The day I stopped buying clothes


Two years ago, I decided to stop buying clothes, as an experiment and as a personal challenge. I had realized that I really didn’t need more clothes. I spent six months without going shopping or clicking on the “add to cart” of the e-shops. A year later, I performed the experiment again, and also lasted six months or so.

The truth is that it was easy. Very easy. I do not remember why I put an end to the experiment, but I do know that it was not because I felt the impetuous need to buy. After this, I buy less, when I do it is because I need a particular garment and whims are practically minimal. I think that after following so many fashion blogs, reading more fashion magazines than my kiosk vendor knows about, and writing about fashion in several magazines and a newspaper, the consumer impulse has disappeared.

I have been asked many times why I became interested in fashion, but I think that I haven’t actually explained it on the blog. Photography made me fall in love with fashion. Specifically, this photography:


I saw the picture on a literature website, and I can’t explain why, but that scene fascinated me. Shortly after I found out that it was a photograph by Arthur Elgort with model Lily Cole published in Vogue UK. I researched the photographer’s work, which led me to meet other great talents like Steven Meisel, Annie Leibovitz, Helmut Newton, Paolo Roversi and Mario Testino, all of them contributors to the magazine. I decided to buy an issue, because it seemed that publication had great artists in their team. From that day on, I haven’t missed a single issue of Vogue. The editorials encouraged me to learn about the collections, designers, and about fashion as an industry, and I opened a blog to share this passion. You know the rest of the story.

Fashion for me has always been a form of creative self-expression, not just having a closet full of clothes that I do not even remember buying. I like to see the latest collections and marvel at the genius of Miuccia Prada, and I find it really interesting to observe the phenomenon of trends and their short but cyclical life-span, or analyze the changes in the marketing strategies of brands.

Every time I forget why I became interested in fashion, I re-watch this video of the  Alexander McQueen Spring/Summer 1999 fashion show:

I see this and I remember everything. In fact, I just re-watched it now and I am speechless. Someone said that fashion can not be considered art because it has an intrinsic commercial purpose, but I don’t think it is a convincing reason, especially after seeing this video. Under this premise, we could end the debate over whether the work of Jeff Koons is art or not.

- But let’s go back to what I wanted to tell you.

A few months ago I met Lula Rodriguez-Alarcón, communications director of Oxfam. It was a very cold day and I was wearing a black coat from a couple of seasons ago. “I like your coat!”, she said. I told her where I had purchased (at a lowcost label), and she said quickly: “Oh, it is very nice, but very unsustainable!”. She then proceeded to tell me that she hasn’t bought anything that isn’t fair trade, made in Spain or under labor law standards in the last four years.

“Many may think I might look like a mess, but I actually dress very nicely. After years of practice and the last four years in intensive, I have a huge wardrobe of wonderful clothes, with exceptional quality. So, yes you can be fashion victim and be an activist for labor rights around the world”, Lula explains in a post in 3500 Millions, the blog dedicated to poverty that she writes with Gonzalo Fanjul and other great contributors (if you do not know it I highly recommend it).

A week later she invited me to the store of Oxfam (c/ Alberto Aguilera 15) where they have fair trade products, from organic gardens kits to notebooks, including all kinds of food, in addition to their clothing brand Veraluna, a fashion company that to be fair trade is quite affordable. Maybe the problem with the sustainability of lowcost marks is not due to their low prices, but because of their business model…

You are probably thinking (me too, I admit) that most sustainable clothing is expensive, not pretty, not trendy, not easily accessible, and that, ultimately, it is hard to give up that pretty dress from that certain brand with questionable labor practices. But there are alternatives. Here you can see nine eco-friendly brands with good design (Ecoalf and Reformation are my favorite ones).

It is not a matter of becoming 100% eco overnight, but slowly adopt more sustainable practices. Simple things like not discarding something just because it’s from last season. It might seem logical, but not in the fashion industry. Once I went to an awards gala celebrated by a magazine wearing a dress that I had bought the previous year, and an editor friend of mine could not avoid pointing it out to me with disdain. Maybe I should have kept it in the closet and waited 20 years until it was deemed vintage and I could wear it again.

I encourage you to try the six months challenge. It is a good start.

10 steps to be more sustainable in fashion:
1. Commit to fair trade.
2. Support young and locally produced brands.
3. Shop less.
4. Recycle the clothes you no longer wear, donate, gift.
5. Beware of shirts worth €4. And those worth €60 as well. Look at the label.
6. Buy vintage or used clothing.
7. Quit the fast-fashion model.
8. Make your own clothes. Or go to a dressmaker.
9. Modify and alter garments to give them another chance.
10. Spread the message.

What do you think about this matter? How do you support sustainability in your closet? What proposals would you make to fashion brands?



1426243287_12_625 copiaT-shirt designed by Ana Kras in collaboration with Intermón Oxfam


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14 things to read about Mad Men


Mad Men is reaching its end and as the airing of the last episode comes closer, I feel more and more like Don Draper: I wonder what will become of my future, my days are meaningless, emptiness invades my life.

This series is one of those (few) series you can watch again and again and find new meanings and nuances that the first time had gone unnoticed. Matthew Weiner was able to slide plot keys in seemingly innocent but loaded with content places. Clothes on the floor, a shelf that seems to collapse, a wine-stained carpet. Everything means something.

Throughout these years hundreds of articles have been written on the series, every millimeter of each frame has been analyzed with the hope of finding out who is Don Draper. Instead of writing another article, I have decided to select some interesting pieces and interviews I’ve been reading over these past seven seasons. I have included some articles that I wrote in the blog too.

edward-hopper-wallpaperEdward Hopper’s influence on the aesthetics of the series
Alienation, anxiety and loneliness of Hopper’s paintings marked the cinema of the 40s, especially Hitchcock (as seen in Rear Window). The aesthetics of the American painter returns to our screens through Mad Men. A good analysis of the numerous references written by Carlos Reviriego.

8003_G27_fr46.tifFrom the beginning
Mad Men creators talk about the evolution of the series, from the first drafts until now.

About tales and short stories in the structure of the script
A great article by Enrique Vila-Matas about the fragmentation of the stories inside the series, where each moment can be appreciated as an independent story.

The movies that defined Mad Men
The films you have to see to understand the visual aesthetics of the series. North by Northwest, The Apartment, Vertigo… As recommended by Matthew Weiner.

The decorations, the furniture and the interior design
An analysis about most iconic decorations of the series, their meaning on the story and their relation to the characters through their evolution. This video is great too.

16 things you can learn thanks to Mad Men
Keep a change of clean clothes in your office, be mysterious, pretend to shoot your neighbor’s pigeons to release stress, and other lessons by the Draper family.

Captura de pantalla 2015-04-27 a la(s) 00.27.26Sally
Matthew Weiner and Kiernan Shipka (Sally in the series, what a great character), talk about what it means to grow up on the screen. 

Behind the cameras
Great photographs James Minchin taking during the filmings.

The costumes
Janie Bryant, costume designer, explains the details behind some of the most iconic outfits (there are just so many).

120326_mad-men-13_p323 copiaIt’s toasted’
The real ads that were published in The New Yorker during the time that the series takes place.

The editorial by Annie Leibovitz
A couple of years ago, Annie Leibovitz photographed January Jones and Jon Hamm as Betty and Don for Vanity Fair. The result is just astounding

don-draper-women-00The women of Don Draper
A walk through all the feminine characters in Don’s life, in illustrations.

madmen-annieleibovitz3Life cost
How much would you have to pay to live in an apartment like Peggy’s today? And for the three Martinis they have at lunches with clients? Here you have a price index to get an idea. 

dondraperinfernoWhat’s reading Don Draper?
An exhaustive list of every book that has appeared on the series. Included those on the shelves whose titles you can barely distinguish.

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