Transparency is the key

I've now started working on my thesis and I've noticed that there's a few words and terms I keep trying to avoid. One of them is sustainable fashion. It's a term I use a lot but now I've started to ask myself, what does it really mean? What are we trying to sustain? Sure, you can use less toxic materials and ensure that the people making the clothes get a fair wage and safe work environment but if you're pushing out a dozen collections a year, is that really sustainable? When fast fashion companies can claim that they're making sustainable fashion, does the term have any meaning anymore? I know this is an unpopular opinion but there's nothing sustainable about fast fashion, the business model is based on exploitation and over-consumption. I would argue that the best way forward and a way stop all the greenwashing nonsense is to focus on transparency. This will not go down well with many, fashion is all about illusions after all but if we truly want to change this industry transparency is the key. Who's making the garments? Who's making the materials and what methods and chemicals are they using? Who owns shares in…

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It’s another Kimono?

Considering all the debates happening on social media about cultural appropriation, I hesitated for a bit about posting this. Then I decided to anyway because I did make this garment and have been wearing it. I've noticed some people like dismiss discussions around cultural appropriation and claim "everyone so sensitive these days"! But I think it's important as an individual to reflect on how you use things from other cultures. It's even more important if you're a company because then, you're financially profiting from it. Now, I don't think anyone is going to object that much to this garment. I think I was mostly hesitating about calling it a kimono. Should it be a kimono inspired coat? Or is not calling it a kimono trying to claim something that is not mine to claim? Hmm, I'm not sure. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. This is basically a longer version of that other wax print kimono. I got the fabric many years ago from my mom and my first idea was to make a skirt from it but I never got around to it. I think this was a much better us of the fabric. The t-shirt and…

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Loppis hopping in Jacob City

Ok, so the name of the place is actually Pietarsaari or Jakobstad but I'm hoping that Jacob City will catch on soon. For non swedish speakers loppis means fea market. I visited this lovely town during some really hot days this past summer. It's a town that has an unusual amount of second hand, vintage and antique stores considering its size. My friend and I tried to figure out the reason for this abundance but came to no clear conclusion. What I really liked was the wide selection of stores, there's everything from your average second hand stores to the more curated antiques stores. My absolute favourite was the Lundagård store (first image). The interior is so charming and cozy. I almost wished it was a café, so I could sit down and flip though some old magazines. Have you visited Pietarsaari? What were your favourite second hand/ vintage/antique store there?

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The skirt of the season

I'm really committing to sharing my second hand finds, so here comes another one. I got this skirt on a random day in April and it's probably been my most worn skirt this summer. I have thing for A-line skirts and floral prints but this skirt also has proper pockets, so my purchasing decision was very quick.The top is also a second hand find from maybe two years ago and it's also been in heavy rotation this summer. This green is one of those in your face colours that I might have avoided in the past but then that green coat happened and now I'm thinking about getting a pair of shoes in this colour.

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The Fall

Ever since I watched Mirror Mirror, I've had movies Eiko Ishioka designed for on my watch list. The costumes in that movie are just amazing! So when I had a calm sunday a few weeks ago, I sat down and watched The Fall. I'm not gonna try to explain the plot of this Tarsem Singh masterpiece. I'm still not sure if I fully understood the plot. What I will say is that the movie is just visually stunning, every single frame of it. From Ishioka's costumes to the gorgeous sets, everything is a feast for the eye. Now that I've seen The Fall, I'm gathering courage to watch another Singh-Ishioka collaboration, The Cell. I'm hoping that my admiration for Ishioka's work will conquer my aversion to horror films.

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Tangerine Cloud – a second hand find

I recently had to get a pair of shoes for friend's wedding and reluctantly ordered a pair from a fast fashion retailer. None of my friends have the same shoe size and all the shoes I saw at the second hand stores were three sizes too small for me. That's how I justified the purchase to myself. I measured my feet to make sure I got the right size and made sure to get a pair I can use a lot in the future. What of course happened was that the size chart couldn't really be trusted and me finally realising that as much as I would like to be the kind of person that wears 8 cm high heels, I can't walk in them! So I now have a pair of ok shoes but it required trying on four pairs and sending them back before I had a pair that fit. My goodness, all that shipping! So, I think am done with fast fashion. Even when it comes to shoes and underwear, which are basically the only things I've bought from fast fashion companies in the past few years. I know some people argue that boycotting it is not…

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Crocheted produce bags

The issue of plastic waste is really topical and important but so frustrating. On one hand you feel the politicians you've elected into office aren't being hard enough on the industries that make and use so much plastic. On the other hand you realise how difficult it can be to avoid plastic in everyday life. I still think my plastic consumption is too high and the major culprit is packaging of cosmetics and food. I have made a bit of progress switching out things like shampoo and body wash for bar soaps but the majority of my cosmetics and skincare still comes in plastic. When it comes to food I've noticed I've become much more aware of the plastic packaging since we started separating it from the mixed waste. Seeing how much waste is created over a week really makes you pay attention. One part of my food related plastic waste I've been meaning to eliminate for a while is the small plastic bags for fruits and vegetables. Now, most supermarkets (in Finland) have the biodegradable bags these days but I've heard some people say they're not so great since they degrade so slowly and that they have to be…

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Carmen Jones

I stumbled on this movie when I was doing a school project last year and became fascinated with African American style icons from the 50's. I was looking into Dorothy Dandridge's work and saw the trailer for Carmen Jones. A movie based on an opera made in 1954 with an all black cast? I had to watch it! I haven't watched many movies from the 50's and only a handful of musicals so I wasn't sure what to expect. Let's just say, the plot is what it is. It's based on an opera from the 1870's after all. There was also a lot of dubbed singing, which was hard to get used to. I kept watching anyway, mainly because Dandridge was so captivating and I couldn't keep my eyes of her colourful dresses.  I especially love the hooded peach dress she's wearing towards the end of the movie. Her costars didn't disappoint either with their glamorous outfits and headpieces. I looked up Mary Ann Nyberg, the costume designer of the film and learned that she worked on the 1954 version of A Star is Born. I'm a bit curious to watch the earlier versions now that I've seen Bradley Cooper's…

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Flounce & Bounce – A fashion love story

Hello fellow humans! Where did the time go? I can't believe it's the middle of April already. I've been super busy with some very intense courses at school, hence the blog silence. But I'm now trying to catch up and revisit my vows of self discipline.Here's a skirt I finished months ago but photographed in March. I often write about my long love affair with colours and prints on this blog but recently I was reminded of a third thing to add to that list, flounces! You could add all kinds of ruffles and frills under this category as well. If you're unsure about the difference between flounces and ruffles ( as I was until writing this), here's a good explanation. It's never mattered whether flounces/ruffles are trending or not, whether they've been considered too romantic or girly, I've always loved them. Now that I've made this skirt, I think I need more frilly pieces in my wardrobe. Maybe a summer dress with a huge flounce over the shoulders or a top with some ruffled sleeves. I'll have to add them to my sewing list.The pattern for the skirt was made a couple of years ago. I didn't have enough…

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Joyce Bryant

Last spring I was working on a school project that was partly inspired by 1950's fashion. While doing research I came across these amazing black women in entertainment that I had never heard of before. Women who were being their awesome bad ass selves at a time when racism was the norm. One of those women is Joyce Bryant. My jaw dropped when I first saw images of her. From the fantastic Zelda Wynn Valdes gowns she was often wearing to her distinctive silver hair, she just oozes confidence and glamour. I could look at these images of her endlessly! This project made me rethink about how I do research for my projects and which sources I use. I only came across Bryant after I refocused my research and started digging deeper. I got tired of coming across the same images over and over again when looking into 1950's fashion. Images of the same white women I feel I've been seeing since vocational school a long time ago. For a moment I got sad and angry about it but then I figured it's better to try and do something about it. For me, that means educating myself and being more…

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The joy of learning new things

I love learning new things, especially new ways to create. My curiosity and my love of learning are things I hope I will never loose sight of, no matter how old I get. Last spring I got to try something I've been curious about for a while, jacquard weaving. Even though I struggled with understanding some the technical aspects of this method, it was still a lot of fun experimenting with different structures and yarns. I'm so happy that I can now design my own fabrics for a collection if I wanted to. Finding a weaving mill that would be willing to weave those designs however, is very difficult. The images below are from my collection The Voyager's Mementos. It was inspired by a a nomad traveling the world and all the marvelous sights and cultures they encounter. You can find more images of the collection under Works.

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I’m wearing lab coats now

Ok, it's one lab coat. I'm always looking for a specific garment when I go to second hand stores but lately I've been increasingly trying out those odd garments that are never on my list. It's part of my "embrace my weirdness" part of self acceptance but also because when I usually go in looking for coats, I end up finding skirts. The best finds usually happen when I'm looking for something else. Last fall I did a little tour of the vintage and second hand stores in Kallio I had meaning to visit for a while. I was mostly looking for cardigans and bags but also just checking out the offering in the area. In one of the stores I picked up this lab coat. It was one of those "if it fits, I'm buying it" moments. I was surprised I picked it out because I only own one white garment and I've never worn it (it was a gift and has sentimental value). But I remember feeling excited when I walked home and giggling at the idea that I would soon be walking around Helsinki wearing a painted lab coat. In the end I sprayed the coat instead…

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2019 – The year of Action

2019 has gotten off to a rocky start but I'm determined not to let all these difficulties and insecurities crush me. Last year I didn't make traditional new year's resolutions, instead I choose to focus on gratitude. To have it be a guiding theme for the year. Practicing gratitude is not easy, especially in this fast paced world we live in and for a overthinking individual like myself. It's something I'm going to have to keep working on because I honestly believe it's the key to having a more positive outlook on life. In 2019 my guiding theme is going to be ACTION! Not as in watch a new action movies every week but as in get shit done! I had a bit of an aha moment last fall when I realised that the self discipline I've been telling myself I need in order to start certain projects is not going to fall from the sky. I either have to start having self discipline or keep writing long list of things that never get done. So I looked into this mysterious thing called self discipline and it turns out it all comes down to habits and being consistent with those…

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