TheSecretCostumier - Wardrobe Architect
From scratch, Ready & waiting, Wardrobe Architect

Week Zero: Why start building a handmade wardrobe?

     At the beginning of this year, while I was slowly getting ready to plan how to…well, plan a new wardrobe, Sarai at the Coletterie has already started doing that. She came up with a brilliant project, The Wardrobe Architect, which takes you along the steps of dreaming up an ideal wardrobe and realizing those dreams, by analysing shapes, colours, silhouettes and examining how we feel about our bodies wearing the clothes we choose to wear.

      I think if you get a little serious about making your own clothes, sooner or later you come to a stage where you buy less RTW and more fabric. Then you realize that you are making things that are interesting to sew or just pretty, but they don’t quite fit into your existing wardrobe. The next step is the reality check, when you promise not to buy anymore shiny new fabric and to make clothes that will fit well, and will fit well into your lifestyle. That’s where I am right now, and looking at the discussion about the Wardrobe Architect, I am not the only one here.

      I’ve found 3 projects in the past few years that have really inspired me to turn my hobby (sewing, obvs!) into a more useful part of my everyday life, as well as to end the daily struggle to find well fitting, comfortable clothes in my closet that make me feel good about myself and reflect who I think I am.

TheSecretCostumier - makeshift

     Fashion designer and artist, Natalie Purschwitz, decided to get rid of most of her clothing and only wear what she makes for an entire year. This included everything from clothes to underwear, any accessories and even her shoes. I loved the project as it was as much about showcasing her distinctive style daily, as about exploring what works or what’s useful. It also looks at the process/habit of creating every day, not for pleasure or work, but to fulfil the very basic need/urge to dress up appropriately for every occasion. I also felt that it was a strong statement against the fast fashion culture, and it can be viewed as a proof of one’s ability to rely on herself as much as possible. (Images: makeshift)

TheSecretCostumier - Uniform project       

      1 Dress. 1 Month. 1 Cause. Actually it started off with 365 days of wearing the same little black dress by a girl called Sheena Matheiken, “as an exercise in sustainability and a fundraiser to support the Akanksha Foundation— a non-profit organization providing education to underprivileged children living in Indian slums.” In it’s second year, the UP welcomed different girls, different dresses and different charities for month long periods, which made it even more interesting, by providing several views on the challenges of wearing the same dress every day, and the amazingly creative ways to do it.

      The idea of ditching the casual/formal labels and the ability to transform one piece of clothing into something extremely versatile  is the most appealing aspect to me in this project (these dresses can be worn front-to-back, for example!). Being able to wear the same dress for very different occasions, eliminates the need for “special” clothing, which leads to a smaller wardrobe. Which brings us to the last bit of inspiration… (Images: Uniform Project)

TheSecretCostumier - Everything I Have

       When I was a kid I wore one of my pyjamas until only a few threads held the back of the shorts together. When my mum binned it, I took it out and kept it under my pillow as long as I could… I guess that’s what they call an emotional connection to objects, right? That’s probably how I ended up with a wardrobe of which 78% of the clothing only gets worn less than 5 times a year!  I know that number, because last summer I took a picture of every item of clothing and shoes I own, before we moved flats. I was inspired by an artist called Simon Evans and his project where he photographed everything he had. This is another reflection on consumerism and I think cataloguing your possessions is a great way to turn unused objects into memories and make the decision to give it to someone who would happily use it. (Images: on the left : my own photos, one on the right: Stylecouch’s Blog)

Here is my plan of action, before I start planing my future closet by following the Wardrobe Architect project:

  1. I will assess my existing wardrobe, select the useful/rarely used pieces and sell/donate the latter. (Before the end of February!)
  2. I will stop buying any new clothing AND fabric without a plan, and will keep reminding myself of the consequences of such actions… (Until the end of 2014, at least.)
  3. I will build my new wardrobe around the existing pieces and will try to design a few multifunctional pieces.

Is there anyone else as excited about following a route to an organized wardrobe, or do you already have a good system for  that?

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4 thoughts on “Week Zero: Why start building a handmade wardrobe?

  1. Pingback: Week 2: Defining a core style | The Secret Costumier

  2. Pingback: Me-Made-May: Week 4 | The Secret Costumier

  3. Just discovered your blog last night and I’m loving your style and archives! I recently found the Wardrobe Arcitect series and binge read the Makeshift project blog so I’m guessing I’ll love reading more about the other two projects you mentioned here 🙂 I’ll be following along on Feedly for sure!!

    • Thank you Kaci, I’m glad you’ve discovered my blog, because now I have discovered yours! 🙂 I think we have very similar ideas about why we are sewing…

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