Who am I?
My name is Celine Loup. I’m an illustrator and comics artist, living in Baltimore, MD.
How did I become interested in vintage fashion?
Fashion has been a part of my life from the start. My father is an opera singer, and so understanding the importance of costume was part of my upbringing. My mother has always had elegant taste, and sitting beside her after her shower at her vanity and watching her go through her beauty rituals is still a childhood memory that instantly makes me feel warm and safe. My mother was an excellent mother and home-maker, as was her mother, who taught her how to sew and knit. My mother loves watching classic movies, and I think I absorbed her appreciation of the fashion in them slowly over the years. I took a few sewing classes as a child, and my mother helped me in high school and college to sew a few dresses as I cultivated my own sense of style, but I mostly wore storebought or thrifted clothes and had no interest in knitting.
Why start a blog?
That all changed after series of particularly brutal winters, when I realized the cons of buying storebought clothes:
- Subject to trends that don’t last; everything looks dated by the next year. A consumerist mentality that actually devalues the importance of fashion.
- Inferior materials: H&M will charge $30 for a “winter sweater” that is made out of acrylic yarn, which provides very little insulation compared to natural wools.
- Ill fitting: I am a size six, it’s very easy to find clothes that were made for my size. Even so, no mass produced garment can perfectly fit my measurements exactly, and it shows.
- Poorly made: this almost goes without saying if you are shopping on a budget. I’ve paid $25 for a cardigan that had gaping holes in the armpits after a month of wear.
- Unflattering: this isn’t necessarily true for many garments, but modern fashion’s overall silhouette, in my opinion, does not do me any favors.
- Environmentally devastating garment industry practices, with a high cost in human life.
I was tired of freezing in the winter, I was tired of wearing a million sweaty thin layers because I didn’t realize that quantity is no substitute for quality, I was tired of watching all my clothes unravel in my hands. I was also tired of contributing to an unsustainable, exploitative off shore garment industry. I was tired of feeling like I had better taste than what I was wearing. I had always meant to make more clothes, but now I realized it was the only way to go forward. I stopped buying new clothes, and instead sat down to my drafting table and, over several months, began asking myself some important questions:
- What was important to me, in terms of building a wardrobe?
- What lines flatter my figure best?
- What decade features the best examples of the silhouette I wanted?
- What specific garments were essential to my lifestyle?
I made many drawings, did a lot of research, and gained a better grasp of my practical as well as aesthetic needs. Out of this came The Winter Wardrobe Project, a plan for a hand-made capsule collection of vintage garments that serves my needs for function as well as form. I created this blog in order to document my progress through the project, as well as to document my general growth as a knitter and seamstress. I hope my process here will inspire others to re-examine their relationship to the clothes they wear, and the social, political, and ecological context in which they wear them. I live in America and am watching my country crawl its way out of a devastating recession, and believe that bringing back American textile mills and fiber industries would significantly boost our economy. I also think sewing and knitting is fun, and teaches one to really value the work that goes into doing something well.