Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Eve Gravel

Eve Gravel Soft Machine Jacket, Thrifted Top and Pants, Zou Xou Belu Pump in Sand Suede


-Part IV-
Transitioning into Slow Fashion.

I'd like to think that I learned about slow fashion at the perfect time. For almost my entire life, I've been an avid shopper and would frequent the mall at least once a week. This all changed after the summer of 2015. I went on a trip to Japan and shopped at the usual fast fashion stores - Gap, H&M, GU...the list goes on. When I tried on clothes at those retailers, I realized that the clothes fit me just about perfectly. I have a smaller frame and the clothes sold in Japan were made for what would be considered petite in America. Surprisingly after this trip, I unintentionally cut off shopping. It just wasn't appealing to me anymore since nothing really fit as well as it did in Japan. There was a sort of gap time between this and me learning about slow fashion. Within this time, I mainly wore what I had purchased in Japan and probably purchased about 5 pieces of fast fashion clothing. Because this happened to me right before learning about slow fashion, it made the transition a lot easier than it would've been weaning off fast fashion.

So how did I transition my wardrobe over from fast fashion to slow fashion? I came to 3 solutions: thrifting, shopping ethical and sustainable brands, and swapping clothes. Prior to learning about slow fashion, I've probably only thrifted a handful of times. When I moved to Los Angeles, I was introduced to the American Cancer Society Discovery Shop which is now my go-to thrift store. I found that this store was curated and I really liked the style. I've discovered more curated thrift stores and find that they're fun because there's always something new within a certain style parameter. I feel that thrifting is the most sustainable option because it gives new life to garments and deters it from going into landfill. 

The second solution of moving towards slow fashion is to shop sustainable brands. This is easier said than done because it is a difficult transition mentally and financially. The cycle of shopping fast fashion is enticing since there's always something new but after a while, I felt that I had so much clothes I didn't wear and it just didn't feel right to have so much, not to mention the huge clutter in my room. I went through a phase of donating a large amount of my clothes and selling a few pieces.

 Financially, moving from inexpensive fast fashion clothing to heftier priced slow fashion clothes can be a shock but there is something to think about. With shopping slow fashion brands, I feel that I think through whether I really need or want something before making a purchases. I try to imagine which pieces in my closet I can wear it with and whether it's really something I would wear over time. This takes a while to get used to but once I started doing this, I noticed that I was excited to wear certain pieces to the point that I would reach it for every time it came out from the laundry. With trial and error, I feel that I am heading towards a more fulfilling wardrobe.

Lastly, I've attended a few clothes swap parties and they were a lot of fun. My first one was with friends and friends of friends. We all gathered and brought clothes we no longer wanted but didn't want to donate. Since I have a pile of clothes I am slowly trying to get rid of, I selected pieces I thought my friends would like and brought those. At the night of the clothes swap, we had food and drinks to start. We conducted the swap by giving each person time to describe and sell each garment, followed by asking if anyone wanted it after each clothing was presented. It was comical to see the different ways each person tried to offer their clothes but we also got to know each other since I didn't know everyone at the party. Because of this, I think clothing swap parties are not only a good way to get new clothes and let go of old clothes, but it has an added social aspect to it. So far, these have been my solutions to transitioning into slow fashion.

EVE GRAVEL'S STORY: Eve Gravel founded her ready-to-wear women's line at the age of 22 in Montreal. She ensures her designs are timeless with unique details and a touch of femininity. Eve designs everything in her Mile-End workshop and produces locally and ethically in Montreal. Each fabric is chosen carefully and all prints are created in her workshop. I love that this coat keeps me warm but is simultaneously functional with side slits.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Slow Series Part III ft. Textilehaus

Thrifted Shirt, Textilehaus Sack Pant, Intentionally Blank Temple Loafers


-Part III-
Sustainable Vs. Unsustainable Fabrics.

      Today I am resuming my Slow Series and will be talking about sustainable and unsustainable fabrics. Growing up I've always been specific with fabrics I liked to wear. It was something my mom had trained me to do. When we went shopping, she would always make sure the fabric of a garment was made of one she liked, and it turns out that the fabrics she encouraged me to wear were natural ones. At some point, I was able to determine the content of a fabric solely from touching it. Now more than ever I am very particular with what fabrics I wear since I am aware of sustainable fashion. Below, I have created a list of textiles that I either do or do not consider sustainable.

Unsustainable Fabrics                                                                     Sustainable Fabrics
-       Cotton (Inorganic):
-       Uses pesticides and a lot of water due to poor soil quality
-       Can irritate skin from chemicals
-       Nylon:
-       Made from petrochemicals that pollute the environment
-       Non-biodegradable and releases nitrous oxide when manufactured
-       Poly Cotton:
-       Treated with toxic formaldehyde
-       Polyester:
-       Made from petrochemicals
-       Lasts long in landfills
-       Rayon:
-       Non-environmentally friendly manufacturing process (uses chemicals and heavy metals)
-       Viscose:
-       Made from wood pulp of eucalyptus trees but treated with chemicals
-       Wool (Inorganic):
-       Dipped in toxic chemicals to ward off ticks/lice
-       Alpaca:
-       Don't require insecticides/ antibiotic treatments
-       Long lasting, wrinkle resistant, durable
-       Warmer than wool, has no lanolin which makes it hypoallergenic
-       Bamboo:
-       Newer methods produced without toxic chemicals
-       Cashmere:
-       Truly green cashmere is lasting and durable
-       Cheap cashmere is produced with chemicals and carcinogenic dyes
-       Hemp:
-       Easily grown without chemical pesticides
-       Cotton (Organic):
-       Still use a lot of water but less than inorganic cotton
-       Safer for farmers because it does not use toxic chemical treatments
-       Maintains healthy soil
-       Linen:
-       From flax which doesn’t require pesticides
-       In its most green form when it's in a natural shade or dyed with natural dyes
-       Cheap linen is treated with chemicals in fast fashion retailers
-       Modal:
-       High yield cellulose biodegradable fiber from beech trees
-       High wet strength and extra soft
-       Machine washes and tumble dries without shrinking
-       Absorbs 50% more moisture than cotton which keeps it odor free and uses less energy from washing
-       Can be dyed with harsh chemicals
-       Lenzing modal is sustainable and bleached in an environmentally friendly way
-       Ramie:
-       Harvested 3-4 times/year
-       Less water than cotton
-       Naturally resistant to bacteria
-       Grows healthily without pesticides
-       One of the strongest natural fibers (8 times stronger than cotton)
-       Stain resistant
-       Silk:
-       It's a natural fabric because it's made by silk worms
-       Vegan silk uses worm casings after moths have emerged
-       Soy Fabric:
-       Made from byproducts of soy oil processing
-       Good for bras and panties because its soft and silky
-       Can be certified organic, sustainable, eco-friendly
-       Watch out for soy blends with polyester and inorganic cotton
-       Tencel/Lyocell:
-       Non-chemical alternative to viscose
-       Uses solvents that are 99.9% reclaimed and reused
-       Biodegradable and recyclable from eucalyptus trees (grow quickly without pesticides)
-       Production uses less energy, water, and fabric
-       Doesn't get bleached, manufacturing is environmentally friendly
-       Absorbs perspiration, doesn't allow bacteria growth, remains odor free
-       Fewer washes to save energy
-       Dye process can be with chemicals
-       Naturally wrinkle free
-       Wool (Organic):
-       Renewable and durable from sheep
-       Made according to Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS)

*Fabric information sourced from New Classic's The Ethics of Fabrics.   

       A few of my favorite fabrics include alpaca, organic cotton, linen, silk, and wool. I've always really liked alpacas and when I went to Portland, Oregon, I visited an alpaca farm. I was able to pet the alpacas and they were combed of their fur to spin into yarn. A few years after my visit, my boyfriend gifted me an alpaca sweater and I love it because it's so soft and not prickly. Organic cotton is also on my list of favorite fabrics because it can come woven or knit and casual or dressy. It's great that it's a comfortable fabric and also come in various textures! I love linen because it's a very wearable fabric year round. It's breathable for the summer and great for layering when it gets colder. Being the lazy person I am, I love that linen is machine washable and can be worn with wrinkles! Another fabric I love is silk because it feels so luxurious against the skin. Sometimes when I wear silk garments I forget that I'm even wearing anything! Lastly, wool gives me a nostalgic feeling because my grandma used to knit me wool sweaters when I was younger and they would keep me warm in the cold, San Francisco weather. Up until today, I still have the sweaters and wear it when the weather dips or when I visit home. Although I am not sure if they were made of organic wool, I am now aware that organic wool exists and will try to look for that option. Now that I've shared my favorite fabrics, I'd love to read what yours are and why? Also, are you interested in knowing which fabrics I personally don't like and why?

TEXTILE HAUS' STORY: Anastasiya Yatsuk is the founder Textilehaus, a women's clothing line that embraces timeless styles and exceptionally high quality. Anastasiya grew up in Russia where she was allowed to shop for new clothes twice a year for the winter and summer. Before she could buy anything, her mother had her create a sample of what she wanted to buy. From then, Anastasiya learned to appreciate the skills needed to make clothes and would choose to purchase pieces that would work with her existing wardrobe. Anastasiya studied fine arts in the US and then went on to start Textilehaus. This season, her pieces are made of responsibly imported fabrics from high quality factories in Japan. She specifically chose the raw silk fabric for this collection because of its soft touch. All of her pieces are designed and made in Cincinnati, Ohio where she works with local manufacturers to sew each garment. I love the fabric of the Sack Pants and the fact that they were sewn with french seams which makes them more durable!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017


MY STORY: This week I'll be taking a break from my Slow Series. It's been a pretty intense process writing out the series in addition to having a heavier load in school time around. Today I'll be giving an update on what I've been up in the weeks I've been sharing the Slow Series.

This past weekend my parents visited and it was nice to just hang out with them again. Before I moved to LA, I really didn't hang out with my friends too much and instead would go out with my parents during the weekends. We have similar interests (mainly eating) and enjoy each other's company. It was nice to revisit that but at the same time I enjoy my friends and lifestyle in LA.

This week 2 of my middle school friends are visiting and it's so exciting to see them again! I still have school and work so we don't have too much time together but I'm looking forward to catching up with them.

Lastly, I've just been busy with school work since there are a few projects with many parts due throughout the week. I've been getting closer to a few friends in school which makes the process a lot easier to endure. I've really been enjoying the presence of my friends and continuing to get to know them better. I'd love to hear something you've been enjoying lately!

MODERNATION'S STORY: Dawn Oakes is the founder of Modernation, a women's clothing line that offers an alternative to fast fashion. This all started when Dawn worked in the interior design industry and was introduced to sustainability in building materials, water efficiency, and environmental quality. After learning this, she felt that there was an opportunity to create while making a positive change. In her latest capsule collection, she offers 5 pieces that can be worn in several ways. They are all made in tencel which is a natural fabric that looks and feels luxurious. It takes a few months to create a collection and she focuses on neutral colors and a timeless design. I love the blush color of the Lyanna Dress and the way the tencel feels against the skin. 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Slow Series Part II ft. Tales of Anyday

Tales of Anyday Lu Shirt, Father's Daughter Jett Jeans in Biscuit, Nisolo Mariella Mule in Black


-Part II-
Defining Slow Fashion.

       In my previous post, I explained the process of garment making and grazed on what slow fashion was. Today I'll be breaking down what slow fashion is from my perspective. Slow fashion is composed of two large umbrellas: ethics and sustainability.

       Ethically made clothing focuses on the people who contribute to the process of making garments. Clothing made ethically can entail various meanings and details. Here is a list of what I have seen brands share as to why their company is ethical.

- Workers are paid a fair wage. This means workers are being paid minimum wage or above. I have also encountered the term 'living wage' which is an amount above minimum wage that allows workers to live comfortably. 
- The work environment is safe. Often time places such as dye or wash houses use chemicals that are detrimental to the health of workers. Natural dyes made from vegetables are an alternative to harsh chemicals used traditionally. 
- Workers receive paid time off.
- Workers receive worker's compensation. Physical work such as sewing can lead to muscle injuries. For businesses, workers compensation is costly and therefore, not always offered.
- Workers are satisfied. A slower production schedule allows workers to take time to do their work accurately removing the pressure of constantly being pushed to work faster. 

       The sustainability aspect of a brand focuses on the durability of a garment through time. I created another list to break down the different parts that contribute to a lasting garment.

- Quality. A garment will last longer when it is stitched together a certain way. This is something new I learned from taking my sewing class. In sewing, there are different number of stitches per inch. The higher the number of stitches per inch, the longer a garment will last, which makes sense because it is more difficult to rip out 10 small stitches within an inch compared to 5 large stitches within the same length (from experience). Also, the higher the number of stitches per inch, the longer it takes to sew. When I learned about this, I became more aware of the differentiating factors of slow and fast fashion. This is also a good way to tell whether a garment will last or not.
- Design. When garments are designed to last, they aren't about the latest trend but instead, have a timeless style.
- Eco-conscious. This can be taken in several ways. Zero waste is something that is always good to strive for even though in reality it is not always possible. Cutting fabric to maximize the amount of garments that will be produced, maximizing the amount of paper used when creating patterns or designs, and using reusing bags for packaging are great ways to decrease waste. Another idea would be to purchase fabrics and materials locally as to lower the carbon footprint in modes of delivery.
-Fabric. I feel that there is a wealth of information to be shared about fabrics which is why I will be going more in depth about it in the following Slow Series next Wednesday.

       To sum this up, it is not to say that all companies that claim they are ethical or sustainable comply with all these points. I applaud any company striving towards even 1 of these points because it is already taking a large step away from fast fashion. I hope this information was insightful and helped build your knowledge on slow fashion. I am still learning and would love to hear any of your thoughts/comments!

TALES OF ANYDAY'S STORY: Sintija is the founder of Tales of Anyday which offers beautiful sustainable and ethical women's wear. She is originally from Riga, Latvia but is now based in Copenhagen, Denmark. She has a masters in Sustainability in Fashion and dedicates her work to sustainability through production, materials, and design. Sintija believes that design can be sustainable when it is timeless and made of high quality fabric and construction. In making her clothes, she believes that production methods should be under fair working conditions. She also designs and develops environmentally friendly textiles. She tends to work with fabrics that are natural such as linen, organic cotton, and lyocell. I love that her pieces are made with high quality fabric and construction and that her mission is focused on sustainability.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Slow Series Part I ft. Annika Deboer

Annika Deboer Lara Top and Drifter Pants, Zou Xou Belu Pump in Sand Suede


-Part I-
The Process of Making a Garment.

        Today my story will be a bit different. I recently took a walk to the mall and went into several stores only to be disappointed in the fabric and quality of the clothes offered. Just prior to this visit, my friend Jacci, who doesn't work in the fashion industry, asked for a few slow fashion brands she could shop. From these two incidences, it sparked in me that I wanted to share this information. Thinking about it, if I wasn't studying and working in fashion, I probably wouldn't know as much about slow fashion as I do now. I decided to write up the knowledge that I have, but during the process I found that there were several areas I wanted to touch upon that would be much too long for one post. Because of this, I will be creating a series on slow fashion touching on different topics each week. I also asked on Instagram if anyone had any questions about slow fashion and will be answering them either today or in a future post.

        To begin, I thought it would be good to lay down the foundation of the process of making clothes. Before I entered the fashion industry, I really didn’t know how clothes were made. I’d taken a few sewing classes prior and made a few dresses, but making clothes for consumers is a whole different process. The process that I will explain is from my perspective of working in a small business where each person wears many hats, meaning we typically do more than one appointed job. Also since I only recently started studying fashion design, there are still many areas that are unfamiliar to me but I will share as much as I know.

        To start creating a garment, designers research what to create. This process of researching may include inspirational activities such as traveling, viewing art, listening to music, studying what people are wearing in public, meeting new people, combing through thrift stores, etc. After this, they sketch pieces they want to create. This sketch is initially done in pencil and then drawn on the computer using Adobe Illustrator. There will be a period of time where the designs are thought over to make sure they make sense and that they are catered to the specific audience of the brand. When necessary, edits will be made to the computer drawings and from my experience, it takes several weeks for pieces to be finalized.

        After the design process, the sketches are handed over to the pattern maker. They are the people who create a paper version of what clothes would be if they were completely unstitched and flattened. Accurate measurements are very important for the fit of the garment. They also need to make specific marks on each pattern piece in order to communicate well with the sewer. A sample piece will then be sewn and fitted on a model to ensure that it fits well and looks the way it was designed to.

        I am not as familiar with grading and marking but from what I understand, a grader creates a range of sizes from the sample size paper pattern handed over from the pattern maker. A marker arranges the pattern pieces in a way that maximizes the available fabric before cutting. The marker, which is similar to a stencil, is given to the cutter to cut the fabric along the lines of the marker. The cut out pieces are then given to the sewers to be made into actual garments.

        Depending on the fabric, certain garments may need to be washed to soften the material or in the case of jeans, need to go through a specific wash treatment. After, trims such as buttons and labels are added onto the garment. Lastly, they are inspected, snipped of any loose threads, and packaged to be shipped.

        After sharing this process, I feel that I can better explain to you what fast and slow fashion are. Fast fashion is creating clothes in the fastest manner possible in order to reach the consumer with the latest trends on the runway. This would mean that each person in the process above would do their work at an expedited rate that is unnatural for humans. It is important to respect each person's creative gift in this process, which also means accepting that it takes time to create. This brings me to slow fashion. Slow fashion is taking the time to go through this creative process which often accompanies using environmentally friendly fabrics and processes to create clothes. To avoid making this post too long, I will expand on the latter in the next part of this series.

ANNIKA DEBOER'S STORY: Annika, inspired by mindful consumption and long-lasting garments, started her brand of ethical women's wear in 2017. She creates small collections and the construction of her clothing is slow in order to focus on the quality of the pieces she creates and to reduce excess. All of her pieces are made to order and cut and sewn in New Zealand. She hopes that in the time awaiting a garment, her customers will appreciate the craftsmanship it takes to create garments and treasure it when it arrives. 

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