Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Elephant Revival!...

...is on tour NOW. Check to see if they're coming to a town near you and then go see them, 'cos they are amazing live and, in my humble opinion, the next big thing. Or small wonderful thing.

Seriously, if haven't seen Bonnie Paine play the washboard you ain't seen nothin' yet.

(all photos from their facebook)

Seeing Double and the future of vintage.

Seeing triple actually.
vintage KNIT cape AMAZING hearts and UNIQUE pattern
If you, like myself, ever coveted this crazy 70s cape from the amazing Anja Verdugo's etsy shop, you're in luck. As I'm writing this, there are three available on etsy.

folk heart cape. peachypipes.
peachypipes on etsy.

Amazing vintage BOHO cape hearts one size plus size
27ogle on etsy.

Mariesvintage on etsy.

(In addition to these guys, I also found one here, for a low, low price.)

The cape has popped up in a 70s search on etsy, at various times and this inspired me to look further into how many of these were floating around.

In spite the fact that all ebay sellers urge us to "Bid now! This item is one of a kind vintage!" there are in fact, starting from about the late 60s, a few vintage duplicates, items that somehow appear to be more prominent than others.

From that time onward ateliers and boutiques gave away (sadly, America, sadly) to big box stores and mass-manufacturing. (Amber of Violet Folklore did an excellent post on big box vintage a while back, trough which we discovered that we'd both thrifted the same 70s REI jacket.) Though department store and mass labels had first come to existence in the beginning of the last century, they often came in the form of patterns, or outfits that were fitted and tailored for, or by, the buyer. The population explosion of baby-boomers coming-of-teen-age in the 60s however, as well as the emergence of youth culture, created the market for mass-manufactured uniqueness as we know it today.

What is interesting about duplicate vintage is, not only the delight of the oxymoron that Amber's Kmart folk sweater is, but how accurately this 70s creation predicts the shape of things things to come. In the 2000s we have, after all, entered an era that will leave a very mixed vintage legacy.
(Sure these vintage-imitation pieces from a certain over-priced mass retailer are pretty, but will they themselves be vintage in 2047? Methinks not.)

How long do we think those H(heedless consumption) & M (mass manufacture madness) rags, that already fill the Value Villages and Buffalo Exchanges of these United States, are going to be around? As garbage and carbon spent: aeons. As desirable pieces of clothing: no more than a decade.

Will the relics of our era in the vintage stores of the future be the luxury labels of (according to their own hype) higher quality, the ubiquitous plastic wear that is outdoor clothing (I now hail from the Pacific Northwest), or those pieces of mass-fashion that were all the rage, but got seldom worn? That, I think, might be the case with the cape mentioned above still being in a condition that merits re-sale, solely by the virtue of not being worn that much.

I know that most of you prefer vintage shopping anyway, and mean no insult to those who shop big box, but I also think that this is a riveting topic. To me the legacy of our clothing choices is not only environmental, something that very few style-y blogs acknowledge, but also stylistic. Are the nubbly sweater dress, and the leather-imitation flats, the statement we want to leave for future vintage lovers?
(These lovely ladies are Japanese-Americans in a"relocation camp" during WW2. Talk about positive attitude.)
As a life-long thrift shopper (my mother dressed me in vintage 30s, 40s and 50s clothing back when thrift-shopping was still called flea-marketing and almost exclusive to poor people) I have past generations of women to thank for my wardrobe. These women (And I do believe that they were mostly female folks.) took good care of their clothing, as well as that of their children's and husband's. They were always mending and amending garments, making from scratch the pieces they couldn't afford to buy from stores, and storing them in a way that made them last trough decades of changing seasonal follies.
While I hope to do the same, it has certainly become increasingly difficult to leave a lasting clothes-legacy in this topsy-turvy world of ours. The vintage pieces I try to take care of so lovingly, are already 30 to 40-years old, so by the time our kids generation will be trying them on, they'll be closer to 60, or 70, becoming more antique and less wearable vintage.
There's hope though; the current revival of craftiness and DIY, may indeed yield pieces that can be enjoyed for more than one generation. I have always loved the home-made versions of 60s and 70s fashions that often crop up in thrift-stores and hope that our era will leave behind beautiful, durable and even unique clothing. Yet another reason to invest in etsy-pieces.
That was my two bits, now what do you think?

In a related note, I also feel that I owe my wardrobe largely to wonderful women, not only for maintaining the pieces I've bought, but for gifting me with them. Starting with my mama, I have always been blessed to be surrounded by ladies with impeccable taste, as well as seemingly limitless generosity.

This was evidenced when I received my birthday girl item of choice from Violet Folklore. After some liberation I picked this beautiful top, but the package that I received contained not only the top, but my two other choices and two gorgeous hippie-vestlets to boot!

Thank you so much Amber!
Can you tell that the weather has turned, and it's all grey and rainy again. I care not. I love the rain. I'm off to make Finnish pan-bread and nettle pesto. Recipes may be included in a future blog post. I almost never post about food even though I eat and make a lot of it. What do you think?

(All the vintage women are from the Flickr commons)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Our place

The spring weather, which I've been rejoicing ad nauseam and ad infinitum, continues. I swear I'm getting an ever-so-slight tan. On saturday C. and I climbed our local "mountain". It is not that tall, but two of the three ways to the top are steep enough in incline that it merits to be called a mountain indeed.
Once you get to the top the view is spectacular; to the West the beloved Olympic Peninsula and all its mountains, to the East the North Cascades, of the Zen-beat fire watchers.
There is a seemingly endless number of gorgeous, scenic spots here on the Island, places each with its unique set of memories, but each time I make it to the top of this cliff, I am in awe of its beauty and magic.
I have loved this hill wildly since I first came here, and it also holds memories of C. and my first adventure together.

A few years back, when we had just met, we decided to watch the full moon rise on the mountain. Hiked up at dusk, set up our sleeping bags, our snacks and a camera to film the moon moving across the landscape. It was a clear, gorgeous August night. Untill, at around 1 AM, a drizzle began falling. Within minutes it had turned into a Northwest downpour and the trail that we were hiking down, was not only steep, virtually invisible in the dark, but also a creek. By the time we made it to the car (with at least one close call on the cliffside) we were soaked.

The memory makes this hill even more dear and magical to me.
On the top of the bight, in a little dip, there's an old rope swing that's strung on a branch of pine tree. It makes for a terrifying delight to swing towards the rocky cliff-edge on it. The first time I ever hiked this hill was with some friends who were bringing the swing up. I guess that makes it about 10-years-old.
I have a picture of myself swinging on it at age 21; smoking a cigarette on my last night on the Island. Little did I know that I would call it home a mere 9 years later. I hoped and dreamed and schemed and willed and here I am, with the most wonderful partner in crime I could ask for.
Before our expedition I hung out with a friend's old dog on her deck, eating berries, drinking nettle tea, and working on my ideas and journal entries.
We also fortified ourselves with a quesadilla and some carrot-beet-ginger-lemon-juice at the restaurant where I work.
The weather is definitely effecting my dress-sensibilities (or lack thereof), it's all yellow and flowers and leggins.
I got this little ceramic heart from my then-best-friend Jonna some 25-years ago. That makes me feel old. And young at the same time.
I'm sending sunny days where ever you are. Nothing but good vibes and sunny days, man.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

De Daumier-Smith's Yellow Period and The Wild Wolves Of Vancouver

Out here on the Islands the spring-like weather continues. It's so incredibly lovely for a girl from the North-country, a place where February can still mean continual darkness, temperatures in the teens, and is currently pummeled by seemingly endless snowstorms.

Enthralled by the early arrival of spring, I've been wearing short-sleeves, leggings and yellow with the kind of reckless abandon that always ends in a cold. I care not though.

While we were in Vancouver last month Mali and I both got a disposable camera. Mine is has been sitting abandoned on the dresser, but Mali developed hers and here's some of what came out of it:

C. is obviously not the only one in this family that's a little bit bonkers. I blame the sun. And the moon.

Hope you're enjoying some frolic weather where ever you are.