Playing with old jewelry pieces

Playing with old jewelry pieces

A few years ago, during one of my visits to Venice I ran into a shop that sold all kinds of beads. You could find locally inspired ones made of glass and others made of diverse materials coming from different places. I liked many but I decided to buy only two. My idea was to use them as a single element to create new necklaces. 

These two were waiting for the day that I would make something of them. Once, looking for something to accessorize my outfit, I realised that one of these beads would be just perfect. Having only a few minutes left to get ready, I knew I wanted to wear this bead but it required a quick fix. I looked inside my jewelry box to try to find something I could quickly dismantle in order to reuse its parts and assemble a necklace. I experimented with a few golden pieces that I haven’t used for years: earrings, pendants and a thin chain. Pleased with the result, I continued wearing this idea in numerous occasions. The best was that this new necklace was changeable and open for a lot of possibilities to play with. 

To do the same, find an interesting bead and fish into your own jewelry box for a few other elements. Feel free to experiment using different pieces each time to get various different results. Let’s see yours!

The photos below give you an idea of how I’ve used the earrings and the pendants to create this necklace.

To begin with, choose the bead and the other elements you want to use and take a very thin chain. Then, double the chain and pass it trough the void in the bead. After that, open an earring and place it through the chain from one end and then place a pendant from the other end. Last but not least, close it!

HOW TO photos by Mili 

All the rest of the photos by Alexandra Vuiu

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Restyling with custom buttons

Restyling with custom buttons

What if you are so into details that you think that a few, seemingly unnoticeable, buttons can completely change your T-shirt and give it a fresh look?

Well, I never liked like the buttons on this top. I wanted to change them and give the overall outfit a more “sophisticated casual look”. After making up my mind, the next step was deciding about the buttons’ actual type and colour. They had to be a good choice that wouldn’t limit me too much when combining the top with other clothes and accessories. In the end, the best was to make changeable ones. And that’s what I did.

You can try this on different articles of clothing by using the buttons to make shapes or in the form of letters. You can even accessorize the edges or necklines. Depending on the size of the button you use, you can also attach it to some of your jeans that have those metal pieces around the pockets (just like I did on the denim skirt I’m wearing below). I encourage you to try and experiment, and achieve more with what you already have. I´d like to see your versions.

 

I took off the original buttons and I got a few press buttons along with some leather leftovers that I had from my previous projects. Then, I sew on one part of the press button to the t-shirt. This is the part of the button that will remain on the t-shirt when I wash it and the other part is the removable one. Using different colours and press buttons with gold and silver edges allows me to match them nicely to different accessories.

I cut circles of leather with a diameter similar to the button itself. Then, I pushed the leather circle into the press button to dress it. I thought I would need to fix it using glue, but I tried one and I realized that there’s no need for that if you cut the perfect size. Start with a circle similar to the button and try it. If necessary, cut it a little bit smaller until it fits perfectly. Notice that if it’s too small it will fall out and if it’s too big the leather lining will be wrinkled and not very neat. Check out the gallery below to see the process.

All photos by Mili

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What price are we willing to pay for our clothes?

What price are we willing to pay for our clothes?

Often, I get questions like “Why have you stopped buying certain brands?” or “Why would you decide to pay that much for a dress when you can get ten like those at another store?” (e.g. any of the fast fashion brands). So, how does it pay off for me?

To begin with, we probably don’t even need as many items as we seem to want, especially if they’re going to fall apart or look worn after a few washes. The main issue for me, however, comes from my personal set of values. I try to stick to these values as much as possible since I genuinely care about people and the environment and I strive to make more sustainable lifestyle decisions. My concerns shouldn’t be any different when it comes to shopping. Therefore, I’ve started to look at the values embedded in the price I’m actually paying for my clothes and thinking about how this is related to my personal values.

If you wish to do the same, here are some questions that you can ask yourself before your next and future purchases:

  • Is this item adding value to my life? How so?
  • How and where was this item made? Who was it made by and what was it made from?
  • What are the values promoted by this brand?
  • Am I paying the price for the quality, production and resources involved or merely for the “popularity” of the brand’s name?
  • What is the money I’m paying this item contributing to?
  • How much and/or How long am I going to use this item and where is it going to end up after?

By constantly reminding ourselves that everything we do has an impact on other people and our environment, we become more conscious of whatever we do. Don’t turn a blind eye when making your choices. They are either in line with your values or clashing with them. ”You cannot be neutral on a moving train”

Photo by Alexandra Vuiu

dress by Jessica Rose

 

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Why sometimes less is more

Why sometimes less is more

Following my decision to go towards what I’ve called “my conscious wardrobe” that resulted in a drastic downsizing and limiting of the numbers of items in my closet, I was asked the following question which came with a “side dish” comment: “Mili, what is this thing that you plan to use only a few items for your wardrobe? This is so stupid.”

So, why would anyone want to reduce their wardrobe or simply stop shopping for a while? Especially someone like me who’s really into fashion and design. And how come I think it’s all but stupid?

As I’ve mentioned before in my introductory post on this topic, I’ve parted from the capsule wardrobe concept. I started with 20-something items, not including accessories which was cheating on the capsule wardrobe concept from the start. However, the number itself didn’t really matter. What’s important was the intention: changing the whole approach I had had until then. My aim was to refine and maintain my unique and true style, and thus be more conscious about the choices I’m making. I believe that living in line with one’s personal values is the only way to lead a happy and meaningful life.

If I value people and the environment, it’s hard to ignore some of the reasons behind such a decision to change:

– The fashion industry as a whole creates a huge amount of pollution and waste as most of our clothes end up in landfills.

– Most of the items we buy are made by people who work in very poor or inhuman conditions.

– We spend our resources on items we never wear or only wear a few times. Quite often, a lot of time is gone on deciding what to wear and then we end up with “the usual” or something that just makes us feel uncomfortable. Ask yourself how many things you hardly ever wear, or how many times you’ve put something on only to find yourself thinking that you should have picked your favorite pair of jeans instead.

– Most intelligent individuals don’t consider that having a lot of clothes brings any value to their lives. In fact, too many items can create both physical and mental clutter. Having a lot to choose from overwhelms us as it depletes the willpower and mental energy we could better use in other, more meaningful aspects of our lives. No wonder many successful people either wear the same items or have someone choose for them.

Finally, working with less sets you out on a challenge. Empower yourself to choose an individual style and present yourself in the best way: the one that reflects you, with your personality and your values. Dare to be more creative in your looks and see how you can do more with what you already have by finding unique and innovative ways. ”Be the change you want to see”

 

 

If you’re curious and would like to learn more interesting facts or figures about the current state of the fashion industry and it’s overall environmental impact, check out the links I’ve added in the SOURCES section below. .

Photo by Carlos Kesgo

  • click here for Lucy Siegle‘s TEDx event talk: “An expose on the fashion industry by the Observer’s ‘Ethical Living’ columnist, examining the inhumane and environmentally devastating story behind the clothes we so casually buy and wear.”
  • click here for Christina Dean’s  TEDx event talk: “You are what you wear” 
  • click here for REDRESS web page – Redress is an environmental NGO working to reduce waste in the fashion industry. On their portal you can find a lot of interesting information and resources including some practical tips for consumers.

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Souvenir as an accessory

Souvenirs as accessories

When you’re passionate about something, it’s very hard not to notice it everywhere around you. For me, it happens time and again that I see things and I immediately think of ways to turn them into accessories or other useful objects. Here’s an example of some thinking out of the box: I used a souvenir to restyle a shirt. It was quick and it was easy.

In the gallery below, you can see a few suggestions on how to wear this homemade accessory with different outfits: be it casual, for the office or some other occasion. I hope you find it interesting.

For this project, I used two acrylic souvenirs I’d bought at the Glasgow School of Art Shop which were products celebrating GSA´s heritage and the architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Also, I used a piece of textile ribbon (you can take the ones that are used to hold garments’ labels or that are placed to keep clothes on the hangers) and a couple of different earrings. I connected the souvenirs with the ribbon making a bow and then I pinned the edges at the end of each souvenir on the shirt with the help of the earrings. A small tip to keep this structure in place is to use the silicon backs of the earrings.

the souvenir: laser cut acrylic motif > from the Mackintosh building at The Glasgow School of Art. This product is exclusive to The Glasgow School of Art Shop and made in Glasgow. You can buy it at GSA Shop or online.

earrings as pins > unknown

bag> Turleza   

bracelets> by Mili

All photos by Mili

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