currently: kicking ass and taking names

let’s keep this short and sweet: i’m in toronto right now with some really fantastic old friends i never get to see and having a really fantastic time. i’ve crossed paths with so many wonderful people i’ve known over the years, surreal is the best word to describe this feeling.

this photo above? really quick self-portrait i took in cabaret vintage, my absolute favourite vintage clothing shop. i hadn’t been there in years and was happy to waste an hour admiring gorgeous hats and wonderful suits, gowns, bowties. toronto was briefly my home in 2008, but it suits me much better as a place to visit. i appreciate it much better that way.

but this post isn’t about toronto! it’s about cool shit happening on the internet i think you’d like to check out. speaking of admiring vintage wares, lately i’ve been pondering what it means to buy used/thrifted for the most part. i have some blog posts in the works around those ideas, but almost felt like these next two posts beat me to the punch!

chloe lum of scroungy glamour

a few weeks back i re-discovered chloe lum on twitter and found her blog. not gonna lie, i’m a minor former fangirl – she makes incredible art and seeing AIDS Wolf when i was a teenager kinda changed my life. i’ve torn old posters of hers off of sign posts and had them on my university dorm room walls back in the day. i always kind of looked up to chloe when i first started going to shows, half terrified of her, and half wanting to be her. i didn’t have too many role models as a young girl in a scene dominated by straight white dudes most of the time. aaaaand now i’m telling this to the internet and am already embarrassing myself…

tout ça pour dire! she has a blog and it’s awesome. i just read this post after having spent a good hour writing about very similar questions, wondering what you can do when you hate the way clothes are made and sold and marketed to you, but love clothing. i don’t know if you guys have noticed but that’s kind of the main reason i started this blog. chloe’s post on thrifting as refusal asks a lot of the same questions:

Now don’ get me wrong , I’m not naive and I don’t see buying second hand as revolutionary act or anything but it *is* a way to keep money out of the hands of folks like Richard Hayne and clothes out of landfills. While that’s far from everything , it *is* something. Right?

Beyond that it’s a refusal of buying “cool” and instead scrounging it , making it , building it , finding it , swapping it and defining it on a personal level.

in a similar vein, iris over at the always awesome bossy femme just posted this: not buying it – disposable fashion. i definitely relate to a lot of her conundrums:

I know that a $5 tank top can’t be manufactured ethically, but I often can’t afford to pay more. I really don’t like this. It sucks when being “broke” in Canada means having to support retailers that undoubtedly are perpetuating poverty globally. I’d really like to hear from any of you who have thought about how to negotiate this…

there are already some great conversations going on over in the comments, and you should go and chime in! how do you find a balance? how important is it that your warddrobe is a reflection of how you live your life otherwise, consuming consciously?

last but not least, recently i’ve gotten quite a few emails asking me for more blog recommendations, usually along the lines of “where are the people of colour/queer folks/disabled folks? where are the folks who blog about the intersection of their identities with fashion/feminism?” my answer is pretty much “not sure,” unfortunately. that is not to say those voices and stories don’t exist, but they are often hard to find and get lost in the shuffle.

luckily, two of my favourite internet friends, chelsea and cassie, are working to change that. they are turning frustrations about not seeing themselves reflected in the media, whether it be the blogosphere or the tv shows they love, into an awesome project. and they want you! here’s their callout:

Calling for those interested in creating a teen mag/mag for young women: Chelsea and I are going to start an online magazine with a strong emphasis on young girls and women of color, trans girls, disabled girls, non-heteronormative girls, queer girls, fat girls, mentally ill girls, etc etc.

We (…) are interested in whatever capacity you are willing to help. Please tell us if you are interested in writing, designing, doing artwork, creating, organizing, CSS/flash coding or something you would like to do that we haven’t listed.

Anybody who is interested, get at us by sending us an e-mail at untitledteenmag@gmail.com. Thanks!

they are also encouraging people interested in contributing/reading to fill out this survey over here. keep your eyes peeled for this awesome project! i can’t wait to see how things work out.

happy reading!

xo

julia

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “currently: kicking ass and taking names

  1. tamera jane @ verhext

    I’d say maybe 5% of my clothes are purchased new, and that’s ONLY necessary because I have a “corporate” job. Yes, it requires way more commitment than just finding what you need immediately, and no, you don’t get to have a super strict fashion “vision” because you kind of just get what comes up. But it’s how I was raised, and I can’t stand the ethics of fast-fashion, so there you go. It would never occur to me to go buy a $5 junk tank top when I can just find one in a thrift for 50 cents.

  2. Ah shucks , thanks! I’ll probably be posting soon on “broke” vs poor.
    xochloe

  3. mayfly

    The vast majority of my wardrobe is thrifted/used, mostly for the reasons Chloe outlines. I do know it’s easier for me than other people- I wear a pretty common size, I don’t have to dress professionally, and I have the time to spend a couple of hours every few weeks digging though piles of crap to find a gem or two.

    I also think there’s a bit of white/cis/thin/middle-class privilege that comes with my thrift-store wardrobe- I can wear a weird tattered old dress and get judged as cute/hip/quirky (or at worst, as a silly hipster), and I think other people without that privilege might sometimes get more negative judgement for wearing obviously thrifted clothes. (Does that make sense? I’m not sure if I’m articulating myself well here.)

    • Mayfly – I sometimes wonder the same thing as a small to average sized lady who lives as an artist / sometimes freelancer. However , there are resale shops that carry more on trend and business apropriate attire. Heck Value Village seems to specialize in current , brand name clothing in good condition (that’s why I rarely shop there , too “normal” for me) and it’s still much less expensive that the mall. It may not be realistic for everyone to go all thrift , all the time but I do think most people can incorporate 2nd good in their life.

      Online vintage sellers , such as on Etsy can be usefull for those short on time or looking for specific things.

      Is thrifted frowned upon in more mainstream circles? Many of my own family members who are not remotely arty or “alternative” thrift as a way to bargain hunt high end. I am very out of the mainstream loop though. All my friends tend to be artists or academics.

  4. andibgoode

    I think a lot around the idea of thrifting/buying vintage as opposed to new and/or disposable fashion. At the moment most of the things that I love on etsy are out of my price range (though a big reason for that is because I’m saving all my $$ for Canada…) and it’s made even worse by the fact that I live in Australia and postage costs to and from here are $$$. Then there’s thrifting – the amount of poorly made secondhand clothes that end up being so close to their original price tag astounds me (or vintage dresses that are kind of tattered selling for $80 because they know it’s vintage – have actually seen this in a Salvos). (Of course, I have found some great things like a top I’m pretty sure would have cost about $80 originally for only $6 but gems like that are few and far between.) Whilst shopping in a curated vintage shop is getting too expensive for me, shopping at thrift stores is so rarely fruitful that if I relied only on that I’d be practically naked (slight exaggeration but close enough to the truth.) There’s also whether secondhand clothing is accessible to someone where they live (I’m lucky that there are plenty of places around me and that my mum likes joining me so carts me around wherever I want to go, though vintage isn’t as abundant in Australia as, say, the United States seems to be), whether you can find your sizes there, etc. I think I still have a lot of issues with impatience and needing things right now as well! You know? And letting go of that is probably a long process and something I’m working on. At the same time, I LOVE the thrill of the vintage hunt and finding something you’ve been looking for for years is so satisfying.

    I feel similarly about the food I eat – I don’t eat meat or animal products because it goes against my own personal ethics…but what about where all my other food comes from? I’m sure a lot of what I eat isn’t ethically sourced but when your food needs to last and you can only buy what you can afford, it’s a tricky situation. (I didn’t eat MacDonald’s for years because I didn’t like to support them but now that I’m trying to save as much as I can eating their fries is just so tempting because it’s cheap and it tastes good.)

    I also have a few moral quandaries around supporting charities like the Salvation Army which, at least from what I’ve read, support anti-gay, etc., ideas and whose belief systems certainly do not line up with my own. I may not be supporting a huge corporation that is morally/ethically questionable but I suppose I’m supporting another organisation that possibly is by shopping at their thrift stores (and there are only a tiny handful of thrift stores that aren’t run by religious organisations)?

    I feel like I’ve gone a bit off topic here and rambled on like I usually do!

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