article series Yīshízhùxíng for
Magazine Cittadino Globale
The famous Chinese idiom 「衣食住行」(Yīshízhùxíng) says the four basic elements of our existence what we dress, what we eat, where we live and where we travel. In this world all big cities are jumping into big capitalist pool. In this article series, we tell the story of different people in Berlin to find out how they work out these four aspects in an unorthodox way.
Located in Neukölln, a small fashion “boutique”, was opened by Juli and her friend. This “boutique” open once a week for sales. This is probably the cheapest place to get second hand clothes in Berlin as it costs you nothing. You can bring the clothes which you no longer want and take whatever you like in the shop. Or you can even just come, and take them. Since they opened, a lot of people came every week to drop off their cloth, this small shop is full of clothes in different styles. The clothes might not be perfect as they are second handed. However they provided you perfect “service”, they are sewing machine and all different kinds of tools here. You can repaired you damaged clothes. You can also learn a lot from the people in the shop how to up-cycle your cloth. The first time when the writer visited the shop, Juli was making a cushion cover by some damaged clothes.My friend Federico was also making his own up-cycle project : to make a shoe by using old bicycle tires and jeans.
The winter I first knew this shop, I had a warm winter with lot of clothes from exchanging my summer clothes, accessories or even drawings. Several months ago in the city I live : New York, people celebrated Halloween enthusiastically. Those clothing and accessories you will probably use them once a year. You don’t want to dress like Buzz lightyear nor a vampire to go to school or work. Imagine how much people have spent in Halloween. I am not focusing on the amount of money one spends on clothing, but on the necessity of one to spend on clothing. Nowadays the businessmen are smart enough to advertise themselves not as a consumerism promotion, but as a cooperative with the sense of responsibilities on environment and society. We started to see green products and green fashion on the market. However when we review the story it is just a smart businessman try to rephrase his products into a tread which fit people’s taste nowadays. There are still millions of workers working in the factory to produce these products. The value of Juli’s shop is not to save money, but to learn how to really make smart use on the resource we have in the community, to share and to use.
Similar ideas but different approach to promote exchange and up-cycling was also done by the writer in 2012. In the youth campaign creACTION about creative activism, an up-cycling station was built. We walked around the street with our special bicycles and trucks. There were all different kinds of items and clothing’s in the baskets, from apple to jacket. We walked around on the street on Avilés, Spain to ask people “I want to exchange objects with you!”. The idea is to interact and share with people without money.