On inspiration, change and feminism

Dear readers, where do you find your inspiration?

My creativity, after decades of being left to its own poor devices and starved by a life of pre-set pathways, needs a little jogging. Like a blocked pipe.

I have never had the habit of buying magazines and I am a modrate fan of pinterest, but I personaly find my strongest inspiration coming from live objects: people watching, window shopping, movies.

Oliver Bonas is one shop that helps me the most in this respect. Every single season I find myself lured through the door by the fesh and intriguing colour palette, to find the racks packed with interesting clothes. Clothes I never buy.

The reason is mostly price, but also the smell of a good challenge. Can I make this myself? Can I carefully select the right fabric, cut the appropriate pattern and fit it to my very special little self?

Perhaps…I say to myself. This is usually when I fly into a fitting room to take an avalanche of pictures. I am awfully sorry for the designers whose ideas I copy or adapt, but also not. It’s a strange ethical paradox I haven’t yet resolved.

And here I go off topic. My dear readers you are warned.

Isn’t it incredible when pieces of life suddenly come together? When experiences apparently unconnected suddenly draw themselves together like pieces of a shattered magical jigsaw?

First, and closest chronologically, the sudden realisation that my current wardrobe doesn’t fit me anymore. It fits my size, but doesn’t agree with whom I have grown into. I wear good quality garments that I suddenly find plain, uninteresting, voiceless. I wear them and I find the image reflected in the mirros just as plain, just as boring – and yet I love myself more now than when I bought those clothes, so what is it?

Second – 2 years ago. I was kindly invited to attend the reharse of a women lead and women focussed leadership workshop by a company I used to work for. I packed my bag for what I did not yet know was going to be an incredibly emotionally charged, revealing, powerful experience. The workshop aim is to prove women with the tools to survive the experience of leadership in a man-centered working environment, without giving into misshaping their gender to suit the sexually charged role they are called to fill.

Are you still there reader? I hope so, because everything does tie in, in the end.

The heart of this workshop was a book: “Life’s Daughter, Death’s Bride: Inner Transformation Through the Goddess Demeter/Persephone” by Kathie Carlson. This book draws lessons on womanhood from the myth of Demetra and Persephone – which is perhpas the most famous of the many tellings of women rites of passage: from maid to mother and from mother to crone. It’s a book that I loved and disliked at the same time, because it was teaching me about the complexity of  womanhood, while depicting manhood with one simple, broad bursh stroke. I am a convinced feminist, but I cannot stand by the picture which describes men as inexcusable holders of some sort of original sin, making them inevitably ruthless, selfish creatures. Although gender inequity and injustice is still very much present here and now, I do not believe this is exclusively men’s fabrication. Not anymore. And while some would want men to stand up and own their responsaibiltiy for centuries of shameless sexism, this should be our fight: ours to own and cherish.

During this workshop we were to re-live our maidenhood, find the pivoting point in which we moved into our mother selves and prepare to welcome and nurture the Crone in our hearts for such time as when the next passage will take place. One of the things that personally struck me, was that I was seriously struggling with finding my Mother-moment. It’s only with the support ot the facilitators and the other participants that I realised it was because it had very recently happened, so recenlty I was still half into my maiden cocoon.

Here is where I tie my pretty bow, readers, as promised.

The two experiences suddenly came together today when, pensively walking home with the groceries, my mind dropped memories like breadcrumbs. I followed them to this shiny new idea waiting to be found in the pleats of my awareness: the cocoon is finally shed, the wings spread wide to dry. No wonder I have been struggling wearing mini skirts and bodycon dresses! No wonder outfits put together even only a couple of years ago were not doing it enaymore… I was blaming my poor, clueless body when it was my taste that hadn’t evolved fast enough. That hadn’t picked up and the change and was not ready to reflect my new nature.

This explains so much! It explains the desire to purge my closet and the hesitation to fill it back in; the crave to plan, study, research style and coulour; the difficulty to trust my own instinct when buying clothes, fabric or patterns. I was becoming uneasy, distrusting of my choices, following others’s… always with the same question in mind: what the hell is going on here?

Now I know. Now I am perfectly happy with being unsure and tentative and dubios – because I am also curious and excited. I am no longer lost, I am changed.

Which brings us to this beauty:

I saw it, I loved it. I took it with me to the fitting room and I loved it more for what I could have made of the concept, and less and less for what it was. I loved the wrap style, I loved the dolman sleeves, I adored the pockets and the skirt shape. Now take out the Easter egg bow and replace it with a leather belt, make the sleeves 3/4 because let’s be honest those sleeves will not keep you toasty, make it fit properly so that the waist sits where it mosts flatters you and the backside is properly shaped. (Insert Eye of the Tiger by Survivors here)

Here and there I knew I was right. Took pictures of the details and now straight to my block. Fabric suggestions anyone? This label said wool-viscose blend and it was incredibly soft and snuggly, but I am open to suggestions.

 

4 thoughts on “On inspiration, change and feminism

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  1. Finding the fabric is crucial to the success. Will this be lined (is the original)? If not, will it walk up your tights as you walk? I like your suggested improvements; make me want to make my own!

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    1. Do! Make your own and let’s compare pattern notes! I will try to make my version lined (like the original), but not sure I know how! Will have to play around with it. This was a woven fabric, and the dress shape is baggy-friendly. I also already know I will wear something underneath, it’s a habit.

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  2. An interesting and thoughtful post Georgia. I really like dresses like the one you have illustrated as you can wear several different tops underneath, giving several different looks. I like the black jersey/stone dress you have shown but it would work well with a light coloured blouse, or a stripy T – giving lots of use from one simple dress. Also while a brown leather belt is great a self belt is good too – again giving greater choice in styling. And to answer your question I think inspiration is a complicated thing – and while I copy I also invent, experiment and mix. Nostalgia is important to me as well as fashion.

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    1. I completely agree on the styling. I think they did a poor job on this photoshoot as black kills this dress in my opinion. I will consider a self fabric belt, but need to do without the bow – perhaps with a buckle! This shop also has a nice corduroy pinafore I eyed for the same reason – versatility. It’s a marvellous thing, inspiration. Great to see how we all get inspired by different things and how the sharing makes it contagious! Glad to have you here K.

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