Fashion: My Revolving Door of Love and Hate

To my dearest readers,

I thought an editorial might be appropriate. I apologize for leaving you all in the lurch last week. Sometimes I like to see life a series of buses. You can’t stay on one for the rest of your life, you often have to change and re-route to get where you would like to be and sometimes, you just miss the bus all together. At this point you have to decide, ” Was it meant to be that I missed my connection? Will there be another bus? Or am I going to have to eat the cost of this ticket and find another bus worth catching?”

I love clothing, I’ve earned two degrees studying fashion, fashion construction, business, textiles and anthropology. I don’t think I was starry eyed for more than 5 minutes about the reality of the industry. However, as I’ve worked in the field of fashion for several years and then taught it for several more. I’ve become jaded about the actual use of fashion.

In my history courses we look at the fundamental needs for clothing:

  1. physical protection
  2. psychological protection
  3. adornment
  4. group affiliation/ social acceptance
  5. religious affiliation
  6. modesty
  7. immodesty
  8. personal expression

There are many reasons why clothing is important. However, what we do with clothing is absolutely appalling. We’ve created an entire industry that is driven by people’s irresponsible consumption of goods. We are literally killing the environment and sometimes even people in order to drive an industry that overall body shames and judges, so you will buy their latest and greatest product. I really do believe that we should be focusing on making our lives better, but in the end I don’t think a $10,000 Donney and Bourke bag is ever going to solve that problem.

On the artistry side of this, it is a magical place where you get to use your hands to make stunning garments that fit bodies well. It becomes artistic expression in the types of clothes we wear, or the way a designer/ seamstress takes diligent strides to create a gorgeous and original piece of clothing. The artistry of fashion is amazing. Sometimes I believe if we moved away from the revolving door of fast fashion and moved toward the idea of artisan fashions like we do with our foods and coffees, the world would be happier with the clothing they buy. Clothes would last longer and we wouldn’t have millions of pounds of textiles end up in landfills every year.

The gist of this? I don’t want anyone to have to give up their drinking water for me to wear a pair of jeans. I don’t want to give up the oxygen we all need to breathe so that we can all have the latest polyester tank tops for summer.

I want people to feel good about their bodies, and I would like to continue to help plus size women see themselves as beautiful in a size 8 driven industry. But more importantly I would like for all people to see their own value, and know that it lies outside of the realm of leather and lace. I would like to see us all re-think what fashion is. Judge each other less, love ourselves and the environment more and finally do away with boring and unnecessary wastes of natural resources.

What does this mean for Evelynlouise as a blog/ advice column? I haven’t decided yet. Fashion has been both my life for the last decade, but it’s also been a daily struggle against the current values of the industry. So I will be taking a moment to re-group and hopefully come back to you in the next few weeks with a new outlook on where I would like to see this blog go.

I realized as I have been highlighting some of the atrocities of the industry, that it’s one thing to stand on a podium and rant and rave about the end of the environment, it’s another to actually go out and make a change. Even Al Gore can’t live by his own sustainable suggestions as he spent most of his tour for the “Inconvenient Truth” flying around in a private jet and using more Kilowatt hours in his own home than takes to power an average city block for a week.

We can’t start a movement writing articles about how we should implement the changes either. We have to actually do them. If any of you would like to learn more about pollution or sustainability, or have any other ideas for potential future blogs, please let me know. I’ve just been struggling for a while now with the concept of helping ladies with luscious curvy calves find boots, when those boots are made to fall apart after 3 months of wear. I am open to your suggestions!

Thank you all for your readership, I hope the new direction is a positive one and we all have something to gain from it.

Yours Always,

<3Evelynlouise

 

 

 

 

Denim Comes Clean, Well… Kinda

It’s not a new fascination of mine to be obsessed with our consumption. We already knew that I was going to go on about this topic this week anyway.

Levi’s, finally released some known data on how denim is helping to destroy our fresh water supply. Why? Because One pair of jeans used 3,781 liters of water in it’s lifetime. Processing fibers, dying the denim, making it, processing it, specialty finishes, and then laundering. Here why don’t I just link you to the article.

levis-time-to-come-clean-2

 

They project that in 10 years 1 in 3 people will have limited access to drinking water. Over what? Clothing? Seriously, not worth it, even with how much I love clothes. But the solutions are being given on how you can help to reduce your water consumption. However, if you’re like me and you live in an apartment sometimes you don’t have the option of changing toilets to lower water efficiency, or being able to replace your shower heads with eco-sprayers that reduce the overall amount of water used during a shower. So for those of us who are city bound here is how you can get yourself on your way to being a bit greener, not to mention keep us all from dehydrating to our deaths.

Here are my top 5 ways to get started on the road to reducing your water consumption:

1. Wear your jeans 10 times before washing. For that matter, stop washing everything so much! I thought this was going to be way worse than it was. You can always use a quick spritz of febreeze to keep jeans smelling good, or a drop of essential oil on your hands rubbed over the fabric. It helps tremendously with body odor. People did not wash laundry as frequently back in the day as we do now. It was not uncommon for clothing to never be laundered in it’s lifetime before the invention of the washing machine, think on that! Generally unmentionables are what you wash, camisole, bras, underpants, socks. The rest has at least 2 wears before it needs to go in the wash. And if you’re woodgy about putting your worn clothes with your fresh clothes. hang things on a drying rack or fold in a separate place to be re-worn.

2. Use one towel a week. Listen, you come out of the shower clean why are you using a new towel everyday? Use a towel hang it up. Good quality cotton towels will stay good for several uses. Let’s not forget jeans are not the only water hog.

3. Stop brushing your dumb teeth with the faucet on!

4. Replace your nozzles with aerator’s .  They are inexpensive, you can buy them at a hardware store, you can replace all the nozzles on your faucets by simply screwing new caps on. It reduces the amount of water coming out of your faucets. Sometimes, if you have an awesome apartment complex they will install them for you, ask them, it saves them money in the long run!

5. Rebell against your Dish Washer. This one is very hard for me. Dishwasher’s save so much time!!! But they use anywhere from 6-15 gallons of water per load of dishes! Holy crap! Washing by hand can use as little as 2-3 gallons of water. Not only that, but when you wash by hand, by filling the sink with hot water, you’ll find a significant difference in your electric bill as well. Even choosing to only run your dishwasher the 2 days over the weekend, versus all 7 days a week has a huge impact. Think about how many millions of galloons of freshwater we could conserve if everyone washed their dishes by hand for 2 weeks out of the year!

 

I hope that we can all work together to continue to aid in conserving this fantastic planet of ours! I would like to see people’s kids not end up living in a Tank Girl Comic.

Take care!

❤ Evelynlouise

It’s time to pay attention

My dearest readers,

CHINA-ENVIRONMENT-POLLUTION-RIVER

This is a water supply. I love clothing, I love expressing myself visually, but when I think of the long term implications my consumption has, I know we have to change the way we think about it. Bored Panda released a visual photo essay about the pollution in china and it’s horrifying! Quite frankly this isn’t just about the physical toll our consumption takes on the environment, it’s also about the impact it has on the people who work and live in these conditions.

My good friend send me this article Bloggers sent to work in Cambodian Sweatshops, that links to the videos so you can watch the online reality show that is attached to the break down of this 17 year old blogger. There is a concept that my students and I discuss when we talk about the ethics of outsourcing that I think many of us overlook. The notion that because we are advanced as a culture that we have tied up all the loose ends of the highlighted issues of children in sweatshops, or the deaths of hundreds of women in the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. The reality is these atrocities are happening today, they happen everywhere. Even with the green movement there is not enough  being done to make our clothes more ethical or sustainable. I feel the only way we change this is by knowledge and discussion.

I,  just like you, love new clothing, I love to buy new stuff to put in my closet, I love to look my best and I have an unnatural obsession for looking my best. However, there is no handbag in the world that is worth the loss of human life or the degradation of others or the places they live. I think of it this way. I love clothing and I love new designs and the innovation and creativity that is associated with the fashion industry, but if we don’t make severe cuts and changes in the selections and mass productions associated with this industry we may not get to look forward to many more Mercedes Benz Fashion weeks. Why? Because we are going to eventually run out or ruin farmable land for all of that cotton for all of those t-shirts and jeans we love so much. It already depletes soil nutrients that could be used for growing food. And not to be too dramatic, but when we’re all dying of cancer from the amount of caustic chemicals we have put in to our water supply from pesticide run off for those crops and the chemical dyes we use to give them colors, I wonder if we’ll regret the damage we have done.

I’m not saying that first thing tomorrow you should throw out all of your unethically sourced clothes or that we all have deep pockets that allow us to buy 100% organic 100% sustainable 100% ethically sourced clothing. However, we all can start in acknowledging the problems and start facilitating discussions on how to make a difference. It’s time to start paying attention.

My partner and I have started this journey in baby steps by shopping the majority of our clothing through second hand clothing stores. While these present their own challenges and are dependent on a primary market to create the clothing that supply these stores, they do allow us to keep a large quantity of textiles out of landfills and keep those garments worn until the end of their intended life cycles. I think of it as starting in a place of waste not want not. I am also saying it is time to be more choosy in your wardrobe decisions and start finding your own answers about your consumables. Companies want you to buy their product, they don’t want you to know hundreds of 15 year old girls were killed in a factory fire that made those goods.

I also give this piece of advice, support your local economies, buy local and buy less. For those of you interested I’ve been reading this fantastic book Wear No EvilShe has some pretty hard hitting facts about our clothing and so far some pretty sound advice on how she changed her own consumption.

WearNoEvil-01-thumb-620x438-80519

I don’t think that any one person has all of the answers, or that any one person is 100% unbiased and accurate when it comes to discussing how we use, waste or manufacture. However, it starts with educating yourself and researching the things that important to you. For me, I would like to see us continue to have fashion weeks, and have new an innovative fashion ideas. In order to do this in the long term, we have to change. It’s lovely to look good, it’s awesome to accept yourself for who you are, but it’s amazing to be aware enough to take care of your surroundings.

Some food for thought my lovely fashionistas!

Yours,

❤ Evelynlouise

Make your holiday greener

To my dearest readers,

I hope that you had a lovely holiday this past week and you enjoyed time with family and friends. I also hope some of you took the donation challenge and called up your local shelters. Many people think that organizations such as Goodwill and Salvation Army just provide for these organizations, and the truth is, they are fueled on donations like any other not for profit. So keep your fellow humans in mind this season.

I have been trying to articulate some very interesting buzz that’s been circulating around the fashion world for going on several decades. Mostly it’s the part of me who is very entrepreneurial in spirit, but a conservator at heart. For those of you who have been following along, fashion and positive body image are two topics very near and dear to my heart. However, the third topic which gets my blood boiling when it comes to fashion is its environmental foot print.

Sustainable-Design-Classes-FIT

 

We cannot think about Christmas in the U.S. without associating it with the task of doing some shopping for our friends, loved ones, and co-workers. I think that we would all love to live in a world where we didn’t have to worry about natural habitats getting destroyed, or running out of natural supplies, or having the ability to grow all of the plants that we need to continue to live on this planet of ours. But the truth is, this just isn’t a reality. People have to become activists for their cause. It doesn’t always mean you stand in front of a political building with a sign, but it does mean that you inform yourself and you inform others. Where am I going with this?

Well recently I read this fantastically informative article about the impact of our fas fashion consumption on second hand markets. The numbers are just staggering, and to be honest after researching similar topics not even 5 years ago, the number just continue to grow.  We create 25 billion pounds of new clothing a year in the U.S. 85% of which ends up in a land fill at the end of it’s cycle. This is bad kids. Why? Because most of the clothing made today is made of materials that don’t biodegrade easily. The following is a pie chart provided by EPA estimates of what ends up in a landfill. According to the math above 21 billion pounds of the above new textiles will be added to landfills and according to the chart below that’s only a small slice of what’s ending up in the garbage.

waste1

 

You may be asking, what being environmental conscious has to do with when and where you are going to find the latest and greatest in plus sized dresses for next spring. The real issue is, if we don’t slow down with our consumption of clothing, one day we literally will have nothing left to consume. You can forget about shopping for this season’s latest boots and you will find yourselves at the mercy of whatever second hand markets exist, until every last piece of clothing has to be scrapped together.

I don’t bring this up so close to the holiday season to bring you down for going out and enjoying some shopping. However, I think it’s time to have some real talks about the things we are buying. I am just as guilty as all of you for purchasing things I don’t need. But as this holiday approaches and you start purging your house to make room for all your new Christmas goodies, not to mention the increase in trash you are going to have from the increased foot traffic in your home, here are my

Top 5 requests for a less ecologically impacted christmas:

  1. recycle everything you possibly can: paper, boxes, textiles, cans, paper plates, etc. Say no to styrofoam and remember those extra bags of trash you pitch at the holidays have to go somewhere.
  2. Look at purchasing quality clothing that will fall apart. Have a love affair with your clothing, love it until you’ve attached the last button you can sew on to it, love it until it falls off your person and then? recycle it.
  3. Try to shop local, support your local artisans, by supporting local businesses, you are decreasing the amount of carbon emissions used to ship goods and products to your door. You are also stimulating local economies which bring direct benefits to you and your community.
  4.  Keep an eye out for trends that are just going in the garbage in 3 months. Stop buying it! If everyone stops buying it and pushes for more sustainable products, retailers and creators will have to adapt. You control the market with your money. It doesn’t work with out millions of us and the dollars we put towards the products we buy.
  5. Tell your friends. Remind them about how they have a say in these crazy fashion cycles.

Here’s another individuals take on how to recycle your textiles, they have some pretty good tips. I don’t want you to feel bad about enjoying clothing, but I do want you to think about where it’s coming from and how we all are guilty of over consuming. Happy Shopping!

Hope to see you next week!

❤ Evelynlouise.

An Alternative to Shopping

A weird caveat to the typical holiday shopping crusade, I’ve been turning my own attentions at this time of year to finding ways to purchase meaningful gifts for friends and family for the up and coming holiday seasons. While this shopping craze is in no way related to a fashion blog, and you are probably pondering what soap box I am about to stand on, I simply have an interesting look at the consumption and our views of it in the fashion world. As you know from my entry on the LBD: Uniform Project entry and my ode to more sustainable wardrobes I am a big proponent of lightening our ecological foot print when it comes to fashion. Instead of entering a tirade about the horrendous amounts of things we don’t need that we purchase anyway at this time of year I instead turned to the veritable cornucopia that is the internet to provide me some alternative thoughts. I ended up finding an artist named Sarah Lazarovic, who recently released a book called A Bunch of Pretty Things I Did Not Buy about her year not shopping for anything.

book

I am looking forward to picking up my own copy. I read this article about the artist and her endeavors and particularly for whom she wrote the book:

This is what happens when you don’t shop for a year.

The article particularly got me thinking about the things we buy, and more specifically why do put so much emphasis on always having new clothing? You can be a fantastically wells dressed person and never spend a cent at a new retail store. However, the point that the author seems to make that I am particularly fond of, is that you don’t need clothes to define who you are. My lovely curvaceous readers, remember that no pair of pants is going to make you love your butt, you have to love it before you put pants on it.

So to kick off this holiday season I impart to you a new thought, maybe a challenge for the up coming year to consider why you buy what you do, and what it means to shop with a more conscious effort.

I hope you at least find it interesting!
❤ Evelynlouise

The Uniform Project

Hello fashion lovers,

So, I know this project isn’t the latest or greatest in the breaking news on the fashion forefront, but as I think of new inspiration for fashion, the direction in which fashion is going and the need for change, this project always comes back to me as utterly inspiring.

What Project you ask? It was called the Uniform Project, and the premise was…. well why should I bore you with my synopsis? Watch the founders ted talk! The Story begins at marker :42 or if you just want to know about the dress  start at 6:15 minute 8:00 shows you what happened.

 

 

If you’re more for reading it click the story on the official site here.

 

I had just graduated from my fashion design undergraduate when this awesome lady started this endeavor and I had the fortunate experience of watching the project unfold when they launched their official site. I can never remember who introduced me to this project, but I can say that it most definitely changed my life. When they talked about releasing the patterns for this glorious dress I pre-ordered my pattern for $30 which felt like all the money in the world to me at the time, and I squealed with joy when it reached my door.

Before I get waaaaay ahead of myself in the reminiscing and dreaminess of this wonderful project. I remembered this project is awesome to me and relevant to this blog in two ways.

1. It was a means of using fashion to break traditional shopping cycles.

2. It educated people about a new and real issue and gave them the opportunity to make a difference. And since I’m a teacher I melted inside when it had to do with sending children to school.

Could you imagine how drastically the entire world would change if we were forced to creatively solve fashion with a uniform? Or how drastically we could cut consumption but still maintain our creativity?

This project inspires me endlessly. I think I myself would have jumped at the task if it had been a plus size dress.

Maybe one day right?

uniform-project

Go peruse the site! The Uniform Project

Thoughts? Feelings? I’d love to hear what you think of this awesome project!

❤ Evelynlouise