"toned-down" hippie?

Discussion in 'Fashion and Crafts' started by alycebgray, Aug 20, 2005.

  1. alycebgray

    alycebgray Member

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    So I love patchwork clothes...I think they're cool as hell...I have loved them since the day my favorite jeans ripped, when I was fifteen, and I sewed a patch over the hole & thought it was beautiful...HOWEVER, patchwork clothes are HOT (in the 5-0 sense of the word), and they tend to make "squares" automatically assume that one is disreputable.

    I know, I know. I'm not a "real" hippie. I'm a "sell-out." I'm a "coward." I should be proud of my hippiness, right? Well, see, it's not really that simple. After my son was born, I started thinking seriously about what I *really* wanted to do with my life, to make a difference in the world--the biggest difference that I could make. I decided that, since I'm really good at school, I should take my tripped-out, peace-loving, community-minded ass and "play The Game," to change society & The Establishment from the inside. So I'm planning to get a PhD in Chemistry (I'm almost done with my undergrad stuff), and use it to find a way to fix some of the problems that we people have created through our greed & selfishness. How does this relate to fashion? Let's face it: wearing patchwork clothing does not exactly create the impression that one is serious, hardworking, and motivated. Because I'm not interested in creating yet ANOTHER hurdle for myself (on top of the 2 biggies: a disabled husband and a two-year-old son) I prefer to dress less flamboyantly, in my day-to-day life.

    Don't get me wrong: I LOVE unique clothes. I have been sewing since I was five years old, and I haven't stopped yet. At the moment, most of the things I make are passably "normal"--they don't fall into a particular subculture, yet you'd never find them in a Mervyns, Sears, or Macy's. My clothes make me feel pretty, and I make them in "happy" colors, but no one looks at me and automatically thinks, "hippie."

    So, now that I'm done with my preamble, here's the question: is there anybody out there (heehee) who shares my feelings in regards to clothes? If you could find something that was totally unique & made you feel really beautiful, but didn't immediately pigeonhole you as a "hippie," would you buy it? I'm asking because my friend has been trying to talk me into making clothes to sell at a street fair with her in Berkeley. She is convinced that people will want to buy my non-stereotypical-hippie clothing. So I'm doing research, before I commit myself. Any commentary would be extremely welcome. THanks a bunch.

    -alyce
     
  2. Hipmoon

    Hipmoon Member

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    Hello.

    Clothing does not make the man. It's your heart and soul that do. Being a mother of two, I have come across the typical, "It's time to start acting/dressing like an adult" people. I wear handmade and some store bought clothing (mostly tees and jeans) and I really don't think twice about it. I do try to dress "presentable" when going into the school to talk with teachers or going to church, but that is more out of respect for those places, then it is some need to feel normal.

    Now if I were to get a job that required me to dress a certain way or if I went back to school and they had a dress code, I would respect it and wear more appropriate clothing. It wouldn't change the fact that I am eco-friendly, laid back and proud to buck the system every now and again for important causes. It wouldn't mean that I was a sell out or turning into a follower. It simply means that I am respectful of the people around me. I can wear my funky handmade goods any other time I want to.

    It's okay to want to make a good impression and to let people see you for you and not just the "hippie style" you may have. Sometimes it's needed to change it up a bit so that people can see past the so called disreputable, anti establishment look hippies put off to let those "squares" see your full potential. If it makes you life better in the long run and gets you an education and good job to support a family, than great!

    In the end, it's all about your talents and your mind and what positive things you can bring to the world around you. Make changes and make the world a better place.
     
  3. icedteapriestess

    icedteapriestess linguistic freak

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    I wear what i want to wear. If I want to wear something patchy, then i wear patchy. If I want to wear something dressy, I wear something dressy. If I wanted to wear a pair of hip waders, a Chip and Pepper shirt and earwarmers to the beach, I would wear a pair of hip waders, a chip and pepper shirt and earwarmers. :) (might be a good look for me!)

    I dress to refect how I feel, but I am not who I am because of how I dress...which is just another way of saying "the clothes don't make the man" as Hipmoon said. I would never not buy something beacause it wasn't "hippie" enough.

    People will buy what you have to sell if it appeals to them... regardless of their hippie-ness.
     
  4. cymru_jules

    cymru_jules Member

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    Well, I want to wear some tribal, partially mongolian type clothing when I'm living in a mountain commune. Urban "civvie" clothing however is the order of the day when I want to go shopping in the local village. This is purely because it's more practical, I don't worry too much if I'm a two-faced hippyist or not. :p
     
  5. sativasistah

    sativasistah Member

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    Here, here Icedteaprincess. If you want to make clothes that aren't really hippy...Im sure they will sell. There is a market for just about everything in this god-forsaken consumer culture that we call the United States. I agree that poorly made patchwork can look cheap and not professional, but that goes for any poorly made garment. I think that REALLY well made patchwork can be dressy. But hey, thats just me. I definately have made and purchased well made patchwork that I would wear to anything from a parent teacher confrence to my own wedding. :) *btw...I manage a health food store and I wear patchwork and my tie-dyes ALL the time* I am in agreeance with everyone else who has posted. Its not the clothes that make the person...it's their spirit and demeanor :) Good Luck :) Peace and Many Blessings.
     
  6. Kastenfrosch

    Kastenfrosch Blaubeerkuchen!! Lifetime Supporter

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    I don't make patchy clothes, but i make unique clothes. I even make formal stuff that has some sort of "subversion" to it. My latest piece (not totally finished yet) is a women's suit (skirt and long jacket) made out of dark purple corduroy, and on the inside its yellow-grenish. It is quite formal, but on the inside... it tells where I stand.
     
  7. kayte

    kayte Member

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    i am a catholic school teacher...i've got dreads down my back...it's interesting, the way i am so back and forth about my appearance... i have recently taken to a really really, ubsurdly preppy look that involves argyle and sweater vests. i keep my hair wild. i think it's really funny to be a walking contrast like that, and i think that the simple even lines make life a little easier...
    i wear lots of patchy stuff too, but i mostly look at the lines of the clothing. i don't like patchy clothes that make me look like i've got no curves. i like simple, pretty patchy clothes...
    but for work, mostly i wear real simple, preppy stuff (granted, much of it's found at the thrift shop). it helps the priests feel okay! (i'm not even catholic) but i really dig what you're sayin bout working from the inside. that's me. why else would i be teaching in a catholic school?!
     
  8. daisymae

    daisymae Senior Member

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    Most people who buy from independant artists are just looking for unique, child-labour-free clothing. If they like it, they will buy it....but not because it makes them fit into a label..;)
     
  9. drumminmama

    drumminmama Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    I have seen a trend toward the "conservative hippy" look.
    Some sisters were selling bias skirts at HIgh Sierra Music Festival the last time I was out there, and I see them on kids I KNOW are mall rats now.

    I personally have a problem with the DESIGN of patch dresses and tops: the empire/ perma preggers waist, the amount of exposed skin.

    classy hip could be a swirly but somewhat A-line skirt in a lighter-weight fabric and a matching top.
    The feel of hippie with the passing look of "normal" (I call them spy clothes) would gain a following.
    Think hippie you could wear to synagogue/ church/mosque/etc or a job interview. (and get the job).
    Check out Deva Lifewear online and see how the unisex / menopausal hippie gone new age yuppie clothes could have a spark put back into the design.
    There is a huge potential market for what your friend is thinking.
    Maybe the fibers are the key: my classy stuff is all a lightweight hemp. It feels and looks more substantial than rayon but and drapes like linen.
    Sure, I can find linen in the thrifts, but hemp, for me , makes a statement. Since the clothes are well constructed and I wear them to so many meetings and out of the office encounters, if the topic of the plant comes up , I can say, you know, the beige skirt and the purple trousers and the green trousers I wear are all hemp. Then I can talk about why it is a good fabric, how long I've owned them, the condition and care (all that maintenence stuff) and lead into shouldn't we be able to grow the industrial fiber plant here?
    I think you are on to something. Visit the local crafter fairs and see what is missing. Can you fill the gap?
     
  10. alycebgray

    alycebgray Member

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    Thanks for all the feedback...

    My question wasn't really philosophical in nature (sorry if the preamble seemed to imply that it was...); it was more pragmatic, a kind of "would you buy these clothes?" thing. My husband suggested that I post pictures of some of the clothes I've made, so I will, sometime soon.

    I'm totally comfortable with my "spy" (great term!) clothes, as well as my "alternative" lifestyle, patchwork-clad or not. I've spent enough time on the road to learn that people are pretty much the same everywhere, no matter what clothes they wear...most of them are superficial, and most of them are selfish, but they're still decent people, and will usually be kind if given the opportunity to do so. But being too "edgy" in my attire seems to create an additional hurdle to making friends with people who have not been exposed to the positive aspects of counterculture. I used to have bright red dreadlocks (which I LOVED), but I got really sick of people assuming that I smoked pot (it's not really my "thing") or slacked off--or that I was just too weird to feel comfortable around (not so common here in Santa Cruz, but extremely common on the East Coast, where I grew up), so I cut them off. Since then, my personality has not changed a bit--nor have my habits, or inclinations, except that I now go to bed at a reasonable hour, and bake my own bread--but I've found that it is far EASIER to open people's minds, when I look somewhat "normal." People who would reject my worldview just because I had bright red dreadlocks and patchwork clothes are much more willing to listen to what I have to say when they feel like I'm "one of their kind." It's really funny how tribalistic we people can be, even in an age of exponentially increased exposure to diversity--most people feel most comfortable around those who look like they do...which, in educated America, usually means people who display similar product-fetishes. People are silly :)

    See, you guys are getting me all philosophical now...I really just like to sew, and I'd love to "support my habit" by selling some of the stuff that I sew, because I don't wear all that many clothes, myself, and I'd love to see someone made happy by the art that makes me so happy. I'd also love to make things that make women feel beautiful, because I think so much of the woman-to-woman bitchiness that exists in this world is the direct result of a culture that teaches that women must exemplify "perfect" beauty, and compete with each other over who, in any particular group, is closest to that ideal. Which is also silly...I'm going to go get my husband to take pictures of me in clothes, now...then I'll post them here...
     
  11. sarahstar

    sarahstar Member

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    well, you might not think so, but i think this is a great topic, and really something to think about. i can't disagree with a word you said and i think it's one of the most intelligent things i've read in relation to different styles and what people choose to wear. can't wait to see what you make.
     
  12. Dakota's Mom

    Dakota's Mom Senior Member

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    Okay, since we're on the subject of patchy clothes or not and all that, I have a question. It's probably stupid, but.........

    I wear a lot of patchy clothes now. I love them and will probablly wear them for the rest of my life. Back in the day we didn't really wear the patchy stuff that I wear today. Mostly we couldn't afford to go out and buy fabrics to make clothes. We did put patches on everything as it wore out to make them last longer. But we didn't sew little patches together to make clothes out of them. We did wear a lot of tye dye and jeans or long skirts from India and stuff like that. So my question is, what to wear with the long patchy skirts. I usually wear a t-shirt in a solid color. I just can't bring myself to wear stripped tops and patchy bottoms or anything like that. Someone mentioned matching tops. But at my XXXXL size, I'm not wearing apron tops. So what would look good with the patchy skirts other than t-shirts? I can't imagine wearing button down shirts with them. Soon I guess I'll be wearing sweaters and flannel petticoats. Any suggestions.

    Kathi
     
  13. alycebgray

    alycebgray Member

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    ok...here goes...my computer is being cranky, so I had to open an account with photobucket...as a result, I'm not sure if these pictures (of me, wearing my clothes, looking very awkward, as always, in front of the camera) will actually appear...take 1...

    <a href="http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a92/alycebgray/Picture006.jpg">I made the shirt, but not the pants. </a>

    <img src="http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a92/alycebgray/Picture005.jpg" alt="Image hosted by Photobucket.com">It's a blue dress.

    <img src="http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a92/alycebgray/dc56b3df.jpg" alt="Image hosted by Photobucket.com"> It's 1940's-tastic, and really, really, really comfortable!
     
  14. kayte

    kayte Member

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    hey! they are fantastic! i can see where you're going with this, simple and flattering and stylish...
    i particularly like the blue one; you've managed to make an entire dress look fitting to the petite body...how much you'd sell somethin like that for?
     
  15. alycebgray

    alycebgray Member

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    I have no idea how much I'd sell something like that for, kayte. I guess this is part of my question: how much would it be worth to you? I made the blue dress from a piece of linen that my mom gave me...a similar amount of hemp would probably cost about $30 or so, plus about $5 to dye it (the pre-dyed hemp tends to be really expensive), and $2 for thread. I could use tencel, which costs a little less (maybe $20-$25 for the whole dress) or linen, which, depending on the season, can be a little less than tencel, or a little more than hemp. I could use rayon, which would be a lot cheaper, but it's not a particularly sturdy fabric, so I prefer not to use it. Cotton wouldn't drape well enough to be worth the effort--the dress would come out kinda rumply, and not particularly flattering. That dress probably took me about 10 hours to make, but I could probably make a second dress in about half the time (erring on the higher side of half), because it's always easier the second time around. I finished all of the seams in a "traditional" way...I don't have a serger, and I've found that flat-felling (think jeans), french seams, or simple binding works just as well, nearly as quickly--and lasts a LOT longer. Basically, serging just encases the raw edges in thread; "traditional" finshes hide ALL of the raw edges, so there's nothing to fray. I have worn that blue dress about once a week for a year, and it has yet to give me any problems...it would actually help me a lot if you could tell me what something like that would be worth to YOU, because then I could get a better sense of what my time should be worth to ME...hee hee hee...I *really* like to sew. It's incredibly satisfying to be able to create something tangible & beautiful...there are so few opportunities to do so in this crazy world...

    Thanks a lot for liking the clothes, by the way...I like them, too, but it's cool to know that someone else also likes them.

    alyce
     
  16. Hipmoon

    Hipmoon Member

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    Hello.

    When you make things to sell, you don't ask the customers to decide what you should sell it for. It's not about what it is worth to us to buy it, because honestly I could say $5 and that doesn't cover the time it took you to make it and the cost of materials.

    How long did it take you to make it? What is your time worth to you? How much were the materials? You have a lot to factor into when pricing your items. When figuring out the cost of your products you have to include the cost in making it (thread, material, notions), time (how much do you want to get paid for your work). If you start off a new venture by asking people "what is it worth to you?" you will get no where.
     
  17. alycebgray

    alycebgray Member

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    Oh...I guess you didn't read my first post...I'm not trying to sell this stuff to YOU...or to ANYONE, necessarily. My friend wants me to make stuff to sell at a street fair on Telegraph Avenue, in Berkeley, around Christmas-time, so she can have someone to hang out with her while she sells herbal stuff & the kids sell mistletoe. I'm not trying to turn it into a business. I'm planning on making a career out of chemistry research; sewing is merely my hobby. I'm just trying to figure out if making things to sell on Telegraph is worth my time, or if I should just sew for myself, friends, and family, on a rather limited budget. If I could cover the cost of my sewing habit by selling stuff on Telegraph once a year, I'd do it happily...I'm just trying to figure out if people would actually buy what I make, and, if so, what a reasonable asking price might be. I make almost all of my own clothes (and my husband's, and my son's), so I don't really have a sense for "market value." Also, because I like sewing, the finished product is infinitely more satisfying than any financial returns I might receive. I just don't want to ask so little for my clothes that people assume they're of poor quality...so I'm doing research...
     
  18. moominmamma

    moominmamma Member

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    Hmmm I seem to be obsessed with fashions for the curvier hippy:) Maybe it's because I am one myself:p I still don't have a patchie skirt myself, but I love them and it's only a matter of time before I replace the next thing I wear out with them.

    So what would I put on the top? What about one of those long sleeved loose Indian tunic shaped tops, I think they are called Kurtas? In a solid colour that would look good. I think its also a case of getting fabrics that want to be together....maybe a cheesecloth Indian top, or replacing a cotton tee with a linen or hemp tee that has a more flowing shape?

    Then on to winter, well I think you could get away with layering...so on top of your tee shirt, I being a bit of a tatty hippy would wear a mans flannel shirt! But for the more stylish.....what about a poncho, a zip up hoody, or a wrap/shawl ( I love these on other people but I tend to get in a tangle with them) Oh and in the states I've noticed people make these great pullover hoodies, often out of cord........Good luck I'm sure you will look great whatever you decide to choose!
     
  19. sweetersappe

    sweetersappe Member

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    I am really glad to see this thread. I have always loved to dress unusually, but I am also really, really shy and don't like to draw too much attention to myself. Most of what I make is not too outlandish. I look at the clothes some of the folks here make and think they are absolutely beautiful, but can't see myself in them. So, I usually make say, a dress, in a conservative pattern with an unusual fabric. I don't make apron tops. On a normal work day, I wear a patterned skirt (usually paisley) and a plain top. Most of my shirts are white or undyed cotton. In the winter, I put a neutral sweater on top. It's acceptable for work, comfortable and suits my personality.

    In response to the original question, I say people do want to buy and wear well-made, unique clothes, but not too unique clothes. You should try to sell them. I have thought about doing the same thing myself, but I don't really have the time or the energy to start such a project. Good Luck!
     
  20. sarahstar

    sarahstar Member

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    i don't see anything wrong with asking other's opinions on your pricing. obviously there are quite a few people on this board who have some experience there.

    basic retail pricing = cost of goods + cost of time x 3. for wholesale it is x 2. it's amazing how much underpriced hippie type clothing there is out there, and when i see it i automatically think it's poor quality. i can't help it, i make the stuff myself, i *know* the work that goes into it, these people can't be getting cost of material alone, let alone cost of material and time PLUS the profit. no i don't think it's all about profit BUT if you are making it into a business, you will want to think about that. without that, there's no way to grow a business. if you are doing it for fun, at least make sure you are coming out even, if not a little ahead. keep careful track of your receipts and your time for a while, and you should get a good idea of your cost.

    good luck =)
     

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