crusty old used condoms

My last outfit post was when I had green hair!  I haven't had the green since June so that's probably the longest I've gone without an outfit post, well, since I started blogging in '08.  Whoa.  I stopped because I didn't feel like taking outfit photos any more, and I don't really feel like taking them anymore still.  The light was beautiful this evening, I wanted to scout some spots for my upcoming Mini Sessions, and take Dusty for a walk, so I hauled out the ol' tripod again for some casual outfit pics.  

Truth be told, I've had some thoughts on outfit posts, and the fashion industry in general.  A couple years ago I made a commitment to only buy made in the USA, second hand/vintage, or ethical/sustainable/fair trade clothing.  I've done pretty well sticking to that since then.  A couple times I'd accidentally get something that didn't fit my parameters, but I tried really hard to stick to it.  It's been easier since I stopped doing outfit photos, since I don't spend a lot of time shopping anymore, but last week I had a real bad day.  And a friend asked me if I wanted to go shopping with her, you know, retail therapy.  We went to Forever 21, which was where she wanted to go, and I went in for the first time in years.  It was its old overwhelming, kind of gross self, and we wandered for about an hour.  I didn't want anything, but then, oh man, there were these two things, man.  And I bought them.   And a week before that, I bought two pairs of sweats from Target because I was tired of thrifting and not being able to find sweats that actually fit me and didn't look like old mom sweats.  

And then I watched The True Cost.  Which, actually, plenty of you had suggested to me back when I first posted about wanting to shift the way I buy clothing, but I never got around to watching it, or it wasn't on Netflix at the time.  For whatever reason it took me like two years to actually get to watching it.  I was in a Documentary mood and was scrolling through Netflix and there it was.  I had just finished watching Human and so I was primed for something like The True Cost, so I popped it on. 

About halfway through I was sobbing alone in my kitchen.  I was sobbing for the kids that are being destroyed by pesticides used to grow cotton in the Punjab, for the moms stuck working in the sweatshops for pennies a day, for the planet that is crumbling under the weight of an industry that is crippling the ecosystem and global economy.  It's madness.  

 

And I realized that the logical end to my commitment to only buying ethically created clothing was to not do outfit posts any more.  Because what started as something that I did in order to be inspired, to explore my own personal style, and to connect with other people whose style inspired me, has become just another way to fuel this consume consume consume mentality.  Comment sections are loaded with "where did you get XYX?!" questions.  You make your money blogging off of affiliate sales, so when people buy from your link, you make money.  Brands want their clothes on you so that people see them and want them and buy them.  It makes me feel like I'm a part of this vicious cycle that is destroying so much of humanity and the earth.  I think bloggers started putting outfit details in their posts so that they wouldn't have to keep answering the questions about where they got each item in each post.  It makes sense.  People actually get frustrated when you tell them an item is thrifted or vintage because they can't just go buy it.  It's a little sad because I remember back when I started blogging and I'd see outfit posts that would inspire me and I'd go to the thrift store and see what I could get that would give me a similar look.  As blogging caught the eye of brands, it began to shift.  And my blog began to shift.  Brands and shops wanted to give me credit to use to buy clothing so their clothes would be in my outfit posts.  And I loved their clothing, so duh, of course, yeah!  And we all started doing that.  So blogging began shifting from what it was for me when I started.  It started to make me a bit of income, and hell, that's cool.  Doing something awesome and creative everyday and it starts to make and income?  Yeah man, I'm for it!

I think I still like outfit posts.  I'm not as into them as I was, but I still like the creativity of putting together an outfit, something that makes me feel awesome, and is an outlet for my artistic side in a practical daily way.  But I want them to be different.  I want them to be on my terms.  I think that might mean not posting outfit details any more.  Since I don't get sent items anymore I don't have any obligation to post anything for brands.  Actually, the last things I've been sent are in this post, so the hat is from Moorea Seal (who I don't have any qualms with supporting, actually go get her book, it's amazing), and the boots are Cat Footwear.

I want blogging to be inspiration based, not consumption based.  Stuff like Pinterest and blogging started as such an amazing thing for inspiration, and it's turned into want-spiration.  We feel lesser than other people who have the things we want.  We want lives like them, things like them, clothes like them, houses like them, relationships like them.  It's stupid and unhealthy.  Blogs don't have to be that way, but it takes effort on both the part of the blogger and the blog reader to be intentional about their roles in the blogosphere.  For instance, this photo location is one of my favorites, but it's just a weird little park in the middle of Central Tacoma.  One time I was in fear for my life a little bit here when I took outfit photos and a very not-all-there homeless woman followed me around for a while.  And today there were a couple teenage girls hanging out about 30 yards from me smoking, and I nearly sat on a crusty old used condom.  Movie magic, people, movie magic.  Find beauty where you are, even if there is a crusty old condom there.  And recognize that other people's lives may look magical, but there are definitely crusty old condoms just out of frame.  It's a metaphor.  Work with me.