Liisa Jokinen talks with Llane Alexis Dominguez

In Behind The Clothes, Liisa the founder of Hel Looks street style site, meets and talks style and clothes and their meaning with people from all over the world.

In Behind The Clothes, Liisa the founder of Hel Looks street style site, meets and talks style and clothes and their meaning with people from all over the world.

Photo by Liisa Jokinen

Liisa Jokinen

Llane Alexis Dominguez, 39, self-taught artist, currently working with discarded textiles. Lives in San Francisco, USA.

What do clothes mean to you?

Style is an expression, it’s a statement. Even if you wear yoga gear, it’s a statement. Also how, when and where you wear your clothes, is a statement. Your clothes are your skin, your clothes are you. I consider myself an artist. An artist is an artist 24/7. Clothing is essential to an artist. It is one of our many ways to express ourselves.

Photo by Liisa Jokinen

Liisa Jokinen

How has your style evolved?

I am Cuban. We Cubana are born with a very distinctive swag that shows in our behavior and style. It comes with music and rhythm. When I was 20 something I was a militant vegan hippie, walking barefoot, collecting crystals, with big afro hair and tie-dyed clothes. But then I had to urbanize myself, learn how to socialize and be part of the community. Here in San Francisco the weather has influenced my style. Getting pieces that are timeless and wearable for all year round is a key to dressing well in SF.

Fashion generates so much waste, it’s the second largest contributor to the global warming, it’s sexist and there is slavery.

What is your relationship to trends and fashion?

I have never followed trends or collected fashion mags. Only after I visited London when I was 23 I got more knowledgeable about designers and started checking who designed what and learnt to notice more fashion references. Still I’m not obsessed about style. Fashion is such an agony. I really don’t like the world of fashion. Fashion generates so much waste, it’s the second largest contributor to the global warming, it’s sexist and there is slavery. Crafts and traditions are dying because of fast fashion. The only reason H&M can sell a t shirt for 25 dollars is because they pay only one cent for the maker of it. That’s why I would never use H&M clothes in my art.

When you are born on this side of the spectrum, you learn how to be proud of being a worker, a revolutionary, gifted, black, queer, emigrant.

What inspires your style?

I’m really inspired by stylish revolutionaries and workers from all over the world and of every era. I’m inspired not  just by their style but also their spirit. The Black Panther movement, that was amazing! I’m a revolutionary myself, too. When you are born on this side of the spectrum, you learn how to be proud of being a worker, a revolutionary, gifted, black, queer, emigrant. I also admire people who have created their own uniforms. That is my goal, too. But I’m not ready yet, I’m still a kid in that sense.

What is your favorite piece of clothing?

I appreciate couture but I also like very simple and honest and well worn clothes like workers jumpsuits. I have maybe 12 of them. One of them is a herringbone denim jumpsuit by Lee, which I got it when I was 21. It’s the first piece of clothing I packed when I moved to Argentina. I still think about it first when I’m packing for my travels but it’s often too heavy or too warm. It has paint all over it. Somebody once asked me if it is customized Margiela. When I get home tonight I’m going to caress the jumpsuit, it has been so good to me.

Photo by Liisa Jokinen

Liisa Jokinen

How big is your wardrobe?

I have a very tiny room, so I only have what is necessary. If the clothes are too trendy or now, I don’t buy them. I ask myself, am I going to wear this forever? I don’t have patience for thrift stores anymore. In San Francisco I only visit a handful of stores: MAAS and Stacks, MAC, Reliquary. I mend my underwear and socks by hand, with showy colourful stitches. It’s so hard to find new good ones, and it’s so much waste if you throw them away when the first tiny hole appears. Sometimes I fix other people’s old clothes, too.

I mend my underwear and socks by hand, with showy colourful stitches.

How did you become an artist?

I’m self-taught, it took a while for me to discover that I’m an artist. I studied Spanish and literature to become a teacher, but i quit my first job as a teacher after one week. First I did paintings, now I’m busy with textiles – I make braided vessels, rugs, bags and monsters from apparel scraps of the garment industry. I want to transform textile remnants into artworks to last for years to come. They are kind of 3d manifestations of my paintings.

 

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