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Buy Less Buy Well says NYC Fashion Student

October 2014

By Komal Sharma, New York

Miriam: NYC Parsons Fashion Student

In her version of the little black dress—short, sharp and bold—Miriam sat on the steps of the crowded Union Square in downtown Manhattan, as we people-watched and agreed that New York is more eccentric in its fashion than most cities. The beauty is that not only are you accepted, you are embraced for your individuality. People celebrate diversity here,” says Miriam.

A student of fashion at Parsons, Miriam moved to New York five years ago, set up base in Brooklyn and has gradually woven herself into the fabric of life in the city. While she has always been inclined towards fashion, she admits that after moving here it became a conscious choice. “I’ve become so aware of how bad the fashion history is for the environment that it’s almost difficult to add anything to one’s closet”. Miriam believes "the production of fashion has caused tons of pollution, the reckless raw material that are acquired, the use of toxic chemicals and the wasteful production values means fashion has been and is unsustainable for the environment".

Sustainability is only one of the reasons that Miriam is drawn to vintage clothing. The other being that it ‘looks fantastic.’ Miriam’s neighborhood in Bushwick is dotted with vintage stores. “Brooklyn based designer, Mary Meyer runs Friends Vintage and they carry few, but thoughtful things.” While Friends is a small, well-curated store, Miriam’s other favorite, Vice Versa Vintage is a huge warehouse space with everything from cowboy boots to leather pants. Beacons Closet at Greenpoint is another store that Miriam frequents for “they pick their things well and charge you a fair price.”

In between her job at Nylon magazine, long hours of backstage runway work during fashion weeks, and writing a thesis about how fashion’s ‘spectacle value’ is used in dining and restaurants, Miriam likes to slow down and enjoy the treasure hunt-like experience of these stores. “You discover things for yourself. No one styled it for you, pinned it up on a mannequin and told you this is what it’s supposed to look like. I hate the anxiety that fashion sometimes runs on.”

Yet her two point agenda of vintage and sustainability does not limit her to thrift stores. Her recent indulgence was at a Brooklyn sustainable clothing brand called Reformation. “They go to great lengths to achieve certain sustainability in their production values. For instance they only use dead stock fabric that companies have gotten rid of. There are ways to limit our consumption on this planet, and I appreciate any company that prioritizes it,” she says, “plus their clothing is so chic.”

Miriam’s fashion style is reminiscent of British potter and artist Grayson Perry, who once wrote about craft: ‘Instead of buying 30 throwaway fads, I want to buy 3 bespoke items.’  

While individuality is Miriam’s mantra, keeping up with brands and people she admires is part of her daily ritual. She prefers Instagram as her social medium of choice. “In one beautiful picture, New York Times Fashion will tell you what’s happening where. They pretty much cover everything.” For her love of shoes, she likes to ‘follow’ Jeffrey Campbell and Bloomingdales on Instagram as well. “Also Bergdorfs because they do a beautiful job of curating their shoe section.”

As Miriam works on her thesis, looking into the relationship between food and fashion, there’s an ongoing discovery of the Brooklyn food scene. “I see it as a total parallel to fashion. I’m interested in fresh, sustainable, accessible options that are grown and produced thoughtfully.” Roberta’s is a pizzeria in Miriam’s neighborhood, Bushwick. Their straight-out-of-the-kitchen atmosphere and the rooftop garden that doubles up as their vegetable growing patch, appeals to Miriam’s palate.  The Narrows, a cocktail bar around the corner is Miriam’s preference when it comes to spending Saturday night out with her boyfriend. “It’s either the sugary-sweet Vodka drink with lime, ginger and lemon, called Babushka, or the Lion’s Tail—a nice mix of bourbon, allspice, lime, Demerara, and bitters,” says Miriam. 

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