quiestnina

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Evening thoughts about suburbia, fashion and changes

When I was nineteen years old, two years ago, I purchased my domain and had no idea where this journey would lead me. If I could travel back in time and tell my younger self all the things that are about to happen in her life, she would not believe a single word I would say.

Anyway, I have started this website off as a fashion only blog, but I realised over the years that fashion is just a tiny component of something, that is called self-expression. Fashion allows me to speak without even saying anything. When I was younger, I was very shy, I was even too anxious to post a picture of myself on the dangerous world wide web.

In my suburbia surroundings, the internet was this big bubble full of the unknown, packed with danger. Even though I felt too anxious to express myself on the internet as I do now when I was younger, I always looked for a certain way to escape suburbia.

I felt out of place, and when I occasionally come back nowadays, I have this weird feeling of a homely sense combined with the inner voice telling me “you don’t fit in” constantly. When I look at my old clothes which are partly still residing at my parent’s house, I see emotions of desperation, the endless seeking to feel some kind of belongingness and the unsuccessful try to cover up my bad mental health in quirky garments.

I still love and wear quirky garments but today I do it because I feel it, not because I am trying to hide who I am or what I feel.

A part of me always knew that fashion is a language that everyone speaks in a certain sense, some of us simply care more about it than others.

Looking back, what saved my sad soul back in the day was that there was hope, the hope that out there, people do exist who will not see me as a form of burden, and people who will understand me.

Suburbia has something bittersweet in itself, people go there to seek peace and detangle themselves from the toxic energy that they have experienced before, but instead of peace they get boredom. Suburbia has been idealized in several commercials, and to be honest, it might be the right thing for certain people, who need that kind of security, stability and boredom. Not everyone is hungry for mad adventures and regrets with a passion to create out there.

To me, my suburbian roots will always feel terribly connected and far away at the same time- I moved away, lived in various places and I had the chance to see so much. It still feels mad to me, that I had the chance to see more than my mother did in her whole lifetime. If suburbia taught me one thing in this entire time I lived there, it was the determination that I never want to spend my whole life in only this one place, it is simply not for me.

Fashion was my form of escapism, and when I started studying it, my escapism became my job. For the first time ever, I was surrounded by people, that love the same thing as I do, I was not the alien anymore. Before going to uni, I kept this online space mainly about fashion, as I needed a world to escape into. After having managed to keep it alive for more than two years now, I feel like this blog about so much more than only clothes. I mean, I have so many more interests than garments itself, so I really want to start to share it all over here, and not only focussing on one. I feel like, especially after the past couple months where I realised a lot about myself, I am so much more than only that “fashion girl”. Of course, I adore fashion. All my life long, it is my strongest act of commitment, and I am beyond grateful for all the opportunities it luckily gave me now and in the past. Right now, I feel like there is simply so much more to talk about, maybe that is a part of growing up.

If you read until here, thank you so much for reading all these words that just poured out my heart, it literally means the most to me.

DRESS: AND OTHER STORIES, BLAZER: VINTAGE, BAG: ZARA

Nina x

PHOTOS BY ASHLEY LOUISE SMITH

The scary S-Word

By far, starting this off, I am more of a sinner than a saint. And I know a lot of people, especially those who know me, will now bust into laughter, imagining me with two giant Topshop bags, walking up and down the Highstreet. If you are doing this, mate we’re in the same boat, I also can’t believe that one of the biggest fast fashion consumers is writing a few words on sustainability.

Honestly, I don’t know where to start. It feels like an endless, lost and long road I am still very much lost on.

Sustainability is a truly scary word, everyone is watching everyone. I am still scared about the whole thing by myself, as I am just trying my best. I am by far not where I should be.

Before climate was such an emerging topic around me, I would have probably never even mentioned the word “sustainable” on my blog. Being very honest with myself, I do not have a lifestyle that anyone who is more or less educated would call “sustainable”: I love limited edition paper coffee cups, I fly around couple times a year, I am the queen of impulsive asos orders and if there was a Topshop loyalty card, believe me, I would have the gold version.

Last year, my obsession with cheap fashion and being able to buy whatever I desired to on a very little price, kicked off and I went mad. Everyone goes mad in some aspects of life- and me, the tiny human, with a complicated soul which tends to obsession and addiction, went completely mad. I don’t even have any other words to describe my behaviour, and analysing it, I used fast fashion as a medicine to full fill a hole in my soul.

I was feeling empty all the time, not pretty enough, not worthy enough, I was always seeking validation and maybe my brain thought that I would get that if I keep up with the latest trends. Buying clothes was my coping mechanism, constantly telling myself that if I buy one more item, I will finally feel fine. The truth is, I felt fine months later, when I finally stopped in being careless with myself.

With this post, I definitely do not want to start a perfect instagramalike minimalist lifestyle and keep posting pictures of nearly half empty rooms in order to get validated. Everyone who knows me just a tiny bit knows that I am more of a maximalist.

However, my fast fashion binge buying behaviour, did obviously not lead to anything very good: when I moved out my flat in Manchester over the summer, I had a lot of storage boxes full of clothing, plus an insane amount of stuff stored at my parent’s house.

Looking back in the day, the thing that fascinated me about fashion when I was younger was the aspect of self-expression in it. Honestly, it still is, and it forever will be. When I first dived into the crazy world of garments, I was of course targeted to everything that was not available on my doorstep in my tiny ass village.

When I travelled to cities, I spend hours in an urban outfitters, and if I even only left with the most basic black denim skirt (which I would have probably found in a charity shop for a lot less money), I was happily fulfilled because of the experience and it felt like something special.

Moving to a city, going into an urban outfitters is not that special anymore. What used to be miles and miles away is now in short walking distance, and living independently, you do not have to ask your parents before every purchase like you did when you were 15 years old.

When I became so fascinated about fashion and self-expression through garments back in the day, I was never flashed by fast fashion, as I considered it as mainstream. I adored vintage clothing, whichever city I visited, I went to various vintage stores. I loved how unique the pieces are and that you might by chance catch an item that only you will have. I remember very vividly how I dragged my parents around stores in Paris or Amsterdam as a horrible, moody teenager. In my defence, I still have those pieces.

As I adored vintage so much, I kept browsing depop and etsy for ages to find gunne sax seventies dresses- I still do, I still haven’t found one in an affordable price range hahah.

Bringing it back to be beginning, I realized that especially last year, I have spent a fortune on fast fashion. This lightbulb started to light up in my head very suddenly at some point in the last few months. Spending time in north America, where thrifting is more accessible than back home, I have just realized how vintage shopping fulfils my fashion craving soul a lot more than anything else.

DRESS AND BAG: DEPOP

Also, I realized how much I love supporting small brands, making the world of retail a bit brighter, colourful, and diverse.

And again, I am not blaming anyone with this. The only person I am blaming is myself, for handling carelessly in order to fill up my inner emptiness. I am still very far away from being a saint, and being honest, I will never be one. My wardrobe is still packed with a lot of items of fast fashion brands, but I simply try to minimise the amount of times I shop there.

NECKLACES: VINTAGE, CHOKER: NEOPHYTE JEWELS

Every little step counts.

No one of us is too small to make a difference, as Greta would say it. Not even in the crazy world of fashion. Let’s use our power together and try and make one.

Nina xxx

PHOTOS BY ASHLEY LOUISE SMITH

JOURNAL NO 2

Hello Hello,

Holy mother of god, I actually started a format, the lovely journal, around two months ago, and today, mark this day in history, is the first time ever that I am actually continuing a format that I started once! For all those who have big question marks on top of their heads now, I used to be the queen of inventing formats and series, especially when I started blogging, but never continued them!

As always, you are very welcome to have a cup of tea or coffee whilst reading this (I am having tea if anyone out there on the planes actually cares about that).

I know stripping my thoughts on the internet might not be the most casual thing to do, especially now, when I am applying to career relevant internships and literally my future employer could read this, hello, so welcome to my creative mind, very pleased to have you here.

Ever since my last journal, of course, how else should it be- a lot of stuff happened. Alright, let’s start spilling the tea. So, when I was writing my last journal, I was not feeling very well, in fact I was lost in this new universe I was wandering around, called North America.

I have spent my entire life dreaming about North America. A place that is far, a place that is better, a place where my heart won’t be broken.

North America was my personal North Star. The thing I kept achieving for. Whilst dreaming myself out of reality, my mind goes crazy creative ways, and imagines things way more ideal than they are in the real world.

I have lived in many places all over, so I thought very confidently that North America won’t be a problem, it will be pure pleasure.

What I felt when I came here is very hard to put into any form of expression, I was mainly shocked what my mind was able to create and to my suborn surprise, it had nothing to do with the reality.

Some people call it cultural shock, but I would not necessarily call it like that in my case. It was more the act of realisation that I have spent years creating a world in my head, a world that is better than the world we have. It might exist somewhere, but for now, it rests in my imagination.

Living overseas can be difficult, but I personally find this phenomenon more strange than difficult. Of course, I have missed my friends, family and my home- there was no such day when I did not think about them.

I personally just don’t feel a physical sign, like pain, of myself that there is literally an entire ocean between myself and them. I have learned, when these people are close to your heart, the distance does not matter.

However, life is strange, surprising and weird at so many stages. Nevertheless, I feel beyond grateful to have the opportunity to explore various weird and wonderful parts of this world.

Moreover, I travelled a bit around as I luckily had some time off. I finally got the chance to see Montreal and New York City, which still seems absolute unreal to me. All this, my life since two years seems like this great big adventure, and not like this unmanageable depressive chore, which I used to feel like it was.

Both the places I have seen, utterly beautiful in their individual way. Montreal, a city that combined French and British culture at once.

It has those beautiful French styled cafes with the chairs that never sit quite lethal on the pavement, scented with the smell of strong coffee and cigarettes, in an environment of art deco architecture and modern brick walls.

My Airbnb host described it as Paris and Brooklyn’s baby.

About New York, I don’t even have words to describe this mekka of cultural madness and curiosity. It is a magical place, definitely one of the best places to visit in North America. It is just beautiful, full of things you love, things you never know existed, and things you will fall in love with.

DRESS: VINTAGE, JACKET: VINTAGE, SHOES: DR. MARTENS, BAG: ZARA

I finally fulfilled my lifelong dreams of seeing all the places I wanted to see, for example Beacon’s Closet (it is the best vintage shop on the planet) where I got this dream of a dress from. Isn’t it lovely.

I read amazing works of literature. I read “Just Kids” by Patti Smith, very beautifully written. After I read it, I went to Robert Mapplethorpe’s photography exhibition in the Gugenheim Museum. It really touched me. As humans, art reflects our magic, and when artwork touches us, we are touched by magic itself.

Also, I read “normal people” by Sally Ronney- very well written novel, she lets you fall in love again, and you will feel again how it felt when you experienced it the first time.

Alright, now, drinking tea, finishing off some work and applications, I hope you have enjoyed these words, if yes, I appreciate it that you take interest in my life.

I suppose I have said enough now, so until the next one. Have a good one.

Nina xx

PHOTOS BY ASHLEY LOUISE SMITH

Two years and fifty days.

This day two years and fifty days ago, I was nineteen, in my final year of a high school that was full of people who were as dramatic as the daily mail, and I was a walking ball of anxiety.

On this day, it was probably covered in gold leaves twirling around me like a fresh autumnal breeze, I published my first post on this blog.

It still feels crazy that my humble self, who mastered being inconsistent at everything managed to keep this platform alive for over two years.

Alright, back in the day, I never dreamed, not even in my wildest dreams that I would have a consistent online presentence for such a long time. To be honest with myself, I thought I could keep this up for a maximum of six months, then I will probably break down, constantly being afraid that people in school would talk about what I do and give up in the end.

Today, I can’t imagine a life without this platform. My constant form of expression, progress and the visual proof that no matter how hard you fall, you will always be able to stand up again.

I remember very vividly; how afraid I was about showing my face online before I started posting. I was so damn anxious about it. I thought all this is about my style and my outfits, so nobody will be interested in seeing a face behind all this. I worked out a million methods on how I could possibly hide my face, aka not showing it at all. As you can see, I ended up showing my face, probably because it looked simply hideous when I tried to crop off my face.

I have spent ages in trying on keeping this blog as impersonal aka as neutral as possible, so nobody could ever attack me on anything.

This took a lot of energy and did not make me less anxious, I constantly felt like I am hiding something, I felt like I was creating an online version of myself.

Feeling like I was pretending to be someone that I am not, on my blog, a place where I am supposed to be myself. It made me lose the joy of writing and sharing, and I was drowning in the famous writer’s block on top of it all.

This lasted very long, I mean I kept posting on the most irregular basis for ages, as I did not know what the hell I could write about. I felt that everything was too personal, and I did not see a sense in just talking about what I am wearing.

Looking back, my anxiety held me back from so much. I am sharing my experiences in order to normalise it- I genuinely feel like we should talk about it more to show each other that we are not alone in this chaos. Let’s hold on to each other.

However, in those two years and fifty days so much happened- I finally left hell’s kitchen aka high school (to my English teacher who told me I couldn’t write for shit- we are always wrong at some point in our lives), I moved countries twice, I finally started doing what I really love and I am slowly learning how to take care of myself.

Today, back in the day, two years and fifty days ago, I published my first outfit post, wearing the exact same dress as in this post, the only difference is probably the way I style it nowadays and the fact that I don’t have that hideous haircut anymore (I just look weird with shorter hair lol).

It is not a crime to wear a dress for two posts. It is not a crime to have a repetitive outfit on Instagram. Let’s be honest with ourselves and simply stop caring about what these mysterious “others” could say- they will talk anyway. And on top of that you are no one until you are talked about, so see it as a compliment.

Before two years, I never thought I’d have the courage to publish images of myself eating cake. I thought I will live with an eating disorder for the rest of my life. Things change. Time passes. You’ll get better.

DRESS: SISTER JANE (OLD), JACKET; VINTAGE, SHOES: DR MARTENS

I also never thought I’d do a cheesy birthday post for a website. I hope I am on the right track to create something real.

Thanks for taking your time to read this, always.

Nina xx

PHOTOS BY ANAELLE. THE REST BY MYSELF.

Solitude.

An old, crappy TV, showing off the dreamiest scenes between men and women, always capturing an unrealistic image of femininity, self-worth and relationships.

As a female human being, I can say that I have experienced this phenomenon in my very young years of life already, probably multiple times.

As a girl, I was always in touch with “girly” things, such as fairy tales, which are always constructed on the ideal that the ultimate goal in a woman’s life is tied to male validation and marriage. Always the same old plot. Lost princess, gets rescued by strong man, they marry, she is finally validated and sees her worth and out of the blue she has reached her one and only ever life goal and everything’s alright.

No matter how much society changed in the 21 years I have been alive, I still experience judgemental looks when I make critical comments on the concept of marriage.

The older I got, the more I got in touch with the phenomenon of the other sex’ validation and relationships.

When I was a teenager, it seemed like your greatest achievement in life to have a significant other, just for the sake of saying it. It made you seem loveable. You had a piece of evidence that you are not the worst person on the planet.

Long story short: when you did not have a boyfriend, you felt like a looser.

All the childhood bedside stories, covered in glitter, being watched trough a pink girly bubble have truly left their impact on my further life.

Growing older and getting more in touch with the mysterious world of dating, I felt lost. I had many wrong associations about it but was mainly lost about how it worked.

It did not take very long until I stopped caring about who I actually dated, I was fine with it as long as they gave me the addictive feeling of validation.

Male validation became my crack, my drug. Once I felt validated, this rush of dancing dopamine hormones were having a dance party in my veins. I felt good, and I wanted to have this feeling last forever. It is as addictive as any other kind of drug.

After quiete a while of practising this toxic behaviour on a very regular basis, I found myself again in my therapists’ office being emotionally weak as hell.

I told her about my lack of self-worth, self-confidence and how much I crave male validation and attention to fill up this giant hole in my soul.

A couple sessions, breakdowns and panic attacks later, I finally let myself be convinced by my therapist and a couple friends to stop my craving for validation.

Nobody ever in this world will be able to kiss your shit away. Nobody ever will be ever to give you the self-respect that you don’t even dare to give to yourself.

So, after all this time of messing around with my own mind, I had to deal with being alone. Solitude. I was terrified of doing anything alone, and then I forced myself to force a lot of time by myself. Out of pure desperation, I probably read every article on the internet with detailed instructions on how to fall back in love with your own company.

After a while of spending time by myself, and mostly taking care of myself, I actually started linking to have time only for myself. I finally started to give myself the respect that I deserve (well done, it only took me 21 years of life to do that lol). All what I am saying here is just the retelling of my personal experience and feelings, please do not let it come across as a hate against the other gender.

JUMPER, BAG AND SKIRT: ZARA, SHOES: DR. MARTENS

Now, being very comfortable on my own, I finally feel like I have broken my chains from constructed society conventions about relationships, validation and marriage. For some people it might still be the call in life, for my personal case, I don’t know. I am way too young and juvenile to have it all figured out already. Let’s just see what the future holds.

What I want to say is, that no matter what your current position in life is, no matter on how much you are struggling, your worth is not based on the validation that someone else out there could possibly give you. You have to give yourself the validation, self-respect and worth first, before anyone else can properly do it. It is not fashionable to disrespect your personality or to constantly talk you down.

Your worth is never based on some hero who will save you out of your chaotic situation. You are worth so much more that you will ever think.

Nina xx

PHOTOS BY ANAELLE