Why less is More

Sunday, August 28
I have found an amazing article from Vogue of November of 2007. I liked this article so I decided to share it with you guys. It's about how having Less can be More. It's a good article, but in my opinion not a great one, I still prefer this article that I posted a few months ago, but sill, I really like reading this kind of this, they inspire me a lot.

 image from google

Aleksandra Woroniecka rummages around the closet in her West Village walk-up apartment and produces her beloved navy Chanel cardigan jacket. The Paris-born, New York-based stylist treasures this piece because it does exactly what all good Chanel cardigan jackets should do: elongates the arms, narrows the torso, lifts the shoulders with a little Gallic shrug. It has been performing this miracle of tailoring for the past fourteen years, yet its staying power goes beyond its ability to endure physically.

Woroniecka measures its value in mental, not just material, terms. And that's the standard she uses for each and every rare wardrobe addition she makes. "I want fashion to have some meaning, and to last," she says. How times change. A decade ago, Woroniecka felt driven to add more, more, more to her closet. "I'd see someone wearing a piece that I liked," she recalls, "and then buy the exact same thing. Then I would discover it wasn't me at all." Now she knows what works for her, so she buys less, less, less. Here, briefly, is what she has been getting by on, give or take the Courreges shift circa 1968 and a stack or two of striped matelot sweaters and tees: 

1. Six navy jackets, including Balenciaga and Charles Anastase and a couple of boyish vintage blazers.
2. Ten pairs of lean jeans, dark and plain, that can pass for pants when required.
3. Four bags, with not a hint of It: black Hermes Birkin, Balenciaga brown leather saddle bag, and two Chanel gilt-chain-strap classics.
4. A pile of ballet flats of varying stripe and persuasion.
5. Two pendants, and a ring that belonged to her mother. 

It's hardly nothing, but given the way that our wardrobes are rapidly expanding, it isn't that much. Yet Woroniecka doesn't feel deprived. She can quite happily say those immortal but not-often-heard words I have enough. She is, in fact, one of a growing number of women who have gladly gotten off the shopping merry-go-round of Always Something New and prefer to live with what they have unless something truly extraordinary and/or useful crosses their path.

Call it a reaction to where fashion is at these days. We live in an era when everything is bigger and better: our awareness of trends; our sense of personal wealth; and the readily available choice of fantastic, directional pieces, be they luxury label, mass brand, or collaborations like Kate Moss for Topshop and designers' luxe-for-less looks for Target. This proliferation of fashion has an upside: Everyone has greater access to it. But the downside is that somewhere along the way, constant, voracious accumulation became the norm. Woroniecka isn't the only one who wants to reconnect with what fashion used to be about: not just the mere act of acquisition but an investment, be it a $9 tee or a $1,900 coat, that enriches her look and, ergo, her life with a degree of self-expression and self-respect. Of course, asking, Do I really need this? has become increasingly subject to ethical and ecological concerns. On the one hand, there is the true cost of whatever comes out of the fashion chain. Louise Trotter, creative director of the inexpensive U.K. brand Jigsaw, which plans to expand in the United States beyond its handful of stores in California, says that we need to ask ourselves what allows a pair of jeans to carry a $20 price tag. "When you factor in the fabric, the shipping, and the overseas production," she says, "then you know it should be a lot higher. So who is losing out?"

On the other, there is considering the impact a piece will have on the environment when you factor in a basic concern like how to care for it. Chicagoan Stephanie Arnett has, she says, become fiendish about checking labels. If something she deems could be washed by hand or machine says dry clean only, "I won't buy it," she declares. "There's the impact of all those chemicals to think about." (Shes uses a green dry cleaner for things that simply can't be laundered.) Arnett now navigates the choppy waters of shopping without scuppering either her love of fashion or  her principles; she works for a charitable program that allows people in disadvantaged communities to set up and run beehives, which has positive economic and environmental effects. Thus, she has started to support local designers wherever she visits, and gravitates toward labels that reflect her values in some way: Martin Margiela, for instance, because she believes he puts forward the idea that clothes shouldn't be one-season wonders. And Stella McCartney, whom she admires for taking a stand on issues that Arnett finds congruous with her own life.

Currently there is a sense that the buzzwords of careful, considerate food production and consumption slow, local, sustainable-are gradually filtering into the consciousness of fashion. In the future it's entirely plausible that designer brands will choose to redefine themselves to match new aspirations, that I Will Make You Look Rich/Sexy/Cool will be supplanted. And balancing the desire for some unabashed luxury with the feeling that you are maintaining the standards you live by looks like it is going to be easier. In the past, clothes with a conscience made you look, at worst, like some crazy survivalist, or, at best, ready to spend every waking hour practicing Ashtanga yoga. Now they've turned sophisticated.

At the recent New York spring 2008 collections, Behnaz Sarafpour did some distinctly noncrunchy and very elegant full skirts in jungle-print organic cotton. The audience at Donna Karan's show could exit left from her Greenwich Street studio and head straight into Urban Zen, a store where Karan, as well as designers like Lainey Keogh, has come up with limited-edition artisanal pieces that will benefit children's educational charities. Lutz & Patmos collaborated with leather-goods makers Billy Kirk on sturdy, hip, and, yes, luxurious belts, hand-tooled by an Amish community in Pennsylvania, that take a few weeks to make. Likewise, it can take up to 20 days to produce the exquisite crocheted knitwear the duo has outsourced to women's collectives in Bolivia, which allows the women to maintain their craft techniques while being able to stay at home to care for their children. "It's the fashion equivalent of planting a tree to make up for your carbon footprint," Tina Lutz says. 

"There's a real desire to have something that is made with care," says Jane Shepherdson, the former brand director of Topshop, who has, since she left, worked on a clothes- recycling project for Oxfam and an ecofashion project called People Tree. "Mass consumerism isn't fun anymore." No one recognizes this more than Los Angeles_-based designer Christina Kim of Dosa, who has long successfully negotiated tricky concerns producing her label. Her most recent and inspired innovation is recycling the remnants from one season, Kashmiri pashminas, say, for "new" fabrics for the next. "I asked myself," Kim says, " 'How can I make a story that continues?' Referencing the past, while giving it a future." That's one way to seek a sense of constancy while participating in the giddy whirlwind changes of fashion. The other is to sit out every new passing whim and fancy, especially challenging in these days of global trends. Recently, Woroniecka took a call from a friend in Paris. She'd observed girl after girl in natty blazers and skinny jeans and pretty flats, strolling up and down Boulevard St.-Germain. "Aleksandra, they're all dressed like you!" she told her, referring to the uniform the stylist has worn continually for the past few years. "It's OK," Woroniecka replied. "I'm not going to change now."

article from Vogue

1 comment on "Why less is More"
  1. Hello cool blog,
    I saw it on IFB
    following you on GFC no86
    hope you follow back



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