Fashion Revolution '17: Stories of Love #lovedclotheslast

We love fashion. We love how our clothes can make us feel, and how they can help us to express who we are. Like with any relationship, we can form deep, meaningful and lasting ones if given the right attention and care. To celebrate Fashion Revolution Week (April 24 - April 30, 2017), LISSOME is sharing your stories of love and we are starting with some brilliant fashion innovators. Our Call to Action: Send us your 'Love Story' and photo at mail@thelissome.com or share it with us on Instagram with the hashtags #lovedclotheslast, #fashionrevolution and #lissomelovestories.
 

Sara K Arnold, photographed by Tim Walker.

Sara K Arnold, photographed by Tim Walker.

Sara K Arnold

'HIGHER' / Founder
 

Love of a lilac dress...

I feel incredibly lucky that my favourite dress to have ever been created is one that I’ve had the privilege to enjoy.  

When I was 19, I had my first otherworldly Dover Street Market experience. I’d just moved to London. The clothes that I fantasised about in books, magazines and online were here in flesh. I realised that Comme Des Garçons made the only clothes that could truly express what I wanted to express and this dream was within tangible reach. Here I got my first job and would be on the DSM shop floor for the next 5 years, selling mainline Comme on the 1st floor. 

Autumn Winter 2007 was my favourite collection. Like with all fashion, you have to view it with the eyes of that time to understand its relevance. With today’s lens it looks rather fashionable perhaps, but Rei, as usual, had created something that was jarring and awkward for the proportions and sensibility of the time. It didn’t sell well. Compared to other Comme collections, the garments are quite simple. It relied on off proportions. It featured Minnie Mouse details, a sickly sweet colour scheme, ‘lumps and bumps’ style cartoon bows and peter pan collars. It was a trompe l’oeil that instead of being flattened, bulged out like a swollen cartoon. Unlike THE ‘lumps and bumps’ collection - Comme’s iconic ‘Body Meets Dress, Dress Meets Body’ - these were unnervingly soft friendly protrusions - delicious with an element of grotesque. 

Through the season, I managed to acquire numerous pieces from the collection: the dress with the mini dress on the front; the super low crotch trousers with wadded hands; a cardigan with a ruffled hole in the back. As the season came to a close, my favourite dress remained on the mannequin. The sale came and went and due to the air conditioner leaking on the dress, my floor manager persuaded the store manager to let me have it at a heavy discount as no one else would ever want it. 

The feeling of wearing truly great fashion is transformative. Its multi-sensory - simultaneously comfortable and uncomfortable. True fashion challenges beauty so it has to have an emotion that grates on you. You have to love it and hate it. It makes you move in a foreign way. It makes you laugh. It makes others laugh. It makes you feel proudly ugly. There is an awareness that you are animating the clothes - a work of art that only comes to life with you in it. You have a responsibility. When you wear this dress, there is a profound awareness: The squooshy impersonation of pockets bulge from my hips, accentuating my stunted shuffle; The hip bumps pull the lycra tight on the curve of my back revealing an erogenous zone but simultaneously saying it’s not sexy; The collar lifts the fabric off my shoulders distorting their natural form: where do my shoulders end?? My body is a new. 

A group of people once asked if they could touch it - “Sure”, I shrug. They had a stress ball orgy of my dress, so preoccupied that we didn’t realise the inappropriateness of the situation. Slowly, I edged away from their groping hands and we broke a laugh. I was once by the front door of DSM and a new security guard walked in to start his first day and thought I was the mannequin (there is nothing mannequin about me!). When I moved, he had such a shock that he lost control of his chewing and propelled his gum at me. When I had the chance to be shot by Tim Walker but missed the casting, I turned up at the shoot in this dress thinking ‘surely he won’t turn this dress away??’ I wore it for the interview for my master's course at Imperial College - I felt it was important I ticked the sartorial formalities: collar, button down and accompanied with a white suit jacket. 

Over the years, I wore the dress to death. Rei’s joke of cheap fabric meant it was super delicate. I question myself; “Should it have been framed not worn?” 

It lived. It died. But better than not living at all. 

Sara K Arnold is the founder of HIGHER, a London-based clothing subscription service with a creative focus, providing access to seminal and emerging designers.


 
 
 

Madara Freimane

'WHAT'S YOUR LEGACY' / Founder
 

I grew up loving fashion and that was the one place I would fearlessly express my creativity. I loved looking at all the beautiful designs by luxury fashion brands whether that would be online, in fashion magazines or films. I admired all the creativity and craftsmanship that goes into creating these garments! It would make me dream about one day owning something so precious myself. However, I would never be able to afford anything like that or even take into consideration spending such a large amount of money for a garment. 

Nevertheless, years later when I moved to London and was exposed to how fast fashion is produced I started to downsize my wardrobe and stopped shopping on high-street all together. I really took into consideration all the things that came into my life and after a while I realised that by doing that I could actually afford owning garments by designers that I believe in and love. This dress was the first designer garment that I bought and it is by Portuguese designer duo called Marques’Almeida who studied here in London at Central Saint Martins. It is the most comfortable thing and for me it has way more value than any high-street garment could ever have.

 

Madara Freimane is the founder of What's Your Legacy, a London-based online platform and creative agency looking at sustainable fashion and beyond.

 

 
 
 

Lauren McCrostie

Actress & Eco Fashion Activist
 

You are such a treasured possession of mine. I know I was so lucky to find you. You came into my life at a moment that needed to be kept, to re-live. The fresh spring garden print that bathes you will always bring a smile to my face. It was like the beaming sun on those colourful Antwerpen doors. You are completely connected to a peculiar period in my life which was simply magical, otherworldly. Finding you was a collision of coincidences, yet completely meant to be. I had no idea, but I had been searching for something like you for a while. You can be proper with pinned hair and pointed shoes or can be flirty with rouge lips and swinging hips. You can be casual comfortable and just chill. You have past stories, and a long, exciting future. Your years only add knowledge to your 1950's shape, no creases or holes. I know you’ve seen far greater things than me, that I know for certain. But you are safely stowed away now; snug, safe and soundly sleeping. I’m scared of losing you, it is my duty to protect you from any possible tarnish, from anything spoiling you. Perhaps that's why I don’t take you out with me, or spend enough time in you. I fear that you and everything you symbolise will break. Though deep down I know this cannot be true. This cannot be true, as every time I catch a glimpse of you, every time I am solely immersed in the memory of you. It is so strong, so passionate, so resolute - I don’t think anything can break it. I am flooded back to that Sunday afternoon in June when I welcomed you into my wardrobe with open arms. 

 
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Lauren McCrostie is is a British actress who is best known for her roles in the films Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, The Falling and short films Second Skin and Brothers.

 

 
 
 

Sophia Schwan

Stylist & Fashion Editor at 'LISSOME'
 

For me, there is nothing like a dress that has seen such radical political changes and experienced two very separate worlds. This simple cotton dress was made by my mother-in-law in communist East Germany in the 1970’s using the distinct East German fabric of the time. She gave it to me last summer and I have ended up living in it. Sometimes, when I lay down next to my son whilst putting him to bed I end up falling asleep with the dress on. It’s become like a second skin and because of that, I feel so confident when I’m wearing it. It’s one of those liberating "put it on & out of the door" pieces that looks best when barefoot.

Sophia Schwan is is a freelance stylist based in Berlin and LISSOME's fashion editor.


 
 
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Jenni Kusowski

Fashion Designer
 

I remember the day I saw these ankle boots. It was my final year at design school, it was overcast and I was rummaging through one of the coolest vintage stores in Cincinnati. I had taken a break from studying to impulsively try my luck digging through the mounds of polyester shirts, oversized men's wool coats and deadstock denim when I spotted these boots sitting ever so casually on a shelf. I approached nervously, wanting to believe they were my size but knowing full well that the vintage gods so rarely blessed this type of situation. They were a men's size 7, burgundy ankle boot with a side zip and western hybrid details... they were a perfect match.

That was 10 years ago. These boots have been with me everywhere. They were with me on my first adult trip to Europe: partying in Brussels, strolling the canals in Amsterdam, and wine tasting in southern France. They were with me during my first major break-up and then finding new love. They were with me during job promotions in New York, travelling to Hong Kong for an assignment and exploring Berlin as a potential new home. Most recently they have found me in London where I am working on my master's degree. With a little care and repair, I'm sure these boots will continue to share adventures with me for another 10 years (or maybe more).

 
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Jenni Kusowski is a fashion designer and denim expert from Brooklyn/USA. Currently, she is studying for a MA in Fashion Futures at the London College of Fashion.

 

CALL TO ACTION: Send us your 'Love Story' and photo at mail@thelissome.com or share it with us on Instagram with the hashtags #lovedclotheslast, #fashionrevolution and #lissomelovestories.
 

About Fashion Revolution Week:

On April 24, 2013, the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh collapsed and in total, 1134 workers were killed and over 2500 were seriously injured, making it the fourth largest industrial disaster in history. The Rana Plaza building hosted five garment factories, all manufacturing for big global fashion brands. The victims were garment workers and mostly young women working for very low wages in an unsafe environment. In order to protest against the violations in the fashion industry and to fight for positive changes, the British fashion activists Carry Somers and Orsola de Castro founded Fashion Revolution Week in remembrance, which has since been held annually from April 24th until 30th and grown into a global movement. Fashion Revolution is now active in 92 countries. Worldwide tens of thousands of people get involved each year. You can become part of the revolution and, for example, send messages to fashion brands under the hashtag #whomademyclothes or organize your own public events on the topic.