Tunnel vision.

Did you know that both consumers as well as creators in the fashion industry suffer by the way the fashion machine works?

I have recently read, again, that change in the fashion industry should not only come from the industry itself, but also from the consumers. Most of those times the remarks are aimed at sustainability issues. Often it seems that the changes we are talking about are simply changes in production methods (less CO2, biodegradable fabrics and so on.) It may implicate that all we need to do is to make sure production isn’t environmentally impactful and we are good to go.

But that is not enough. The whole of fashion should be changed, and could be changed. Because it isn’t just the impact of the chain of production, that is a problem. It is the soul of fashion that is hollowed out through so many years of high speed roaring of this fashion-machine.

Sometimes things needs to be repaired. We could make sure things improve. Things that need repairing are just signaling a problem. An opportunity, if you will.

Both consumers and creators in the industry are not happy with how the fashion industry works. For the consumers it means they have plenty of clothing but nothing that is really worth it to wear. I would like to add to that a feeling of inadequacy that is being fed by all kinds of media. Consumers do not feel well about how they look even after spending so much time and energy on their looks. If they would, there wouldn’t be a problem.

The creatives working in fashion, whether that is in production, design or in a store often are not so happy with how it currently works, either. They won’t often tell you this, though, because it seems so normal. It seems so normal to only worry about how many items you can sell in a day and not if that person is going to be happy with the outfits on the long run. It seems so normal to work extra hours when you are working as a designer or buyer in fashion, because, well, that is what everybody does! When drawing from my own experience, I have heard many manager or head of design say; “I expect them to keep up with the trends in their own time.” At the time it didn’t even sound like a strange thing to say, when you work in fashion you have a feeling for trends. But next to the workload and the extra hours you already work, it is not reasonable. What hurts too is that often creativity is not the real propeller. It is cold hard numbers that will decided whether or not a design gets through to the final stage of the process.

Fashion is strict; there are only a few ways to wear clothes. There are only limited ways to experienced fashion that you can see represented around you in daily life that is considered the right way to do it. That makes it hard for a consumer to look and be who they want to be. It is hard to dress the way you want because it is easy to stand out. Besides, standing out is hard when you do not feel confident.

For creatives it means that it is hard to do things differently. When they have out of the box ideas it is often hard to get them to work. Fashion has worked in a certain way already for years. It means that people through the entire production chain are used to the way things work. It makes creators feel like they are swimming against the current even if they want to do something simple, like having no sale.

And that hurts even more, on a deeper level.

On a deeper level fashion lacks creativity. Because fashion is so generic it is hard for creatives as well as consumers to think outside the box. Both should be able to find a way to be truly in love with the clothes they produce/wear. Fashion is only experienced, produced and sold in a very narrowminded way. If there would be more examples of fashion being made and experienced differently, for a larger audience, it would be easier to find a way that is novel still, and works for you. We all have a sort of tunnel-vision when it comes to fashion and what we expect from it.

How do you get rid of this tunnel-vision?

Well, you start to dream. You start to figure out what what you would want your relationship with clothes to be. How would you want to feel? Where should clothes come from? What should they have to represent in order to be that what you want them to be? What should they be in order to feel great in them?

When you start brainstorming what you think clothes should be, in their very core, it means you need to make sure you do not think in limitations. It doesn’t need to be here tomorrow. It doesn’t matter if you can afford it. It doesn’t matter if production can already be done that way. It doesn’t matter the current system doesn’t support it yet. It doesn’t matter that kind of fabric doesn’t exist yet. Fashion is rapidly changing. If you create a clear goal for yourself, you can start to take steps to get there. Without a long-term goal you wont get there. If you do not stand for something, you will fall for anything.

Wear what you see.

For years I have had the problem of forgetting the details of my outfit in the morning rush. When I quickly slip into something that looks nice, I forget to look at my jewels! Kidding, I do not own that kind of jewellery, most of them are strings of metal with silver paint on them.

Anyway, I wanted to change that habit, I wanted to see what jewellery I had, so I can actually wear them. Before this realization, I had ideas aplenty in my head, but they weren’t good enough to go and actually make something.

Until, I took apart a closet. Well no, until I took apart a few vertical planks of wood that were holding some horizontal planks, that in turn were holding up my fabrics. Let’s see if I can find a picture, so you get the picture.

So, contrary to what you might think, I love the look of the cheap-ass wood that came off. They are made of chips of leftover wood glued back together. I love the randomness of the patterns that you get from that. I had 4 short shelves that were exactly the same, and a lot of metal hooks and screws that I could use. Also I recently received a box of very small rusty nails. I was sure I was going to be able to put these to good use.

Now, I had to take the shelves and all of my rings, earrings, necklaces, the whole lot. I only left out the stuff I use for Halloween. There is no point looking at that stuff on a daily basis, it just clutters the brain.

The most important job I had to do was to make a collection of them. One way or the other I had to make sure to match them together so they worked as a whole. After all, they were going to be a bit like a painting, so better make it look nice! You can see me meddling with the compo in the time-lapse that I shared on my Instagram at the time.

Now, about the composition, it is not just the colours that I was looking at to combine everything to a nice whole. I looked at shapes too. To either mirror sides with necklaces in the middle and earrings on either side, or to contrast heavy items with smaller ones. There was one necklace that was very long, I think I solved it well by having a bit of fun with it.

But the most important thing I did was integrating on each panel a part of a necklace that I used to wear. Something that I no longer wear, but is part of my history. The letters from my name on the side of one of the panels for example. They come from one of those broken and half lost items. On another panel there is a M and on one of them there is a heart that I do not even remember getting, but you know, a little love doesn’t hurt. And a ring; a ring that I never wear but bought for myself, (maybe for my birthday) when I was about 14 years old. It is weak and twisted, but it just might be the oldest thing I own in my wardrobe.

So, besides the fact that I have a reminder staring at me when I get dressed in the morning, I also have a fun additional artwork that is very personal. I would say it is a win win to have something so meaningful, stored originally, in plain sight!

Make more impact

As you are learning to be who you want to be, your wardrobe might feel dated and it does not show who you are anymore. As your personality deepens, your clothing and the impact your fashion choices make, can deepen too. You can create the world that you want by aligning how you feel, with what you do.

As a person who is developing, you are going to be a better version of yourself. It is hard to figure out who you are and what you are supposed to do in this world. As soon as you start shifting, you also start to notice that people react to you differently, because you have changed.

So, you clothes should also be transforming. They are a part of your old life and old self. Similarly, the relationships you have with people from your past might change due to you developing. Some relationships will have just minor changes, and some will deepen. There are some people who you will need to let go. These changes are similar in relationship with your clothing… Almost.

If you feel this shift, if you feel like the wardrobe you have is not what it could be, you might take this new person shopping. But shopping seems different to before. The shopping trip now feels a bit, empty. The stores that used to give you joy no longer have this effect. And what you bought, well, after the first rush of buying wore off, it is just the same as the items that you had before.

As you are more aware of who you are and what makes you happy, the chances are you are also more aware of the depth and meaning in the actions you take in your daily life. And if you are not, you should be.

This new person that you are didn’t just shift away from your old wardrobe. This new person is one who wants to own clothes that are meaningful. It is so common to feel like you have nothing to wear, it is so common to own clothes that are so cheap, that they are easy to discard. It is hard to know exactly what this moment would look like. I believe you know now that you deserve a meaningful wardrobe, just like you knew you were ready to change into a better version of yourself, even though you didn’t know what it would look like!

Shopping like you used to will just get you the same results. Clothes are quite generic. Most stores use the same trends to design their clothing. In comparison with the fashion we buy, high-fashion creates trends and is used for its deeper meaning, to show the designers discontent with a certain social problem for example. We are sold a made-up story that we are tempted to buy into, while the real story is possibly a horrible one.

You have been brainwashed and stick to buying meaningless clothing. Your old shopping habits do not suit you anymore. You will need to create new ones.

Use your creativity to start to curate, (as I like to call it) clothing in your wardrobe to help you be who you are. Curating your wardrobe means you are very demanding about what goes into your wardrobe. It means that the look as well as the story of the garments reflect who you are and what you find important.

We create all day every day. Every day we decide what gets our attention, time and money. Whatever you give your attention will grow and is bigger tomorrow. The same goes with fashion.

So when you look in the mirror, what do you want to see?

What would you want your wardrobe to resonate back towards you when you open the doors?
I know you do not want it to say; Cheap ass. Probably kids working in the production. Meaningless rip-off shape. Horrible pay, maker cannot afford good meal. Designer working overtime. Brand has no idea where the yarn comes from. Clothes will fall apart after x-amount of washing. Or the garment has an expiry date.

You might want your wardrobe to suggest, that you are an honest person who cares for others, and is socially responsible. Is worth the effort. Has fun with outfits. Knows the designers. Helps the farmer. Co-designed. Made for especially for me. Will never toss stuff out. Holds awesome memories. Owns fashion. Hand made. Local. Fairtrade. Feels great.

What exactly you want it to say is up to you to decide, and I have written a free e-book that can help you with this, as this blog is wayyyy too short to really get into the subject of meaningful and personal wardrobes. Know this though, curating a personal and meaningful wardrobe takes time to collate. Your wardrobe is as changeable as your personality and it is the journey that matters. So; are you ready? If you want to go from frustrations about your wardrobe to owning an inspirational wardrobe you can take the first steps right now. No shop needed.

It is not normal, or is it?

Are you happy with the content of you wardrobe? If your wardrobe isn’t working for you, you could ask yourself, did you work for your wardrobe?

Most people are unhappy with their wardrobe to such an extent that it seems normal. To illustrate this, do you remember the last conversation you had about your clothing? For me, it seems conversations are often about somebody acquiring something new, and they are still on a high. Rare conversations range from the sustainability-issues with our clothing, how (and if) to repair clothing, making clothing as a hobby, or where you should go shopping in the first place. But most conversations are about people’s uncertainty about what to wear to some event, what is okay to wear often at somebody else’s expense…   

From those conversations it is clear that there is much uncertainty. Most people think it is their own fault that they do not have the right garments in their wardrobe. And  perhaps, it is, but not because of the reasons that you think.

All you need to do to have a better wardrobe is simply fill your wardrobe with trendier items, right? Or more sustainable ones. And you need to organise better. Oh, no, I know, you need to find out what colours suit you. Maybe you should hire a personal shopper to help you out? Or invite somebody in your home and together go through your wardrobe. They know how to combine things together, right?!? I am sure somebody else can tell you what to wear, because, well, they know. Sure. 

Or maybe you should take a step back and figure out what you are trying to accomplish anyway.

With what you have been doing now, going through the regular steps with the regular solutions, you will keep getting the same result. 

I am not telling you anything new, you know this. 

 If you keep shopping in the same stores that you have always been going to, you are not going to change the results in your wardrobe. Buying the same labels that are in the garments that you are throwing out is not going to help you change the feeling that your wardrobe gives back to you. 

If you want to change your wardrobe you need to change the habits around your wardrobe. You not only need to change how you get your items, you also need to change how you think about fashion.

Let me give you a little insight. We think that fashion needs to make us feel good about ourselves. We look at shallow solutions to solve our deeper issues, like feeling alone, ugly or in other words, unworthy. Brands and trends will give you a story that results in a temporary, quick fix, which some call an addiction. The thrilling rush of buying something new, buying into a made-up story, makes us feel good for a while. 

This buzz doesn’t last. The rush that I mentioned lasts for hours(!) to days depending on which report you read. It will not be long before these newly bought items will change and feel like the older items you already own. And your wardrobe will still give you the same uninspired feeling that you have always been feeling. 

Fashion can mean so much more to you. 

If you are able to turn it around, then you can experience fashion the way it is meant to be.  Instead of making you feel like you are not good enough it is supposed to show your individual self. Instead of making you feel ugly or fat, it is supposed to excite you. Instead of making you feel like you cannot wear fashion like you should, it is supposed to support you and show you off. Instead of making you feel like you are not good enough, fashion and the clothing that are in your wardrobe are supposed to make you feel like you matter. 

Upcycling is a personal choice and was a habit change for me.

Your wardrobe is supposed to be a reflection of your personality not of last year’s High Street shopping trends.  

Fashion and how you buy matters, not just to other people. Sure, how often you wash makes a difference in our environment. Where you buy might make a difference to the local economy. Personally I am a big fan of buying Fairtrade because it makes a difference to the people making my garments and the farmers who are farming the cotton. 

These choices eventually have a reflection on me. On what emotions I feel when I open my wardrobe. Did I make things myself? Was it a communal effort? Was it an item that challenges the current status quo? Or did I make a difference in the life of an emerging designer? All the different emotional states I had while buying my garments come back to me when I open the doors of where I store my items. They reflect what I find important in life. They reflect who I am. Some of them might even reflect who I want to be…

I help people to create, or curate as I like to call it, an inspirational personal wardrobe. I use the word curate because I feel we should think about the pieces in our wardrobe as artworks. And our entire wardrobe as a collection. Yes, even the basic pieces. Even the tops and shirts that we hide underneath our outfit. They are the closest to our body, they are the closest to our hearts, they deserve some attention too! 

Curating an inspirational personal wardrobe is a lifetime’s work, because your personality will be changing and your wardrobe will reflect this; and it is ok that you can see the development that you have been going through. Would you diss every experience that you go through that has shaped your personality once you’ve been through it? Of course not!

It is difficult to change your habits if you are unable to look at them objectively. It is also difficult to change as you have been buying meaningless items for so long. If you haven’t done so already I invite you to download my ebook. In the ebook I go further into what is wrong with how we experience fashion at the moment; and how you could distance yourself from it and learn new individual habits. I hope to show you how we are actually harming ourselves with the habits we have and how to step up and change this.

Treat yourself: Buy nothing.

for english scroll down…

Je vrijheid gelimiteerd.

Pas je koopgedrag aan en kies voor; jezelf!

In ons dagelijkse leven zijn we vooral bezig zijn met het vergroten van de aanschaf van nutteloze dingen. We hebben grotere huizen nodig om oze dingen in kwijt te kunnen, en als dat niet meer past dan gaat het gewoon naar de opslag. Waar we vervolgens natuurlijk ook weer voor moeten betalen.

Toen we nog verzamelden voor ons eten was het hartstikke nuttig om meer te willen. Diegene die altijd meer wilden hadden meer kans om te overleven in tijden van schaarste. Alleen komen we nu om in de dingen. Alles wat je op een schem ziet en zelfs de praat van de mensen om je heen zal je motiveren, stimuleren of eigenlijk zelfs brainwashen om je het gevoel te geven dat je iets moet hebben.  Want dan ben je wel blij, gelukkig, tevreden, mooi, geliefd, gezellig of weet ik wat. Dan is je leven compleet.

Onderschat niet de overheersende kracht van je aankopen.

 Vergeet niet dat bij elk ding dat je nu koopt een volgend ding om de hoek al staat te wachten. Bijvoorbeeld een mooie nieuwe broek, die kan niet zonder top. En eigenlijk andere schoenen want die je hebt staan eigelijk niet goed onder deze lengte broek. Ow en die top is wat licht van kleur; tijd voor huidskleurige lingerie. Klinkt herkenbaar?

Jongens, zeg nou eens eerlijk, behalve naast het heerlijke gevoel van iets gaafs gekocht te hebben, (vaak duurt dit maar een dag of een paar dagen!) heb je dan niet meeteen al weer een schuldgevoel? (wat veel langer duurt dan die paar dagen?!) Is je budget er wel voor gemaakt? Je weet eigenlijk ook wel dat het waarschijnlijk slecht geproduceerd is en meer dingen kopen werkt nu eenmaal niet mee aan minder milieu-problematiek.  Dit allemaal slaat een gat in je ziel.

Een manier om daar wat aan te doen is simpel: stop met kopen! Voila! Meer geld in je pocket om ergens aan uit te geven wat wel de moeite waard  is! Dus laat die tassen staan en loop vrij verder!

Wat zou jij doen, zonder de beperkingen van Kopen?

Hier zijn een paar tips uit mijn assortiment:

  • De allerbelangrijkste; probeer na te gaan waarom je wil shoppen? Ben je eenzaam? Zoek je entertainment? Ben je opzoek naar afleiding van iets waar je eigenlijk mee moet “dealen”? Ben je opzoek naar inspiratie? Probeer erachter te komen wat het is en doe er wat aan. Een rondje wandelen door het bos helpt in de meeste gevallen…
  • Ga in plaats van shoppen eerst eens een middagje je kast opruimen. Ik weet zeker dat je geïnspireerd bent aan het einde van die dag, dat je outfits herondekt of anders gaat stylen.
  • Inspiratie shoppen. Ga shoppen maar koop niks. Helemaal niks nakkes nada. Doe inspiratie op. Kijk wat je goed staat en wat niet met pas-sessies.
    Dat je een winkel instapt, dat iemand je zelfs helpt, hoeft nog helemaal niet te zeggen dat je pe se iets moet kopen. Je hebt gewonnen wanneer je helemaal niets in je tas hebt aan het einde van de dag! Je zult enorm geïnspireerd zijn, juist omdat je niet met ogen kijkt die vragen: “Zit hier iets voor mij tussen?”, maar met een blik van; wat is er allemaal te zien? Misschien kun je wat dingen passen die je grens verleggen? En als kers op de taart? Je mag zeker terugkomen over een week of twee wanneer er een artikel is dat je maar niet uit je hoofd kan krijgen. Als dat echt zo is weet je eigenlijk wel zeker dat je het artikel gaat dragen tot het naadje!!

Meer tips, of zin in een heusse mind-set-change? Stuur me een berichtje en we kunnen kijken wat we kunnen betekenen voor elkaar!

Treat yourself: Buy nothing.

In our daily life we are allowing ourselves to be distracted from things that matter to us, by things that don’t. We are allowing ourselves to be caught and restrained. In order to get happy we are being told what to eat, to wear and to buy. Than we get busy trying to eat in the right place, wear the right outfit, buy the new gadget.  The end of the day just leaves a tiring feeling and we know true happiness didn’t happen again today.  

It often feels as if you have no choice. Everybody is doing it. It is normal.

This restraint is keeping you from feeling free. Buying your way into happiness and filling the emptiness is impossible. It will never stop. Every new item you get into your house is just coming attached with new options of what also needs to be bought after this.

You are not limited by yourself, but the products you buy will try to do just that…

An example, you bought a new vase. Just after you bought it, it feels fantastic, looks great on that table! But it could actually need a new tablecloth underneath for it to look greater (off to the store or just your phone, as you do not have time to go to the store now…)  Later, as the mechanisme of fashion goes by the design of the vase is going to feel old and boring. At one point the thing it is not doing anything for you anymore. It is just there. At a later point, after you have changed the tablecloth you will find yourself looking for something else.

Because this item didn’t really connect with you, it didn’t work for you. You were groomed into buying it by very diverse mechanisms.

 Even worse, it might be making you feel bad, unconsciously. You know well that all this buying is bad for the environment and because you didn’t buy it fair-trade you can be sure somewhere along the process of making it somebody got hurt. Apart from that, you might even feel guilty because you went on a shopping spree and you haven’t got the money, not really.

You cannot cut the strings but you can drop the bags.

You will be more free when you start buying less and less. Start owning less and less. You will have more time on your hands, more money in your pocket and more space in your mind.

If you need tips on how to do this I am here for you. Here are just a few tips that will help you break the habit.

when you feel the urge to go shopping:

  • Spend time reorganizing your closet. You will find some outfits that you can wear but haven’t.
  • Try and connect with yourself and ask yourself why do you want to go? Do you need excitement? Do you need company? What is it and try to fulfill that, rather than go shopping.
  • Go for a walk in the woods, rather than a store. Nature will make you feel better for sure.  And you can do some thinking.
  • Because you need a new outfit for a particular party? Go to a thrift-store. (Make it easy for yourself and go somewhere not near other stores, so you wont have the urge to go there.) In a thrift store you can buy stuff with hardly any repercussions for the environment or your wallet. And you can wear an outfit only once without regrets.

Find yourself craving for more tips to stop craving? Just let me know and I am sure I can inspire you to choose a better way specifically suited to you!