My personal style is very “Jedi Knight meets Patti Smith,” and that’s tough to nail down when it comes to readily-accessible, moderately affordable clothing. It’s also a style that pretty much just looks like dirty pajamas if it’s done wrong. If I had limitless cash, I’d have Yohji Yamamoto, Ann Demeulemeester and Rick Owens at my disposal, but alas, I do not. I am trying to make an effort to move beyond Forever 21 and H&M, though. I mean, I’m going to be 37 years old in a few weeks. I think it’s probably OK to buy a sweater that costs more than $18—and, more importantly, that last longer than 6 months before the threads start to pull and it loses its shape in the wash. (Side note to my real-life friends: I swear I will stop wearing that disgusting cardigan every day. Not just yet…but soon. Really soon. Honest.)
I had never heard of the New Zealand clothing company Kowtow before Tamera sent me a link to this outfit, but I’m already kind of obsessed. This is exactly how I want to dress every day. Modernist Lazigoth.
✖ Bauhaus Jacket. I don’t know if they’re referencing the German school or the English band, but either way, I’m on board. This is the most perfect hoodie ever.
✖ Parallel Dress. OH HELLO THERE. It’s true that I’ll wear anything the size and shape of a Hefty bag with a neckhole (armholes optional), but this dress/tunic is actually cut really nicely—and it has a rad print on it.
Jen wrote about the San Francisco-based knitwear line Micaela Greg (designed by two sisters!) on Honey Kennedy the other day, and I had a series of tiny heart attacks while flipping through their Autumn-Winter 2012 lookbook. Legging and scarves are staples in my (tiny but flexible) wardrobe, and who doesn’t love little sweaters with weird arms? No one, especially when they’ve got Q-Bert style geometric patterns on them.
✖ Black Triangle Neck Cozy. Like Jen said, I would wear this scarf every day between now and next July. This is an Anna-scarf if I ever saw one! I love that it can double as a little hood, too.
✖ Cube Shrug. This is my favorite shape when it comes to cardigan-type stuff. The length in back is perfect, and it’s got volume without being bulky. I don’t like wearing wraps because I never know what to do with my arms, but little shrugs like this are perfect.
✖ Small Square Legging. You know how I said I feel like Ferm is designing housewares just for me? Well, I like to think Micaela Greg had me in mind when they made these leggings. The pattern is just so good. I feel a teensy bit nervous about the color being described as “dark navy and rose,” I could make do. Can you imagine them with knee-high boots, a long white tee, and the Bauhaus jacket from Kowtow?! Now you’re talking.
Oh, Kenobi-Smith! My favorite. I can’t afford any of their stuff, sadly, but maybe if they decide to do a diffusion line someday I can splurge on a piece or two.
p.s. Thank you so much for all of the feedback and kind thoughts yesterday. I don’t know what comes next or exactly what I’m planning to do and when, but I’m glad I at least opened up the dialogue. I feel proud and fortunate that there is such a friendly and honest community of people reading my blog.
Dig it all. Love Patti Smith’s style. I’m from Cape Town, South Africa and just discovered your blog, it’s pretty sick.
I was thinking you’d like All Saints. But I looked at them recently and they are more conventional with jeans and tight short dresses. Still, worth keeping an eye on.
I’ve been dragged into that store with several friends who insist I’d like it, but in all honesty I think it’s awful! Too much embellishment, too much affectation, too much “sexy”…and the quality seems totally out of line with the price, too? I’ve tried, though, I promise! 😉
I’d heard of Kowtow but not, until Jen’s Honey Kennedy posting earlier this week, of Micaela Greg. So I’ve been doing that good ol’ fantasy internet shopping thing again. (You know, pile everything into the basket, look at the total, yelp, close the browser and wait for my racing heart to slow down.)
I think Honey Kennedy is one of the best blogs for spreading the news about small scale clothes makers – and yes I know I should say that on Jen’s blog rather than here (and I will) but I do think everyone should stop by her lovely blog for a bit of inspiration at least once in a while. And isn’t the internet great? We a bit of help from some lovely bloggers, we can now all find amazing things made by talented people. The filter of buyers and the limits created by geography have diminished.
I agree, Jen’s blog is AMAZING. Yes, she’s a very dear friend of mine, but I met her because of her incredible blog! She works so hard to bring attention to designers and makers and artisans I’d never have heard of otherwise, and she really cares about doing it in a way that showcases their work—not her own skills when it comes to finding stuff.
I really admire Jen + Honey Kennedy. 🙂
To go back a post, Honey Kennedy has adverts and does give-a-ways and it doesn’t make me love her blog any the less. (As a general rule I’m not a fan of give-a-ways as on many blogs it really does blur the relationship between ads and content but there are examples of how even this can work and this is one of them.) And I couldn’t agree more about HOW Jen puts the spotlight on the makers, designers and artisans.
Off to say nice words on Jen’s blog as I was brought up to think it’s rude to talk about someone behind their back…
Clearly we have a very similar sense of style, as I love everything here. That hoodie especially though; I’ve been trying to find one for ages that doesn’t scream “just rolled out of bed” and I think that one qualifies!
Um, that neck cosy scarf thing? It’s as if someone made it with you in mind. Excellent, all. I wish you one million dollars so you could buy everything…
I recently discovered at a pop up shop a great line called Sono Drs. Lots of asymmetrical drapery in a largely black/white/grey color scheme. Very textural. It’s a Korean designer– not sure if she’s got representation/distro in the US yet, but I loved the pieces I bought at the pop up so hopefully we’ll be seeing more of her soon. Definitely worth checking out!
Patti Smith — amazing style. I love the scene I. The PBS documentary where’s taking pictures in France, and I think talking about Rimbaud, and here look is . . . I don’t really have words for it. Regardless, have you seen Nicholas k http://www.style.com/fashionshows/review/F2012RTW-NICHOLASK? The hats are distracting, but several of the looks are ace.
Or Bitte Kai Rand http://bittekairand.com/collection/fall/look-book
For a minute, I thought that *was* you in the second set of photos!
When I saw the photos I told Jen I thought she kind of looked like me. Then I looked at her modeling card and saw that she’s 5’9″ and has a 26″ waist and changed my mind. Hahahhaahah
Gee, those clothes would be amazingly easy – and cheap – to sew. Fire up that sewing machine!
I don’t have the time (or the skills) to make my own clothing. More importantly, these aren’t my designs. Designing and making clothing is similar to designing and making book covers or websites in a very important way—both look deceptively “easy” to do, until you’re the one doing it and you don’t know what you’re doing. 😉
Ahhh, it’s all so beautiful. Shamefully priced, but beautiful. And the Kenobi-Smith picture is adorbs.
Shamefully priced? These are small companies with independent designers creating small collections of ethically-produced clothing. I don’t think the price points are high at all, actually—I think it’s more than we’ve all (myself included!) been deluded by the H&Ms and Gaps and Forever 21s of the world making massive quantities of clothing in huge factories under conditions we’d rather not know about. Now THAT is shameful!
Now, that doesn’t mean that I can afford to buy all of these clothes (I can’t), but that should not reflect on the value of a designer’s work.
I didn’t mean any disrespect to the designers, my apologies. I only meant shameful in the sense that the prices aren’t practical for most people.
That’s OK, I understand! Sorry if I sounded defensive—I just want to look out for people are going to extra mile when it comes to ethical production of goods. 🙂
Hey Anna I do agree with you that our clothes are too cheap and I rather would spend more for more ethical clothes. However, price says little to nothing about how the workers were treated. Actually H&M isn’t too bad-a Swiss NGO made a list of clothing manufactures, putting them into 5 different groups and H&M were in the second best group (only four companies were in the first). Many companies who are more expensive did worse. So buying more expensive clothing works only if they have a specific fair trade/organic cotton or something else label. If the ethical aspects are the only concern that is, of course there are other arguments for buying more expensive clothes. Sorry to stray away from the subject but it is something I thought a lot about and its often surprising how many people believe price is a direct indicator of the treatment/salary of workers.
That’s a really good point, Lena, and I’m glad you brought it up. My earlier comment should have been worded differently—I really meant it more as a vote of support for the two companies I had featured (since I know they are both actively and vocally involved in ethical production), but I shouldn’t have implied that price point was a good indicator of whether that’s always the case.
I’m glad to know that about H&M, though! If only the quality of their clothes were better so we could keep them from winding up in landfills so quickly… 😉
No worries at all 🙂 totally understand.
OH SNAP that jacket. Dude. I wish I’d never laid my eyes on it, because now I will covet like crazy. That’s, like, Portland winter armor.
Also, lazigoth – chuckles. I enjoy your humors.
It is my first time to comment even if I am following you for two years.
There a designer that I love so much: LURDES BERGADA. She’s from Barcelona and as far I know she has shops in Barcelona and Madrid and now she is also selling online.
I am shopping BERGADA items for 20 years and are wonderful, much better in the reality that in pictures, I assure you. The prizes are more or less the same as the firms you posted. Also for me it is a little priced but I wear so much that it is worthwhile. When I go to one of her shops, after I can´t not buy in another place: the clothes seems so boring and conventional and cheap in comparison with Bergada’s clothes!!!
Whatever…check it, I think you will love so much:
And you have have a wonderful blog, Anna.
HUGE fan of Door Sixteen here. I just wanted to say that after I saw your Orly Kiely post I started looking for her on eBay, and after your excitement about her I could not wait to visit when she opened a store in NYC. I went in and it was a very attractive store, but I confess I was crushed, just crushed, at how teeny tiny the clothing was. Their stuff was so small it felt surreal. I am a size 10-12 and as much as the staff was lovely and wanted to help, well, they could not. I love our city and love going into smaller stores–Flirt in Brooklyn and Manhattan, Huminska are wonderful and Moods of Norway has recently caught my eye. But every now and then I hit a store (yeah, you, Purdy Girl and DL Cerne) where I seriously cannot fit into anything. It’s always kind of gratifying that the staff can’t believe it, either.
I am wondering if your excitement about a particular designer has ever been compromised by sizing issues. I know have written about how you love your Orla Kiely bag, but would it matter to you if she made clothes you couldn’t wear?
Hi Kiki! That’s an interesting question. I’ve been just about every size from a 2 to a 14 (I’m about a 6 or 8 right now, depending on the store), and no matter where I fall within that range at any given time, I tend to see myself as being about twice as large. As a result, I tend to not even bother attempting to shop in small “boutique” stores that don’t have as much of a variety of sizes. (I should probably write a post about this…) This is also part of the reason why I tend to dress like I’m in pajamas all the time! As much as I love pretty dresses like Orla Kiely sells, the truth of the matter is I think I’m (a) far too masculine, and (b) far too unattractive to actually wear any of them.
My own psychological issues aside, I do understand on one hand why a lot of these small stores don’t have as many size options. I don’t think it’s meant to be exclusionary, I think it has more to do with the fact that they’re often working from one pattern that’s sized up or down. It’s been a long time since I took any pattern-making or sewing classes, but I do recall that with more tailored clothing, larger sizes did require completely new patterns to accommodate (and flatter!) a different type of body.
On the other hand, I think women who fall in your size range tend to get a bit lost in the fashion industry. Fashion blogs and some of the newer, more fashionable plus-size lines (like at ASOS, for example) are geared toward women who are a bit larger, but so-called “straight” sizes from smaller lines often stop at size 8 or 10 and are often just cut to suit smaller-framed bodies.
But yes, to answer your question generally, my excitement about EVERY designer’s clothing is always compromised by sizing issues—whether that’s based in reality or in my own (sometimes false) perception of myself.
This is funny, because I’m going to be in NZ in the autumn and one thing I’ve utterly neglected is the shopping aspect (minus Christchurch, because I’m making a point of spending as much as I can since they have their amazing pop-up city post-earthquakes–you’ll love this: http://popupcity.co.nz/). So thank you for that bit on kowtow, I see something new and black in my future.
I ought to point out that I’ve read your writing for years, since the Absolutely Vile days, and have seen you balance the problems you have with trolls with the love for community–I’m in a fairy land where I haven’t totally gotten there with what I’ve put out, but I’m seeing it in my future.
What’m I ramblingly saying here? Basically that you should pay attention to the part that allows you to enjoy the writing, especially because your work is, while obviously public, YOURS. You’re putting it out as a conversation, and the good news is that many people who are already involved in the conversation are inclined to not be assholes. So we can hope.
Oh, and yay you for keeping things ad-free. I was told by a colleague how much he makes on his well-regarded blog, and it made me feel stupid that I’m still ad-less. Until a beat later when I realized that while not raking it in, I am being true to what I believe.
So, fan letter complete, and keep on keeping on!
Hi Nico, well, ironically…in the post before this one, I did actually discuss the possibility of accepting some ads here at D16. I think it’s possible to do that while still staying true to what I believe, so hopefully you’ll still come around and read what I have to say. 🙂 Thanks for the continued support!
I think you would like COS (Collection of style) as well, looking at these pictures. I don’t know if they have any stores in the States though.
I love this! Thanks for sharing such great finds. I actually wore out a Sisters of Mercy shirt I bought almost 15 years ago this weekend…thought you might appreciate that!
I couldn’t figure out how to just email you?? Possible because I am OVERWHELMED! I am coming to NY for a visit in October and I am hoping for advice on which area to stay in. I can’t afford a 600/night hotel and all the cool ones seem to be in that price range. Any suggestions? I found some apts to rent for a few nights but have no idea where to stay. Help!
Hi Becky, my email address is on my about page and on my FAQ page. Also on my FAQ page is this:
I’m coming to New York City for a vacation. Can you recommend stuff to do or hotels to stay at?
Honestly? Not really. I’ve lived in or around NYC for my entire life, so I’ve never had to consider hotels before. I don’t know what’s out there right now. I’m also pretty lazy when it comes to actually doing stuff and going out. I’m really kind of lame, frankly. (I am happy to recommend vegan-friendly restaurants, though!)
So no, unfortunately I have no recommendations for hotels. I don’t think I even know the names of any hotels here! OK, there’s the Ace, but I’ve never been there and I have no idea how much it costs. It looks pretty in photographs, though! 😉 I think a lot of people find places through airbnb these days…maybe that’s an option for you?
Sorry I can’t be of more help… 🙁
Synchronicity. I’ve had a cowl similar to that Black Triangle Neck Cozy on my knitting queue for a few seasons! (2 winters to be exact, I count in weather seasons for knitting.) I must must make it this season in time for the winter.
Even the names are near identical, the pattern is called Triangle Cowl. See it here at the designer’s blog:
I tried to find another good picture of the Triangle Cowl and the whole thing came full circle. The knitter of this fine model here credits you/Door Sixteen for her love of triangles: