

Edna Woolman Chase was born in 1877 in Asbury Park, NJ and moved to New York as a young woman. She started in the Vogue mailroom in 1895 at the age of 18 and then proceeded to make a lasting impression on Vogue.

Edna as a young lady
In 1914 Edna was made the assistant editor of Vogue by Nast. Nast in later years in a memo wrote "Edna, we have been a great team. I believe I have been a wide-awake intelligent publisher, but I am the first to admit to myself and to acknowledge to the world that without you I could never have built Vogue. We have built this property together." Chase, Nast and Vogue during the onset of WWI decided to keep fashion alive in the US by creating the first ever New York Fashion Show - "Fashion Fete". The war had disrupted communication between Paris and the US and Chase saw an opportunity for Vogue. It was agreed that any proceeds from the show be donated to the Committee of Mercy To Aid Women And Orphans of the Allied Nations.  This gained the support of the ladies of New York society and the success of the show which resulted in the continued success of Vogue. It was partially due to this fashion show that Vogue survived two world wars and the Great Depression.

Chase is often given credit for why Vogue went from a small weekly newspaper to the haute coutre magazine of today. She was pivotal in 1916 for sewing patterns becoming available in department stores so that every US woman could look as chic as American socialites. Edna was a perfectionist and her goal was to be the high-society authority on matters of style and elegance. In 1929 she became the editor-in-chief of all Vogue editions and she kept her position on the top of the ladder at Vogue magazine until 1952 when she retired at the age of 75.

At work in the later years

Edna Woolman Chase was one of the original founders of the Fashion Group International in the 1930's, their main goal was to promote fashion trends, fashion education and business. During WWII she helped to redesign uniforms for women in the miltary. She had a long and influential career in the world of fashion which she documented in her autobiography "Always in Vogue" at the age of 77 which she coauthored with her actress daughter Ilka. Edna died of a heart attack in Florida at the age of 80 in 1957.

"Fashion is general; style is individual and has little to do with class." Edna Woolman Chase

Monday, May 1, 2017

What? - Rayon Fabric

Rayon was the first manufactured(regenerated) fiber. In 1855, George Audemars, a swiss chemist, discovered how to make cellulose nitrate. In 1884, Count Hilaire de Chardonnet made the first man made fibers from nitrocellulose. He is referred to as the "father of rayon". Chardonnet got the original French patent, and established the world's first rayon factory. From here other scientists developed more cost effective ways of making other types of rayon.

In 1892 C.F. Cross, E.J. Bevan and Clayton Beadle took out a patent for Viscose which became the basis for the viscose, rayon and cellophane industries. The first patent for "art silk" occurred in 1894 tho it took until 1910 for the first US commercial rayon production to begin. The textile industry switched from calling it "art silk" to rayon in 1924.
The basics of its production are cellulose (often from trees) which is converted into a soluble compound.

An example of a spinneret
A solution of this compound is passed through a spinneret to form soft filaments that are then converted into almost pure cellulose in the final product. Rayon fabrics have different strength and stretch characteristics created by adjusting the drawing process applied in spinning.
Close up of a Rayon fabric

Basic rayon has low wet strength. Thus it can become unstable and may stretch or shrink when wet. Dry cleaning or hand washing was normally recommended to preserve the appearance of regular basic rayon. If machine washed the garment could shrink as much as 10%. Companies over the years have tried to correct this low wet strength and there has been many advancements in rayon development. These advancements have resulted in Modal, lyocell and Tencel to just name a few.

Most rayon in the present day can be machine washed and tumble dried. It wrinkles easily but a light steam can remedy this. It is more absorbant then cotton, soft, comfortable to wear, drapes well and is easily dyed in a multitude of colours.

If you want to learn a bit more about early Rayon production the following movie is approx. 30 minutes.

Friday, April 28, 2017

May Reading List

For the month of May I finally decided on these three books. "The Design of Everyday Things" was a book my husband suggested. He hasn't read it but thought it was one I would enjoy. It was first published in 1988 and since then has been revised and republished a few times. I am looking forward to reading Don Norman's opinions on design and the psychology behind them.

"Magnifeco" by Kate Black is labeled your head-to-toe guide to ethical and non-toxic beauty. Kate is an activist for the world of eco-fashion and sustainable living and many people know her from her website I like the concept behind her book as she is encouraging consumers to be more knowledgable about their purchases.

"Nelly Don: A Stitch in Time" is a book I came upon when I was looking for documentaries to watch. I never did find the documentary of the same name but I did find this companion book. Nelly Don was an inspiring woman entrepreneur who started a successful fashion company in 1916. She had an eventful life but nowadays very few people know her name.

I am hoping these will be a great variety for the month of May. It has been fun but challenging to pick a new selection of books, but the goal of reading the books I already have has derailed a bit. Partially due to the fact that I am still buying books ;).

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Who? - The Lost Art of Dress and Mary Brooks Picken

The Lost Art of Dress - The Women Who Once Made America Stylish by Linda Przybyszewski focuses on the topic of the Dress Doctors. The Dress Doctors refers to women from the first half of the twentieth century who adviced the women of America on how to dress well. They believed that anyone could dress well and look stylish as long as they followed 5 simple design principles - harmony, proportion, balance, rhythm and emphasis. One of the these women was Mary Brooks Picken whom I enjoyed being reintroduced to.

Mary Brooks Picken was born 1886 and founded the Women's Insitute of Domestic Arts and Sciences in Scranton, PA in the early 1900's. She is one of the reasons USDA starting creating and providing sewing pamphlets to rural women of the United States. Mary used her role as a teacher to reach millions of individuals, she is accredited with writing nearly 100 books/booklets on the topic of the domestic arts. The Women's Institute educated more then 300,000 women in sewing and home arts via correspondence courses and encouraging women to sew for profit and pleasure.


The Institute also published a magazine called the Fashion Service which Mary frequently wrote articles for.

Mary was considered an expert on the creation of fashion but she included more then just sewing instructions in her writing she also discussed her philosophy of life. She felt that the domestic arts encouraged dignity, joy, meaning and self esteem in a woman's life. One of her goals was to inspire women to wear only well-fitting clothing in styles that flattered them, and to be unconcerned with trends.
In 1957 she became the first women to publish a dictionary, The Language of Fashion which was later renamed The Fashion Dictionary which is still available today as a republication. Mary also was the first woman trustee of The Fashion Institute of Technology and was part of the group who started New York Fashion Week in 1943. She continued attending New York Fashion Week well into her eighties. American fashion would of been quite different without her influence and the other Dress Doctors.

Monday, April 24, 2017

What? - Organic Cotton - Good or Bad?

Organic Cotton is not the perfect solution and whether it is good or bad can get confusing. It is a good alternative to many other options but one must always be aware of labeling. Unless an item is labeled with accreditation from an appropriate third party the word organic can mean just about any thing. The two most common labels are "Made with Organic" this will normally mean that it is 70% certified organic, the other is "Cerified Organic" this means it was made from 95% organic materials. But until there is a standardized global accreditation that everyone follows this cannot be guaranteed. One of the most common uses for organic cotton presently is large fashion companies using it for about 50% of their blends in t-shirts, some are making an effort to reach "Certified Organic" status. Underwear and infant wear are also areas of fashion where it is consistently becoming more prominant.

Many people living in the United States who are concerned about organics will probably recognize the above logo. This is from the United States Agriculture Department Organics and you may see this occassionally on clothing in the US. This would ensure that the raw cotton was organic but not that the rest of the process involved in the making of the garment was enviromentally conscious.

GOTS goal is to help standardize regulation between countries on what constitutes an organic textile. Organizations from Canada, United States, Japan and Britian etc belong to this larger international accreditation board. In a lot of ways organic clothing is like organic food, make sure you read the labels for fibres/ingredients. Garments that  are labeled FairTrade plus Organic are the most enviromentally conscious, that is unless you are also concerned about your carbon footprint. As I said it can all get confusing. The basic thing to remember is Knowledge is Power. Every individual needs to decide what their priorities are when it comes to Eco Fashion and often they may use some form of a sliding scale. I also include whether it is Made Local and the companies general business practices in my equation which can confuse things even more.

Now on to some basic pros and cons of raw organic cotton.
-Farmers exposure to toxins greatly reduced
-cotton is a breathable, lightweight fabric choice for a large variety of clothing eg. t-shirts, jeans and other casuals
-normally done as a rotaing crop which helps maintain soil fertility
-better for protection of local wildlife as no leeching of chemicals into surrounding enviroment 
-premium normally paid to farmers approx. 20% more
-if FairTrade farmers are also guaranteed better wages and conditions
- a variety of cooperatives are being created in developing countries to help small farmers
-hypo allergenic

-whether organic cotton or conventional cotton it is one of the most water intensive crops. It is the 2nd thirstiest crop in industrialized countries and 4th in developing countries
-organic agriculture at the moment is still less efficient, meaning same amount of resources produce a lower volume of product - organic yields are often 25% less then conventional
-weed control can be an issue - thus more labour intensive, often greater fuel emissions and wear and tear on equipment which equals higher carbon footprint
-a bug infestation can cause devastating effects and can lead to 50% or greater loss in total yield
-must be cleaned before processing so this can be an added expense
-certification is normally to expensive for farmers, especially in developing countries. It also takes a minimum of three years to attain
-cost of finished garment more expensive for consumer
-limitation of colourways available to keep finished textiles organic

Is any type of cotton garment truly sustainable? This question can open up a whole new debate. Over the last century Cotton Growers have often been under scrutiny on various practices. There has been issues of poor working conditions, slave labour, child labour etc. It is also said that fashion manufacturing is only 2nd to the oil as the most polluting industry. Many fashion companies are making a conscious effort to become more eco friendly and this is a great movement to support. We all need to think how our purchasing actions effect others and the world we live in so any knowledge of where, what, how and who made our clothing is a wonderful base for this. A good hashtag to check out for this on social media is #whomademyclothes 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Eco Chic

"Eco Chic The Savvy Shoppers guide to ethical fashion" by Matilda Lee was published in 2007. Being published in 2007 many of the companies that are covered are sadly gone. This is partially due to the recession of 2008 that continued until 2010 and beyond. Many fledgling eco companies were effected by this as often profit margins are less in these types of businesses. People also weren't willing to pay a bit more for what was often considered a luxury item. Enviromental concerns often loose out to personal finances, a main factor in why fast fashion is so popular. 

Matilda Lee covers the topic of Fast Fashion and our Throwaway Culture throughout the book. Which one came first? This is a question that will never be resolved, I think they go hand in hand and it is a difficult cycle to break. There has been advancement in attempts to break this cycle since things like the Bangladesh factory collapse in 2013. The news coverage and resulting documentaries including "The True Cost" have made the general public more aware. People are becoming more concerned with how and where their clothing is made and companies are becoming more transparent with the details. A good example is People Tree, they are an enviromentally friendly fair trade pioneer in the fashion world, founded in 1991 and still going strong. They have a wonderful website which clearly states their mission, has a meet the maker section and presently they are running the #5 Looks Challenge. 
PeopleTree #5Look Challenge 

What constitues a Green Fabric? Is cotton a good option? These are questions asked in the book and no there are no defintive answers. Knowledge and making informed decisions are the two most important things when it comes to eco fashion. Matilda Lee obviously did a lot of research to write this book and she passes her knowledge to the reader.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Staycation for Spring Break - Marimekko & Ballard

Yesterday as part of our Staycation during my daughter's Spring break, her and I went to the Nordic Heritage Museum. This is a museum in the Ballard area of Seattle. It's main focus is the Nordic people who moved to this area of the NorthWest and it is presently located in an old school. It is a very informational museum and I love the fact that they quite often have exhibits related to textiles in some manner.The draw for me this time was the Marimekko with love exhibit.

This exhibit is on loan from the Textile Museum of Canada in Toronto. This is also an excellent museum tho it seemed I never made it there often when living in Ontario, I guess my excuse is it was approx. a 3 hour drive from home. Marimekko is a Finnish home furnishings, textiles and fashion company based in Helsinki. They are known for their graphic bold prints, we both fell in love with the x-large beanbags that were situated around the exhibit. I am thinking I shall have to put one on my wishlist.

Pictures were not allowed in the main exhibit area, but there was a variety of fabrics and clothing on display along with a short film. One area I found interesting was the bios for some of the head textile designers over the years along with examples of their work. It is on until July 9th so if you happen to be in Seattle and like textiles check it out.

After the exhibit my daughter and I walked down to the Ballard Locks, first stopping at Totem Red Mill Burgers for lunch. The locks are nice but the novelty is lost on us. We come from an area in Canada referred to the Land O Lakes with a lot of waterways and canals so are quite accustomed to the workings of a lock. Will probably go back once the botanical gardens are in full bloom as it is a very nice area to walk around in.

Before heading home we decided to wander around a bit in downtown Ballard. We discovered a cool little art place called Push/Pull which carries indie comics and local artists work. They have a couple of pinball machines, something which we both always approve of. It looks like they also do a variety of comic and drawing classes which I may have to look into. Another place we had fun wandering around in was the Ballyhoo Curiousity Shop, if you ever have a need for some taxidermy, skulls, bones or  quirky antiques this is the place to go. From here we went to Space Oddity Vintage, here I was tempted by test tubes, flasks and some vintage card catalogues. Our last stop before catching the bus was Lucca Great Finds, here I purchased some new pencils and was tempted by a pair of Merchant & Mills scissors.

My New Pencils :)
Our day in Ballard was a nice way to spend part of our Staycation and the weather even cooperated.