wondering...about the wonders of this wonderfull...world

wondering...about the wonders of this wonderfull...world
foto x arnaldo @MMXIproject
A couple of summers ago, coming home from class, I took the subway with a friend and I told her I was trying to start a blog... then I also told her how time consuming and addicting it had become, and that I was wondering if it was something worth doing... she laughed and asked me to let her know when I was done and give her the"link" so she could read it. Then she left and I kept thinking...why? why should I do this ?

Technology has taken us to a new level and we are now, able to "publish ourselves"! PUBLISH OURSELVES however we want to; if you want to be yourself, transparent and out in the open, or even if you want to pretend to be someone else... YOU CAN! Now you can blog and share your thoughts and experiences with people without having them "altered" by the editors, or "chosen" because of how cool or marketable they are...

This space is for us to share; zaidibirindilindilandia-my own little world, my ingenious- and your thoughts!

welcome, and thank you!

Creative Commons License

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

17 skeins spun so far!

all 17 skeins of spun "scraps" waiting to be washed/whipped and hung to dry
just wanted to share my joy for what is happening.
today I'm preparing the skeins of hand spun yarn so that I can start knitting some cool pieces tomorrow!

So far, we've spun 17 skeins.
All together they weigh 2.5 lbs, and thats 2,5 lbs of waste that has been transformed into a wonderful and super interesting"fiber". 

enjoy the pics!!!
I will enjoy the rest of my day at the "studio"... 
And then, a YUMMY dinner at TIA POL to celebrate Abuelo's 73rd b-day.

17skeins being rinsed + washed! its a pool party of scraps!

skein detail in pool! isn't it so cool looking?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

did you know? DYEING with black beans

just a photographic update of what's happening in zaidibirindilandia!

we've been playing with natural dyes, and these are some pictures from a few weeks ago.
so ironic that after the travels and the experimentation two of the most important colors came out of things that are so familiar to me and that I never thought of DYING with...
achiote (annatto) and black bean water!
the black bean water was very intriguing. when i dyed a piece of mordanted organic cotton in the cold water (from the soaked beans) that had never been heated, the fabric turned out purple. after heating the water, the resulting color on a new piece of mordanted organic cotton was gray!

fabric being dyed in black bean water

left: black bean skins, right : fabric drying
fabric dyed with achiote, coffee, curry, turmeric
those colors made me think of THIS- which remind me so much of my days in FLORENCE, and make me wish this was my view -from the studio-
and that this was me, going outside to have a chat with the sun and wish him a good night
I guess you will just have to stay tuned to find out more. 
Remember the show is on JANUARY 27th!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Getting Ready for AFW/The Green Fashion Competition

It is time for an UPDATE. 

Its been a whirlwinding couple of weeks, working hard in the preparation for our collection for The Green Fashion Competition.

I've been able to connect to people through my work and it is one of the most rewarding feelings. Its inspiring, encouraging and reaffirming: Its like knowing that you are doing the right thing at the right time, that you are on a "mission" and that the journey is magical!

I love sharing my work, receiving feedback and advice; and I am so fortunate to be surrounded by people that are interested, supportive and sending me amazing vibes.

So, before I bombard you with images I'd like to thank each and every one of you who has reach out and given me good energy and happy wishes, - they go a long way- !
special thanks to:
  • Tara St. James from STUDY NY, Daniel Silverstein from 100% NY, and Auralis Herrero Lugo from Auralis Studio for letting me recycle their fabric scraps and the encouragement.
  • Jessica Velez from Jessica Velez Knitwear for letting me come over and use your studio to drape and knit, and for being there since day 1.
  • To my mom -master seamstress and crafter- for joining me on this adventure and becoming a FULL TIMER on our "travelling studio", my sister and her boyfriend who've donated all their free time to cutting fabric strips and learning how to spin (yes, the boyfriend is discovering the world of craft but I won't mention any names because I promised I would say that he was watching the football game while "the girls" sewed their lives away ;P )
  • To Leo and Dani for coming over and lending a hand, to my uncles for letting this greenventure take over their apartment, for the understanding and the feeding the entire crew!... AND, thanks to my friends, whose inboxes I've clogged with emails asking for music, styling suggestions and business-plan advice.
OH, one more thing: We are on twitter now, so
(the resistance is over, I had to give in)

just a little teaser ;) overviewing the "making-of"  the alveolo tunic/top
concoting natural dyes: blackberries, blueberries, coffee, eucalyptus leaves, onion skins and tea, curry, turmeric, black beans and annatto
maybe I shouldn't give so much of it away... I cant resist! these are the dyed pant pieces waiting to be sewn

fabric scraps waiting to be spun
lovely spindle working its magic!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Future of Fashion: Merging Style + Sustainable Social Impact

I just came back from a great "conference":

There was an incredible panel of very inspired and inspiring individuals:
- Carmen Artigas: A sustainable design consultant and professor  of Ethical Fashion at FIT and Parsons The New School for Design
- Eileen Moran: from NOW Showcase which has fostered incredible support and collaborations between buyers, press and designers.
- Summer Rayne Oakes: from Source4Style
- Deidre McGuigan: INDEGO AFRICA a social enterprise that partners with women artisans in Rwanda on a fair trade basis to drive forward a sustainable, long-term solution to systemic poverty in Africa.
- David Radparvar: from HOLSTEE which produces designer products and sustainability standards.
- Erica Wolf: from Save the Garment Center

This great evening full of motivated, commited, like-minded people working towards a common goal made me realize that being in New York is not that bad after all. Maybe I should think about that saying... "When life gives you lemons (this is a pretty GREAT lemon BTW), make BANGING lemonade"

I have tons of work to do regarding the collection for The Green Fashion Competition, but I'm too inspired and wound up...so I'm sharing with you some of my notes from tonight.

- be INNOVATIVE with your SOCIAL IMPACT by COLLABORATING and sharing, busines to business, and SPACES.
- share the stories behind your product and TALK | TALK | TALK about what you are doing. This creates AWARENESS
- when you go shopping, ASK the salespeople about where the product was made and the working conditions there... this shows you care, and that message will get through to the people running your favorite brands, and change will happen
- look at the existing business model, re-examine it and think about the life of your product. Create a closed-loop with your customer.
- as designers we can reduce consumption and still keep our customers... its all about that closed-loop. We can create things that SOLVE our world's problems
- let's align our business practices to the Millennium Goals
- make a BOLD statement

WHAT INSPIRES YOU to be a part of the sustainability efforts?
- the opportunity for CHANGE
- women artisans... giving them the TOOLS so that they can later access clients themselves and we can act just as "consultants" and advisors.

How can we INFLUENCE our customers?
- when you have a product speaks for itself and competes with market mostly because of its quality  and design.
- through EDUCATION... reaching the people who DO care, and teaching the people who don't (YET)
- through relationship building and long-term story telling
- by establishing a dialog with your buyers/customers... ask them their opinion (even throughout the designing process) so that you are making things that are needed/wanted.
- help customers UNDERSTAND your CHALLENGES, and show them they can be FLEXIBLE in their choices.

What can we do to REDUCE our IMPACT?
- PRODUCE LOCALLY, try to MINIMIZE your carbon footprint, create jobs, and sustain YOUR resources
- Make sure your LABOR workers are working in conditions that meet certain standards.
- ACCOUNTABILITY is important | Humans MATTER | look and force other people to examine the supply chain and to see the connection between everyone and everything. Its NOT just about the materials OR the end product.
- ASK Questions
- establish POSITIVE peer pressure; question your friends, start the dialogue!
- THINK about every purchase you make, don't create excuses or justify yourself.
- WRITE to your politicians.


Friday, November 25, 2011

amsterdam-bound! The Green Fashion Competition

Thank you, thank you, thank you!
THANKS TO ALL of you for your prayers, encouragement and support.
Now all the crazy life-planning FUN begins:
plane tickets, late nights sewing, bonding/arguing with mom over sewing techniques, deadlines, business plan fixing, and number crunching! 

(plus, it will all be happening over the holidays and having the whole family around)
On January 27th my collection will be presented during Amsterdam International Fashion Week!!!

I'll be presenting 3 looks,
and you will get sneak peaks and documentation of the process right here on my blog! 
like Auralis says... join me on this eco-venture!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

WHAT's happening NOW?

missing blogging- that's what's happening!
I know all those promised frequent posts haven't been all that frequent  but I've been busy with work and another little something!
WOOT WOOT! I made it past ROUND I, now I need to pass round II... so I can return to Europe and show my new collection!
(cross your fingers people)
I'm also working on a few  -TOP secret- project(S)

here's a little sneak peak:

this one is made with hand-spun yarn FROM fabric SCRAPS!
playing with headband ideas... and my 3gg knitting machine!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

MMXIproject_post-event POST!

This past may (26) the MMXIproject collective held a one-night exhibition (gallery style) event at the Tribeca Grand hotel in New York City.

As some of you may know... This was MMXIproject's first event ever and hopefully not the last.

The MMXIproject is a collective formed by Amabelle Aguilluz, Samantha Benassai, Nicole Girion, Zaida Goveo (me) , Michelle Sordi and Mary Symczack.

We met while studying abroad at the Politecnico di Milano, in Italy. Good friendships were born. We used to get together to work on our respective projects and constructively criticize, bounce ideas off each other, and above all, motivate and inspire.

Europe treated us too well. It gave us the time to work on more profound, well-researched and not superficial projects; to question ourselves and the things we thought we knew and believed in. We became more introspective and discerning designers.

When we came back to New York, although excited, we struggled to fit back in. It was our last year (at FIT) and all we wanted was some creative freedom- after all, this was just school, and a perfect time to experiment and take risks. We wanted to keep researching and create things of greatest quality... but the relentless system in which the "fashion" industry and our industry-driven school was run did not permit this.

Upon our return we (Milan) students were immediately pointed out. Teachers would ask "are you MILAN?", if we approached a project differently or asked a question, then: "oh, that's because you're Milan"... which made us feel a bit concerned about our time abroad, and wonder if we had really missed out on that much. The truth is that things just work-differently on opposite continents, and either is completely efficient or correct. Unfortunately, New York was more interested in what we had NOT done rather than what we could contribute- whereas we saw that a balance between the European and "American" approach was necessary.

During our 7th/penultimate semester  we had a portfolio class which should've helped us develop our thesis collections (at least conceptually). However, we were forced to work on 3 separate -and totally different- "collections" in a matter of 4 months. Personally, I wasn't satisfied with any of my 3 projects. I needed more research time as the concepts were still at a very preliminary stage- and still too superficial for my taste-. But I wanted to meet the deadlines and get through the semester while juggling an internship, a job, and 6 more classes- so I tried to put my stubbornness aside and "just do the silly projects" for school.

I was not the only one on this boat, and it seemed that the only people that though there was something "wrong" with this rhythm were my "study abroad" peers.
We knew that everyone's goal was to get in to the Senior Fashion Show in the end of the year and then get any entry level job in the "industry". Those were not our goals, we had bigger goals.
A bit of background: 
Only 1/3 of the graduating class gets into the BFA show. The garments are pre-judged by your teacher and a critic (designer) from the industry (who had been monitoring/helping us throughout the semester) and will select the "best" work from your group/specialization. Then these garments are put out for judging by a group of industry professionals who are judging according to their own personal criteria.

Because there is so much pressure regarding the participation in the BFA show, I feel that people were more concentrated on making garments that would GET INTO THE SHOW (that their professor liked, the critic liked, and were perhaps more"sellable" ) than on creating garments that reflected their individuality as designers, their vision, and that would ultimately be a strong piece to add to their portfolios. All semester/year long I heard endless discussions about how "the teacher didn't like it", or  "now I have to change my whole concept because the professor said the judges wouldn't understand it", or "how your garment looks beautiful in the white-jersey prototype fabric because it looks like a "Calvin Klein piece" but if you use your japanese-artisanal paper yarn it will look too rugged" (excuse me, but that can beautiful too; not all of us want to be "cookie cutter" designers).

If you make it into the show, then your garment will walk down the runway. 
For this show your outfit will be styled as the show producers wish (even if a weird peter-pan style hat or a gold-sequined bag have nothing to do with your look), you will get two tickets to the "rehearsal" show (you only get to see the 7pm -nicer show-  if you are a critic award winner) and one of those tickets is for you, AND when your model starts walking, people in the audience won't know who is the designer unless they've been looking at the program (instead of the runway) and can understand the bizarre description they chose for it which is something like "green recycled cotton bubble stitch dress"!!!

I had decided in the beginning of the semester that I was not going to compromise my vision to please the judges and get into the show... I took advice from the critic, professors and classmates, but stayed true to my vision- and fortunately enough, did make  it into the show-.
The "Milan" girls and I, wanted to be able to show our work in an environment with no boundaries, no labels, no expectations or predefined ideas of what we "should" be exhibiting. We wanted to break away from the pressures of school and the industry and do something for ourselves individually and honor the strength we had collectively- and so- the MMXIproject was born.

We wrote a MANIFESTO, and paired up with Dave Kirshoff (industrial design) who helped us on the "curatorial side" and built custom display units according to what we were showing. We exhibited a range of mediums that express the design sensibilities of each designer including textile development, photography, inspiration research, sketches, and actual garments.

one of David Kirshoff creations for our displays. he really understood where we were coming from and what we wanted to show people!
This YEAR's presentation's theme was TRANSITION; as MMXIproject (meaning the 2011project) is reflecting the transition we are going through- from students to young professionals, from designers to artists (or vice-versa), from NY to Milan to NY....

We wanted to present the projects not only as final products of a technical craft, but to show the research and thought process to parallel the final result.Thus, one room was dedicated to finalized work (this is where our installations were; and the other room was the sketchbook room. In the sketchbook room  we created collaged walls of inspiration images, fabric scraps, writing, and other odds and ends (to allow our public to see where it all really comes from),  we had our sketchbooks showing design development/research, and a cocktail area for people to enjoy and mingle.
room with "installations"
the collage/sketchbook room
Many thanks to Harold @ the Tribeca Grand, David Kirshoff, Jorge Balmaseda (for the website), Auralis and Arnaldo (for covering the event and their article for elpunto es), Tara St.James (for the support and help spreading the word), and the numerous people who came to support us and share that special night.

An image gallery of the event's pictures will be up sometime soon... meanwhile, enjoy these:

people looking at my spices "some of the ingredients I used to dye the garments"
part of my presentation. shoes I "weathered". photo by Arnaldo Vargas x El punto Es
mossformations_dress. museling-free wool, handpainted with greener®dyes and hand embroidered

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

post-summer report

This summer was amazing and eventful; and I know I completely dissappeared from the face of this blogging-earth....

I've recently graduated from FIT with a BFA in Fashion Design:Knitwear Specialization, and a Minor in Italian Studies- finally!-.
After finishing an amazing internship at STUDY NY (with Tara St. James), and putting together an art-gallery event at the Tribeca Grand with a designer's collective I'm part of (MMXIproject), I headed to Europe...

I was chosen as a finalist for an international competition called Mittelmoda which gave me  the amazing opportunity of showcasing my work in a runway in Italy. I left for Italy in the begining of June, and after attending my first Italian wedding, and going to the beach for 3 days in Tuscany; my batteries were re-charged and ready to go to Milan to work some crazy hours and finish knitting my collection.

After the competition, I went back to Florence, to my "adoptive" family, and waited to attend Pitti Filati (an amazing yarn show). I have to write a long-overdue post on that too, but that will be on a new "knitting/yarn" blog that I'm working on.

A few weeks later I went to London for a bit:  I worked on my CV and website (which is FINALLY up now), did some eco-fashion research, and was freelancing for Kimmiekakes while preparing for the Ethical Fashion Show in Paris where my work was exhibited and "represented" FIT in "its" Sustainability efforts.

Europe has always given me the chance to express myself, and this is one of the places where I feel my work is most embraced and respected. However (and unfortunately), because I am an american citizen, there are difficult immigration/bureaucratic issues and geographical barriers to face- which is why I am back in New York... and re-planning my future.
enjoy the next series of posts- I owed you big time!

Sunday, July 17, 2011


Mittelmoda is an annual international design competition, held in Gorizia, Italy. It acts as a platform for recent graduates and young designers to connect with each other, network and gain some exposure-while presenting their capsule collections- to a jury composed bt some of the most powerful and important people in the Italian/European fashion industry.
I had the honor to be chosen as one of the 17 finalists (out of more than 600 applicants) and I was truly excited to be a part of it: http://zagb.blogspot.com/2011/05/new-horizons.html especially because it gave me  a CONCRETE reason to come back to EUROPE!
photo x Jesee Lee
I've been in Italy for a month and a half now, and its been a rollercoaster of emotions.
In fact - I APPOLOGIZE for being MIA, and having abbandoned the blog-
I spent my first week back sleeping a lot, attending a friend's wedding, eating delicious food, and catching up with important people... I needed a breather because the past 3 months had been incredibly tough/crazy- and what was about to come was no piece of cake.

I had to make 4 outfits in roughly 2 weeks. I'm talking about knitted outfits composed of 2+ pieces each- so... lets think= 7pieces.

I went to MILAN and was able to use the labs at the Politecnico di Milano (where I studied abroad x a year) to finish my collection. I was at the lab every day from 9-6pm and then kept going once I went home. I mapped out a work schedule, taking in consideration how much time I thought it would take me to make each garment- but as usual- everything took twice as long.

After many sleepless nights ... the collection was done!
 (mind you, i was still burrying ends of yarn on the train ride to Gorizia)

MY backstage rack. photo x kat chen
All the finalists were invited to spend 3 days in Gorizia, IT. It was an amazing oportunity to meet incredible people from all over the world who share the same passion, to discuss, and have a great exchange of ideas.
PLUS... we got to see our collections modelled by professional models, in a real catwalk- AND have nice pictures-
I'm still trying to get some more, in the meantime...
the 3 "graces"! celebrating the 150 of a united Italy.

this outfit opened the show!
photo x Roberta de Min
photo x Roberta de Min
photo x Roberta de Min
photo x Roberta de Min
photo x Roberta de Min
photo x Roberta de Min
photo x Jean Kim
photo x Laura Jean Bailey
photo x Jesee Lee

Sunday, June 26, 2011

-2 to Mittelmoda

Its been a couple of crazy days/weeks/months and I PROMISE I will write a long update POST after the 2nd of July (along with pics, emails and pictures to those of you I owe) 

currently- MILAN (until WEDS)
June29-Jul2 = GORIZIA/Mittelmoda
Jul 2-Jul7= FIRENZE/Pitti Filati
Jul7-Jul19 = LONDON/Miss England
Sept 1-4= (maybe)Paris/Ethical Fashion Show
just some pics of my fun fun time preparing the "collection"