quiestnina

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Dispatch from quarantine, everything from Banana bread to fast fashion documentaries

Second post this week- I know, madness! Better than Christmas or any other occasion where you feel overloaded with gifted items! Today, I am gifting you with those lovely words, combined together in sentences.

As I am currently in my second quarantine of the year, a.) the backgrounds for the images are and will be pretty much the same and b.) apart from taking outfit pictures, writing and reading and doing other very intelligent and cultured stuff, this week I thought I’d educate myself more about fast fashion by watching “Inside Missguided: Made in Manchester”.

From Gemma Collins to gender reveal parties- you will see a lot in this documentary, but very less about their actual ethical morals and practises.

Nowadays, especially in Gen Z, the environment, climate change and the role of fashion in this play a big role and the negative numbers rise a big concern worldwide. It is no secret anymore, that nowadays the fashion industry with all its dirty practises is one of the earth’s biggest polluter. Missguided, a Manchester-based, multimillion fast fashion brand, particularly known for its shockingly low prices, such as the £1 Bikini in summer 2019. Whoever expects to find out the way a Missguided or any other fast fashion garment is produced, will be better off watching documentaries as “The true cost” on Netflix. Shocking imagery, but the bitter truth, so very worth watching. So, what is the Missguided documentary about, when it is not about their actual production process? Long story short: it is basically about making their brand even more approachable to the wider mass, making them seem like the coolest employer in the world, and letting the world of Missguided seem like a Disneyland for adults, a place where all your dreams will come true.

Outfit: old and thrifted, shoes: Dr. Martens

The documentary portrays Missguided as a brand that is all about female empowerment, “boss bitches” as they’d like to say, even though the high positions in the company such as CEO, Chief Growth Officer, IT Director or Chief Product Officer roles are all occupied by men. To rub the female empowerment sentiment even more in, the documentary portrays their body positivity campaign as a means of showing the world that Missguided is accepting everyone in every shape and size instead of just wanting to sell their new underwear range. Also, their critical campaigns, where they have been accused of objectifying women, are seen as “female-empowering in the four massive walls of their headquarters. Watching the documentary, feels more like watching a reality TV show in the end- everything is about making the brand as “cool”, “approachable” and “northern working” as possible. The shining star of the show is the Senior Creative Treasure, who is planning and doing all the creative shoots and campaigns. You get exclusive insight into her job day to day life, whether that is the actual reality or not.  When the camera sneaks into the holy halls of the buying team, you feel like you are captivated into god’s own mansion, by seeing how hyped up they get for getting the garment as cheap as possible without losing a word about the garment worker’s rights, who are basically the foundation of the whole show. Without the workers, there would be no clothes and without the cheap clothes, Missguided would not be Missguided.

There is not a single doubt in my mind that everyone who works for this brand works damn hard, and puts passion and sacrifice into their jobs. That aspect is very visible during those four episodes. I have every ounce of respect for this; my point simply is that the cheapness of the clothes, the quality of the materials, the garment workers’ rights, and the branding as “female empowered” when men acclaim the high positions, are just not okay or ethical. After watching this, my worry was not that if someone who did research about the industry would watch it and see Missguided as the one and only brand, I was worried that someone who has no idea of fashion’s impact on the planet would watch it and would be blinded through the pink Missguided glasses.

I am saying this as I can 100% say that I would be blinded if I wouldn’t have known before.

What I wore when I wrote the post- Skirt: old, Shirt: Alexa Chung Archive sale

So now, after having given my very detailed opinion that nobody asked for, a question very off-topic- does anyone have a simple idea why the ultimate quarantine baking recipe Banana Bread, is called Banana Bread when it is literally a cake? Asking for a friend, you know.

Have another one as I couldn’t hold my bag still in the first one

I will love you and leave you now,

Have a fantastic day- and make the most out of Secondhand September!

N x

On the power of dress, checked suits and the very first day of Zoom School

It is 7:56 PM and to say it quite frankly, I have been procrastinating to put these words onto paper since midday. I don’t know, why sometimes I can be so afraid of my passion, why I fall in such a deep stage of self-sabotage and spent most of my day mentally beating up myself for not being as productive as I would want myself to be. Maybe the answer to all this is the classic war of art, that I am unable to resist my inner resistance.

dressed up to go nowhere

Anyway, now, at this very warm late summer evening, I finally resisted the resistance and started typing out those words which have been floating around my mind all day. Today, was the first day of online school, which is still a very strange sentiment to wrap my head around. When the world started to go off its usual tracks this March, I naively thought, that by now, I would be back creating and learning on campus and being Tesco’s best customer.

But instead, I did the lecture from my living room, and now, sitting on my sofa sipping wine, I feel nothing but nostalgic. Two years ago, when I made the brave move to leave my home country, my parents, everything I knew, I was so excited but also insecure for my first day of uni. Looking back, I was not fully aware of what I signed up for, but what I can remember vividly (as if it was yesterday), was my outfit and more importantly, how it made me feel. For some, fashion might be just a means to cover up our naked bodies, but overall, it is an escape from daily life, a medium that allows us to communicate who we want to be, instead of who we see ourselves to be. I remember, that day, the very first day of my higher education career, I put on this pink checked co-ord set, as it reminded me so much of the Cher character in the movies and her iconic Dolce and Gabanna suit.

I bought the skirt to the set I wore in one of Paris’ Topshop’s and I remember when I put it one in the changing rooms, “This is the coolest thing ever”. I saw in this suit everything I dreamt of being. Secretly, even though I adored it to pieces, I was still hunting for its yellow sister, which was the other version that Topshop produced of this set, but sadly it was nowhere to be found in my size. Once I moved over to England then, I completed the set of the skirt I bought in Paris just a few days before, and once I wore them together, I felt so invincible, it was almost like protection from my outside world. And obviously, on top of all that, in those days I was very mesmerized by all the past subcultures, such as Punk that emerged in London, post-second world war, where checked patterns have always been a key item of expression.

exhaustion after first zoom classes lol

Internally, I was madly nervous on my first day at university, as most of the other students in the room. I worried about all different kinds of things, apart from my outfit, as this made me feel confident, even though, deep down, inside I wasn’t.

Now, today, the pink suit is in my childhood bedroom, and I have upgraded to this very much identical clueless suit- this time in yellow.

Although some people will never admit that they dress with a certain purpose in mind, I believe that we do. Our outfits are the skin we choose to wear that day, it gives us a chance to reinvent ourselves in a world that constantly tells us who we should be.

Co-ord: Resume Copenhagen, Blouse and bag: old Zara

Our clothes mirror our created identities, and allow us, to be who we truly want to be each and every day.

Ps: here enjoy a very bad mirror selfie of myself.

N x

The week in fashion

Have you ever sat down by the end of the week, wondering, what happened in the world of fashion this week? Is this parallel universe full of fabrics, sequins and champagne? Yes? Then this is the piece which will deliver you all the answers your heart has been longing for.

Now, more than ever, facing massive challenges on a daily basis, fashion needs changemakers. And one of them, for certain is Ava Hariri-Kia. Ava Hariri-Kia is an Iranian American freelance stylist, producer, model and overall creative powerhouse. She grew up in New York, where she loved her love for fashion, but it wasn’t until she moved to Scotland to study at the University of St. Andrews that she used the medium of fashion to express her voice. Until last Thursday, a lot of people, including me, were probably not aware of her existence. That very day, Ava Hariri- Kia got her very own Vogue article, being introduced to the world as one of the upcoming changemakers in the fashion industry. In this brilliant article, written by xxx, she talks about how she got into fashion, her engagement in the famous St. Andrews fashion show “Don’t Walk” and most importantly, she communicated her passion and her will to change the fashion industry for the better. Hariri-Kia breaks the boundary between fashion and politics, and she cares a lot about fashion’s sustainable future, with the aim to style her looks as sustainable as possible. Right now, Ava Hariri-Kia is one of the most inspirational women in fashion. If you are eager to know more about her, I have my research linked below.

https://www.vogue.com/article/ava-hariri-kia-dont-walk-interview

https://www.avaharirikia.com/about

Summer is basically over now, and the hashtag #secondhandseptember is knocking at our digital doors. Second-hand September is a campaign, which was initially launched last year by the British Second-hand chain Oxfam, encouraging people to not by any newly produced clothing for the month of September. Take it as a month of lent in the world of the fashion (or shopping) addicts. This year, the campaign is going into its second round and Oxfam teamed up with writer and actor Michaela Choel as the face of the 2020 campaign. Ever since this summer, everyone who watched the ground-breaking television series “I may destroy you” is familiar with the face of Michaela Choel. With this Campaign, Choel is using her voice to spread the message to be good to the environment and shop second hand, as no one is too small to make a difference in this case. Who wants to know more about this campaign, here are some resources linked below.

https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2020/aug/29/michaela-coel-isnt-buying-anything-new-oxfam-second-hand-september

https://www.oxfamapps.org.uk/secondhandseptember/

And finally, let’s talk about the event which most of us thought would not happen in 2020, the VMA’s. But in fact, despite pandemic, they did, and history has been made. Whoever took the most awards home, the true shining stars of the evening were definitely Lady Gaga’s masks, spreading the message to simply wear a mask. The live performance of the song “Rain on Me”, sung by Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande was masktivsim at its finest. Gaga’s masks were made by fashion designers such as Conrad by Conrad, who created a mask inspired by the moon man himself, Cecilio Castrillo and Lance V. Moore.

https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/gallery/2020/aug/31/vma-2020-lady-gaga-to-bts-in-pictures

When Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande can wear a mask and make history with this powerful performance, then I am sure that the rest of us will be able to wear one once we leave the house.

That’s it for this week.

Take care. Wear a mask.

N x

From skyscrapers to sourdough

Lord knows how many months the world is already facing those circumstances; I start to miss what used to be and what won’t be for a long time. I breathe in the fresh countryside air contemplating which bottle of wine I should open that night and when I should start my new sourdough. This time around, a year ago, I had just moved to Toronto and was more lost than in a long time. I had dragged myself to do that step, cause deep down I knew that it was that one chance I’d regret not doing and I hoped to grow from it. So, when I arrived there, I felt so lost and out of place, and I did not even have the mental capacity to imagine that I could benefit somehow from this experience. But somewhere between culture shock and adaption, being busy and slowing down, asking questions and finding even more answers, I grew to like this place.

Canada, especially Toronto will always be the place to me, that pushed me to every possible edge of mine on a daily basis, but also the place where I finally, after years of avoiding that side of mine, found the confidence to write again. For years, I was empty, I couldn’t create a sentence, avoided bookstores and the only sentences I read were Instagram captions. I can’t exactly recall how my return to writing happened, it was just there. For years, when I felt this emptiness inside me, writing things down felt like the most unnatural thing to do. And from one day to the other, this ability, the ability to create a whole new world with just words and imagination had to get out. From that day on, it felt like the most natural thing I could do. No matter how alienated, lonely and lost I felt in that giant city full of skyscrapers that millions of people call home, it brought me back to my true passion, which I will be eternally grateful for. My time in Toronto, or Canada as a whole will always play a huge role in my story, as in retrospect it feels like a time, where I truly got to know myself and some of the most interesting people I have ever met, and that is priceless. It might be true or not, but maybe I had to get lost so deeply in order to find myself. Now, when I look at those giant skyscrapers of that city, I say to myself, wow, that’s mad, you used to come back to this after a weekend trip and called it home for a few months.

Now, sitting here on my balcony, still thinking about the wine and the sourdough, I would give everything to be back there. Why? Simply because my soul finds the most comfort in the uncomfortable, the unknown, the anonymity that a new city in a foreign place can give me. In the past six months, the only real push I experienced out of my comfort zone was a somewhat weird determination to get my ass up and start to do a daily workout. Did it last long? At least two months. Do I miss it? Not as much as I miss exhausting plane rides, meeting new people, hugging strangers in a bar and seeing a different night sky than I am used to.

It seems like I got so comfortable with this lifestyle of being free and building up a new base every year or so, that I forgot how it feels to be at home.

I forgot how it feels to leave your house and recognize people’s faces. I forgot how it feels to have a clear routine, which is not depending on occasional freelance jobs or mini weekend getaways. I also forgot, how great it can feel to have an evening to yourself, without any kind of FOMO. Great, honestly. The other day, whilst I was dreaming my thoughts away, I came across this article by Jerry Seinfeld for the New York times (google Jerry Seinfeld New York Times if you fancy a read), and honestly, it has been one of the best pieces I have read in a while.

What we are experiencing now, is not a temporary circumstance, it feels like the beginning of something very new, unknown and more permanent than we want it to be.

Even though I can’t stop thinking about the day when I put my feet un unknown pavements again, I still cherish how I came to be from being one of the most mentally messed up people pre-pandemic to now, starting to actually like myself and the person I became (which is a big deal for someone like me, who has spent around a decade declaring war to themselves on a daily basis).

Trouser: old Topshop, Blouse: Vintage, Book: Swallowing Geography by Deborah Levy

Anyway, I hope that whoever is reading this, is healthy and takes as much care of themselves as they need.

Also, here are some songs I have recently adored very much:

This just needed to get out.

All the love,

N.

IMAGES FROM THE ARCHIVE SHOT BY CHLOE DAVIES

Pages from the diary

Hello,

Yes, it’s me again, who’d have thought. Unsurprisingly, in my life not a lot has happened, but the word, I mean, oh dear, things will never be the same again.

It feels wrong to continue writing jokingly about isolation life in this post, without even mentioning an aspect of the things that truly matter. This is by no means about me, this is about the future. With all of my heart, I do know, and I am sure that most of you do as well, that as the young generation owe the world better. Whatever the uncertain future holds, we have to continue fighting for what is right, even if it is not easy. I encourage everyone of you people out there, with eyes stuck to their devices, use the world which is in your pockets. Make use of the glorious gift of free education and resources, a lot of people in the past fought for this, so we have this privilege. Now it is our turn to make the world a better place.

Moving on, I bet that nobody of you asks themselves where I have been, as it is beyond clear: inside. I know, my jokes are not funny, even if I try hard. There has truly not been happening what you would consider as “a lot” or “exciting” recently in my life. Nevertheless, I thought I would never write this post, but here we go. Since we have been isolated since March, I stopped being Ubereats, Deliveroo’s, Foodora’s or Doordash’s best customer- yes, I had a high number of orders in every single one of them and now I actually cook decent meals by myself. This might sound very stupid for one or the other person, but I officially feel like an adult now. When I moved out of my parents’ home, I highly doubted that my culinary horizon would go further than avocado on toast or pesto pasta. But I mean, here we are, ready to write a cookbook. Maybe not a full cookbook yet, but we can all dream. At the end of the day, we can’t put our lives on hold for whatever, however longer this is gonna go on for. This might seem strange, but that one day, somewhere in the future, when we can finally delete zoom and experience human touch again, without a care in the world, will be a day that will separate our lives into a before and after. One of those crucial days, which marks a specific day that changes the course of the rest of our lives.

I don’t have a good or adequate connection word for this paragraph, so let’s just collectively imagine that there is one. In those pictures I am wearing a very bohemian looking dress, which was a not so impulse lockdown buy, a very old belt that I got gifted by my father when I was about fifteen years old, and my double platform doctor martens. I love how flowy the dress is, it sort of has a vibe of Stevie Nicks meets Florence Welch. The not so vintage belt crashes the romantic bohemian influence, with this old piece of leather tied around my waist. The doc martens are just the shoes that I wear every day, as believe it or not, even though I have a lot of clothes, I don’t have a lot of shoes. I don’t know, but they do go with everything, so it does feel like a personal note on every outfit I wear.

Whatever the future might hold for us in those chaotic times, it will be good. If this period has taught us anything apart from making Banana Bread or Sourdough, it is that we considered as “normal” never worked and will never work again.

DRESS: TOPSHOP, BELT: OLD, SHOES: DR MARTENS

We are the creators of this new reality, let’s make this one a good one.

Nina x

Old photos from the archive of my laptop, taken by Frankie