I made a dress

It's been some time since I last titled a post like today but finally a right moment came and I made a dress. I was browsing my vintage pattern magazines, looking for something new, something I'd never noticed before, despite all those countless times I'd flipped through these pages. I wanted to try making a button down dress for the longest time so I was searching for those in particular. Then there was this pattern in Der Neue Schnitt from July 1954, one of many drawings on the same page but it caught my attention with its girly charm. I decided to go for it.


I grabbed a wool/polyester blend in navy/black plaid because it was just laying around and looked like it would match this project. I usually spend a lot of time deciding on fabric but this time I was eager to start and to finish quickly. It looked like a nice, easy project. Then I spent two full days sewing. It turned out to be a pretty demanding task, if I wanted to finish everything neatly, which I did. Totally worth it. I love how good it feels to have this dress with seam allowances finished with nylon tape and with all the understitching done properly and the bodice lined with pretty light blue cotton and the collar reinforced with heavy interfacing for beautiful roll. Admittedly, I need to move the button which sits right above the waistline because it's creating gaping and makes it look like the dress is too tight while it isn't. It's super comfortable and I'd just spent my fourth day wearing it. Styled it differently each day which further goes to prove that it's a success: fits within my wardrobe seamlessly.

For the first time in a long time I feel accomplished thanks to something I'd sewn. I feel it's a big step forward for me, a level up of sorts.

I'm wearing a dress that I made from thrifted wool/polyester blend, an old cardigan from Holy Rags and a new necklace c/o Fate&Coincidence. The shoes are from last year, from New Look, the beret is old and the trench was a gift from my boyfriend last year.

*All photos by my boyfriend, Bartek.

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Taking time and making time

I've been thinking a lot about time recently, and how it passes so fast. Alex from Larkspur Vintage has just published a post about it that resonated with me and I thought I'd share my part, too.

I wake up every day with an intention to make the most of it, and at the end, no matter what goal I set for myself, I keep feeling like I did not do very well. There are so many things right now that I have to take care of, and it's not easy to juggle it all. I don't have a full time job in a common sense of the word, which may suggest that I have a lot of time on my hands while in reality I am struggling to actually get some work done, the work that I want to do and need to do. It's hard for people to wrap their heads around it, I guess, when I don't have an employer and only get a comission or two from time to time, and I've decided I want to work for myself, making clothes and selling them in the future (there, I said it, it's out there now, there's no turning back). I need to find time to make those clothes, and that is a lot of time which I have a hard time explaining. Especially when there are so many other things that are important too. I have a hard time saying "sorry, I can't do it this week" because it feels ungrateful and impolite. I do have a very hard time saying "no". I have no problem with people telling me they have to cancel. I take things easy because I know how life is and that things can happen out of the blue. But that's just when it comes to others and I can't seem to be able to apply this kind of leniency towards myself.

In a week, there are regular things like sewing and taking care of my family which usually takes one or two full days, and running a household (at which I am not really good anyway) and caring for our two dogs and a cat and trying to squeeze in some quality time with my boyfriend and also keeping this blog that I put a lot of effort into, and I dread to count how much time it consumes, together with all the invisible parts like writing and answering emails and keeping in touch with my readers. Then there are the irregular, special things like working on comission from time to time just to make any amount of money and organizing my photography workshops and making time for friends who want to meet up (I've just realized I'd put meeting my friends into "irregular, special things" category... yikes.) and taking care of random events like yesterday, when my neighbor, a lovely lady who knows I sew, practically begged me to mend her cardigan. Try to squeeze that in one week, fail... and I don't feel like I've earned a weekend off because there is always something missing: like I didn't manage to visit my Granny last week, even though she's been miserable, and I didn't get any sewing done this week, although I've really tried to make it work, but instead I met with my Mum and Dad and did major cleaning which is also good... but maybe not as productive as I'd like to. I think I'm everwhelmed and need to learn to prioritize better.

Then there happen a few hours in a day like when we were taking these photos and the weather was beautiful and we had our heads filled with fun ideas, and it all felt good and like my duties and chores were non-existant. Then here I am today, writing this post for the last hour (yes, I am an incredibly slow writer), and wondering if I should have just left it at the happy photos and called it a day, and go do something else instead. I'm actually close to deleting this whole rambling in fear of oversharing but I guess since I've just spent all this time on writing, I better leave it be. Time is so precious.

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I made my clothes

Last week was Fashion Revolution Week and while I'm not big on any sort of seasonal blog posts, it was very important to me. If you're wondering why, you can read my thoughts on current state of fashion industry in this post. But even though the week has ended, I don't want this topic to cease to exist on my blog. I think as fashion/style bloggers, we have a huge responsibility towards other people: to educate and inform. I am well aware that blogging about style isn't one-dimensional. As fashion bloggers, we wear stuff that is pretty, we point out interesting trends, we inspire searching for personal style (or so I hope) which are all nice and good things, but at the same time, there is a darker side to all this. We make people want to buy more clothes. In a world where there is already too much conspumption at the expense of other people's wellbeing, I feel like creating this need for more and for new is certainly not the best I can offer. What do I do about this?

Well, my first instinct was to go on a no-shopping pledge --which I did eight months ago. And that didn't work out very well. I did, in fact, make some purchases a few months in. I never bought anything from chain stores/fast fashion brands, though, which was my most general aim, and I don't think I will buy there again. I have no interest in that and browsing thrift shops/vintage stores is much more exciting for me.

I don't intend to carry on with the non-shopping pledge as it was, because shopping has already occured. I want to observe my behaviour, though, and try to understand when and why I am drawn to buying clothes for the remainder of this year. I think the results will be interesting and I'll make sure to share my first fieldnotes with you soon. So this might be a little something that I can do about this over-consumption problem: I can analyze it.

Even when I had not been shopping, new pieces made their way into my wardrobe as I was busy sewing. These are the clothes that give me the most joy and satisfaction and ones that I really want to wear time and time again. This enthusiasm for making clothes --that's something I can share, too. Sewing is so easy that anyone can try. And I'm pretty sure many will get hooked.

Another thing that I'm actually already doing but need to focus on more, is remixing my clothes. This shows how differently one piece can be styled, and it allows me to fall in love with my old clothes time and again. I never was the wear-once-and-throw-out kind of girl and styling clothes multiple ways is entertaining so I want to give that more space on my blog.

So, it's all of this, and more talk about sustainable/fast fashion dynamic, naturally, becasue I think these are the most important informations.

Still, at the most basic level, this is a style blog where I show my clothes. No amount of remixing, sewing and talking about ethics of fashion will change anything if someone comes here just for the eye-candy. I get it. But if there is a chance that someone will read something I wrote and pause and reconsider their choices, I am going to work my ass off, trying to get the message across.
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A few truths aka Flippant Friday Facts

I feel as if I've reached my limit for words for this week with this article on fast fashion so I'm just going to leave you here with some random points.

1. Everything I'm wearing in this shoot is thrifted (except for the backpack which I bought a year ago and the scarf that I found). I've gotten the dress and the jacket in the last couple of weeks, thus, breaking my no-shopping pledge yet again. I'm not sorry, though. Thrifted = sustainable. Which is good. And sometimes I just crave something new in my closet and have no time to sew it. And I'm in love with this dress. So there.

2. These photos were taken on the same day as these since I knew I would have little time to take photos on my own this week. Yes, this included looking for a secluded spot in the forest and a hasty change of clothes, and yes, of course one person happened to be walking their dog in seeing distance despite our efforts to be far off the path, and yes, the dog naturally came to say hello and the owner came after him just as I was squatting to change my shoes. Talk about awkward.

3. And another story behind these photos: they were taken in a small birch grove that grows along some train tracks. I originally wanted to take my photos on the tracks but there were too many people around and I opted for hiding between the trees instead because I'm shy like that.

4. Random fact: I've been dazed with headaches in the last few days and have a hard time functioning like a human being and not a zombie. Another fact: I hate taking pain killers. Another fact: I can't remember ever making as many typos as I'm making right now, writing this post. As least I have the presence of mind to correct them as I'm typing.

5. A reminder that Good Looking Objects that I wrote about yesterday, is launching the new collection this weekend! I'm keeping my fingers crossed for Melinda and can't wait to see all the new pieces.
Mam wrażenie, że swoim artykułem o szybkiej modzie wyczerpałam limit pisanych słów na ten tydzień. Zostawię więc tylko kilka przypadkowych faktów.

1. Wszystko, co mam na sobie na tych zdjęciach, jest z second-handu (oprócz plecaka, który kupiłam rok temu i chustki, którą znalazłam). Sukienkę i kurtkę nabyłam w ostatnich tygodniach jednocześnie ponownie łamiąc moje wyzwanie-nie-kupowanie. Ale jakoś mi to nie przeszkadza. Z second-handu = etycznie. No i czasami marzy mi się coś nowego w szafie, a nie mam czasu lub umiejętności, by to uszyć. A w sukience jestem zakochana i długo mi posłuży.

2. Te zdjęcia robiliśmy tego samego dnia, co te z poniedziałkowej sesji, bo wiedziałam, że w tygodniu nie znajdę czasu na zrobienie ich samodzielnie. Tak, taka operacja wymagała znalezienia możliwie odosobnionego miejsca gdzieś w lesie, żebym mogła się przebrać. Wobec tego oczywiście ktoś trafił w pobliże naszego odosobnionego miejsca ze swoim psem. Pies, naturalnie, podbiegł, by się przywitać, a jego opiekun podszedł tuż za nim dokładnie wtedy, kiedy siedziałam w kucki, żeby zmienić buty. Ekhm. Trochę niezręcznie.

3. I jeszcze jedna historyjka zakulisowa: zdjęcia robiliśmy w brzozowym gaju, który biegnie wzdłuż torów kolejowych. Pierwotnie to właśnie na torach chciałam mieć zdjęcia, ale w okolicy kręciło się mnóstwo ludzi, więc zwiałam w krzaki, bo jestem nieśmiała.

4. Przypadkowy fakt: od paru dni jestem ogłuszona przez bóle głowy i z trudem przychodzi mi funkcjonowanie jak człowiek, a nie jak zombie. Kolejny fakt: nie cierpię brać proszków przeciwbólowych. I jeszcze jeden: nie pamiętam, kiedy ostatnio robiłam tyle literówek, jak teraz, przy pisaniu tego posta. Dobrze, że jestem dość przytomna, by je na bieżąco wyłapywać.

5. Przypominajka, że Good Looking Objects, o których pisałam wczoraj, ruszają z nową kolekcją w ten weekend. Trzymam kciuki za Melindę i nie mogę się doczekać, aż zobaczę wszystkie nowe rzeczy!

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Inspirations: Good Looking Objects

Good Looking Objects

I met Melinda, the woman behind this jewellery brand, through a thoughtful comment she left on my blog. I followed her to her site and wrote back, and we've been writing to each other ever since. It's one of those moments when I like blogging the best. When you meet creative individuals who are keen on sharing their experience and are willing to take time to write to you and make you feel like you can really talk.

I am so proud of every friendship that I make with another maker. And Melinda is positively an awesome maker. Her jewellery is beautiful both in form and in concept. She described her process to me in depth and I'm going to share it with you later on, but for now, just know this: she's working with vintage molds, ones that had been around since at least the 1970s, and makes pieces that are current and enchanting, and deeply feminine. I love the quirkiness of some so much! All the nature inspired leaves and animals have this fairy tale feel to them and the other ones, like the quirky eyes and elegant hands and a mask, bring a magic seance to my mind.

Also, there is a new collection launch coming on in the next few days! I have seen a few pieces --and some of them you can see in the photos in this post, too, as a sneak preview --and I can't wait to see the rest. If you want to see more of Melinda's creations, you can check out her storenvy shop but you definitely should keep coming back to her site in the next few days, to be there when the new collection launches. Actually, you could sign up for her newsletter like I have, so you are the first to know.
Poznałam Melindę, o której biżuterii dziś piszę, dzięki pięknemu komentarzowi, który zostawiła na moim blogu. Podążyłam za informacjami, które o sobie zostawiła, trafiłam na jej stronę i wysłałam jej maila, i od tej pory ciągle rozmawiamy. To w takich chwilach najbardziej lubię blogowanie. Kiedy trafiam na twórczych, mądrych ludzi, z którymi z przyjemnością wymieniam się doświadczeniami i czuję, że mają czas i chęć pisać i dzielić się sobą.

Każda znajomość z innym twórcą napawa mnie dumą. A Melinda jest zdecydowanie godną podziwu twórczynią. Jej biżuteria jest piękna zarówno w formie, jak i w zamyśle. Opisała mi szczegółowo proces powstawania każdego elementu i podzielę się nim z Wami za jakiś czas. Póki co wystarczy, jak powiem, że Melinda pracuje na matrycach, które powstały co najmniej kilkadziesiąt lat temu, by tworzyć ozdoby świeże i czarujące, a przy tym bardzo kobiece. Bardzo podoba mi się filuterność niektórych z nich. Te inspirowane naturą, liście i zwierzęta, są całkiem baśniowe. A szeroko otwarte oczka, eleganckie dłonie i maska przywodzą mi na myśl pokaz magii.

W ciągu najbliższych kilku dni możecie oczekiwać startu nowej kolekcji. Widziałam już kilka jej elementów - możecie je zresztą znaleźć wśród zdjęć ilustrujących dzisiejszy wpis - i nie mogę się doczekać, aż zobaczę wszystkie! Jeśli chcecie obejrzeć dotychczasowe dzieła Melindy, możecie zerknąć do jej sklepu na storenvy, ale pamiętajcie też o jej własnej stronie, bo to tam pojawi się nowa kolekcja. Żeby nie zapomnieć, możecie zapisać się do newslettera, tak, jak ja - wtedy dowiecie się o wszystkim jako pierwsi.

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Aware: a short introduction to ethical fashion


Temat odpowiedzialnej mody jest od jakiegoś czasu bliski mojemu sercu i coraz bardziej we mnie wsiąka. To jeden z najbardziej aktualnych tematów społeczno-ekonomicznych, obejmujący cały świat i dotyczący każdego z nas. Nie wszyscy są świadomi tego, co się dzieje w produkcji odzieży i co stoi za szybką modą. Wierzę, że im więcej ludzi będzie wiedziało, tym lepiej możemy działać na rzecz zmian.

Ten tekst rozrósł się przez ostatnich kilka miesięcy w spory artykuł. Za dużo do przełknięcia na jeden raz. Dlatego rozbiłam go na kilka części i będę je regularnie dopracowywała i dodawała. Potraktujcie ten wpis jako rodzaj wstępu, w którym tylko zaznaczam niektóre z istotnych elementów tematu.

To najważniejszy do tej pory wpis na tym blogu i jeśli miałabym Was zachęcać do przeczytania jakiegokolwiek dotychczasowego kawałka, który się tu pojawił - to byłby właśnie ten.

Nieświadomi

Kiedyś ubrania w ogóle mnie nie interesowały. Programowo nosiłam się byle jak. Wiedziałam wtedy tyle, że niedobrze jest kupować ubrania "Made in China", bo są kiepskiej jakości. A ja chciałam pójść na zakupy raz na rok i mieć to z głowy. Spodnie miały być ze mną aż do zdarcia, sweter miał służyć codziennie przez parę lat, najlepiej na zmianę z drugim, i tyle. Kupując to, co wtedy nazywałam "chińszczyzną", czułam się z góry oszukana, bo wiedziałam, że zaraz się rozleci. Bo materiały kiepskie, bo Chiny. No i nie byłam wtedy dość uparta, by szukać alternatyw.

Potem zajęłam się szukaniem swojego stylu i zaczęłam szyć. Szycie uświadomiło mi, że ubrania, które noszę, wytwarzają inni ludzie. To brzmi idiotycznie i nie jestem z tego dumna, ale wcześniej nie zastanawiałam się, skąd biorą się ubrania. Były w sklepie, a potem w mojej szafie, i tyle. Dopiero długie godziny spędzone na szyciu sprawiły, że zadałam sobie pytanie: o co tu właściwie chodzi? Jak to możliwe, że przerobienie kawałka materiału na ubranie trwa tyle godzin, a w sklepie wieszaki uginają się od ciuchów za półdarmo? Jak czyjaś ciężka praca może się przekładać na tak niskie ceny w sklepach? Przecież nie ma robotów, które za nas szyją, a ubieramy się wszyscy.

Dlaczego ubrania są takie tanie? Gdzie w tym wszystkim jest czynnik ludzki? Szukając odpowiedzi na te pytania, trafiłam na kilka filmów o przemyśle odzieżowym (linki do nich wklejam na końcu tego posta) i po ich obejrzeniu coś we mnie przeskoczyło.

Dlaczego?

Te filmy niosą jasne wyjaśnienie: kupujemy ubrania za grosze nie tylko dlatego, że są z niskiej jakości materiałów, ale głównie dlatego, że ludzie, którzy je wytwarzają, nie są opłacani w stopniu, który by im wystarczył na godne - a często nawet na normalne - życie. Pracują w fabrykach, które nie spełniają wymogów bezpieczeństwa. Przetwarzają toksyczne materiały. Pracują po kilkanaście godzin dziennie, bez stałych umów i świadczeń, w zamkniętych budynkach, z których nie mają ucieczki w przypadku niebezpieczeństwa. Ryzykują zdrowiem i życiem dlatego, że my, mieszkańcy Zachodu, uważamy za nasze święte prawo kupić sobie nowy ciuszek. A potem zdarzają się tragedie, jak ta w Rana Plaza, gdzie ponad tysiąc osób straciło życie, gdy zawaliła się fabryka odzieży. Kupując tanie ubrania, w istocie oszczędzamy na ludzkim zdrowiu i życiu, a na najbardziej podstawowym poziomie, na ludzkiej godności.

Mało tego, przemysł szybkiej mody intensywnie niszczy środowisko. Materiały na ubrania mają powstawać szybko i z maksymalną wydajnością, żeby można je było przetworzyć w dużych ilościach. Łańcuch szkodliwości szybkiej mody zaczyna się więc na przykład na plantacjach bawełny - nie tylko opryskiwanej, ale i zmonopolizowanej przez wielkie korporacje, co sprawia, że tylko niewielu bogatych producentów może sobie pozwolić na hodowlę ekologiczną. W kolejce są jeszcze tkalnie, farbiarnie, garbarnie - one wszystkie zanieczyszczają nie tylko grunty i wodę, ale i poprzez toksyczność używanych odczynników prowadzą do poważnych chorób pracowników i ludzi mieszkających w pobliżu.

To wszystko odbywa się głównie w świecie, którego nie widzimy i mamy o nim nie myśleć. Ale ja wierzę, że powinno nas to obchodzić.

Aha, i jeszcze jedna rzecz. Kupujemy zdecydowanie za dużo.

Kto uszył Twoje ubrania?

Około roku temu zaczęłam więcej myśleć o ubieraniu się od strony, która wcześniej nie była dla mnie żadną kategorią: od strony etycznej. Nauczyłam się, że kiedy w sieciówce widzę przecenione o 50% ciuchy, to warto zapalić lampkę alarmową i zadać sobie pytanie, ile ktoś musiał za to zapłacić? Przecież nie firma, bo ona na pewno nadal na tym zarabia. A zatem to ludzie, którzy te ciuchy dla nas szyją. Jeśli pełna cena mogła zostać obniżona o połowę - to ile kosztowała produkcja? Ile zarobiła szwaczka? Konkretna osoba żyjąca gdzieś na świecie?

Takie pytania można zadawać w nieskończoność, ale bez konkretnych działań niczego nie zmienimy. Sama świadomość krzywdy, która wydarza się innym ludziom, to za mało. Daleka jestem od mówienia innym, jak mają żyć. Nie cierpię autorytarności i nie lubię sprzedawać swoich opinii. Ale ten temat jest dla mnie bardzo ważny. Dlatego poniżej opiszę pierwszych kilka kroków, jakie można podjąć, szukając rozwiązania problemu szybkiej mody.


Ty też

Najważniejsze, co każdy z nas może zrobić, to uświadomić sobie, że jest częścią tego systemu. Wszyscy jesteśmy częścią przemysłu, który działa wadliwie i szkodzi zarówno ludziom, jak i środowisku. Przemysł modowy jest drugim po przemyśle rafineryjnym największym źródłem zanieczyszczeń. Zatrudnia jedną na sześć osób na świecie, co samo w sobie jest dobre, ale forma zatrudnienia w znaczącej większości jest nie do przyjęcia. Przemysł odzieżowy w formie, w jakiej istnieje obecnie, w której dominuje szybka moda, jest po prostu szkodliwy. A najważniejszą jego komponentą jesteśmy my: konsumenci. To dla nas on pracuje i na nas się bogaci. I to nie jest jakaś statystyczna, wyimaginowana grupa. To jednostki, to ty i ja, pozwalamy mu istnieć i rosnąć w siłę. Jeśli przeniesiemy swoje pieniądze w inne miejsce, będzie musiał się zmienić. Jak zacząć?

Szukaj alternatyw
Na początek spróbuj zwolnić: nie daj kusić się reklamom, nie zaglądaj do sklepów. Zrób sobie detoks. I tak kupujemy za dużo. Z czasem zacznij poszukiwać innych miejsc, w których znajdziesz ubrania: istnieje wiele małych firm, które produkują odzież zgodnie z zasadami etyki i szczycą się tym. Rękodzielników znajdziesz na portalach takich, jak Etsy i Dawanda. Idź do second handu. Zorganizuj wymianę ubraniową wśród znajomych.

Dlaczego to ważne?
Przenosisz swój kapitał w inne miejsce, a w ten sposób odmawiasz zysków korporacjom, które wykorzystują ludzi i środowisko. Pomagasz istnieć firmom i ludziom, dla których odpowiedzialny wymiar mody ma znaczenie, tak, jak dla ciebie. Pamiętaj: to twój wybór, gdzie ulokujesz swoje pieniądze. Głosujesz nimi.

Kupuj rozważnie
Zmień dużo na dobrze. Nie ma większego znaczenia, czy kupujesz ubrania w second handzie, u rękodzielnika, czy w sieciówce, jeśli kupujesz ich tony i potem wyrzucasz. Lepiej kupić ubranie, do którego jesteś przekonana/y: pasujące do reszty twojej garderoby, wykonane porządnie i z dobrych materiałów, o którym wiesz, że przetrwa lata. Dzięki temu stworzysz też swój własny, przemyślany styl.

Dlaczego to ważne?
To istotne dla środowiska i społeczeństwa. Co roku wyrzucamy miliony ton ubrań, które tylko w części trafią do second handów. Wielką ich ilością zalewamy kraje rozwijające się, niszcząc lokalne i tradycyjne miejsca pracy przy tworzeniu ubrań. Znaczna większość idzie na wysypiska śmieci, gdzie będzie się rozkładać przez kilkaset lat, niszcząc przy tym środowisko.

Dbaj o ubrania
Zacznij myśleć o nich jako o czymś, co ma przetrwać lata. Czołowi projektanci mody krzyczą o tym, że moda nie powinna być jednorazowa. Zacznij prawidłowo czyścić ubrania: inaczej się czyści wełnę, inaczej bawełnę czy poliester - właściwy sposób podpowiedzą ci już metki, a internet jest kopalnią odpowiedzi na bardziej konkretne pytania. A jeśli ubranie jest z tobą tak długo, że już się podniszczyło, to pamiętaj, że zmechacenie można ogolić, but podbić na nowo, a na przetarty łokieć nałożyć łatę. Pewnych rzeczy można nauczyć się samemu, a inne powierzyć krawcowi, szewcowi, kaletnikowi albo innemu rzemieślnikowi, który zna się na rzeczy.

Dlaczego to ważne?

Dbasz o przyrodę, bo ograniczasz produkowanie śmieci. Wspierasz również lokalnych rzemieślników: pomagasz ludziom, których zawody są na wymarciu. A ubrania, które przetrwają z nami lata, mają wielkie historie. Dostałaś/eś kiedyś jakiś ciuch po babci albo dziadku? Jeśli tak, to wiesz, o co mi chodzi.

Moim zdaniem najważniejsze to zmienić optykę: zwolnić i postawić na dobre ubrania. Może kupisz mniej, ale na dłużej. Może wydasz jednorazowo więcej pieniędzy - ale na dłuższą metę będzie to lepsza inwestycja.
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Jak wspomniałam na początku, to tylko wstęp do tematu szybkiej mody. Będę do niej wracać do i tłumaczyć złożoność problemu. Jeśli macie pytania, napiszcie. Komentarze zostawiam pod tym postem otwarte.
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Filmy o przemyśle szybkiej mody
(bywa, że linki się dezaktualizują, ponieważ filmy są usuwane - dajcie mi znać, jeśli coś nie działa, poprawię)

The True Cost - tutaj trailer. Film w całości do obejrzenia na Netflixie.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Fashion - John Oliver tłumaczy na czym polega szybka moda
China Blue - dokument o produkcji ubrań w Chinach
Fashion Victims: Bangladesh - dokument o prawdziwych ofiarach mody
Made in Bangladesh - dokument o najtańszej sile roboczej pracującej dla przemysłu szybkiej mody
Nike Sweatshops: Behind the Swoosh - o produkcji obuwia Nike
Sweatshop - norwescy blogerzy modowi wysłani do pracy w sweatshopie w Kambodży
Kambodża, życie w fabrykach tekstyliów - krótki polski dokument o pracownikach przemysłu szybkiej mody w Kambodży

Zdjęcie via.


Sustainable fashion is a topic that I've been growing closer to for the past year. It's one of the most current socio-economic subjects, covering the whole world and pertaining to each and every one of us. Not everyone is aware of things happening in fast fashion industry and of the way clothing production works. I think the more people know, the better we can work to make a change.

This post grew into a large article over time. That's why I've decided to cut it into a few smaller pieces that would be easier to digest. I will work on them and post them regularly. You can treat this first installment as a kind of an introduction in which I'm only marking out some of the important issues.

I think this is the most significant piece on this blog. If I were to invite you to read just one post, this would be it.

Unaware

There was a time when I wasn't interested in clothes at all. I was wearing whatever bland pieces I found and was mostly interested in their durability. If there was one thing about fashion that I knew, it was that the "Made in China" label was a sign of poor quality. I wanted to have just one pair of jeans and wear them forever; I wanted to have two sweaters to cycle between, and that was that. So, buying clothes that were made in China, I felt I was being cheated because those clothes were bound to fall apart any minute. And, well, back then I wasn't persistent enough to look for alternatives.

Sometime later, I became interested in looking for my own personal style and I started sewing clothes for myself. It was sewing that made me realize that clothes are made by people. I know it sounds awfully privileged but before that, I never asked myself where my clothes came from. To me, they came from a shop I bought them in and then they came from my closet every day. It was those long hours that I spent on sewing my own pieces that made me ask: what's going on here? How is it possible that turning a piece of fabric into a piece of clothing takes so many hours but the shops are filled to the brim with dirt cheap clothes? How can someone's hard work compare to these low prices? There are no robots to sew for us. And we all wear clothes.

Why are clothes so cheap? Where is the human factor? While looking for answers, I watched a few films about clothing industry (I'm linking to them at the end of this post) and after watching them, something changed.

Why?

These movies bring it all to light: we can buy clothes so cheaply not just because they're made of poor quality materials but also because people who make those clothes don't earn a living wage. They work in factories that do not fulfill safety requirements. They work with highy toxic materials. They often work over a dozen hours a day, six days a week, with no provisions and no legal arrangements, in locked buildings they can not leave even in face of danger. They risk with their health and with their lives just so that we, the people of the West, consider it a given that we can buy a cheap t-shirt. And then, tragedies occur, like the one in Rana Plaza where over one thousand people were killed in a clothing factory building collapse. To conclude: when we buy cheap clothes, we are saving on people's lives and well being and on the most basic level, on human dignity.

But it's more than that. The fast fashion industry has a massive --and negative --influence on the environment. The aim is to produce as much material for clothes as fast as possible. This means that the chain of harmfulness starts, for example, at cotton plantations. The cotton isn't just sprayed with pesticides but also monopolized by big corporations which means very few rich producers are able to farm ecologically. There are also weaving mills, dyers and tanneries polluting earth and water and also making people working them and living close to them sick because of the proximity of all the toxic materials.

It is all happening mostly in a world that we do not see and we aren't supposed to think about. But I believe we should care.

Oh, and one more thing: we buy too much.

Who made your clothes?

About a year ago, my approach to wearing clothes began to change and I started thinking about one thing that did not exist in my mind before that: the ethical side of producing clothes. I learned that when I see a 50% sale in a shop, it's important to ask a question: who paid for this? Well, it definitely wasn't the company because I'm sure they're still earning money from it. It was the people who made the clothes who paid. If the price could be cut in half, then how much did the production cycle cost? How much did a single sewer earn? A particular person living somewhere on the globe?

We can ask more and more of these questions but if we take no concrete actions, nothing will change. The sole awareness that a lot of harm is happening to people and the planet is not enough. Now, I'm usually not one to tell others how they should be living their lives. I can't stand authoritarian opinions and I dislike selling my point of view. But this subject is too important for me to stay silent. So, below you'll find a few first steps that you can take if you care about finding a solution to the fast fashion problem, like I do.


You, too

The most important thing each and every one of us can do, is realize that we all are part of the system. We all play a role in this ill-working industry that harms both people and the planet. Fashion industry is second only to oil industry in how much pollution it creates. It employs one in every six people in the world which isn't a bad thing in itself, but the working conditions for the vast majority of the laborers are unacceptable. The way it works currently, fashion industry is simply harmful. And I believe the most important part of it is us: the consumers. The industry works for us and gets rich thanks to us. The consumers are not some statistic, imaginary group: it consists of individuals, of you and me. We let it grow and get strong. It's a simple thing to realize that we need to take out money elswhere to make a change. So how do we start?

Look for alternatives
In the beginning it's best to slow down. Don't let the ads tempt you, don't go browsing the shops. Detox. We're buying too much anyway. Then start looking for different places in search of new clothes: there are many small businesses that make clothes ethically. You'll find artisans and craftsmen on portals such as Etsy or Dawanda. Do some thrift shopping. Organize a clothing swap.

Why is that important?
You move your money elswhere and thus, you don't give it to corporations that abuse people and the environment. You are helping brands and people for whom responsible fashion is important, too. Remember: it's your choice where you leave your assets. You vote with them.

Buy sensibly
Switch from a lot to good. It doesn't really matter where you get your clothes if you your purchases are out of control and you buy just to throw away after a while. It is better to buy something that you are positive about: something that will match the rest of your wardrobe, made well and out of quality materials. Something tht will last for many years. That way you create a well defined personal style.

Why is that important?
It's a smart thing to do for the environment and the society. Every year we dump millions of tonnes of clothes and only a small part of them reach the second hand/thrift stores. We spill a massive amount on developing countries, destroying the local and traditional workplaces at clothes making. The largest part goes to garbage dumps where it will decompose for hundreds of years, harming the environment.

Care for your clothes
Start to think about your clothes like they were made to last. Head fashion designers keep saying that fashion should not be disposable. So, start to clean your clothes the right way: it's different for polyester and cotton and wool. Tags will help you decide what to do and then there is the internet to dig through for detailed instructions. And if you own a piece for so long that it got damaged over time, then remember that you can shave the pilling on a sweater, patch a hole on the elbow and re-sole your shoes. Some things you can do on your own while it's better to have others done by a professional, be it a seamstress, a cobbler or a pursemaker.

Why is that important?
You're caring for the environment because you're limiting trash production. You're also supporting local artisans and so, helping people whose jobs are going extinct. A side bonus is that the clothes that love with you for a long time, get a lot of stories ingrained in them. If you've ever been given a garment worn by your grandma or your grandpa in their youth, you know what I'm talking about.

I believe the most important thing is to change your stand point: to slow down and bet on good clothes. You may buy less but have the clothes with you longer. You may spend more money at once --but it will be a good investment in the long run.
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Again, this was just an introduction and I was only touching upon topics that are crucial to the subject. I will be coming back to this problem and I will try to explain its complexity as well as I can. If you have any questions, feel free to write. I am keeping the comments section open under this post.
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Films talking about fast fashion industry
(it can happen that links are no longer active because the films get removed from youtube sometimes. If you spot a non-working link, let me know, I'll fix it.)

The True Cost - just a trailer here. You can watch the full movie on Netflix and I highly recommend it for starters. It's the thing to watch if you want to get acquainted with the topic.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Fashion - John Oliver explains fast fashion
China Blue - a documentary on clothes production in China
Fashion Victims: Bangladesh - a documentary about the real fashion victims, the sweatshop laborers
Made in Bangladesh - a documentary about the cheapest labor in the fast fashion industry
Nike Sweatshops: Behind the Swoosh - about production of Nike shoes
Sweatshop - Norwegian fashion bloggers sent to Cambodia to work in sweatshops
Kambodża, życie w fabrykach tekstyliów - a short Polish documentary about the fast fashion industry in Cambodia

Photo via.

Reset

Sometimes you just need to head out and see everything differently, no?

I get sucked into my bad moods so easily and I tend to like staying there and bemoaning my fate. As I grow older, I think I've been getting a better hang on managing that part of me. So it seems a lovely walk with my boyfriend on a beautiful Saturday was enough to pick me up and set me straight.

This week is Fashion Revolution Week and I want to do my part on the blog. It's all about raising awareness of how our clothes are made, so that we can change the unfair working conditions and lessen the negative impact on the environment that the fashion industry has. The fast fashion/sustainable fashion dynamics have been on my mind a lot lately and I've decided I want to talk more about it here on a Robot Heart. It's not the easiest topic to tackle as there are so many nuances and questions and a lot of uncertainty but I feel it's more important and more responsible to take a stand and try to share what I know than to stay in the shadows in case what I know is in part wrong. You can expect a large post about fashion consciousness later this week, something I've been brewing here in my post editor for many months. It's the right moment so no more excuses --it needs to be published the way it is.

I'm wearing stuff that is vintage, thrifted, found, refashioned and old.
*All photos by my boyfriend
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Czasem trzeba wyjść z domu i zobaczyć wszystko w innym świetle, prawda?

Łatwo daję się wciągnąć w swoje złe nastroje, a potem zostaję tam i karmię się złym losem. Ale im jestem starsza, tym lepiej sobie z tym radzę. Wygląda na to, że czasem wystarczy jeden ładny spacer w piękny wiosenny dzień, żeby się otrząsnąć i stanąć na nogi.

W tym tygodniu odbywa się Fashion Revolution Week i będę uczestniczyć w nim na blogu. Chodzi o to, by zwiększyć świadomość tego, jak powstają nasze ubrania, abyśmy mogli poprawić krzywdzące warunki pracy w przemyśle odzieżowym i zaczęli zmniejszać jego negatywny wpływ na środowisko naturalne. Dynamika szybkiej mody i odpowiedzialnej mody od dłuższego czasu mnie interesuje i w końcu postanowiłam mówić o tym na blogu. To nie jest wygodny i łatwy temat: wiele jest niuansów, pytań i niewiadomych, ale czuję, że ważniejsze i bardziej odpowiedzialne jest zabrać stanowisko, i nawet pomylić się tu i ówdzie, niż siedzieć cicho w obawie, że powiem coś nieprawdziwego. Wobec tego w tym tygodniu możecie się spodziewać dużego tekstu o szybkiej modzie - czegoś, co od miesięcy siedzi na moim pulpicie. Ile bym nie przerabiała, nie będzie dość dobre, więc czas już opublikować to takim, jakie jest. Jest pretekst, więc teraz albo nigdy.

Mam na sobie rzeczy z second handu, vintage, znalezione, przerobione i stare.
*Zdjęcia zrobił mój chłopak.


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Decaying

I'm not yet thankful for this spring that has come. Instead of focusing on the vegetation that slowly and reluctantly lifts its head and brings some early bloom, I'm forming a well of disgust in myself. There is so much decay in the air. All the winter is still lingering, more apparent than ever: the rotting black leaves, the reeds that have lost their fluff, the bushes so strikingly bare and spiky. It all makes empty noises in the wind --one that carries just the stench of trash laying all around, which, mixed with the sweetness of the rare blossoms, is plain nauseating. Even the green of the grass is just eye-hurting and brings out the ugliness in the things that just aren't green, nor they are that calm yellow and brown they used to be before the spring came. This up and coming new life is rising from between the things that are dead --which are the majority.

I don't mind decay. I am rather fascinated by it. But it honestly doesn't make for an especially pretty backdrop for blog photos. And yet, I do not want to settle for some pretty city-scape. The Bluff where I go to take my photos is a home, and I am one with it. I'm sorry if I'm not a particularly good blogger because of it, and not providing you with the most beautiful photos lately. That's probably a reflection of my moods, though, as I've been feeling as if I'm slipping into a bog. It's ok though. I want to keep my solitude in this ugly place and in these non-pretty pictures. If you please, you can feel challenged to find something of interest in these photos that are so plain. It's life and it's true.

I made the skirt and the sweater and took the photos by myself.

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A few truths


1. This is a test drive skirt. I chose a thick corduroy for it. Is corduroy back in style already? I'd been hearing about it making a come back for years now. Anyway, I picked this blue piece that I liked enough to keep if the skirt turned out wereable but knew I wouldn't worry if my pattern failed. I'm kinda in between. I think I want it a bit more flared, closer to an A-shape. This skirt stays as is. I think my hips look humongous in it but it's very comfortable.

2. The blouse is made from vintage rayon/viscose that I forgot to pre-wash before sewing. It shrunk in one direction only and got even more cropped than it originally was. Also, when I was finishing it at about 2 a.m. and after about three consecutive attempts with a weirdly stiff bias tape, I couldn't be bothered to finish the neckline properly anymore, so a part of the bias binding isn't stitched down. I will probably replace it with nice facing later on. Probably.

3. While we were taking these photos, our dog cut her side (we're presuming she clashed with a boar) and we nervously hurried to the vet's to have her stitched up. We were taking the photos before the accident happened and then while waiting for the vet to call us and tell us we can take her home. I was trying my best not to look nervous. Don't worry, she's fine now and recovering well.

4. My boyfriend, The Fish, bought me a riveter and I'm in heaven, best gift ever. I feel so empowered while operating this heavy machinery.

5. While in the photos it may look all spring-y, in reality it's very mixed and mostly ugly. The vegetation is still more than half asleep, you can see all the winter trash laying everywhere and only a few bushes and trees bloom with early flowers. We struggled for a few hours to find a good spot that would provide decent looking photos. I think we only succeeded half way.

I'm wearing stuff I made from vintage and thrifted fabrics, and some other stuff.

*All photos by my boyfriend.

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