0+0=1 / Relying on the Minimal Math in Re-fashioning Garments
I was never really good at math. But I always try (at least try…) to count the balance in my closet and keep the circulation flowing there – if a few new pieces find their way to my boudoir, this means it is time to let one go. And this is, in a nutshell, my story of how I met One Maldziunaite and how I got to know about her small-beans operation called 0+0=1. Quite a few dozens of my beloved but not that often worn clothes from my and even my mom’s (shhh.. she has not noticed that some of them are gone) wardrobes have found the salvation in One’s hands. She is some kind of a magician when turning a hand-made 1970s’ blanket into a stylish bomber and making 0+0=1. Abracadabra.
by AUSRA JUOZAPAITYTE
photographer DARIUS MARKUNAS
How would you describe the essence of 0+0=1? What stands behind its DNA?
What a nice formulation of the question! Because “zeroes” simply happened in my life, it was never really planned! Feeling the vibes of a growing consumption, seeing all these garments of a great quality going out of fashion so fast makes me sad. I simply feel them asking for help and hoping for a new life. Re-fashioning gives me really nice feelings, it seems that you actually create something out of nothing. That is why my math is strange here: 0+0=1
In what sense 0+0=1 can be called minimal?
The process of making clothes under the name of 0+0=1 is minimal in the way of using new materials (usually = 0). It is also often minimal in a sense of design: for example, I rather take off details from vintage pieces, than put something new on them. Since I started re-designing, my own closet started shrinking, so we could say it is minimal because I realized I need fewer clothes and they have to be special to get into my closet.
How do you usually decide on which item is ‘worth’ to embrace the second-life?
It is always about the fabric. This is the most decisive factor when deciding whether a particular item deserves to enter its second-life – natural rather than synthetics and not well-worn.
What is the most important aspect when picking the ONE: fabric, colour, texture, accessories, and design, something else?
Many things can catch my eye – sometimes something bright and shiny, crazy shape, transparent, unusual size and sometimes just a lovely colour (for example my favourite: black) and outstanding quality of the fabric, of course. I am in love with good wool; therefore, I like to redesign vintage men coats and jackets.
Do you rely on matching garments or rather trust the beauty of contrast?
I follow the logic of matching fabrics (wool goes with wool etc.) so it would be easier to wash them. But sometimes a piece of organza looks awesome on a warm sweater! Contrast is challenging, it is harder to control. Sometimes, you can get a bit surprised by the result in the end. But it can also be very special and impressive. Meanwhile matching and making minimal style is rather easy, as easy is to stay stylish wearing only black.
Do all the pieces of 0+0=1 have one ongoing element of design or something distinguishing? Or maybe each of them tells a new story?
The design is changing, and I hope it is changing for good. Many experiments and many mistakes let me grow as a designer, both in terms with technical and artistic development. Some pieces are less romantic, but some have big stories behind them! Starting from their “first life”, the owners they had and continuing on how and where I found them, what kind of inspiration did they give me and who took them for a “second life” and started writing their new story.
Tell us about the technical process of transition from the first to the second-life.
It depends on each case, of course. If an item is damaged, it is easy – it dictates me what to change itself. If there is no damage done, but the piece is not looking good enough – then I need to turn my brain on. Quite often you couldn’t tell that a piece is up-cycled, because I change the shape and construction. Sometimes, I redo most of the seams, but the change of look is not so drastic – just that it fits better or it is more “in a shape” of current trends. By doing this I found out not having enough knowledge and skills of construction, so I am taking classes now. These studies are my great passion at the moment!
Do you usually wear 0+0=1 pieces yourself? Which one is your favourite?
I do, but not as often as I should. I usually wear a mix of vintage, refashioned and new pieces. The one that I am mostly in love with at the moment is the grey jumper: it used to have something written on its front and I exchanged those words with an embroidered fox. I found the fox framed (to be hanged on a wall) weeks ago and I was waiting for a good moment to use it. When I found this jumper, I thought it matches perfectly with my lovely fox.
Tell us about 0+0=1 relationship with the famous Šarka. Daiktų kelionės, which landed in the Old Town of Vilnius quite a few years ago.
Šarka is the nest, where „zeroes“ was born. Seven years ago we started Šarka‘s business as a commission shop. People used to bring us their goods - we thought it is a nice idea to give a second chance for clothes, to make them travel through wardrobes of different people. But many pieces were already „unsellable“. Damaged or simply out of fashion. „Sorry, it is nice, but nobody will buy it“. Here the feeling that we have to do something new arose. Step by step it grew to a separate line 0+0=1.
Please name 3 inspirational ideas about how we can consume less.
Try to wash less. The condition of your garment changes every time you wash it. Even if it’s a handmade piece of best quality fabric and was made with love. For example, wool cleans itself if you place it in minus temperature for a while. Use your balcony in winter or even a freezer. Wool looks fresh again and all kind of smell you wouldn’t like to have is gone. Remember, that every time you wash synthetics, tiny pieces of plastic gets into the water. You don’t want that!
Don’t use one-time plastic transparent bags in supermarkets. You can find bags made of transparent textile. They are made of production residues after producing day-light curtains, therefore, this idea is really nature-friendly – they don’t produce new materials to make the bag, but, at the same time, it is clean and safe (because the fabric is new!). After buying potatoes, for example, you can wash the bag and use it again.
Think very well before buying. It might sound banal, but it is important. If you are not planning to wear the dress you are about to buy 30 times or more, consider borrowing or renting. If creating your style is some kind of “food” for your creativity and fashion is a way to express yourself – switch to the second-hand garments. Charity shops, clothing swaps, vintage boutiques, flea markets and online markets are all full of treasures just waiting to be given a second life, and it’s both more economically, as well as ecologically friendly.