anna brones

writer + artist + producer

Posts Tagged ‘clothes

Amelia Bloomer

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“When you find a burden in belief or apparel, cast it off.”

Amelia Bloomer (1819-1894)

Born Amelia Jenks, Bloomer was a writer, editor, abolitionist, and active member of the women’s suffrage movement. Her progressive views helped to shift not only how American women viewed what they wore, but also themselves and their role in society.

After attending the Seneca Falls Women’s Rights Convention in 1848, Bloomer launched The Lily. The newspaper was entirely for women, and dedicated to covering the topics of the day. A publication by and for women was not only novel, but controversial. While it began as a temperance journal, it quickly evolved, and within its pages, Bloomer and her team not only advocated for women’s right to vote, but also to end slavery.

Bloomer later wrote, “The Lily was the first paper published devoted to the interests of woman and, so far as I know, the first one owned, edited and published by a woman. It was a novel thing for me to do in those days and I was little fitted for it, but the force of circumstances led me into it and strength was given me to carry it through. It was a needed instrumentality to spread abroad the truth of the new gospel to woman, and I could not withhold my hand to stay the work I had begun.”

But it was articles on fashion that would spike the interest in The Lily, as Bloomer advocated for dress reform. Long dresses of the day were heavy, impractical, and often, an impediment to health. As Lorraine Boissoneault writes for Smithsonian:

“… middle- and upper-class American women squeezed themselves into corsets and six to eight petticoats to fill out the shape of their skirts. The result weighed up to 15 pounds, placed enormous pressure on their hips, and made movement a struggle.

“Women complained of overheating and impaired breathing, sweeping along filthy streets and tripping over stairs, crushed organs from whalebone stays and laced corsets, and getting caught in factory machinery,” writes historian Annemarie Strassel.

Doctors worried the outfits might cause health problems for pregnant mothers, and the press regularly lampooned the style of the day, with cartoons showing assorted garbage getting caught in women’s sweeping skirts. But what could be done?”

Bloomer found an answer in a liberating new style of outfit: a short skirt with billowy pantaloons underneath. She published photos of herself wearing it, and advocated for the style change in the pages of The Lily.

This physical manifestation of women’s liberation of course caused an uproar, one that Bloomer hadn’t expected. “At the outset, I had no idea of fully adopting the style no thought of setting a fashion; no thought that my action would create an excitement throughout the civilized world, and give to the style my name and the credit due Mrs. [Elizabeth Smith] Miller. This was all the work of the press. I stood amazed at the furor I had unwittingly caused,” wrote Bloomer.

She hadn’t planned on starting a fashion revolution, but Bloomer became the outfit’s namesake, and in turn the face of the movement for dress reform. Women wrote to Bloomer asking about the dress, and if there were patterns available, and the interest was so great that The Lily‘s monthly circulation went from 500 to 4,000.

Imagine: a woman in pants! To the public of the day, the thought was not just unconventional, but unsightly. During the American Civil War, nurses were even banned from wearing them, but the freedom of movement that they allowed causes many nurses to ignore the ban and don them anyway.

Bloomer later went back to her full-length dress, and the suffragettes moved away from dress reform as one of their causes, but the connection between pants and women’s right’s remained—our wardrobes and our politics forever changed.

This papercut and profile are a part of the Women’s Wisdom Project, a project focused on showcasing the wisdom of inspiring, insightful women by making 100 papercut portraits.

Written by Anna Brones

October 17, 2019 at 10:57

New Nau: Spring Line 2010 is Out

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Portland-based eco clothier Nau finally has their new Spring 2010 line out. As usual, the line incorporates sustainable materials like recycled polyester, merino wool and organic cotton.

And sticking with the Nau aesthetic, the Spring 2010 has the classic urban chic look to it; the pictures speak for themselves. Check out the full men’s and women’s lines here.

Written by Anna Brones

February 18, 2010 at 09:29

Friday Photo: Eco Style

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nau-hangers1

In the past couple of years we’ve seen eco-style go from the stereotypical hempy, sack looking garments to the chicest forms in fashion. One of my favorite brands, Nau, is at the forefront of sustainable design. Not only have they developed over 300 sustainable fabrics that incorporate alternative materials like recycled polyester, but everything they make looks cool. And that’s what makes or breaks an eco-fashion line now isn’t it?

I took this picture at a recent event at Lizard Lounge in Portland, which also houses the Nau team.

Written by Anna Brones

April 17, 2009 at 08:17

H&M Spring 2009 Line Gets More Sustainable

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The great thing about my job is that I get to do a lot of writing about sustainable design. But it’s mostly outdoor and travel related, which is why I maintain this site. Think about it: H&M and Wend don’t really mix. But the Swedish born company definitely deserves a mention for their incorporation of sustainable fabrics like organic cotton and recycled PET.

hmorganic_springwomens1

H&M has been using organic cotton for a few years now. In fact last year they used about 3,000 tons of organic cotton and this year plan on 4,500. This is however the first that I have heard of the company using recycled PET (basically recycled plastic bottles broken down into small chips and then spun until polyester fiber) in their clothes. And not only that, but they’re bringing in textile remnants and recycled cotton.

Thanks to Inhabitat for tipping me off!

[Photos: Inhabitat]