My dear friends,
This past Saturday I helped out my dear friend Celeste with her runway show, "Fashion for our Times" (Above and below are photos I took during the show). Celeste has been a friend of mine for a few years now, and she is also teaching my Tailoring class this semester. Celeste is an independent designer in Columbus creating designer pieces from locally sourced wool. She is a fiber artist and designer and makes beautiful work. You can see more of her work here.
The show was incredible and so much fun, and afterward, we all went out to celebrate at a Mexican restaurant down the block. We started talking about the fashion industry and one of Celeste's friends asked me what I do and what I want to do come graduation? This is a question I hear often these days, and I am sure I will just continue to hear more of it. I launched into speaking about my values, and though I plan to seek out a job in the fashion industry, what I despise about "Fashion" and where I think it fails most of the time. The questioner seemed a bit perplexed and asked "In what ways does the Fashion Industry fall short". I felt like saying "Let me count the ways". So here I go...
1* Waste. Clothes in Landfills, fabric scraps going unused, microplastics in oceans, Polyester and synthetic fabrics that will NEVER degrade.
2* The Model Industry and unhealthy beauty standards.
3* The lack of sizing options and prioritization of skinny white people.
4* Textile workers (the majority women and children) being paid pennies and not being ensured safe or healthy working environments.
5* Unhealthy work/industry cultures that prioritize overwork, focus on meeting the bottom line, cutting costs, and the number of units sold above all else.
6* Valuing things and image over actual people.
7* The Frivolous expensive fashion weeks that while fun, inspiring, imaginative, and exciting are also unrealistic, and promote all of the above.
It's hard for me not to feel overwhelmed and saddened when asked the question "What do you love about Fashion?", and "Where do you see yourself after graduation?" Because to be true to myself, I have to be honest about how I do not support, subscribe or believe in "Fashion". I believe in art. I believe in designers, and makers, and creativity. I know clothing and dress are essential to our culture and way of life; clothing informs ourselves and others about our identity, who we are, and who we aspire to be. However, it can be hard to communicate in a positive way what I want to create, without first outlining what I want to change and leave behind. I can feel bogged down and overly negative if I focus too much on the mountain of things that are wrong with fashion, and at the same time, it can be hard to succinctly define what it is that I DO want to do.
I think this is why the idea of Neighborhood appeals so strongly to me, (it answers this need). I want to design with a people-first mindset and to me, Neighborhood is about community and care, about people who are unlike each other but support one another. Fashion for so long has been about creating something for one type of person. But creating for a Neighborhood acknowledges firstmost that we are all different and have different needs. So to continue with succinctly summarizing my ideas, I have come up with a short sizing manifesto for Nosy Neighbor. Sizing is one of the key aspects of my designs and I have chosen to rethink sizing using adjustable features for my clothing, as well as creating a wide range of sizes, (XS-3XL) for my PDF patterns. These words came to me while riding my bike and I haven't stopped thinking of them since.
Nosy Neighbor Sizing Manifesto:
People have bodies.
These bodies come in all shapes and sizes.
Bodies change shape and grow and shrink.
Most of the time clothing is needed for these bodies.
Clothing that can grow and shrink with us.
These people are our neighbors.
Keep it simple stupid. That's the thought at least. If you have any input or thoughts please let me know! I'm planning on creating other short paragraphs about what Nosy Neighbor is, the designs, the materials, the creator (me!), etc. and I hope to emulate this same positive, simple, succinct energy. Focusing more on what it IS, rather than what it is not
*I have solidified my designs and I couldn't be more relieved. I was planning on sharing illustrations here, but I think for now I will keep these private as I want there to be some element of surprise come the Fashion show. I will definitely share sneak peeks of details and fabrics and such, but the overall collection will have to wait for now.
*Last week was model try-outs and on Tuesday we picked out our models. I am so excited about each person I will be working with and I can't wait to get to know them a bit more. I'm now working on measuring each person and developing my block patterns for them.
*I've started using Seamly2D, (a digital pattern-making software) to create my blocks and WOW it's life-changing. No more tracing patterns and painstakingly adding seam allowance. It's nice when I can get the computer to do some of the work for me :)
Another sketchbook page for Nosy Neighbor. This one is all about my neighbors Dorothy and Mike
In other News:
* I've started babysitting for a few families here in Columbus, and I'm really enjoying getting to know more people in my neighborhood that way.
* I'm really enjoying no-recipe recipes. I have been a strong cook-by-the-book type of person, but I think thanks to Elisheva I now have the confidence to just throw some things together, (She would always just go to the store and pick out things that looked good). My recent favorites have been avocado salad, and tofu stirfry with farmers market green beans and bell peppers.
*Rose and I discovered a flea market last weekend and I found the most beautiful camel-colored vintage leather Coach bag. Photos below of our adventures.
LOVING: My tailoring class. We just learned how to make covered buttonholes and I am obsessed.
READING: All about Love by Bell Hooks
ENJOYING: The morning glories I see in back allies and on my bike ride to school each day. They feel like a little celebration of rising early.
REMEMBERING: To take it easy.
FEELING: Sick,(I think one of the kids I babysit for gave me a cold) but Happy!
THINKING: About the future, and feeling energized.
We'll talk soon, definitely in two weeks' time, if not sooner.
Your Nosy Neighbor, Nat