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We Care About The Materiality Of Goods

Have you ever heard of the documentary Minimalism on Netflix? It basically explains how happy you are when you don’t determine your self-value based on your material possessions. The formula is easy: Get rid of unnecessary stuff and become more relaxed.

No worries, the documentary is not about an extreme definition of minimalism. People just say NO to unneeded things. One family lives in a large convenient house, another woman in a tiny mini-house. There are different degrees of minimalism, but they all have one thing in common: You don’t buy yourself into short-term satisfaction. You go for the long run.

Since I live in a white colored, rather empty apartment with only a few pieces of furniture (and dozens of paintings on the walls), I dwelled on the topic... until sociology professor Juliet Schor said these words:

“We are too materialistic in the everyday sense of the word, and we are not at all materialistic enough in the true sense of the word. We need to be true materialists, like really care about the materiality of goods.”

So, this documentary is about minimalism - and she just said that we are not materialistic enough? It stroke me that Schor was completely right: The big fashion companies make their consumers buy a new piece every week. As I explained in another article, the fashion industry went from two seasons a year to 52 seasons (!) a year. People buy tons of clothes, they are drowning in debt and meaningless possessions – and yet they do not care about the quality of those pieces. Neuropsychologist Rick Hanson has a point when he says: “You can never get enough of what you don’t really want”.

Let's think about it and change our behavior! When you buy a new shirt or a handbag, try to feel its texture. Smell the material, rub the garment and look at the sewing. Get familiar with the cloth, touch it, pull it and squeeze it. You should not buy clothes to throw them away after a month.

Velvet skirt by j.jackman, second-hand woolen pullover from my school friend's closet

Katja and I spotted a label that shares our values. Berlin-based fashion house j.jackman produces in socially responsible and sustainable ways. All items are hand sewed in a small atelier in the midst of Berlin. I met the team – they love what they do. Everyone cares about design, tailoring, quality and craftsmanship. The first thing that head tailor Karen said to me was “Oh, what a nice coat!”. It was a hand-sewn vintage Chanel woolen coat with a delicate quilling and extraordinary details.

When I touched their dresses, blouses and skirts, I fell in love with a black velvet skirt and a red dress, both with an exquisite surface.

Katja and I created two outfits that are perfect for cozy winter days. We combined the red dress with a vintage Chanel bag from the 1980ies. Yup, that is a long lasting pleasure. Let's call it aesthetic minimalism!

Dress by j.jackman, vintage bag by Chanel

The red dress is already scheduled for my Christmas wardrobe. When we talk about the topic: Fashion is not a religion. We can turn our back to mindless consumerism and buy a few high-quality pieces. Let's change the industry together.

Andrea & Katja


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