How ‘Look For The Woman’ Was Born

Anita: Look For The Woman

Anita Irlen: Look For The Woman

MKG: What was the inspiration for your website, Look For The Woman?

ANITA: I started reading fashion blogs approximately 10 years ago. That was when fashion and style blogging really started. What I noticed was that fashion blogs were mostly written by young women for young women. I looked around and tried to find someone older who was speaking to older women, like me. What little I did find was cliché-laden and not very high quality. I wanted something different, something for women who wanted to “age differently” whatever that means to them personally. I thought I could do better –  that’s how Look For The Woman was born.

MKG: How long have you been writing?

ANITA: I dabbled with what I would call “serious” writing years ago. I loved it but then lost it. My blog has existed for almost two years now. I try to write everyday. I don’t always, but when I do, I love it, like I used to. It’s intimidating, it’s hard, but if you believe you have something to say you just plug along.

MKG: You are the granddaughter of a tailor. How has that influenced the way you look at clothing?

ANITA: I started learning about what constitutes quality apparel when I was very small. I saw my grandfather sewing, using fine fabric to craft beautiful clothing, that would last. It was true “slow fashion” and it was all about quality vs. quantity. That idea was ingrained in me. That’s why today I’m so into slow fashion. Slow fashion is designed and made by artisans, not mass manufacturers who don’t care anything if your t-shirt lasts a week or years. They don’t care about the environment or who made your clothes, or how much they were paid. Fast fashion is like fast food; a quick but ultimately unsatisfying fix. I’m really adamant about that. No fast-food! No fast-fashion!

MKG: Have you found favorite designers who support slow fashion, as you describe?

ANITA: I have. I am devoted to the designers listed below for their slow and ethical fashion. I love their work and I will be writing about more of these small makers in the future on Look For The Woman …

Eileen Fisher. We all know her, and although I have been a bit disappointed with her looks lately, I’m still a great fan because she is 100% devoted to slow and ethical fashion.

Milo Tricot. In the picture, I’m wearing a skirt designed by this creative woman who makes some of the most beautiful high quality knits I’ve ever seen.

Marie Hell. Fantastic, versatile, packable dresses perfect for a capsule wardrobe. I own quite a few, (well, and yes I’m a friend of the designer!).

NFP, New Form Perspective Studio. More great knits that are of the highest quality and incredibly comfortable to wear.

RevEnVert, a shopping site. The ethos is about sustainable luxury, quality, respect, and longevity.

MKG: You live an urban life in NYC, a fashion capital; what is that reality like?

ANITA: Fashion and style are all about searching for beauty and creativity. Living in New York I can immerse myself in those things; it’s a banquet, and I love it. I can go from a Picasso exhibit to a sustainable fashion show to Mood Fabrics all in one day. I can see what’s being worn on Madison Ave, then, run downtown to see what’s happening in the Meatpacking District. Just walking the streets is inspiring.

MKG: Tell me more about the Women Working segments in your blog? How did that start?

ANITA: Women Working was kind of inspired by a book called Working, by Studs Terkel. It’s also a kind of dig at the idea of “women’s work.” Like what’s that? It’s all women’s work… From the beginning, part of what I did for the blog is literally “look for women,” and in doing so try make them more visible. I would take pictures of women of every age – just doing their thing. I don’t want people to pass by the women who deliver their mail, police their streets, or make them their coffee without seeing them. That’s what it’s about.

MKG: What is one thing we should all know about our clothes and how they are manufactured?

ANITAThat there’s not one aspect of the fast fashion most of us wear that isn’t harmful. From the materials used, to how and where it’s made, to who makes it and how much these workers are paid: it’s all harmful and unsustainable. It is sad news but by no means an insurmountable problem.

Your thoughts?

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6 thoughts on “How ‘Look For The Woman’ Was Born

  1. Great interview, great topic! I totally embrace this concept, personally and with my company. When I started my company I was told, encouraged, to manufacture off shore but I could not do it. My company, my values. The people who sew my sleepwear work for a great company that pays them a living wage and benefits. Fast fashion is cheap, ungreen and potentially harm causing fashion. I won’t wear it and certainly won’t make it!

    • Thank you for your comments, Haralee. And thank you for standing by your word and your product. The world is a better place because you are making a difference. xx Mel

  2. Anita captures a side of slow fashion that’s always fresh and enticing. I have great respect for her commitment to quality pieces and their designers. Anita is someone every woman should know.

    • I agree, Sandy! And I am so glad that I know Anita now, too. These are important conversations that we as women, as human beings, should be having. TY for your comment. xx Mel

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