On clothes, wants, needs, getting down to earth & process of re-discovery


Anja Rubik for Deep Waters / Net-A-Porter (photography: Nico, styling: Natalie Brewster)
Oh, our clothes... So much has been said and written about them from the moment of creation to the endless wish lists and hauls, the conversation seems to be one of the longest ones I've ever had with myself and the others. I suppose, the subject is pretty much unavoidable for anyone who loves or works in fashion - let alone any human being requiring a piece of garment to cover our naked selves for both aesthetic and physical reasons. Yet, most of the time the discussion really involves our "wants" and "loves" and hardly ever - people who make the pieces or the effect our choices make.

It's the Earth Day today, the day to think of our responsibilities of being a human being and inhabiting the planet. A heavy subject, true, but also very important, especially when the day coincides with the Fashion Revolution week. 

So lets chat, shall we? 

Have you ever thought of these things? How did it feel? Has it change anything in your life?

For me it was a gradual process of practically self-discovery... Or re-discovery, if I am totally honest. I've never been a clothes hoarder, but always loved beautiful things. Perhaps, it is the love, combined with the my Russian past truly fermented on deficit of everything, that formed my idea of a small but perfectly functional wardrobe to be re-worn time and time again.

I've always looked for the quality - whether it was a jacket from H&M or a dress from Bottega Veneta - it meant that somebody cared for the product and spent time thinking of every details thoroughly. Somehow it felt that that amount of care would always last - and it certainly did! One of my very first "British buys" was that H&M blazer found in 2002... And yes, I still wear it. Same way as I wear a DvF dress from 2005 or semi-vintage and very precious Balenciaga jacket or Hermes skirt from the late 1990s. I am attached to these things because they bear a kind of human emotion that can be captured within the garment made with love. 

If I am to connect the dots that led me to the Fashion Revolution, this approach would definitely be the first step towards the global change and as far away as possible from the idea of fashion fashion I am incredibly allergic to.

The next realisation happened when my beloved pup passed away. That event changed a lot of things including my outlook at fashion and clothes making certain things and wishes seemed completely irrelevant against the bigger picture of appreciating the matter of being. Being alive. Being happy. Being myself. It was Oscar and his departure who made me realise how disconnected I've become from what I believe I remained. Something wasn't there anymore... The emotions were supressed like Victoria Beckham's smile. My priorities needed a detox. 

And this is where I posed the question that, from that moment became the leitmotif of my decision making process including, of course, my wardrobe and shopping habits.

The question I asked myself was... Do I really need what I think I really want?

It gave me the much-needed aid to stay sane and simply stop going crazy and instead - relax and enjoy everything around me, focus on the important things, not waste my time on the ephemeral stuff that would not even matter to anyone including myself. And I can honestly say that it felt so very liberating. 

No, I didn't stop shopping or making wish lists as a part of this transition - not at all. But I stopped buying things on a whim or because they seemed right at the time. I completely embraced the re-wearing game again feeling incredibly good about living in the clothes I chose with my heart. I stopped looking at fashion magazines and sites unless the blogs were by people I considered my friends and the magazines featured the models I adore. Everything else simply felt like unnecessary stuffing for my brain - and I do believe that initially the amount of information and visual pressure was a part of the problem.  

As my mind calmed down I filled the freshly emptied space with everything worth appreciating - people I love, places that inspire, nature that I adore so much. Yes, in my case I had to lose somebody very dear to become myself again - so don't repeat my mistake. Because special things -  whether we are talking about something as vast as our Earth,  or people, pets, masterpieces, centuries-old buildings, a butterfly, flower or even a piece of clothing made with love - never have a spare copy... those would always be a reproduction of the original and never quite the same.

So today of all days lets marinate the thought of getting down to earth, taking a deep breath, respecting our planet, people and all the living beings and simplifying our lives to make this world around us a little better... While we still have a chance to make a difference and be true to our real beautiful selves.

Related posts from the past:
The art of sustainable luxury: an exclusive interview with Sydney Brown
10 style-conscious ways to be eco-friendly
Naturally, yours...
I'd rather go naked
Why do we shop?
Artificial fashion
Shall we talk about couture?
Word of wisdom from Christophe Lemaire
Word of wisdom from Stella McCartney
Word of wisdom from Karl Lagerfeld

Photo source: Anja Rubik for Deep Waters / Net-A-Porter (photography: Nico, styling: Natalie Brewster)


  1. For me shopping used to be a way to escape stress and to temporarily have a high. Nowadays, I deal with my issues in a different way and I don't go shopping to 'distract' myself. I still like to own and wear nice things but everything in moderation and for the right reasons.


  2. a perfect sentiment and question for earth day.

  3. Hi Natalia, I totally understand what you mean and where you are coming from. I also stopped shopping on a whim, the high started being not worth and too short... Mindfulness is the key :)


  4. I admit that shopping, for me, has always been a coping mechanism - I know when I am unhappy because I want to fill my closet with new things, whereas when I'm happy, the things I have are more than enough. I am keenly aware of the impact that all of my spending, and so many other activities I have engaged in over the years, have had on the planet and I do try to make small changes but I admit that I fear the damage was already done before I was born...

  5. "Do I really need what I think I really want?" What a great question! Sometimes it can be hard to tell the difference between a want and a need, but it's so easy to not ask the question at all...

  6. Since blogging, I've learned to pair down and really think before buying. I'm finding I don't need a lot.