Category: featured

Slow (down) Social media

In the last year I have been sporadic with my content and in taking part of the various communities out there. It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy it anymore but life happened; a new flat and renovation, busy at work and then going freelance amongst other life events. No matter if you’re a regular user of social media, blogger, a brand or an entrepreneur, it takes a lot of time and effort to build up an online presence and it can sometimes get stressful.

Let’s face it, in the online world it can feel like our individual value/own personal brand is measured in the social media currency. I definitely felt that the longer time passed between I wrote or created content, the more self-doubt I felt. Would anyone really bother looking at it all?

Thankfully there is always a way back if you feel that you have something that you want to share with the world. After all, I believe that we’re constantly redefining ourselves anyway.

Speaking about that have you heard about slow social media? It’s a call for people not to like or share out of reflex but actually taking the time to read the post or article. It means slowing down, paying attention and genuinely engaging with content, not just sharing because it makes you look good or commenting to increase your own following.

One thing is for sure, social media is changing every day. Here’s what I learned from taking a break from from it.

Being clear with my purpose
I think it’s harder to get in touch with your true purpose if you spend a lot of time online, mainly because what starts as inspiration can turn into comparison of your own work to others.

Understanding your true purpose on the other hand is a truly soul searching job or like therapy, as one of my clients have said. In order to formulate what your passions, beliefs and dreams are, I think that it’s helpful to take some time offline, search inside yourself and find other inspiration. Or you might be limiting it to only be a sliver of its full potential.

Shape my own voice and work
Stepping a little bit away has given me chance to focus on what I want to do, without being too influenced about what everyone else is doing. It has allowed me to go deeper into my subject and think about all the different shapes it could take, without fitting it into something that is already out there.

Measure of success
Though this might not be true in the fast approaching future, I still feel that my measure of success should be based on achievements in real life rather than online. I want to have accomplishments that are rooted in skills and not likes and prefer lifetime projects rather than over night successes.

These are my three leanings of what I gained by not letting social media eat my time.

What is your experience with this? Have you stopped using social media for a while and what did you learn? Share your thoughts below.

Conscious design

Aspiring a minimalistic life, where we only buy what we really need, where we choose the most ethically, locally produced and sustainable products available, has become a status symbol. Through this we express how mindful we are about the choices we make, a way to show our values and personalities. With the best of intentions it is still limited to those that have the luxury to spend money or time cultivating appreciation for sustainability.

Could we stop feeling guilty about our desire to look good, buy something nice for our home? Designer Anneka Hall decided to allow for these human wants and instead break the conventions by influencing how things are made.

Anneka threads her designs with the love and appreciation for the material, making the most out of what we have and yet with a close understanding of consumer mind-set and our reality. With her down to earth and small scale approach she’s taking on the big and scary challenges we’re facing in sustainability and the textile industry. There is a lot to be inspired by from Anneka who take a full circularity approach for her designs and products.

The combination of Anneka’s creative and crafty side with a grandmother who taught her how to knit, led her to pursue a design career in textile design and more specifically men’s knitwear.

– I always loved the structure and the mathematical, logical thinking that the craft has and for me this comes through in a graphical aesthetic.

After working in the fashion industry for a few years she started feeling frustrated by the disposability she saw and how hard it was for the industry to change.

– As much as you want to say that everyone should stop buying – it’s not reality. I also go to the shops and buy, I know I buy stuff I don’t need and I work in research centre for sustainability! I like to treat myself and look good rather than feel guilty about this we need to find solutions for this.

This inspired Anneka to take a masters in Textile design with a heavy emphasis on designing for sustainability at Chelsea College of Arts and to start her own business to create the change she wanted to see.

The interest in homewares was always there but the reason why Anneka chose to create an interior collection was more of a practical one. Whilst developing her own up cycled yarn, she realised that the material was much better suited for home wares rather than clothing.

– I wanted to play to its strengths rather than forcing something to fit which it wasn’t made for. In home wares you can see some knitted throws and cushions but there is not the same variety as for other techniques. There are a lot of students making bold and exciting products out of yarn but these products usually never reach the shops.

When Anneka started looking at the textile recycling systems as a part of her masters programme she found that though reuse of material was common, the whole lifetime of a material wasn’t being considered. Working with all types of material, she found that the knitwear she used to design is being sold to be turned into “shoddy” materials. Meaning that a knitted jumper bought from the high street that costs around £40, maybe used a couple of times, immediately was turned into something of almost no value.

To change things around Anneka stood side by side the workers in the textile recycling plant and was able to see what knitwear is being thrown away. This led her to find the colour combinations that would be most realistic to have access to and saw the beauty in these materials that nobody else wanted. The grey and navy threads unpicked from the bestselling jumpers on the shop floors became the starting point to develop her yarn and felt fabrics which inspired the design of the collection.

To fulfil true circularity she encourages customers to return the used product so she can put this back into the system and once again make better use of the material.

With the material bit sorted, next design challenge was to make products, such as a pouf with a simple domestic knitting machine and by working with sturdy, thick yarn by hand.

Everything Anneka talks about in her words and actions are about material and conscious design. So what does conscious design mean to you?

 – To me it’s about thinking things through. Thinking about how I design the product and how they can come back to me. It’s about the full circle, questioning my process, supply chain and understanding how the customer will use what I create.

Designers like Anneka inspire me and more than anything they give me hope that the future of design is a better one. The combination of material focus, true craftsmanship and the mind set that we can change structure and systems of how things are made is brave and inspirational. With a common sense approach the ideals could become reality. Not only for the ones who made it this far reading but also to any one shopping a knitted jumper on the high street.

 

Anneka works in the new Centre for Circular Design formally Ted research and is about to start her PhD researching how the fashion industry can effectively recycle textiles. She is now looking at the next steps moving into manufacturing her products and being able to design for a bigger scale. Get in touch with Anneka for orders or collaborations/partnerships with brands.

How to create hygge at home

Last week I wrote a post about Hygge, a Danish word for describing the joy of everyday moments. It might be described as something uniquely Danish but all of these things can be found in other Scandinavian countries, as well as German, Dutch and in some way British traditions too. The sense of hygge seems to be an instinctive feeling that we all encompass. To continue on the same theme I thought I’d give you my five tips on how to introduce more of that warmth and cosiness as we approach autumn and winter.

weather

Don’t mind the weather
You’re not really able to change it and it’s just putting you in negative frame of mind. Instead think about how you can make something really nice and special out of a rainy day. It might give you a perfectly good excuse to binge watch an episode of your favourite series, stay in and cook a stew or read the new book you just bought.

How to create Hygge

Invest in your home/your sanctuary
Even if you’re just renting a furnished room, you can still get your own little Hygge kit that’s a treat for all your senses.

Sense: Pick your favourite blanket for your proper Hygge moments. It could be an old one from your childhood or just one that’s in natural materials that gives the comfort like from a hug.

Scent: Buy a scented candle or an incentive stick with your favourite smell, it’s incredible how this adds atmosphere to your surroundings.

Sight: One, or many, natural candles, the best way to feel shielded and create warmth around you.

Taste: Buy a nice chocolate for your treat or whatever your indulgence weak point is. I have a box of chocolates at home that I bring out after dinner sometimes or with my espresso in the weekend. It feels like a nice treat and my friends quite enjoy when I share it with them too.

Sound: Listen to your favourite podcast or listen to your favourite music at home. I love playing vinyl records at home, it accompanies my mood and elevates the feelings I’m having. Don’t censure yourself, listen to some melancholic tunes if that’s your mood at the moment, music just creates a funnel for our emotions to come through.

how to create hygge

Hospitality
Make your friends feel outmost welcome when coming for a visit, by lighting a lantern outside your door, keeping some extra slippers for them to wear inside the house or invite them spontaneously over to share a meal on a Monday night, instead of cooking just for yourself. Hygge is best when it’s shared with a few of your closest friends and family.

everyday moments

Make the everyday life special
Don’t rush straight away to work in the morning. Make time to enjoying the everyday moments. Lit up a candle in the dark morning while you’re having your morning coffe, use your favourite cup and be more present in the daily moments. Think about how your coffee tastes and feels. Does it taste the way it smells? Does it taste bitter like dark chocolate or tangy?

kanel bullar

Be kind to yourself
I never believed in diets (never been on one) and have never cared much for that, so in that sense the Hygge approach suits me well. You can allow yourself to eat something nice like a pastry or hot chocolate and not deny yourself anything. For me this works well, because if I know I can have everything, I’ll only have just enough, or ‘lagom’ which we would say in Swedish.

What’s hygge to you?
Now I’d love to hear how do you create Hygge in your home? What are your favourite moments? Do you share them with anyone and can you enjoy the moment when you are by yourself? How does it make you feel?