The Story of Hand Block Printing

Even though Christmas was months ago, it seems like it has only been a few days since the holidays when I wear the Passion Lilie scarf I was given for a Christmas present.  I was initially drawn to the shades of emerald, mint and white with designs intertwined on my scarf, but I decided to do a closer inspection to get a better idea of how my scarf was made.  My purpose behind this is not to give attention to a specific brand or product.  Instead I find looking into the story behind an item to be just as rewarding as wearing it.  So, what did I discover about my scarf that made it different than before?  As it turns out, the elaborately printed designs meant more than a pretty interpretation of leaves as I looked at the process of hand block printing. Continue Reading ›

The Story of My Peruvian Scarf

Stumbling upon Centro de Textiles Tradicionales del Cusco in Peru after a visit to a local market only seems like yesterday, not the two years that have passed.  I still recall carefully inspecting the bright textiles and beautiful patterns that seemed to be in every direction that I looked.  I had heard of the organization before I visited their store, but hadn’t expected to visit in person any day soon.  Luckily I was wrong and I explored every inch of the small museum and available products.  I had been looking for something to bring home from Peru that would reflect the culture, but nothing had caught my eye and I yearned to find something I knew would be authentic, not another tourist trap or from a store claiming to be fair trade.  After deciding on a scarf of purple and deep reds, I felt proud of my choice, but upon returning home I didn’t seek the opportunity to wear it much.  It can be easy to tuck our travel souvenirs away in favor of clothes we wear all the time, but recently I’m determined to wear this accessory.  Why?  To share the beautiful craftsmanship and history of this scarf.  After all, this was the reason I was careful in selecting it; I wanted to share a piece of Peruvian life. Continue Reading ›

Cultural Appreciation vs. Cultural Appropriation

If there’s one thing I always strive for in my travels, observations of fashion and appreciation of art, it’s discovering and sharing the cultural meaning behind my experiences.  Cultural heritage, as you’ve seen from my previous blogs, is an important aspect of everything I have done in life.  Whether it’s my latest jewelry project, sewing endeavor or world adventure, I’m always seeking the story and meaning behind what I’m doing.  As I’ve been reshaping my blog and focusing more on culture, one concept came across my path that had me thinking about my past actions: cultural appropriation.  What exactly is cultural appropriation?  As it turns out, the question is incredibly difficult to answer.  The clearest definition I had gotten was from About.com: “. . . [C]ultural appropriation typically involves members of a dominant group exploiting the culture of less privileged groups.”  The definition got me thinking: Was my childhood involvement with local Native American groups at Pow-Wows cultural appropriation?  Have the craft projects I’ve featured on my blog been disrespectful to the cultures I gained the skills from?  When was I showing appreciation?  Or was it appropriation?  In order to gain some insights into how to decipher my future actions, here are a few questions I’ve found from other bloggers to help guide me and others when it comes to travel and fashion choices: Continue Reading ›

It’s Just Sewing

I was having a typical conversation about my work with my roommate, discussing my multiple costume jobs and costume shop procedures, when he exclaimed, “It’s Just Sewing!”  This wasn’t the first time I had heard this point of view.  Numerous times people have expressed shock that I was paid for sewing.  How could I be paid for something that is so easy?  Since I know how to sew everything why would I charge money to do something that comes quickly to me and takes virtually no time?  Even though I no longer work as a costumer, after learning how the collapse of Rana Plaza in 2013 killed over 1000 garment workers and injured about 2500, I was hopeful people might see the result of not thinking about how our clothing is made and who makes it.  Although Fashion Revolution Day is upon us, it unfortunately seems that sewing is still regarded with these attitudes: Continue Reading ›

My Fashion Love Stories

It’s official: this may be one of the best weeks ever!  Why is that?  Because this week has both Earth Day and Fashion Revolution Day!  To start out Fashion Revolution Week, I’m not only encouraging my readers to post pictures of themselves wearing their clothes inside out with the hashtag #whomademyclothes, but I’m also finding a way to show my closet some much deserved appreciation.  Certain clothing and accessory pieces in my wardrobe have become essential to my style throughout the years and to show how much I treasure them, I’m sharing some love letters and poems written to them.  Want to join in?  Then let me inspire you with some examples of my own and show you how to participate in Fashion Revolution Week’s love stories. Continue Reading ›