Jane Birkin, Farewell

A style icon: inspiration vs reality

On July 16, Jane Birkin passed away aged 76 in her Parisian home. The British-born singer, actress and muse has shaped the image of the French allure. Indeed, she will represent the symbol of Bohemian cool forever.

Cinema, music and style icon, she also inspired the famous Hermes Birkin bag. Actually, she hadn’t just provided the inspiration, but she had suggested what kind of capable handbag she needed when she had met the French Maison president on a flight.

Of course, everyone knows Jane Birkin. So, the purpose of our exploration is not to revisit her life. In fact, you may watch “Jane by Charlotte,” the documentary released by her daughter, Charlotte Gainsbourg, in 2021. Instead, we want to analyse to what degree Jane Birkin, regarded by other women as a style example, impacted women’s fashion in reality.

Jane Birkin: timeless style

Undoubtedly, her 60s and 70s outfits marked women’s fashion, making her a point of reference for all designers. But, her latest style represented an evolution: white men’s shirts, oversized coats, blazers, boyfriend jeans and white denim, and flat shoes. Yes, in some interviews, she said she started wearing men’s clothes (now fashion marketing has discovered genderless).
Rugged but refined, mannish but feminine, clothes mixed with that touch of nonchalant elegance typical of someone who can say: ‘my clothes are nice, but I look cool because I am so.’ Indeed, style goes beyond clothes: it reflects that inner quid that clothes alone cannot give. And her style reflected her attitude. In the end, people can buy the bag, but reaching that level of coolness is another story.

However, her effortless style passed through time and evolved with a sense of timelessness. Making her an eternal muse.

She could choose to age according to contemporary standards. On the contrary, she left her face to show the signs of time, with no trace of plastic surgery. A woman who aged beautifully. True to herself and always elegant.

Jane Birkin: from inspiration to reality

Now think about women who celebrated her as a style icon. How do these women process their style? What do they wear? And how are they manipulating their image? Swollen faces, bigger and bigger, to the point of losing traces of human features. Smooth but fake. Bodies are an explosion of plastic. Not to mention clothes that have no idea of elegance.

Therefore, from idolising a muse to reality, what goes wrong? If women say: “we love her style” – what happens afterwards?

No woman in our contemporary universe could wear a naked dress as Jane Birkin did. Her timeless, chic, unforgettable style is on the verge of extinction.

How to cut fashion waste

Reuse and repair in the era of fast fashion

In order to cut fashion waste, the French government will pay a repair bonus to help people with their damaged clothes and shoes. An amount from 6€ to 25€ will cover the repairing cost of garments in workshops or cobblers who will be part of the scheme.

Indeed, an alarming amount of clothes end up in landfills. Since fashion brands keep putting out new garments in huge quantities, governments must find solutions.

The point on fashion waste

The news sounds really great! But let’s consider a few things:

Would anyone throw away clothes of value? Of course, not. Or, at least, it is extremely rare. The garments ending up in the garbage bin aren’t pieces made to last but clothing intentionally made for that purpose. Buy, wear and toss. That is mass production: low prices, poor quality and slaves for manufacturing (individuals no one cares about because if they did, they would stop buying certain products).

In fact, over the last twenty years, purchasing fast-fashion clothing and shoes has become popular. Rich and poor people enjoy it. For the rich is a whim, and for the low-income a necessity. But both love purchasing products that last like a bag of chips.

Product longevity is one of the principles that attests to sustainability. What demonstrates product longevity?
Good design
Quality materials
Skilled craftsmanship

What if the repair cost is higher than the average price tag?

Now, it makes sense to put a patch on the bleeding, but common sense should guide human choices. Therefore, can we cut fashion waste without stopping fast fashion? It doesn’t seem likely. In fact, curing the illness without eliminating the cause isn’t a good strategy.

Here comes the second point, if the French government wants to fight fashion waste, why did they allow the Shein runway in Paris? It may sound like a joke, but in the case of ultra-fast fashion, the repair costs would be higher than the price tag! Does it make any sense?

On how to cut fashion waste, there’s no easy solution. But for sure, we need a more radical approach.

Learning from Depeche Mode

What the iconic band can teach us about style

Do you know there’s a lot we can learn from Depeche Mode? We went to see them live on July 14, Memento Mori World Tour. It was amazing! The sound was perfect, so all the fans could really enjoy each song. And it seems unbelievable we started listening to their music in the ’80s when we were at school, and we never stopped. Because they always made great music! That electro-dark, refined goth, intense and melancholic. Inspired to life and which describes humans’ experiences with unique melodies.

The tribute to Andrew Fletcher, the band member who died in May 2022, was particularly moving. However, the whole concert was extraordinary, soulful, song by song. We loved it!

By the way, the Milano concert was sold-out. And the day before it, the band released two more Milano dates for 2024, which probably are sold out, too. So, there’s something we can learn from them.

“We’ve been that band that nobody understood. Then we’ve been the band that everybody tried to imitate, and suddenly we were the band that everybody says, ‘oh we were influenced by.'”

Dave Gahan

What can we learn from Depeche Mode?

“It’s a competitive world” but Depeche Mode became an iconic synth-pop band. So, how did they do it?
First, passion: they started doing what they liked, the music they enjoyed and kept on with that. Even if people didn’t believe they would survive the first years or criticised them.
The most important lesson is about creativity, consistency, and style. Specifically, the band built a very strong identity, precise captivating sound and image, from clothes to haircuts – always recognisable. In fact, they have never changed to fit the current trends. Therefore, another lesson is the ability to evolve, as they did over forty years while being true to themselves.

Over time they engaged with a specific audience who loved – and still loves – their sound. Not with everyone. No tricks to get other genres involved. Their music is for those who resonate with it.
No marketing tricks, no fluff. Just timeless music and style.

Indeed, there’s a lot we learn from Depeche Mode. They did their way.
So, find the place you are ok with.

“My cosmos is mine”

Summer style

Fashion and lifestyle #formodernhumans

Summer style for mainstream fashion communication means purchasing many cheap clothing: dresses, t-shirts, swimsuits. Lowest price possible. “Because, you know, it’s cheap! So I can throw it away quickly.” Of course, these people blindly contribute to generating tons of waste, but they don’t seem to care.

However, from the perspective of “buy less, buy better” – which is our viewpoint – summer style is about wearing the same clothes, just styled differently. You don’t have to buy more. In fact, you need the right pieces only.

That is the point of choosing meaningful garments. It’s a matter of value. Take quality, not quantity. Clothes that last for decades and are never out of place. Indeed, they represent an understated elegance with a contemporary sense of style. Just change the shoes and accessories, and you adapt them to your current occasion.

summer style
Summer style: The Mesh Poncho by Meagratia + The Cross Strap Sandals by Antenora

For instance, take The Mesh Poncho by Meagratia. In town, you can wear it over a T-shirt or a dress. But at the beach, you can wear it over a swimsuit during the day or a pair of shorts or a maxi skirt for the evening. The material is soft cotton that feels good on your skin and falls beautifully on your body. Moreover, it’s a piece that offers multiple style options.

For your summer style, we would love to show you our niche selection of meaningful garments handpicked from international designers who have something to say in the fashion panorama. Uniqueness, far away from mass production.

Drop us an email or WhatsApp and we’ll help you choose the best pieces for you.

International Shipping available!

We are based in Milano but ship our niche fashion selection #formodernhumans everywhere. In order to provide unicity and a sustainable approach, our selection offers a limited number of pieces.

Treat yourself today! ❤️

Customer criticism

Niche fashion selection and clients’ expectations

As a fashion boutique, throughout our almost 18 years of independent activity, we’ve been open to feedback and customer criticism. Although we do our work conscientiously, there is always room for improvement.

Since we started this new path trying to bring forward our vision of fashion within the means of our planet, limiting as much as possible our impact, we went straight to the essential. Which means cleaning up a lot and reducing our selection to worthy garments only. In fact, we don’t need more. We need less, much less, but better quality.

So, it became even more important to listen to different viewpoints. Feedbacks and constructive criticism are always welcome.

Customer criticism on a limited selection

But sometimes, criticism revolves around the number of items selected. For instance: “Don’t always show that bag, otherwise people may think you have only a few items.” – said a client commenting on an Instagram post. Of course, it means she expected to see a broader selection.

“That’s right” – we replied. It was an intentional choice. In fact, we aren’t a fashion supermarket. We love hunting niche fashion pieces which are not for all. Most importantly, we think the fashion industry needs to change, and so does the way people consume clothing and not only that. It’s a matter of lifestyle and consumption habits in general. Our planet is melting, and we cannot afford fake marketing claims. We need immediate action.

Niche fashion #formodernhumans

A niche fashion selection might not be for you. But how can we stop promoting overconsumption if we still select endless choices of clothing and accessories? It would be impossible. Though niche fashion is not for everyone, more is not the answer. However, that comment made us understand that not everyone is open to change. As they do not see any problem. And do not even understand good design. So our selection might not be for them.

How do we respond to customer criticism about our precise selection and a limited number of items?

Rather than tons of garbage fashion or tasteless sustainable products, we need real fashion items: a good design and high quality. Made by creative individuals who know what they are doing, not by marketers. That’s it.

Being extremely selective, buying what really makes sense only. In limited quantity. That is what we do.

Net zero fashion

Greenwashing from the top down

Net zero fashion is one of the latest buzzwords in sustainability. But can we trust those who promote their garments with this label?

We know that green eco-whatever labels have flooded the fashion industry, like any other activity related to selling products or services. The food industry was probably the first to launch organic products, which, by itself, means nothing. See the video here. Also, according to Fondazione Veronesi, the differences between organic and non-organic food are few and negligible. 

After the food industry, it was time for fashion, furniture and now, sustainable tourism, all of which sound like enormous bullshit.

Net zero fashion according to the UN

Take the UN playbook on “Sustainable Fashion Communication.” Though the basic principle, fighting overconsumption, is valuable, we didn’t like the fact they mention some fashion brands. It seems like they take for granted that these brands are doing great work in terms of sustainability while they are perfectly aware that there is zero control!

For instance, the UN playbook mentions Allbirds. 
“Footwear brand Allbirds developed a life cycle assessment (LCA) tool to estimate the cradle-to-grave carbon footprint of its products.”
“Allbirds then took it a step further in 2023 announcing what it refers to as the world’s first net zero carbon shoe.”
At some point, a line that says: “According to the company’s assessment, on average, a pair of Allbirds shoes has a footprint of 7.12 kg CO2e.”

That “according to the company” sounds really weird! Even more, coming from the UN! They better avoid mentioning any fashion brand…

Net zero fashion according to Business of Fashion

By the way, a few days later, a newsletter from the Business of Fashion got our attention. It was about Allbirds and the launch of their new sneakers. We quote B.O.F:

“By focusing on materials that draw down more carbon than they emit and lowering transport and manufacturing impact as much as possible, the brand says it has succeeded in designing ‘the world’s first net zero-carbon shoe.’ But the basis of such calculations for the industry is fraught. Fashion’s environmental impact data is notoriously poor and accepted standards for carbon accounting are still evolving, meaning net-zero product claims are testing new ground.”

Net zero according to science

So what? The UN released the playbook to help spread sustainable fashion communication, but they did not do a great job. It seems like they are greenwashing from the top down.

Since there is no control, it is not serious to mention fashion brands at all. Also, since the UN says “lead with science” – on this point, we totally agree! So, here is what the climate scientist Kevin Anderson says about net zero:

“Net Zero is a real dangerous turn in my view, and if you hear the language of net zero, I’d be very cautious about the optimism of the person who’s saying it actually has. Unpick it, reveal what’s behind it, and you’ll realise what they mean, and what they mean is NOT zero emissions, not net zero, not zero emissions. 
I always say ‘net zero’ is Latin for ‘kick the can down the road.”

Kevin Anderson

Lead with science UN, and reveal what’s behind net zero fashion!

Stop sales!

Things that matter #formodernhumans

In order to promote a healthier consumption pattern, we need to stop end-of-season sales. In fact, sales, in general, are a short-sighted strategy that triggers compulsive behaviour and perpetrates a toxic productive system.

Fighting unsustainable consumption and production patterns is part of the new guidelines the UN released recently. The fashion industry contributed directly and significantly to the triple planetary climate change crisis, nature and biodiversity loss, pollution and waste.

This is what really matters! But changing consumption habits takes immediate action.

So, the purpose is to eradicate overconsumption. Therefore, we address high markdowns as an element of a money-driven system that has generated a devastating environmental impact. But first, we need to understand how the system works. Then, we find solutions.

How the fashion system works:

Brands ask for budgets (minimum amount or quantity) from retailers. Usually, these budgets increase season after season.
Because of this practice, retailers buy way more than they can sell. So, they generate overstock.
This overstock, in turn, leads to a higher retail price. That is because a high quantity of merchandise gets sold during end-of-season sales. And higher prices during the season covers partially this loss.
Because of this overstock, retailers apply frequent promotions, markdowns and sales in order to induce clients to purchase more.

It’s a vicious cycle where everything is connected. Consumption and production go hand in hand. So, we cannot fix one if we do not fix the other.

Stop Sales! How retailers can eradicate overconsumption:

  • reduced quantities of clothing and accessories ordered per season in store
  • avoiding overstock would allow equitable prices throughout the season
  • stop Black Fridays, promotions and sales
  • teach clients to buy less, much less, but only quality products. Clothing and accessories made to last over time. Also, teach them the value of their purchase.

Sales aren’t a sustainable strategy. The more you buy discounted items, the more brands flood the market with pointless products. And where are we heading with this behaviour? Read it here!

What consumers can do:

Don’t be part of the system that has generated the climate crisis. Try to change it instead.
Buy less, much less during the season. Take only quality garments you can match with the clothes you already have and that you can reuse.
Don’t buy trendy items, but choose a timeless aesthetic.
Quality, not quantity. And remember: good design doesn’t have an expiry date.

If you want to share your views or know more, comment here below or WhatsApp!

Paris Haute Couture FW23-24

Riots and Fashion in Paris

Paris Haute Couture FW23-24 risked cancellation due to five days of riots across France, which spread after the police killed a young boy. Though Celine cancelled its defile, the fashion shows took place.

We have seen so much vulgarity lately that runways like Chanel, Dior, and Armani, at least, gave a sense of elegance. That is on a positive note.

“In my opinion, today there are few maisons that really do haute couture. I’m starting to no longer recognise myself in this Paris. I have always placed myself in a more glamorous Paris, and now I no longer find myself there. I wonder if it’s not time for a change.” – said Giorgio Armani

However, it seems clear, once again, that megabrands aren’t willing to take any effective action to fight the climate emergency, apart from lots of talks about sustainable fashion. Which is pointless since nothing ever changes.

Paris Haute Couture FW23-24 vs sustainability

On the one hand, some brands had the plus of showing elegance, which stands out in an ocean of horrible and gross clothing. On the other hand, they sent on the runway countless numbers of new outfits. Precisely on the latter, we need to take into account two main points:
First, very few lucky ones can afford these couture clothes. Maybe they would have enough choices even with smaller collections. Even because couture is tailor-made, so it allows customising every single item.
Second, these clothes will be worn by celebrities who receive very generous compensation for wearing them. A marketing operation that isn’t free. Meaning it is not free for the fashion Maison but, in the end, for the final customers, too. In fact, consumers who purchase from those brands will bear the price. Indeed the cost of celebrities gets spread on the company costs in general and on any product category.

Therefore, we wonder: what is the point of the overproduction behind these couture shows? Who is it for? Is it to allure consumers while ignoring a climate emergency, but then, taking part in sustainability round tables? Please stop it!
Smaller couture collections would work anyway. By having, at the same time, a lower impact and less waste of materials and resources.

Further news: Saudi Arabia is a newcomer to Paris Haute Couture FW23-24. Indeed, they are investing billions to become the new favourites in the high-end fashion segment. Money that comes from oil, which, we expect, brands will invest in sustainable fashion!

In short, couture, by definition, is sustainable. But mega brands are doing their best to make it unsustainable.

UN against overconsumption

Fashion marketers as the key to a new narrative

The UN says fashion needs to stop promoting overconsumption. Indeed, we are perfectly aligned since we focused more on this evolved path, about four years ago. Though a selection of pieces to wear for a lifetime has always been part of our viewpoint.
Specifically, the UN Environment Programme and UN climate change have just released new recommendations for those who work in fashion marketing and communication.

“We are draining humanity’s lifeblood through vampiric overconsumption and unsustainable use, and evaporating it through global heating,” said U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. (source)

UN against overconsumption: a systemic issue

According to the UN, mass consumption is a systemic issue. So, they identify marketing as the key to fostering cultural change. That is how: leading consumers to change consumption rates, increasing consumer knowledge and shifting consumer behaviours. The idea is to tackle misinformation and greenwashing through science-based communication and transparency.

Although we agree with the idea of fighting overconsumption and overproduction, we are afraid that many of the words suggested in the playbook are buzzwords hiding greenwashing.
Marketing is an ensemble of activities finalised to sell products or services. So far, fashion marketing has contributed to creating confusion through deliberate operations. It isn’t likely that corporations are ready to leave behind their growth pattern. Ethics over money sounds weird from a capitalistic view.

Fashion industry: overproduction & overconsumption

Overproduction and overconsumption are two faces of the same coin, capitalism. In other words, a vicious and exploitative economic system which triggers toxic behaviours.

Overproduction leads to overconsumption: this point was clear to us. So, as a fashion retailer, about four years ago, we thought it made sense to reduce the quantity of clothing we ordered each season dramatically. That allowed us to avoid overstock and end-of-season sales while promoting a reduction of consumption based on fewer products but good quality. And so, a timeless selection of non-trend-based garments with great design value.
Also, getting familiar with the concept of degrowth as an effective strategy to drive change, we trust our choice was valuable.

However, it’s not enough, and we need to do more. But it’s complicated to work since most fashion industry players still promote growth, perhaps hiding it behind traceability QR Codes. Now they call it green growth. Which, as clearly explained in Kevin Anderson’s video, is meaningless. It leads nowhere.

Furthermore, it’s hard to find solutions when consumers shop from retailers who still work on an overproduction basis. How can these retailers stop promoting overconsumption with shops full to the brim of clothes?

Most importantly, does the UN leave the fight against overconsumption to the good heart of marketers? Of course, fashion marketing is part of the problem. And an ethical approach could work. But expecting redemption without regulations and strict controls in a rotten system seems a bit naive.

Where are we heading

Climate change: are we doing enough?

A true paradise: where are we heading – is the video released by Kevin Anderson, a climate scientist. And you cannot miss it!

“We are 32 years from the first major scientific report on climate change… What have we done since then?” “All we are doing so far is giving rhetoric and optimism and greenwash.”
“There is plenty of talk but no action.”- Anderson says.

When we hear people talking about sustainability, it seems like they limit the debate to specific fields without considering the fact that sustainability regards our whole lifestyle and all of us. However, with the bad habit of passing the buck and, most of all, thanks to a lot of greenwashing, we aren’t making any progress. Indeed, the climate disaster is happening faster than many thought. And it’s frustrating because greenwashing makes it impossible to have honest conversations. In fact, the more governments, companies, and brands fake, the more they get attention. And people trust them! But we would love to ask all these green companies: if they are really doing so good, why are emissions going up?

In the end, some people see the urgency, but most do not move a finger to change their habits! They are not interested in climate change, or change isn’t convenient for them. So they greenwash.

Must-see video!

Kevin Anderson released the video here below: Where are we heading. It’s a warning which invites us to open our eyes and stop believing political rhetoric and greenwashing. And also calls on us to push for bold policy changes.

Every word is precious, but we highlight some passages:
“Pseudo technologies are a facade to avoid asking the difficult political and equity based questions. ‘Net Zero’ is a real dangerous turn in my view, and really means NOT zero. I always say ‘net zero’ is latin for ‘kick the can down the road.”

“I have to be honest and say as someone who has worked on climate change for years, my best guess is that we are going to fail. But it is a choice to fail. Political leaders, academia and journalism, have repeatedly chosen to fail on climate for 30 years.”

His powerful words call for radical change. Furthermore, he makes it clear, politicians or corporations won’t drive the change. The hope comes from the common people, civil society, who can ask for more.

So, where are we heading? With his final words, Kevin Anderson opens to hope:
“It does come down to all of us to play our role as best that we can. It is a choice to fail and it is a choice to succeed.”