In a pencil dress by Zara. Loving the eggshell blue and light florals that reflect spring in this dress. Violet sunglasses are Gucci. The velvet purple belt is a vintage purchase from a second hand boutique here in Tromsø, Northern Norway.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2020

In the early 2000s, I was obsessed with all things fashion and fashionable. From nail polish colours (only Chanel) to skirts, dresses, shoes and bags (only Louis Vuitton), I wanted to know and own the latest. It was a period in my life where I thought next week´s store items were outdated, and there is no such thing as one too many pairs of stilettos. I mean, nude doesn´t go with everything right? Reading some comments to my fashion blog posts from the early 2000s, “bimbotic” didn´t even bother me for the reason, I liked it.

Somewheres along the ways (as Leonard Susskind would sometimes say in his lectures), my priorities shifted and what was fashionable began to take on a different hue and meaning for me. I still loved quality made clothing (debatable) or outfits that flatter (debatable), but I didn´t feel so much for showcasing my wardrobe in blogposts. I had colleagues who researched corporate responsibility and human rights issues in the fashion industry right about the time of the 2013 Dhaka garment factory collapse. I listened to their seminars and presentations on the concerns of the non-transparency of the supply chain management of clothes and I might have around then also begun to view fashion trends as invariably environmentally unfriendly. A look at my own blogposts show that last I posted under “mode” or fashion in July 2019. There was one blogpost over New Year´s 2020 but that was more of me dancing, than focusing on the dress, a slight cheat in the mode/fashion posts.

Easter 2020 (12/4) and I find myself sitting in Tromsø in Northern Norway with everyone else under a global pandemic with restricted travel recommendations. Despite comforting comments such as, “So you´re in lockdown in a ski resort.”, “You´re in the best place to be!”, “You´re in lockdown in a tourist destination!” and “Wow! You get to eat fresh cod there all the time there!”, I found myself visiting and revisiting what clothing stores that remain open these days in Tromsø.

The city´s shopping mall at the time I was there, was fairly empty. It was only myself and the cashier in this particular household brand shop. My eyes swept the expanse of the store to take in the seasonal colours, the patterns in print, and the shape/form of clothing that hung on racks and on display on mannequins. I sucked in my breath and let out the air slow and silent from under my nostrils. I felt a slight relief as I saw new items on display. New items, even if too fleeting in the context of the fashion industry, signaled human creativity, continued work and hope of what is new. In that moment, I realized that fashion (which can be defined very broadly in this instance) does indeed have a continued role to play in our lives or at least, in mine. Walking through a mostly empty shopping mall, I found inspiration in new ideas, expressed in fabrics, in shape/form of clothing (even household items and interiors etc.) and not in the least, in colours.

So this Easter 2020, I´m sitting happy in an eggshell blue (quite duck egg´s blue I would say, judging from the batch of duck eggs that I have in my kitchen pantry) and spring florals in a (not this season´s) Zara pencil dress. The mug in hand is a handpotted earthenware cup that I often use for tea or hot water. My love for earthenware is an inspiration from my father, a registered/recognized Singapore artist who for many years, taught pottery classes in Saint Patrick’s School in Singapore from when I was three to sixteen years old thereabouts.

Easter pastels. 3 duck eggs and 1 chicken egg.

In my hand, a handcrafted earthenware potted cup, and a wood coaster. I have a set of six of these potted cups. I use them mostly for tea or hot water because it helps the liquid cool to a comfortable drinking temperature in a couple of minutes. My love for earthenware pottery is an inspiration from my father, a Singapore registered/recognized pottery artist who taught pottery classes in Saint Patrick’s School, in Singapore from when I was between three and sixteen years old thereabouts.