Monday, June 19, 2017

The New Materialism: Where Shopping Meets Ethics

Being more materialist and less status conscious can add value to your wardrobe and slow fast fashion to a sustainable pace.

Last weekend I watched the documentary, "Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things" and felt-- largely-- uninspired. I thought there would be information about the techniques advertisers use to compel people to buy things and how to counter them, but this documentary isn't that practical. Its goal seemed to be to cover the big bullet points of a minimalist lifestyle.
  • Simplicity prevents you from being overwhelmed by stuff or the race to keep up with the Joneses.
  • Opting out of the race to keep up with the Joneses allows you to be your authentic self and live a more meaningful life.
  • Having less allows you to live in a more ethical manner.

Seeing as there is a 24 billion dollar storage industry, there are certainly millions of people who could be inspired to look into minimalism after having it painted for them in such broad strokes. But not me. Moreover, I was put off by the sterile apartments and houses sadly devoid of color or texture inhabited by the interviewees and central figures of the film. One of the interviewees had a look (it was all black, of course)everyone else just wore clothes. I was about to decide that this film and this concept had nothing for me until Professor Juliet Schor appeared. She had a unique insight about fashion. Fast fashion consumers aren't materialistic enough— the meaning here emphasizing the fabrication and composition of the goods. Consumers are more concerned about the trendiness of their clothing or the status they believe the brand confers upon them than what the clothes are made of and the value of those materials and labor.

Commuting by bike made me think a great deal about what my clothes were made of. As a southerner, cotton and linen are precious to me most of the year. I've searched Wikipedia for the definitions of acrylic and polyester, but I'm still not completely sure that I understand what they are. I do, however, understand the description from this deep dive into fast fashion characterizing them as "essentially a type of plastic, [that] will take hundreds, if not thousands of years, to biodegrade." Moreover, Americans are discarding so much cheap clothing that even charities are overwhelmed and recipients in third world countries are increasingly likely to choose new, inexpensive, low-quality clothing over used, cheap clothing.

What is a style maven who loves the planet to do? We could trade our money for durable clothes that we love made of natural fabrics that we can pronounce and launder them with soap and water avoiding the tetrachlorethylene used widely by dry cleaners. That sounds like a good place to start even if funds limit you to mass retailers. Shopping vintage or thrifting is an option that doesn't strain the pockets. And last, but not least, you could save up your coins to buy from ethical brands.

Buying less or paying more to get less may seem antithetical to being fashionable, but it's completely aligned with being stylish and living graciously. Filling your closet with cheap, trendy clothes is just filling your closet with clothes, not outfits, not lewks. I really only attend to trends that make something I like widely available. I have loved plaid since the day I attained human consciousness so, when it becomes trendy, I buy things in plaid that I don't already own. If you don't like plaid, you will probably not love the way you look in plaid so don't stock up on it. Leave it for me.

Shopping for value and not volume will help you build the wardrobe that expresses your personality. Sturdy construction will allow you more use from cherished pieces. Clothing produced with low-impact dyes and processes by a labor force that is working in the proper conditions for fair compensation has added value.

Keeping these standards in mind while you shop will likely have you leaving your credit card holstered more often. However, these are the times that try shoppers' souls. So many brands are shuttering brick and mortar stores or going out of business altogether that "deals" abound. I must confess that at markdowns of 50% or more, my standards usually disappear, but I'm committed to doing better. Luckily, we don't have to be perfect to do right. Introducing temperance to our shopping may be the vital measure needed to slow down fashion.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Ally Capellino x tokyobike

via Ally Capellino on Instagram

Orange AC x tokyobike rucksack

Images of rucksacks via Ally Capellino

Yep. Another tokyobike-related post. I was actively fantasizing about owning an Ally Capellino frame bag by scrolling through the purses when I decided to check out her Instagram account. The first pictures I saw were of AC x tokyobike rucksacks. Capellino has worked with a design-minded bike maker before and has offered bike-friendly bags for years. AC cycle bags are entirely black waterproof nylon and leather with a reflective strip and an attachment point for a light. This collaboration has yielded two colorful bags in the same shades used by tokyobike with the usual thoughtful features of Capellino's cycling pieces. The bags are available in limited quantities via brick & mortar and online Ally Capellino stores and in tokyobike stores.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

tokyobike Designer Series

tokyobike x Calico Wallpaper

tokyobike x Joe Doucet

tokyobike x Everything Elevated

These three limited edition bikes constitute tokyobike's Designer Series launching this week. According to Juliana Rudell Di Simone, owner and director of tokyobike in the Americas," was inspiring to see how the three renowned designers translated their distinctive visions to our bicycles in ways that we never could have imagined."

Rachel and Nick Cope's designs have earned Calico Wallpaper a place in the Cooper Hewitt Wallpaper Collection. Nick Cope says that they're "excit[ed] to see our wallpaper designs applied to an object that incorporates art into a unique and useful means of transportation. We can’t wait to see it on the streets!” Joe Doucet is a designer, inventor, and creative designer who recently won the Cooper Hewitt National Design Award. Everything Elevated works across the Atlantic, with bases in New York and Oslo, and across industries applying their minimalist aesthetic to numerous products. Each bike is $2,500. If your money isn't that long, tokyobike also has new mini velo's available for preorder for $815.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Schwinn Lemon Peeler Rides Again (Once Again)

Apparently, Schwinn isn't​ the least bit hesitant to relive its glory days. And neither are Schwinn fans. This Monday, April 24th, the company will release it's second run of a reproduction Lemon Peeler Sting Ray on Amazon. Sans stick shifter, 2017's singlespeed Lemon Peeler will have many features of the original like ape hanger handlebars, banana seat, springer fork, rear struts, a 16-inch front wheel, and a 20-inch rear wheel.

I read about the occasion in Parade Magazine, of all places, so everyone and their mothers know about this repro launch. According to Bicycling, the first run sold out in less than twenty-four hours. The last time Schwinn released a Lemon Peeler repro was 2008 and the last time I saw anything mass-produced in the muscle bike style was around 2012 by an outfit out of New York City that doesn't appear to exist anymore. That probably means that there's a great deal of desire out there for a relatively small amount of bikes. The Lemon Peeler Sting Ray's will be $349. You might want to have your credit card in hand at the stroke of midnight Monday.
© courtnee cycles chic
Maira Gall