Tell me what you really wanna be?

Do you trust? Do you care? Tell me are you really free?

The lyrics echoed in my ears during my Marathon training, and I thought – that’s it! The design process is such a tricky thing, just as life itself! You have to decide which way to go.

So what is your goal in creating your own persona? Do you wanna others to decide for you? Or create a more hands-on look for yourself? Consumer, creator, or in-between? Or do you even care?

The first option involves a lot of indulging into what I call fashion propaganda – trying to fit into an illusion of images and products provided by huge fashion brands. (The smaller ones you probably never ever hear about. They neither got the money nor means to promote themselves to a general public.) They feed on you, while you feed of their ideas of how you should look. You have to trust them to know you.

The second choice is a more complex one, I would say. It involves you looking into yourself trying to figure out who you really are, in detail – and who you want to be. And then create that look with help of friends, family, craftsmen and other underground clothes-lovers. It craves practice and time. Lots of time. No instant gratification here! It’s a process.

In both options money is of course needed. But the last one, the creative solution, I would say could be painted in broader strokes, and would have a more long-lasting effect in your own personal development since you actually could end up in designing your own looks, as well as others! Create a network of knowledge. You will trust and learn, from each other.

So are we buying into the idea of a hidden treasure? Or do we want to create our own fortune? Tell me, who would you like to be? The decision is yours. And either path is fine. The question is just, who are you?

Best regards,

Sten Martin

(Thank you to Body Language’s 2016 song Free.)

Why Haute Couture infused luxury brands could be harmful to your creativity.

We are meant to believe that luxury fashion brands are the highest level of craft. Or design. Or maybe both. We are also in some way lead to believe that these brands suffer – that there aren’t enough customers to keep them going. That they need to cut down on craftsmanship. I think this story constantly told, and believed, could be harmful to your own creativity. Why? Let me try to explain.

First, these large luxury brands are no-way near in need – Dior, Chanel, Saint Laurent, Maison Margiela, and so forth. They are owned by huge private or corporate investment companies. (LVMH with Dior. Chanel S.A owned by Alain & GĂ©rard Wertheimer. Kering owns Saint Lauren, OTB owns Diesel & Maison Margiela, and we could go on.) Second, their goal is profit. On any product available. Sold and disguised behind a fairytale-like story about craft and craftsmen. T-shirts, jeans, whatever.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of a classic fashion house where your whole garment can be made up from the fabric chosen, completely, under one roof, and where you can follow the process and interact wholeheartedly. Isn’t that great! But unless you are one of the extremely few – if any – Haute Couture customers in the world, what you usually get instead is a factory-made garment, not made for you or even with you in mind at all. Just an ordinary, and sometimes even a quite unenthusiastically made, garment. From a factory. With a large logo plastered on top of it.

But aren’t they the pinnacle of craft and design then, these luxury companies? Well, maybe. But why should we even care? Who are they to tell us what quality is? Their ateliers gets smaller and smaller. And the craftsmen more than often are not well paid. If paid at all. The focus is on attention. Stirring the pot. And certainly not on wearability.

So I say, let’s focus on our own path instead! Let’s not get distracted by all smoke and mirrors. Decide who you are, or want to be, and create it yourself! Be you! Create your own level of craftsmanship!

Learn what good quality clothing is, and make fun (or serious) choices about your own personal look. And ask a craftsperson to help you – there are plenty of them out there! Thousands! Let’s be creative together and see the beauty around us! And stop giving a damn about those multi-billion companies.

We can create on our own. Because we are proud of who we are. Right?

Best regards,

Sten Martin

What is a sewing machine? (And why should I care?)

Most people don’t have one nowadays. But maybe your parents or grandparents had one? What did they do with it, and why don’t we use them anymore?

A sewing machine is actually a wonderful thingy used for stitching your individuality and comfort together with. Just like that. Individuality and comfort. And also, a method to accept that you are more interesting (and important) than a concept someone far far away decided to impose on you.

Our grandparents knew that. We have sadly forgotten. Nowadays most people believe that if they don’t fit into a garment found in a store – or don’t even like them – there’s something absolutely wrong with them. The idea is, that we in some way don’t “get it”, or, god forbid, maybe don’t try hard enough to “be it”. We all seem to think that we actually should fit into an imaginary box, so far-out in its absolutely limiting concept, that we more or less have started to believe it. Literally. That we all must be as one. Ruling out as much diversity as possibly.

With a sewing machine you could really change all that! Making things fit you instead of the opposite. Take control. Having fun! And, once and for all get rid of the concept of not being able to “fit in”. We can all be individual! Yes! And a sewing machine could help you get there. Let’s start the process! Right?

Best regards,

Sten Martin

Can denim jeans be made bespoke?

We often get that question. “Don’t you need a factory to make jeans?”

Well… No.

It’s all about making the right fit. Understanding the material. Getting the right fabric. Having a powerful industrial sewing machine – mine is from the 1970’s. And a good steam station. But a factory? I always skip that one.

I think it’s important to understand the history of a garment – technique, aura, feel and facts – before you create a newer own version. You want people to get onboard with your process to be able to appreciate your vision, right? Make them comfortable before you bring in the new. Correct?

I’ve been making denim garment since the 1980’s. I think we could try to experiment a bit with them now after 30+ years. Or should we just continue with the classics? What do you think? What’s next?

Best regards,

Sten Martin