kottke.org posts about fashion

Quilts Turned Into Clothes

”emorygoods1.png”

Emory Goods is a project run by Erin Emory, a Virginia-based seamstress/artist who, among other things, finds old, damaged, or unfinished quilts and turns them into clothing. As she put it to me in an email (I reached out to make sure I had my facts right), “I like to repurpose cutter quilts, or ones who need a little love, into new, wearable pieces so that we can keep enjoying their beauty, just in a new way!”

Emory sells her pieces primarily through Instagram, and although I haven’t yet tried to buy one, I love knowing they exist. (Emory Goods is also on Facebook, and will be reappearing on Etsy in the next few weeks.)

Reply · 1

Another Knitting Post: The Pengweeno Cardigan

pengweeno1.jpg

This is a recommendation for the pattern to the delightful Pengweeno children's cardigan, by Stephen West. I've made three of them -- this post is probably/definitely just an excuse to share these photos -- and hope to make more.

pengweeno2.jpg

It’s a good way to use up spare yarn, and the result is supremely cute and satisfying. There’s also an adult version — the Penguono — but for whatever reason only the Pengweeno speaks to me. (Here’s Stephen West on Ravelry, Instagram, and his website.)

”pengweeno5.jpg”

Previously: Traditional Maine Mittens. I have to cram as much knitting content as I can onto this blog before Jason comes back!

Reply · 2

Fruit-Themed Running Clothes for Adults

”fruit-shorts-copy.jpg”
Last Friday I asked for suggestions on where I might find bright, fruit-themed running clothes for adults (FTRCfA), and I was not disappointed. Commenter Seth wrote:

As a runner myself I always found BOA Running shorts and Chicknleg running shorts to have fun patterns. Last I checked both had at least a strawberry pattern to meet your fruit needs.

I had not heard of either brand before, but he was right, and the strawberry women’s shorts at BOA were even on sale. They also have cute peach ones, for both men and women. At Chicknleg I went for the pineapples and sea turtles. The snails were also tempting. Thank you, and I’m looking forward to wearing these silly, cheerful clothes come summer. I only started running at the beginning of the pandemic, but it has transformed my life. I didn’t think it would change my relationship with clothing, but it’s so much easier to wear goofy, neon stuff this way, and to not feel ridiculous about it — or to enjoy feeling ridiculous.

Reply · 0

I’d Knit That: Kendall Ross’s Knitted Wearable Artworks

a sweater with several brightly colored patches with knitted words

a cream-colored sweater with lots of words and objects knitted into it

a white sweater with lots of words knitted into it

a brightly colored sweater with lots of words knitted into it

I love these busy, wordy, and brightly colored sweaters from Kendall Ross. From her about page:

Kendall Ross, aka “I’d Knit That”, is an Oklahoma City based fiber artist. She is best known for hand-knitting colorful, wearable art pieces. She uses intricate hand-knitting colorwork methods like intarsia and fair isle to illustrate images and incorporate her original texts into the fabric of her work. Each stitch on every sweater, vest, mural, and textile is painstakingly planned and knit over countless hours using two needles and wool.

You can check out more of Ross’s work on Instagram.

Reply · 0

Project Primrose: Interactive Digital Fashion

At their recent creativity conference, Adobe showed off Project Primrose, in the form of a dress that changes colors and patterns at the click of a button. The garment could also display animations, including ones that respond to the wearer’s movements. From The Kid Should See This:

Created with small scales or petals that are programmed with Adobe software, the futuristic ‘fabric’ can be used for clothing, handbags, curtains, furniture, and endless other surfaces.

Research Scientist Christine Dierk and her team designed and programmed everything about it. Dierk also stitched it together.


An Update on the Squiggle Shirts

”a

Hey folks. Just wanted to check in with how The Process Tee is going. We’ve sold quite of a few of them so far, and I’ve just sent off the first of hopefully many donations to the National Network of Abortion Funds to the tune of $1288 to support their mission of working towards a world “where all reproductive options, including abortion, are valued and free of coercion”.

Thanks so much to everyone who has bought a shirt so far! If you’d like to purchase one of your own, you can check out the original post for more information and the ordering links.


The Process Tee

”two

When you start something new, how do you know where you’re going to end up? Most of the time, you don’t — you stumble around for awhile, exploring uncertainly until, slowly, things start to make sense. That messy journey is all part of the process. Designer Damien Newman and I have teamed up with Cotton Bureau to make some t-shirts featuring his Design Squiggle that illustrate this untidy pattern of creativity. The Process Tee is available in two varieties — light design on dark fabric and dark design on light fabric — and 50% of the profits will be donated to a charitable organization (more on that below).

Newman originally came up with the Design Squiggle (aka The Process of Design Squiggle) more than 20 years ago to explain how design worked to some of his clients. Here’s his description:

The Design Squiggle is a simple illustration of the design process. The journey of researching, uncovering insights, generating creative concepts, iteration of prototypes and eventually concluding in one single designed solution. It is intended to convey the feeling of the journey. Beginning on the left with mess and uncertainty and ending on the right in a single point of focus: the design.

Although it originated in the design world, the Squiggle is handy for understanding or describing the process of many different creative endeavors. If you asked a chef, a scientist, a writer, a programmer, or an artist to describe how they got from their starting point to an end result, I think it would look a lot like the Squiggle. So what’s this shirt about? The Process of Design. The Process of Writing. Cooking. Art-making. Science. Learning a New Skill. Creativity. The Messy Process of Becoming a Better Human.

The Process Tee is short-sleeved and available in unisex, fitted, and youth sizes in several light (white, heather white, heather gray, banana, banana cream, pink, gold) and dark colors (black, royal blue, red, green, purple, orange) with sizes ranging from S to 5X, which I hope will work for almost everyone. I ordered a few test shirts to figure out the sizing and placement of the Squiggle and I think they turned out really well: sharp, simple, and even a little enigmatic.

50% of the profits from these tees will be donated to the National Network of Abortion Funds. Access to safe, legal abortion is essential health care and we’re supporting the NNAF in their mission to work towards a world “where all reproductive options, including abortion, are valued and free of coercion”.

Update: I’ve sent two donations to the NNAF so far, for a total of $3,640. Thanks for helping support such a great cause — I will continue to update this post with further donation amounts.

Update: Sent another donation from the past month of sales: $432 for a total of $4,072 donated so far!


Star Wars by Balenciaga

Well this is some bizarre good fun — turns out that the campy goofiness of Star Wars and the campy seriousness of high fashion make for a pretty good combination.

See also Lord of the Rings by Balenciaga and Game of Thrones by Balenciaga. Oh, and Hipster Star Wars.


Kottke 25: One More Chance for Hypertext Tees

”two

In celebration of the site’s 25th anniversary, I’ve turned ordering back on for Kottke Hypertext Tees for the next day or so. Here’s what I wrote about them last month:

For much of the nearly 25-year lifespan of kottke.org, the site’s tagline has been “home of fine hypertext products”. I always liked that it felt olde timey and futuristic at the same time, although hypertext itself has become antiquated — no one talks of hypertextual media anymore even though we’re all soaking in it.

And so but anyway, I thought it would fun to turn that tagline into a t-shirt, so I partnered with the good folks at Cotton Bureau to make a fine “hypertext” product that you can actually buy and wear around and eventually it’ll wear out and then you can use it to wash your car. If you want to support the site and look good doing it, you can order a Kottke.org Hypertext Tee right now.

You can check out my original post for more details. These shirts were super popular (I sold almost 3X as many as I thought I would) so I figured I’d make them available again for folks who hadn’t seen them the first time around.


Last Call for Kottke Hypertext Tees

”two

Hey everyone — at the end of the day tomorrow (Feb 22), I’m going to shut off ordering for these stylish Kottke.org Hypertext Tees, so if you want one and haven’t ordered one yet, now’s your chance. Here’s what I wrote about the shirts earlier this month:

For much of the nearly 25-year lifespan of kottke.org, the site’s tagline has been “home of fine hypertext products”. I always liked that it felt olde timey and futuristic at the same time, although hypertext itself has become antiquated — no one talks of hypertextual media anymore even though we’re all soaking in it.

And so but anyway, I thought it would fun to turn that tagline into a t-shirt, so I partnered with the good folks at Cotton Bureau to make a fine “hypertext” product that you can actually buy and wear around and eventually it’ll wear out and then you can use it to wash your car. If you want to support the site and look good doing it, you can order a Kottke.org Hypertext Tee right now.

A huge thank you to everyone who has ordered a shirt so far! They have proven remarkably popular — I’ve sold more than twice as many as my top-end estimate and way more than I sold the last time around.1 A few of you have tagged me on social media with shots of your shirts…keep ‘em coming!

P.S. If you want a shirt but your budget doesn’t allow for it right now, I have a small number of discount codes for free shirts (the discount covers shipping too, I think). Let me know and I’ll hook you up, no questions asked (while supplies last). Free codes are all spoken for, sorry!

  1. I mentioned the surprisingly strong sales to my 13-year-old daughter the other day and after thinking about it for a bit, she said, “Well, plain t-shirts with a simple word or logo on them are pretty popular right now, so I think you’ve tapped into that trend.” So….??!


The Kottke.org T-shirt, a Fine Hypertext Product

For much of the nearly 25-year lifespan of kottke.org, the site’s tagline has been “home of fine hypertext products”. I always liked that it felt olde timey and futuristic at the same time, although hypertext itself has become antiquated — no one talks of hypertextual media anymore even though we’re all soaking in it.

And so but anyway, I thought it would fun to turn that tagline into a t-shirt, so I partnered with the good folks at Cotton Bureau to make a fine “hypertext” product that you can actually buy and wear around and eventually it’ll wear out and then you can use it to wash your car. If you want to support the site and look good doing it, you can order a Kottke.org Hypertext Tee right now.

”two

The shirts are short-sleeved and available in men’s, women’s, and youth sizes in three colors (black, white, and heather black) and sizes from S to 3XL, which I hope will work for almost everyone. The text is Gotham Light (from Hoefler&Co., designed by Tobias Frere-Jones) and takes the colors of the current kottke.org header background, which I brightened up to look better on the shirt. Prices are $33 for adult sizes and $29 for kids, plus shipping.

I have several Cotton Bureau shirts in my closet and the samples I ordered of the hypertext shirt look great. If you want my advice, it looks slightly better in solid black, but you can’t go wrong with any of the colors and nothing is stopping you from ordering one of each color.

The Kottke.org Hypertext Tee will only be available to order for the next two weeks — after that: poof, gone. So order yours today!


The Magic of Invisible Mending

A father and daughter at a tailoring workshop in Japan have mastered kaketsugi, the art of invisibly mending clothes — that is, repairing holes and tears in fabric so seamlessly and completely that they appear to never have been damaged in the first place. The before and after photos are incredible…you absolutely cannot tell where the repair was made, even under close inspection.

before and after views of a piece of repaired clothing

before and after views of a piece of repaired clothing

A short 5-minute video of the pair at work is available on YouTube while a 25-minute feature is available here. (via iancu)


The Rembrandt Book Bracelet

a bracelet made out of tiny Rembrandt drawings of hands being worn on someone's wrist

a bracelet made out of tiny Rembrandt drawings of hands

Inspired by the online availability of high resolution images from the Rijksmuseum's collection, design firm Duinker and Dochters created a book of 1400 images of hands from Rembrandt’s work that is wearable as a bracelet. From the Cooper Hewitt:

Designers Lia Duinkers and Lyske Gais, are fascinated by the details Rembrandt achieved in his depiction of hands. From hundreds of images of Rembrandt’s hand illustrations, they created an intriguing book-bracelet, an intricate piece that not only pays homage to the talent of Rembrandt, but also spotlights the genius of Duinker and Gais’s skills in graphic design, bookbinding, and jewelry design. Entitled “Rembrandt’s Hands and a Lion’s Paw” the book-bracelet is comprised of 1400 miniature pictures of hands derived from 303 Rembrandt etchings and drawings in the collection of the Rikjsmuseum and available as high-resolution images on the museum’s website.

Here’s what the bracelet looks like in its storage box:

”a

What a fantastic little object…you can marvel about how it was made on their website. (via colossal)


The History of Blue Jeans

This is a short clip of a PBS American Experience episode called Riveted: The History of Jeans. It traces the origin of blue jeans back to India and Europe:

James Sullivan, Author: We’re not quite sure exactly where the fabric originated, but there are several hints: One is Dungri, India, where as early as the 17th century, they were creating a coarse cloth for workers, eventually called dungaree. There’s the Genoans of Italy, who had a certain type of sail cloth that was eventually fashioned into work pants. And there’s Nimes, France where the cloth there was known as “serge de Nimes.” Not always but very often, these various types of cloth were dyed blue. Probably to hide dirt as much as anything.

Rabbit Goody, Weaver: So, we have blue “jean” from Genoa, we have blue “de Nimes” or denim coming from Nimes but when we make it into pants in America, we end up morphing the garment into blue jeans.

When denim came to America, much of the labor to produce it and knowledge of the process for dying it blue came from enslaved people who had been working with indigo for hundreds of years in Africa:

Daina Berry, Historian: In fact we know the names of all the enslaved people that were owned by the Lucas and Pinckney family. These are generations of families. We’re not just talking about a husband and a wife, or a mom and a dad. We see grandparents on this list. They’re the ones that came from communities that dyed all kinds of cloth beautiful colors. They’re the ones that had the knowledge of indigo; they’re the ones that created generations of wealth for these white slave-holding families.

Evan Morrison, Collector: Back in the 19th century denim really dominated because it’s a strong weave. So with the rise in durable cotton goods, denim made itself the accepted second skin in terms of cloth that was put into clothing meant for laborious work.

Seth Rockman, Historian: So as American cotton manufacturing begins to sort of find its footing in the 18-teens and 1820s, mills in Rhode Island, mills in Massachusetts, mills in New Hampshire, they need a source of cotton. And the only source of cotton that’s available to make these mills economically viable is cotton that’s being grown by enslaved men, women, and children in the American South.

If you’re in the US, you can watch the entire episode on PBS or on the PBS website.


Temperature Textiles

a blanket with a pattern of CO2 emissions trends on it

a scarf with a pattern of global temperature trends on it

”socks

Temperature Textiles are knitted textiles like blankets, scarves, and socks with patterns drawn from climate crisis indicators like temperature, sea level rise, and CO2 emissions. See also Global Warming Blankets. (via colossal)


Fashion for Hostile Architecture

a woman sitting against a slanted wall

four people dressed in blue track suits

”a

Artist Sarah Ross’s project Archisuits draws attention to architecture in LA that is specifically designed to prohibit people from sitting on it. Each suit is produced to fit into a specific hostile architectural element so that the wearer can sit or lie comfortably on it.


Arctic Snow Goggles

snow goggles

snow goggles

snow goggles

snow goggles

”snow

For thousands of years, Yupik and Inuit people have made snow goggles from various materials (bone, wood, whale baleen) to help protect their eyes from the sun and, more importantly, from the sunlight reflected off the Arctic snow. The narrow slits also help with the wearers’ visual acuity. Clive Thompson explains in this piece for Smithsonian:

This style of eyewear can even improve vision, as Ann Fienup-Riordan discovered one day in 2010. An Anchorage-based anthropologist who works with the Yupik people to develop exhibits and books about their culture, she had recently undergone surgery on her retinas, and “the vision in my right eye was still pretty fuzzy,” she says. But when she held the Yupik goggles up to her eyes? “I could see!”

What was going on? It turns out the slit focuses the light, much as a pinhole camera does. As a result, far-off objects appear sharper “and your vision was much, much better,” Fienup-Riordan says. Long before the invention of eyeglasses with glass or plastic lenses, Alaska’s indigenous inhabitants, including the Yupik people, devised their own corrective eyewear. Phillip Moses, a tribal member in Toksook Bay, calls them “Yupik prescription sunglasses.”

Snow goggles were probably the first wearable corrective device to be invented.


How to Make a Bespoke Savile Row Suit

As part of an online course on fashion and design, MoMA visited the Savile Row tailors Anderson & Sheppard to learn how they go about making one of their bespoke suits.

Behind a drawn curtain, a master cutter takes an initial series of 27 measurements: 20 for the jacket, 7 for the trousers. From these measurements, the cutter fashions a pattern in heavy brown paper. At the cutter’s table, the cloth is cut in using heavy shears, and the many pieces of fabric are rolled for each garment into tiny packages, which await the tailors.

See also $399 Suit Vs $7900 Suit. And you can check out the rest of the MoMA’s online course Fashion as Design in this YouTube playlist.


Everyday Paparazzi

a man dressed in a wide brimmed hat, vest, and black boots walks down the street

two women walk arm in arm down the street

”a

Johnny Cirillo photographs people on the streets of New York in the style of paparazzi (half a block away with a long lens) and posts them, with permission, to his Instagram account. From an interview with Cirillo in Vogue:

I decided early-on that if I was going to shoot candids of New Yorkers, I didn’t want it to be with a wide lens, up-close in their faces. I started using a 200mm lens so that I could be half a city block away from the subject. It’s similar to the way paparazzi shoot, and all my subjects are celebrities to me, so it’s fitting in that respect.

(via life is so beautiful)


The Fashionable Mark Bryan

Mark Bryan, wearing a dress and heels

Mark Bryan, wearing a dress and heels

”Mark

For the past year, robotic engineer Mark Bryan has amassed hundreds of thousands of followers on Instagram by cataloguing his daily outfits that include skirts and heels. From a profile in Interview:

By all accounts, Mark Bryan is an average, run-of-the-mill guy. The 61-year-old grandfather of four has been happily married to his wife for the past 11 years. In 2010, he moved from Texas to a town near Schwäbisch Hall, Germany, where he now works in robotics engineering and coaches a local football team. He loves cycling and fast cars and beautiful women, and he tries to exercise at least twice a week. Oh, and he looks great in a pencil skirt and a pair of six-inch stilettos.

He looks fantastic. If I have legs like that when I’m 61, I might wear skirts and heels all the time too. Here’s the caption from his first Instagram post in Feb 2020:

I am just a normal happily married straight guy that loves Porsche’s, beautiful women, and likes to incorporate a skirt and heels into his daily wardrobe. Clothes and shoes should have no gender.


Seal Skin Spacesuit Made by Inuit Artists

”Seal

Working with Dr. Heather Igloliorte at Montreal’s Concordia University, Inuit artist Jesse Tungilik and a group of students designed and built a spacesuit made out of seal skin. Tungilik was inspired by the feelings he’d had as a child, bundled up in hunting clothes made by his mother out of caribou hide.

When Jesse Tungilik was a child, his mother made him traditional caribou hunting clothes. While wearing the bulky, heavy handmade outfit, he often imagined that he was in a spacesuit.

“That memory stuck with me when I heard about this opportunity here at Concordia, with its future-themed focus, and the two ideas met in the middle,” Tungilik says.

The image above is a still from a video taken by Brittany Hobson of the spacesuit on display in an exhibition at the Qaumajuq museum in Winnipeg. She says “the video doesn’t do it justice” but the suit looks pretty amazing in that video — I would love to see this in person someday. Dr. Igloliorte, who co-curated the exhibition, talked about the suit and its creation in this video:

Via CBC, you can see a photo of Tungilik as a kid, bundled up in his homemade “spacesuit” while out hunting with his father. Aww. (via @UnlikelyWorlds)


The Benefits of Collecting - “One Thing Leads to Another”

This video is a lovely little rumination by Iancu Barbarasa “about collecting, cycling caps, art and design, personal connections and why it’s worth doing something for a long time, even if the benefits are not clear at first.”

Many think some people are special but usually those people just put a lot more time in it than others. This applies to sports, arts, almost everything. It’s worth doing something for a long time, even if the benefits are not always clear. Good surprising things come out of it. You also learn about yourself in the process.

His inspiration in doing the film was to “inform, delight, and inspire”:

I mentioned above Milton Glaser’s “inform and delight” definition of art. It’s brilliant, but I always felt something was still missing from it. So I’d say that art — and any creative’s work — should aim to “inform, delight and inspire”. Hopefully my film will inspire people to start something of their own, or share what they’re already doing with other people. That would bring joy to everyone, and there’s never too much of it.

You can check out Barbarasa’s cycling cap collection on Instagram. I have never been much of a collector, but my 22+ years of efforts on this site (collecting knowledge/links?) and my sharing of photos on Flickr/Instagram over the years definitely have resulted in some of the same benefits.


Buddhist Monk and Makeup Artist Kodo Nishimura

Kodo Nishimura

Meet Kodo Nishimura, a Buddhist monk and makeup artist. Nishimura, who is gender fluid and uses he/him pronouns, struggled with his peers' rigid concepts about gender as a teen in Japan, but found greater acceptance and a career in NYC before deciding to return to Japan to train as a monk, just as his parents had before him. As you might imagine for someone with one foot in two very different cultures, it has been difficult for Nishimura to simultaneously navigate both of those worlds and their attendant expectations.

For the next two years, Nishimura lived a double life: an openly gay makeup artist when he was in NYC and a closeted Buddhist monk trainee when he was in Japan. "I didn't want the impression of other monks to be degraded because of me," he recalls. It wasn't until confiding in his master that Nishimura realized the futility of his concerns. His master expressed: "The most important message of our denomination [Pure Land Buddhism] is to let people know that we can all be saved regardless of our sexuality, gender or fashion preferences."

You can check out more about Nishimura on his website or on Instagram. (via spoon & tamago)

Update: Thanks to Caroline and @anatsuno for some language-related feedback on this post. I added that Nishimura explicitly uses he/him pronouns and clarified that he “is gender fluid” and not just “identifies as gender fluid”.


Cute Laundry Shop Couple Stylishly Models Clothes Left Behind by Their Patrons

Laundry Shop Models

Laundry Shop Models

”Laundry

One of the downsides of running a laundry shop is sometimes people drop off their clothes to be cleaned and they never come back to pick them up or, crucially, to pay the bill for services already rendered. About a month ago, Reef Chang came up with the idea of styling his octogenarian grandparents in some of the forgotten clothes from their Taiwan laundry shop and posted the results to Instagram. The internet, starving for positivity in the midst of global turmoil, responded energetically to the upstart modeling careers of Chang Wan-ji and Hsu Sho-er. The NY Times reports:

They are naturals in front of the camera. Ms. Hsu, 84, exudes the haughtiness of a supermodel but retains an air of playfulness. Mr. Chang, 83, is the perfect foil, complementing his wife’s swagger with a chill disposition while rocking bountiful eyebrows.

“His eyebrows really are something else,” Ms. Hsu said smiling in an interview in the rear of the laundry shop, next to a small shrine to the earth god Tudigong, a common feature of traditional Taiwanese homes.

The clothes they model are eclectic, funky and fun. Both can be seen in matching laced sneakers, and jauntily perched caps and hats. He sometimes sports brightly colored shades. One photo shows her leaning coolly against a giant washing machine, arms crossed, as he casually holds the open door, grinning. They pose at a place they know well — their shop, which provides an industrious backdrop of customers’ laundry, stacked and rolled into plastic bundles or hanging from racks.

Check out the couple’s continuing fashion journey on Instagram.


Dancer Misty Copeland Recreates Degas Ballet Paintings & Sculpture

”Misty

As part of their NYC Dance Project and in partnership with Harper’s Bazaar, photographers Ken Browar and Deborah Ory photographed Misty Copeland, a principal dancer with the prestigious American Ballet Theatre, recreating scenes from the works of French artist Edgar Degas. Above, Copeland poses as the subject of Degas’ La Petite Danseuse de Quatorze Ans (Little Dancer of Fourteen Years) dressed in a $9000 Alexander McQueen dress & corset.

The Harper’s piece vaguely hints at his representation of the ballerinas being “far from sympathetic” but as Julia Fiore wrote in The Sordid Truth behind Degas’s Ballet Dancers, the reality of the Parisian ballet that he was depicting was unsettling.

The formerly upright ballet had taken on the role of unseemly cabaret; in Paris, its success was almost entirely predicated on lecherous social contracts. Sex work was a part of a ballerina’s reality, and the city’s grand opera house, the Palais Garnier, was designed with this in mind. A luxuriously appointed room located behind the stage, called the foyer de la danse, was a place where the dancers would warm up before performances. But it also served as a kind of men’s club, where abonnés — wealthy male subscribers to the opera — could conduct business, socialize, and proposition the ballerinas.

Degas himself did not partake in this scene; he was a misogynist celibate, a Belle Époque incel if you will:

For Degas, the fact that young dancers had sex with old men read not as abuse on the part of the latter but as sin on the part of the former. He assumed girls’ transactions with powerful men meant they could pull strings from behind the scenes, a thought that elicited both horror and fascination. Degas clearly saw something vital in his recurring subjects, who spurred quotes from him like, “I have locked away my heart in a pink satin slipper.”

Degas’ disdain for women — and ballerinas in particular — is writ across “Little Dancer” itself, whose sculptural features were altered to emphasize van Goethem’s moral degeneracy. Degas subscribed to physiognomy, which presumes that criminal behaviors are passed on genetically and thus manifest in physical features. And so he flattened van Goethem’s skull and stretched her chin so she appeared especially “primitive,” a visual reflection of an internal state.

The subject of La Petite Danseuse de Quatorze Ans, Marie van Goethem, did not remain a ballerina for that long after posing for the sculpture:

Marie van Goethem was the “petit rat” who posed for the sculpture, and she likely engaged in the sexually predatory economy of the ballet world to survive. Van Goethem disappeared from the public eye shortly after the sculpture was completed; after being late to a rehearsal, the Paris Opera Ballet dismissed her. The teenager probably returned home to follow in the footsteps of her mother — a laundress and likely prostitute — and older sister, who was also a sex worker.

I wonder if the photographers were aware of this context when taking these photos? Is there something about the photos, about Copeland’s life story or status as a prominent Black ballerina, or about dressing her in thousands of dollars of contemporary couture that subverts Degas’ work and its themes? If so, I’d be fascinated to read an expert analysis that explored these issues. (via cup of jo)


You Should Be Wearing a Face Mask

”Wear

Have you been wearing a face mask when going out in public recently? There’s been a lot of debate recently about whether they are effective in keeping people safe from COVID-19 infection, and it’s been really challenging to find good information. After reading several things over the past few days, I have concluded that wearing a mask in public is a helpful step I can take to help keep myself and others safe, with the important caveat that healthcare workers need access to masks before the rest of us (see below). In particular, I found this extensive review of the medical and scientific literature on mask & respirator use helpful, including why research on mask efficacy is so hard to do and speculation on why the CDC and WHO generally don’t recommend wearing them.

I was able to find one study like this outside of the health care setting. Some people with swine flu travelled on a plane from New York to China, and many fellow passengers got infected. Some researchers looked at whether passengers who wore masks throughout the flight stayed healthier. The answer was very much yes. They were able to track down 9 people who got sick on the flight and 32 who didn’t. 0% of the sick passengers wore masks, compared to 47% of the healthy passengers. Another way to look at that is that 0% of mask-wearers got sick, but 35% of non-wearers did. This was a significant difference, and of obvious applicability to the current question.

See also this review of relevant scientific literature, this NY Times piece, this Washington Post opinion piece by Jeremy Howard (who is on a Twitter mission to get everyone to wear masks):

When historians tally up the many missteps policymakers have made in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the senseless and unscientific push for the general public to avoid wearing masks should be near the top.

The evidence not only fails to support the push, it also contradicts it. It can take a while for official recommendations to catch up with scientific thinking. In this case, such delays might be deadly and economically disastrous. It’s time to make masks a key part of our fight to contain, then defeat, this pandemic. Masks effective at “flattening the curve” can be made at home with nothing more than a T-shirt and a pair of scissors. We should all wear masks — store-bought or homemade — whenever we’re out in public.

At the height of the HIV crisis, authorities did not tell people to put away condoms. As fatalities from car crashes mounted, no one recommended avoiding seat belts. Yet in a global respiratory pandemic, people who should know better are discouraging Americans from using respiratory protection.

I have to admit that I have not been wearing a mask out in public — I’ve been to the grocery store only three times in the past two weeks, I go at off-hours, and it’s rural Vermont, so there’s not actually that many people about (e.g. compared to Manhattan). But I’m going to start wearing one in crowded places (like the grocery store) because doing so could a) safeguard others against my possible infection (because asymptomatic people can still be contagious), b) make it less likely for me to get infected, and c) provide a visible signal to others in my community to normalize mask wearing. As we’ve seen in epidemic simulations, relatively small measures can have outsize effects in limiting later infections & deaths, and face masks, even if a tiny bit effective, can have a real impact.

Crucially, the available research and mask advocates stress the importance of wearing masks properly and responsibly. Here are some guidelines I compiled about responsible mask usage:

  • Don’t buy masks (or use new masks you might have at home) while there is a shortage for healthcare workers, especially not N95 respirators (which are difficult to use properly anyway). Make a mask at home. Skiers & snowboarders, wear your buffs or ski masks. Donate any unused masks or respirators you may have to healthcare workers.

  • Make sure your mask fits properly — limit any gaps between the mask and your face as much as you can. (Facial hair can limit mask effectiveness.)

  • While wearing your mask in public, don’t fuss with it — touching your face is bad, remember? Wear it at home for a few hours to get used to the sensation. Then when you’re ready to go out, put it on properly and don’t touch it again until you’re back home (or in the car or whatever). Part of the point of the mask is for you to touch your face less.

  • Limit reuse of potentially contaminated masks. Discard or, if possible, wash or disinfect masks after public usage or at the end of the day.

  • Wearing a mask doesn’t mean you can safely go do a bunch of things without fear of getting infected. The idea here is to protect yourself while engaging in necessary activities in public. Wearing a mask doesn’t mean you can visit grandma safely or discard the six-feet-away rule.

  • Don’t do anything stupid like spraying your mask with a household cleaner that contains bleach and put it on. Come on.

So that’s what I’ve personally concluded from all my reading. I hope wearing masks can help keep us a little safer during all of this.

Update: From Ferris Jabr at Wired, It’s Time to Face Facts, America: Masks Work.

It is unequivocally true that masks must be prioritized for health care workers in any country suffering from a shortage of personal protective equipment. But the conflicting claims and guidelines regarding their use raise three questions of the utmost urgency: Do masks work? Should everyone wear them? And if there aren’t enough medical-grade masks for the general public, is it possible to make a viable substitute at home? Decades of scientific research, lessons from past pandemics, and common sense suggest the answer to all of these questions is yes.

Update: The Atlantic’s Ed Yong weighs in on masks:

In Asia, masks aren’t just shields. They’re also symbols. They’re an affirmation of civic-mindedness and conscientiousness, and such symbols might be important in other parts of the world too. If widely used, masks could signal that society is taking the pandemic threat seriously. They might reduce the stigma foisted on sick people, who would no longer feel ashamed or singled out for wearing one. They could offer reassurance to people who don’t have the privilege of isolating themselves at home, and must continue to work in public spaces. “My staff have also mentioned that having a mask reminds them not to touch their face or put a pen in their mouth,” Bourouiba noted.

He also writes about something I’ve been wondering about: is the virus airborne, what does that even mean, when will we know for sure, and how should that affect our behavior in the meantime?

These particles might not even have been infectious. “I think we’ll find that like many other viruses, [SARS-CoV-2] isn’t especially stable under outdoor conditions like sunlight or warm temperatures,” Santarpia said. “Don’t congregate in groups outside, but going for a walk, or sitting on your porch on a sunny day, are still great ideas.”

You could tie yourself in knots gaming out the various scenarios that might pose a risk outdoors, but Marr recommends a simple technique. “When I go out now, I imagine that everyone is smoking, and I pick my path to get the least exposure to that smoke,” she told me. If that’s the case, I asked her, is it irrational to hold your breath when another person walks past you and you don’t have enough space to move away? “It’s not irrational; I do that myself,” she said. “I don’t know if it makes a difference, but in theory it could. It’s like when you walk through a cigarette plume.”

And from the WHO, here’s a video on how to wear a mask properly.

Update: One of the reasons I started to wear a mask when I go out in public was to “provide a visible signal to others in my community to normalize mask wearing”. Maciej Cegłowski’s post touches on this and other reasons to wear a mask that don’t directly have to do with avoiding infection.

A mask is a visible public signal to strangers that you are trying to protect their health. No other intervention does this. It would be great if we had a soap that turned our hands gold for an hour, so everyone could admire our superb hand-washing technique. But all of the behaviors that benefit public health are invisible, with the exception of mask wearing.

If I see you with a mask on, it shows me you care about my health, and vice versa. This dramatically changes what it feels like to be in a public space. Other people no longer feel like an anonymous threat; they are now your teammates in a common struggle.


The Times of Bill Cunningham

In 1994, legendary street fashion photographer Bill Cunningham gave a six-hour interview about his life and work. This interview was recently rediscovered and made into a documentary called The Times of Bill Cunningham. Here’s a trailer:

The movie is out in theaters, but the reviews so far are mixed, especially when compared to the rave reviews received by 2011’s Bill Cunningham New York. Still, Cunningham is a gem and I will watch this at some point soon. (via recs)


Tintin, under-appreciated dresser

Les aventures de Tintin

The first thing that comes to mind is that Tintin was always dressed the same, but he did actually dress a whole bunch of different ways and Tayler Willson takes us through a few of the stylistic choices Hergé made for his legendary character.

His most iconic outfit - and his most high-end look, too - is best probably described as sleek, West End, hipster journalist. Like a Fashion Editor at a tabloid paper. It's a rig that consists of a beige knee-length pea coat, a wide-legged pair of pin-rolled rust pants, with high white socks and a pair of clean, brown Paraboots. The perfect autumnal outfit if ever we'd seen one.

Reading this, I also realized that, although I doubt he would have read the magazine, Tintin would have been right at home in many a Monocle fashion spread.

Such was his versatility though, Tintin came into his own in colder climates. Arguably his best - and certainly most DeckOutand~About - look saw him sport a large, padded ski jacket with a drawstring bow at the neck, a mountain backpack clipped and secured across his chest and a mustard yellow beanie, like something from a Berghaus handbook. It's known as 'technical outerwear' on the streets nowadays, but we still like to call it Big Coat Weather. It's the kind of outfit you'd see at the peak of Mount Snowdon, or in the smoking area of your local boozer on a Saturday night.

Tintin dressed for winter


Boda Boda Madness

Boda Boda Madness

Boda Boda Madness

Ugandan-Kenyan fashion designer Bobbin Case and Dutch artist Jan Hoek have collaborated on a project called Boda Boda Madness. Inspired by the elaborate decorations used by some boda boda (motorbike taxi) drivers in Nairobi to attract customers, Case designed costumes to go with each bike’s decorations and Hoek photographed the results. After the fact, the coordinated outfits proved good for business:

The nice thing is that because of their new outfits their income went up, so they really kept on using their costumes.

Hoek also did a project called Scooters Will Never Die, in which he worked with a group of Africa refugees in Amsterdam to customize scooters to their riders’ specifications.

”Boda

(via colossal)


Bill Cunningham: On the Street

Bill Cunningham Book

Until his death in 2016, Bill Cunningham captured the fashions of people walking the streets and catwalks of NYC and elsewhere, mostly for the NY Times over the past five decades. A new book, Bill Cunningham: On the Street, is the first published collection of his work and includes more than 700 photos along with a number of essays by friends, subjects, and cultural critics.

Bill Cunningham Book

You can read more about Cunningham and the photos in the book in a pair of Times articles: The Amazing Treasure Trove of Bill Cunningham and Seeing What Bill Cunningham Saw, the latter of which describes so good ol’ fashioned digging through the archives to find some gems:

Then there were “black hole” years, when his photos ended up in the database with gibberish on them. Someone created a template to make things easier for captioning, but it wasn’t used properly. Hundreds of photos just have the template on them, over and over again.

Large chunks of Bill’s work simply could not be found.

When I was going through the files for 2009, I was unable to find his photos from Barack Obama’s inauguration. (Bill went down to Washington for the day and devoted his column to it.) This material would have been completely lost had it not been for the Times archivist Jeffrey Roth, who just happened to have saved a few boxes of seemingly unnecessary paper printouts of Bill’s photos from 2009 and a few other years. It was one of those “I’ve been meaning to throw these out …” kind of things.

I looked through one of the boxes and, astoundingly, unearthed printouts of the inauguration photos. The printouts led me, via a tortuous back-roads path, to the digital files. As it turned out, not even Bill’s name was on many hundreds of his images. I would go on to find other must-have images in those boxes as well.

You can order the book on Amazon.


Advertise here with Carbon Ads

This site is made possible by member support. ❤️

Big thanks to Arcustech for hosting the site and offering amazing tech support.

When you buy through links on kottke.org, I may earn an affiliate commission. Thanks for supporting the site!

kottke.org. home of fine hypertext products since 1998.

🍔  💀  📸  😭  🕳️  🤠  🎬  🥔