The island in the desert

Talking about the cost of fast fashion and the madness of disposable items can be upsetting and frustrating. No one wants to listen.

We could define it as a hidden cost, assuming people do not see it directly. Except that there’s nothing hidden anymore. And so, we call it the true cost because it happens before our eyes. Although, people refuse to see it intentionally.

To illustrate the abnormity, perhaps a visual image helps awaken the conscience more than words.

Atacama desert in Chile - fast fashion leftovers
Atacama desert in Chile – fast fashion leftovers

Here, in front of your eyes, is the Atacama desert in Chile, the driest desert in the world. And that is an island of discarded clothing, including Christmas sweaters and ski boots, piling up in the desert.

Chile is a hub for secondhand and unsold clothing coming from all over the world. USA, Europe and Asia. Approximately 59,000 tons of garments arrive there every year. Clothing merchants buy part of it, but the majority, about 39,000 tons, end up in rubbish dumps in the desert.

That happens because those garments contain chemicals and are not biodegradable, therefore not accepted in the municipal landfill.

We wonder what’s going to happen over time.
Do you still feel ok with fast fashion and disposable goods?

On Monday, we posted about the need to shift our consuming habits. After reading this, the sense of urgency becomes imperative. It doesn’t need any further explanation.

Educating ourselves towards thoughtful consuming habits is fundamental.
If brands don’t produce items made to last, we don’t buy from them.
Stop overconsuming. Stop purchasing disposable items. That is how we bring our contribution.

We know that expecting a change from brands is an illusion, and it’s just a way to exclude ourselves from the game. If we pretend we do not play an active role, we hide our responsibilities.

On the contrary, we have to educate ourselves in order to become conscious and make intentional choices.

Break the loop. Take action now.

The Asymmetric Sweater

Among the new arrivals, The Asymmetric Sweater by Plantation1982 is a piece that perfectly completes your Fall/Winter capsule wardrobe.

The pullover has a simple design with its back falling to the side, but it has a unique, edgy silhouette.

As Jan Tschichold said: “Asymmetry is the rhythmic expression of functional design.”
Indeed, it’s interesting to explore asymmetry as a design pattern, its intake to a functional style, and the movement that allows the body. We find fascinating the idea of not being too obvious or somehow predictable while giving the chance to create modern and stylish garments.

Some notes about the material.
It is a worsted yarn sweater. The high gauge knitted yarn avoids pilling easily, and although it is 100% extra-fine wool, it has a soft texture that does not give the peculiar tingling of wool. You have to feel it on your skin.

The asymmetric sweater by Plantation1982
The Asymmetric Sweater – Plantation1982

The design point.
The asymmetrical hem created from the beautiful drape is the design element that stands out and makes it unique.
It features a ribbed neckline, cuffs, and hemline. The neckline accompanies the neck gently.
Accented by a draped hem, this knit is comfortable to wear because it is compact around the shoulders but wide. Moreover, it does not pick up the body line.

The colour: a bright melange grey, not a solid colour, so it has a soft and gentle impression. Also, extremely versatile.

Some styling options.
You can put together structured coordination when combined with basic bottoms such as stretch pants and denim, the beauty of the silhouette stands out while being cool.
Or, match the sweater with a skirt, and you’ll get an A-line silhouette, giving it an airy and natural look.

It is a knit that gives a plain yet gorgeous impression just by wearing it.
Function and style are beautifully blended.

We don’t wear labels. We wear style.

Black Friday & promotion spam

Retailers spam promotions, and if Black Friday was not enough, early black Friday is here too!

Still the distribution model has clung to this policy as the only strategy to attract attention. Forget evolution from brands and retailers. Educating people towards an improved and conscious consumption model is not on their agenda. Not worth it.

Obsessive promotions are the outcome of a hyper-saturated market derived from the overproduction model.
Also, the lower the quality of products, the higher the mark-up, allowing discounts (real or fake?) that can reach -70%.
But the purchasing illusion is safe.

Heavy discounts and obsessive promotions are indicators of a sick system.
The environmental impact fostered by Black Friday and never-ending promotions is really huge. Not to mention the ethical implication, if you do not pay the full price of products, someone will pay for it. So we go back to the disturbing modern-day slavery.

As a matter of fact, there is too much of everything, and our blind habits contribute to feeding this vicious cycle, which has no way out.

Black Friday & promotions spam - Image of a shopping bag - Pointless shit
Image via: drops of devotion – Tumblr

Is it possible we cannot find a better system?

In fact, the solution is a distribution model that abandons large quantities to shift towards good quality. A sustainable production system that grants proper living wages and limits its impact on the environment. Things made to last and healthier consuming habits.

In this balanced context, promotions and discounts would be necessarily limited.

Changing attitude is a necessity. We started from us first, adjusting our activity to an evolved lifestyle. So, we offered a thoughtful consuming model represented by a capsule selection of quality pieces.

We don’t lure consumers by offering crazy discounts. But, we try to educate ourselves and our audience on meaningful consumption.

We respect people, and we understand the worth of their work. We appreciate the products we select. We value quality, and we value our customers.

Modern humans are conscious consumers.
Say no to Black Friday. We don’t need all that stuff.

Climate change, Fashion Taskforce and private jets

Climate change is the alarming issue we discuss frequently, but the sad irony behind the latest news is creepy.

G20 and COP26 – the world leaders meetings to address climate change represented the bla bla bla we are used to hearing. Words, not facts. In some cases, they offered us something to laugh about with their sleepy faces. Even if there’s nothing to laugh about, in fact, we should only cry for what we did to our planet, as it wasn’t our source of life.

Does it make sense to discuss Joe Biden flying on his jet to Rome and then to Glasgow? Is that the point? How about the other 400 VIP jets that landed in Glasgow for the occasion?
The problem wasn’t Joe Biden’s flight. The problem was all of them gathering together – 400 flights for a climate change summit!
That is ridiculous.

To make it really sustainable, wasn’t it better to arrange a zoom meeting?
Perhaps they had some problem with their wi-fi. Or maybe, world leaders intended to make it appear more spectacular to make us believe they are doing it for real. Of course, they needed more impressive backgrounds than computer screens.

climate change - Killing me softly by Gianluca Traina
Killing me softly – by Gianluca Traina

The agreement: -30% gas emission by the end of the decade, and halt deforestation by 2030.

However, acknowledging that China, India and Russia didn’t show up is so sad. They can say whatever, but if the biggest polluters are unwilling to sit at the table and openly find a solution, we have lost at the start.

As a matter of fact, after the Paris agreement in 2015, nothing positive followed. On the contrary, a lot of bad events occurred.
That is the demonstration that capitalism will never change. And money rules even when the house is burning.

At G20 in Rome, Prince Charles guiding a Fashion Taskforce, launched the idea of the Digital ID: a digital passport that carries all the information of a garment in order to provide transparency and traceability.

Although they are the Illuminati, those who created the problem cannot be the solution. All the businessmen with skin in the game have no interest in real change.

Eventually, Draghi thanked the climate activists. And undoubtedly, that is the pathway to follow. Make the change and trust ourselves, not the world leaders.

The Lambswool Sweater

November, temperatures are cooling down, and it’s time to introduce our new arrivals. A limited number of pieces selected with specific attention to quality and design, aiming to build a capsule wardrobe of timeless clothing. Indeed, that is the essence of a sustainable style.

Wool sweaters, with their masculine image and warm feel, represent a fascinating clothing item. The timeless identity is intrinsic and well represented by a good design choice.

We picked out this sweater from Zucca – we appreciate the meticulous sense of design that identifies Japanese designers. Details are many but always mixed with a good balance and unusual proportions.

This pull is both classic and modern at the same time. In fact, it is a modern revisitation of a classic piece. Nevertheless, you will never get tired of wearing it.

The Lambswool Sweater by Zucca
The Lambswool Sweater – ZUCCa

The material is soft lambswool – made in Japan.
The colour: a blueish green. A unique hue to enhance your wardrobe.

The design point: sophisticated but easy to wear.
It is oversized and has a voluminous feel, but its short length makes it look neat.
It features a ribbed round neckline, cuffs and hemline. And ribbed details along the sleeves too. Moreover, two crossing ribs point to the front and back of the garment.
The hemline is asymmetric, meaning that the front side is shorter than the back.
Two side slits give extra comfort to the movement of your body.

You will have no problem coordinating this item with the garments you already have.
The knit, which is a modern arrangement of the basic shape, goes well with any bottom. From elegant outfits to casual styles, you’ll make multiple combinations. Try it over a dress too, or pair it with jeans for a cool everyday style.

Think twice before you buy. More is not the answer, nor is disposable fashion.
Quality over quantity is the way, a value we embrace and want to share with you.

Belief and bias

Confirmation is the title of a brilliant play we saw last week at Teatro Litta. We received the invitation from a friend we made through our boutique, and it seemed something different.

“If we only try to confirm the things we think we know, then there is a whole sphere of possibility that we will never allow ourselves to know.” The sentence on the invitation was so intriguing.

The play was written by Chris Thorpe in collaboration with Rachel Chavkin and translated into Italian by Jacopo Gassman. Directed by Claudio Autelli and played by Woody Neri.

In shaping an intersection between solo and conference show, Thorpe set off an exploration to understand how we build our beliefs.

The text develops around a series of research on confirmation bias. In short, we tend to form our ideas, mental schemes, and relationships starting from prejudice – the confirmation bias.

Undertaking a dialogue with the public, the performer prompts us to find a link on a short sequence of numbers. That is to explain how easily we tend to find confirmation of something we already know. Then, the investigation evolves in a conversation with a far-right extremist aiming to find common ground.

“We could have similar tastes. For different reasons, we could both prefer the same local bar rather than supporting capitalism and big chains.”

The performer piques opposing political sides, and on this point, it’s obvious that a thoughtful interaction among the parts is crucial. But, when he enters into the dialogue with an extremist who is a racist, white-suprematist and holocaust denier, we have to admit that it gets complicated.

The conversation is both real and imaginary, and it pushes those who have liberal ideas to the limits keeping the audience on the hook.
Indeed, more than an hour and a half passed like a bolt, mind-blowing. We couldn’t believe it was already over.

See the show, read the book.
This challenge to our beliefs is a good exercise for our contemporary time.

The hypocrites

Modern slavery is a topic we frequently discuss because it is horrific and unacceptable. Even more, we are concerned by the context of hypocrisy around it.

Brands are the new gods. Sell people a famous brand, and you’ll get silence and blindness in return.

However, as members of an evolved society, we cannot turn our heads to the other side pretending nothing happens.

The exploiting system based on forced labour and minority oppression has a direct link to superbrands. Not only fashion brands, to make it clear. Indeed, every field finds benefit and — profit — in this rotten practice. In fact, there’s no better way to maximize profit.

Even though we are a drop in the ocean, we think it’s important to put out our words to help raise awareness about this issue.
Popular magazines shed light on it, but people don’t like reading. Or they don’t care enough about things that do not affect them personally. Which, by the way, is a scary attitude.

So, how can you make the message resonate with a large audience?

modern slavery - via Enes Kanter
Modern Slavery – via Enes Kanter

Here comes Enes Kanter, an NBA player. We admit we know nothing about the sport he plays. Zero. But that’s not the point. In fact, we admire him for his bravery in showing up consistently in support of human rights. For many that tend to hide, there are a few who talk out loud.

And so, it was with immense pleasure that we saw his recent posts about the Uyghur minority, forced labour camps and brands hypocrisy, asking Nike’s accountability.

We need more brave humans like Enes Kanter to speak the truth to reach the masses. Just like we need more people that open their eyes and feel touched. Fundamentally, we must find a way to put an end to this exploitation.

Hypocrite Nike - via Enes Kanter
via Enes Kanter

If, as humans, all we could do was develop new forms of slavery in order to feed our fake needs, we have failed.

Beauty, business & role models

It is interesting to analyze beauty, business and how they forge modern mainstream role models. So they say.

Business and beauty standards are intertwined. Indeed, it takes deep reflection in order to have a better understanding of this connection and the role models it produces.

Recently ‘The Wall Street Journal Magazine’ praised Kim Kardashian as a beauty and business role model. Maybe indirectly as a beauty icon, but that was the message they sent.

Though it caught our attention, it wasn’t without a certain bitterness.

It’s good to read different perspectives. But is it for real? Not a joke?

Well, we want to assume that maybe some paid advertising is the motivation for those compliments. Otherwise, we do not see any other reason for choosing a figure like that as a role model, a powerful example of a businesswoman.

We don’t want to talk about why or how she became famous. That universe is not part of our vision, and we prefer to direct our energy towards something more interesting.
However, what we find disturbing is that she, and the whole family, have lost any trace of human identity because of plastic surgery abuse.

We wonder, is that a model we should admire? Should we want to be like them?

Let’s imagine the younger generations, what we are telling them. ‘Hey, if you want to be accepted, have a good career, and become popular that’s the way to do it!’

Most importantly, it is depressing that magazines cannot find any better role models for women.

It’s not clear if healthy role models are lacking or if, intentionally, the model we want to push forward is that one.

No, we don’t believe positive role models are lacking. Many in the media don’t want to see them. For sure, it’s more convenient to stick to the plastic doll.

Art, affect and persuasiveness

Art is one of the greatest sources of inspiration of all time.

Sunday morning, we went to the Castello Sforzesco to see ‘The body and Soul, from Donatello to Michelangelo’ – an exhibition dedicated to Italian Renaissance sculpture.

It was a beautiful sunny day. We wore our face masks, showed our green pass, and went in to explore.

art exhibition at Castello Sforzesco  'The body and the soul, from Donatello to Michelangelo'

At that time (1453 – 1520), communication was in the hands of the church and nobles, those who had power and money. From this viewpoint, there’s not much difference compared to those who deploy massive communication nowadays.

One of the sections was called ‘Sacred art: affect and persuasiveness.’
The board reads: ‘Affect and persuasiveness became the two key words in religious sculpture: following the work by Donatello around 1450, emotion and the motions of the soul took centre stage in artistic practices, in the desire to deeply, even violently, affect viewers.’

In other words, those who had money commissioned artists to represent catholic figures to influence the masses. Undoubtedly art was magnificent, and viewers could feel the pathos.

Translating this communication process to modern times, we see that the logic of influencing people is still crucial. ‘Affect and persuasiveness’ are used not to make the masses believe in God but to sell them everything. Brands and products are the new gods.

Over the centuries, masses went from faith believers to consumers. However, artists still had to work hard to make something breathtaking to influence people. Indeed to reach that level of beauty, their artistic work demanded an enormous effort.

Now, the two keywords are still the same, ‘affect and persuasiveness.’ What changed is who the masses consider influencers. The way they put out their work and interact with their audience, which is a by-product of what we call progress.

In the past, art influenced us, taking to deep involvement, while empty superficiality impresses people now.

Perhaps something went wrong.

From quantity to quality

When will the paradigm shift from quantity to quality? Or, the question should be, what else do we need to see to make this change happen?

People don’t consider shifting towards a conscious lifestyle because they are too ingrained in their old habits. But perhaps, those who are in this position will be forced to readapt somehow quite soon.

Why?
Difficulties in finding raw materials and supply chain shortages are now a reality. Indeed, one of the side effects of the pandemic was the sharp rise in raw material prices. Consequently, final product prices are getting much higher. It is already happening in the construction field, energy, gas. And it’s impacting fashion, too.

Therefore, caring more about what and how we consume will be a necessity.

Pointing feet - inspiring from quantity to quality attitude

What can we do?
Each of us has an impact on the environment. Even if corporate giants arm-in-arm with marketing have shaped the world for us, they can’t make it without our active participation. And the role we play is revealed precisely by how and what we consume.

Since we do not like to wait for change to happen, we choose with our minds what kind of world we want to live in, so we act. Also, we hold ourselves accountable for the choices we make.

Why buy less but better quality?
It is a long-term strategy. You will buy garments that last. Things you will wear for a lifetime, not items to discard after a couple of washings. Same for any other item we use in our everyday life.

This radical shift of perspective from quantity to quality is about educating ourselves to find pleasure in how things are made, not in the simple act of buying. Finally, this alternative lifestyle will reduce our impact on the planet.

So, make it a conscious choice now rather than a forced decision when it’s too late.