Tuesday, September 02, 2008

First Week of School

School technically starts on Thursday, but all the kids that attend after school daycare are back.

Remember when Iris asked me to respect her privacy? She has selected a first day of school outfit but I am not allowed to spoil the surprise. I only made two things that I think she will wear regularly to school; a few others will be worn as make believe costumes. I plan to make one more top and another dress. The top will be a copy of something she outgrew. Anyway, I cannot show the outfits until after she has debuted them in real life.

In the mean time, please visit Summerset Banks' blog, Pins and Needles, to follow how she made roughly 85% of the school clothes for her two children. I read her blog with awe. Shock and awe. She did it with a little bit of refashioning, but she sews mostly from scratch. She is not making 10 minute t-shirts, either. The attention to detail is amazing (that cowboy shirt with all those stars!).

Unlike Summerset, I don't even attempt to make anything that I can easily buy. Much as I would like to, I have other priorities for my time. I find it particularly sad that she made a beautiful khaki skirt for her daughter (look at the quality of the inside finishing), and her daughter is more excited about a new Gap sweatshirt. Sigh.

It reminds me of the Design a Shoe Contest. A blogger visited Cambodia, where any shoe can be custom made for $25, and offered to buy the winner of the shoe design contest a pair of custom made shoes. Did entrants want original designs? No, most wrote that they wanted copies of Gucci shoes.

I really do mean to blog someday about Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster.

I wholeheartedly agree with Slapdash Sewist, who is trying to counter the zeitgeist at Wardrobe Remix that fashion is about labels. She has so much fun with fashion and sewing.

Do you remember the documentary, Paris is Burning, about drag ball competitions? My heart broke at several points in the movie. But I still remember the part where an older competitor recalled the days when they made their costumes. He lamented that the competition had become one of having the right labels. Poor urban black kids can't afford the labels so they either compete in stolen goods or they prostitute themselves for money to buy the labels.

Just to get into the mood for the start of school, read Sandra Tsing Loh's discussion in today's WaPost Book World. She makes some excellent points about urban public schools. I don't live in LAUSD, but much of what she covers also applies to our area. I would counter that I did meet a Harvard student who attended an urban public school in the last decade. She is the child of a college professor who felt that it was important to live near work and to send his children to public school. Her essay about her experience as the only white middle class girl in her school helped win her admission to Harvard. She also wrote on her application that she is fluent in Spanish.

(Sandra, I bought your book this weekend at Borders and will read it soon. Really*.)

* The backstory is that I told her that we meant to see the one woman show, "Mother on Fire", but it closed before we got our act together. She replied, "That's OK, it only ran for 9 months."


  1. We got lucky and had an out-of-state grandmother visiting (read: a sitter we could impose upon enough to leave the South Bay) during the run of "Mother on Fire"--so we did see it! Enjoyed it a lot.

  2. This is on a completely different subject, but I saw "Paris is Burning" again recently. What struck me is how the movie barely mentions the AIDS epidemic, which would have been such a big part of their lives at that point in time.

  3. The movie was finished in 1990 and took 7 years to make. In the beginning, AIDS didn't have a name yet.


    I, too, found the lack of mention of AIDS towards the end of the movie strange. But the whole world they built around themselves was based upon a fantasy as far away from reality as possible.