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neija tappia

1. When do you feel at your most attractive?

when I'm inspired and full of joy

2. Do you notice women on the street? If so, what sort of women do you tend to notice or admire?

women that have a sense of being true to their self and strong and determined

3. What are some things you admire about how other women present themselves?

in all the different ways that they do individually

4. Was there a moment in your life when something “clicked” for you about fashion or dressing or make-up or hair? What? Why did it happen then, do you think?

when I wear something I made myself and people ask me where I got it from, I tell them I made it - the look that follows. that's when I realised that wearing ME is most me and the admiration I get is the fondest I hold dearly because it's the closest to my inner self I will be able to wear.

5. What are some shopping rules you wouldn’t necessarily recommend to others but which you follow?

I only buy new things when I sold old things and I only buy from small (women) businesses, local, sustainably produced or second hand but I reckon I would recommend these to others. knowing that every thread you wear has been lovingly crafted by a strong woman makes you feel like a stronger woman too

6. What are some rules about dressing you follow, but you wouldn't necessarily recommend to others?

what feels most comfortable and what most expresses my mood that day. if I feel like baggy I will wear baggy no matter the occasion. if I feel like my most eccentric I will wear my most eccentric no matter the occasion.

7. What is the most transformative conversation you have ever had on the subject of fashion or style?

talking about the things I make myself, talking about others' own creations, talking about supporting local business, making sustainable choices (a recent conversation with a shoemaker and on her decisions on why and how she sources her leather and why it's not synthetic even though she wouldn't run for leather first thing)

8. Do you have a unified way of approaching your life, work, relationships, finances, chores, etc.? Please explain.

let's be honest, it's a mess.

9. Are there any clothing (or related) items that you have in multiple? Why do you think you keep buying this thing?

I have one dress that I have twice in a different print because the dress fits me perfectly and it's by my favourite local maker and it makes me feel amazing so now I can wear it both in black and green gingham depending on how I feel.

10. Have you ever successfully given someone a present of jewelry or clothing that you continue to feel good about?

I weave bags that are my go to gift and I love that everyone still treasures and uses theirs.

11. Is there any fashion trend you’ve refused to participate in and why? 

any fashion trend. fashion as a trend. it's such a waste culture to run after trends. I buy new things when I change and want to express myself differently not when the season changes and I'm wanted to buy more more more.

12. Can you say a bit about how your mother’s body and style has been passed down to you, or not?

not much her body (yet) but her style in being eccentric when she feels like it or plain beige when we feels like that. dressing in moods and using it as a form of creative expression.

13. Have you stolen, borrowed or adapted any dressing ideas or actual items from friends or family?

I have seen things on others that I then went to make myself.

14. Was there a point in your life when your style changed dramatically? What happened?

It's in quite a transformation recently but it keeps on shifting back and forth just as my own personal transformation shifts back and forth.

15. Is there anything political about the way you dress?

yes. the choice of where and why I buy what I buy from whom and made of which fabrics.

16. Please describe your body.

I'm rather small and tiny, I have bruises that mark my past and I don't mind anything about anything on myself.

17. Please describe your mind.

it's always making things (up), it's always racing but it's also always reinventing itself. it can be quite full on and overwhelming at times but it's got a very vast imagination.

18. Please describe your emotions.

they're as versatile as my wardrobe.

19. What are you wearing on your body and face, and how is your hair done, right at this moment?

I'm wearing a black dress with puff sleeves (the one I have twice) made by a friend of a friend, I'm wearing rings made by an artist I adore (which to me is the most wonderful form of jewellery because I can look at it myself all day and wear it for me not for anyone else's gaze), sandals I made myself from leather scraps, and my hair is just being as it is, as it always is

20. In what way is this stuff important, if at all?

it represents my values and that makes me comfortable on top of feeling comfortable too. my jewellery is as stated my favourite thing as they're so lovingly crafted and make me smile every day. it's a little 'pygmy' twisted around my right hand, so detailed it has a belly button and two lady 'dwarf's wrapped around my other hand with such detail and wabi-sabi. (that's the names the artist calls them)

21. With whom do you talk about clothes?

people ask me about my clothes and then I do. or with people who make clothes.

22. How do institutions affect the way you dress?

not quite I think.

23. Do you think you have taste or style? Which one is more important? What do these words mean to you?

they mean most the same to me. style is more important I think as it refers to more of the wholeness of one's earthly presence whereas taste is more so to the particular items and refers to more of a picking and consuming to me.

24. Do you remember the biggest waste of money you ever made on an item of clothing?

I always managed to resell what was a waste in my eyes so there's no waste really I think. Probably the amount of disposable cheap clothing I bought in my teens.

25. Are there any dressing tricks you’ve invented or learned that make you feel like you’re getting away with something?


26. Do you have style in any areas of your life aside from fashion?

as a visual artist I suppose I do

27. Can you recall some times when you have dressed a particular way to calm yourself or gain a sense of control over a situation that scared you?

dressing cozy when I needed cozy even though it might not have been the 'dress code' is much better than dressing it something that makes me uncomfortable to fit in

28. Would you say you “know what you like” in the area of fashion and clothing? If so, do you also know what you like in other areas of life, that is, are you generally good at discernment? Can you say where your discernment comes from, if you have it? Or if you don’t have it, why or why not?

I am always analysing, always bubbling away in my brain so there's quite a good discernment for who I am and what I do and why. I know myself very well, sometimes maybe a bit too well if that's possible.

29. Did your parents teach you things about clothing, care for your clothing, dressing or style? What lessons do you remember? Or did you just pick things up?

As mentioned before I have my way of dressing in moods and going with what feels best from my mother but started choosing my own clothing very early on and my mother let me wear whatever I wanted.

30. What sorts of things do you do, clothing or make-up or hair- wise, to feel sexy or alluring?

I only ever wear rouge and lipstick (same product), no other makeup and that makes me feel sexy, big earrings, more fitted clothes too and a different shoe can change everything I think.

31. Many people say they want to feel “comfortable,” or that they admire people who seem “confident.” What do these words really mean to you?

being oneself and owning it.

32. If dressing were the only thing you did, and you were considered an expert and asked to explain your style philosophy, what would you say?

wear what you feel like and it'll be the best thing you could wear. or dress the way you'd like to feel and see if it can change your mood - which it can in some cases. wear things with stories, second hand or support local and independent small businesses, wear your ethics.

33. What is really beautiful, for you, in general?

a smile.

34. What do you consider very ugly?


35. Are you generally a good judge of whether what you buy will end up being worn? Have you figured out how to know in advance?

if it haunts me if I don't at first, I will wear it. if I can stretch in every way and be bloated on occasions I will wear it. if it has a story of a person I know who made it or a story of how I got it, it will be worn many many times with much love. if I impulse buy when feeling bad that's the only occasion I might not because it's not actually 'me'.

36. When you look at yourself before going out, and you are trying to see yourself from the outside, can you describe a bit about what this “other person” is like? What do they like, dislike, what sorts of judgments do they have? Is this “outer eye” based on someone you know or once knew?

I think it's literally just me. Standing there making a face at myself and then cracking up and loving myself.

37. What is your process getting dressed in the morning? What are you considering?

weather, if I'll be riding a bike, if I have to walk lots, how I feel.

38. What are you trying to achieve when you dress?

wearing a second layer of my skin to represent myself. sometimes wonder if I'm incredibly materialistic but I just love to dress with what I love.

39. What, for you, is the difference between dressing and dressing up?

there's none.

40. If you had to wear a “uniform” what would it look like?

probably this dress but in a reversible so I have two colours in one. or an overall, maybe a boiler suit.

41. What would you say is “you” and what would you say is “not you”?

me is: organic fibres, subtle colours, some popping colours in occasion, floaty, cozy, feminine with masculine, soft
not me: synthetics because they make me go insane, tight clothes, the skinny denims I used to love

43. Do you remember a time in your life when you dressed quite differently from how you do now? Can you describe it and what it was all about for you?

my teens but I loved those clothes at the time so I suppose it's really not different. just me.

44. What sorts of things do you do, clothing, make-up or hair-wise, to feel professional?

still looking for a great linen suit for this. wearing my hair up. closed toe shoes. but really anything I own just worn with the right attitude.

45. How do you conform to or rebel against the dress expectations at your workplace?

I'm self employed so I can do whatever, even on a job I might wear something that's not denim and shirt as everyone else but it makes me feel most me and that's what this is all about isn't it?

50. Do you ever wish you were a man or could dress like a man or had a man’s body? Was there ever a time in the past?

not quite. I feel like as a woman you're more open from society to wear men's clothes than a man wearing say a dress which I hope will some day change and be open for all. and I don't wear bras anyway.

51. If there was one country or culture or era that you had to live in, fashion-wise, what would it be?

maybe before we wore clothes to see how that would effect me and my self esteem but really now is amazing because we can wear (most) any thing we like

52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?

not quite, I always pull faces

53. When you see yourself in photographs, what do you think?

there's only a few where I recognise myself

54. Are there any figures from culture, past or present, whose style you admire or have drawn from?

florence welch is a big one

55. Have you ever had a dream that involved clothes?

probably, very likely

56. What would be a difficult or uncomfortable look for you to try and achieve?

'sexy' as far as most young women would think. say a common brit around 18 about to go out. miniskirt and all. I don't think I'd be remotely comfortable in that.

57. If you were totally comfortable with your body, or your body was a bit closer to what you wish it was like, what would you wear?

I am very comfortable and love my body the way it is so really anything I fancy

58. Is there anyone that you are trying to attract or repel when you dress?

only when I already have a thing for someone and try not to look a certain way but that always ends in indecision and I just go with what I feel like

61. What are some things you need to do to your body or clothes in order to feel presentable?

wash my hair, it's a terrible obsession

62. How does makeup fit into all this for you?

I only wear rouge and lipstick which is the same product and it's all natural. it's subtle or can be bold and it's as simple and versatile as my wardrobe. not intrusive and just supportive of me underneath. I'm not trying to write over my actual self but just highlight it. even if I do have a pimple.

64. Can you describe in a basic way what you own, clothing and jewelry-wise?

selfmade things, things that are from small businesses and things I bought second hand. cotton, silk, fluffy things, cosy things, little print but lots of different colours that all fit in the same earthy but colourful palette. my jewellery is all hawkhouse (raw gemstones) and joanne burke (yellow bronze figures) and they're both handmade by those two women.

65. What is your favorite piece of clothing or jewelry that you own?

my joanne burke jewellery and a yin-yang fur/fake-fur coat I sewed myself from scrap vests I bought in op shops

66. Tell us about something in your closet that you keep but never wear. What is it, why don’t you wear it, and why do you keep it?

it's a second bigger pair of my favourite pair of trousers (linen with snake print) because I was afraid of ever growing out of them. let's see if they'll ever be worn.

67. Looking back at all your purchases over the past five to fifteen years, can you generalize about what sorts of things were the most valuable to buy?

handmade things.

68. Is there an item of clothing that you once owned, but no longer own, and still think about or wish you had back? What was it, what happened to it, and why do you want it back?

I can't think of one right now but I do have a few as I keep selling things I don't wear and then I change again and remember it.

69. If you had to throw out all your clothes but keep one thing, what would you keep?

a dress. that nicely fitted one. or that jacket but I can't dress in a single, slightly cropped jacket can I?

70. Building up your wardrobe from nothing, what would you do differently this time?

not buy anything synthetic that I then can't get rid of because I love it but feel uncomfortable when I wear it.

73. What item of clothing are you still (or have you forever been) on the hunt for?

a dress by a californian maker with a wonderful open back and puff sleeves.

74. What are your closet and drawers like? Do you keep things neat, etc?

most everything is on a rack so I can always see everything I have. my underwear and socks are folded in boxes.

75. Were you ever given a present of clothing or jewelry that especially touched you?

an amethyst necklace I got from my aunt and uncle that I would have never expected from them

76. Did you ever buy an article of clothing without giving it much thought, only to have it prove much more valuable as time went on? What was the item and what happened?

a black longsleeve turtleneck. I love it more than I admit. it's topshop.

77. How and when do you shop for clothes?

online, in op-shops, in designer second hand-boutiques, on marketplaces, ebay, etc pp

78. Do you like to smell a certain way?

yes, I have some botanical 'perfumes' I love, but my face and body oil I sometimes scent and I love that too

80. How does money fit into all this?

I paid quite a lot for a few pieces and as I grow out of them I invest the money I get from selling them into new pieces. I occasionally spend 'too much' but most things I own I've had for a long time so it's quality over quantity.

81. Is there an article of clothing, a piece of make-up, or an accessory that you carry with you or wear every day?

my rings, my rouge.

82. Did anyone ever say anything to you that made you see yourself differently, on a physical and especially sartorial level?

my housemate said the other day 'you're like a wandering art gallery'. that was the biggest compliment I got in a while. it's all women artists, guerilla girls approved.

What’s your birth date? 
Where were you born and where do you live now?

july 1994, born in germany, live in australia

What kind of work do you do?

freelance artist

Are you single, married, do you have kids, etc.?


Please say anything you like about yourself that might put this survey into some sort of context.

I've recently been thinking a lot about how I sometimes over-identify myself with what I wear so this has been interesting to answer

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