Stiggly Holistics’ Sacha Jones is Out to Change the World – One Crinoline at a Time!

Sacha on her bike, photo by Bill Cunningham
To market, to market! Sacha Jones on her bike, photo by Bill Cunningham
I was tempted to open today’s post with a shot of a big, juicy greenie drink. You know the kind I like – the ones I love most are made with lots and lots of kale!

That’s ‘cuz (after a short hiatus, FashionWhirled’s Friday:5ive is ba-a-a-a-a-ck!) we’re featuring my favorite certified holistic wellness counselor, Sacha Jones. Sacha is the owner and founder of Stiggly Holistics, and has been my healthy-eating guru and guide for some time now, teaching and putting me in touch with healthy food options and self-care choices during her guided online Stiggly Holistics cleanses. I’ve participated in nearly every single one — they happen every couple of months — since October 2011, learning, changing, evolving the way I eat and live. Her cleanses make me feel like a better human being, inside and out, and I highly recommend them! (Her Spring Cleanse warm up starts April 15th, get info here http://stiggly.squarespace.com/spring-cleanse2013/.)

As Sacha captioned it, a smoothie for Kim!

As Sacha captioned it, “a smoothie for Kim!” Nom nom nom!

But we’re here today to talk about fashion and style in our return of FashionWhirled’s Friday:5ive, and, well, as you can see by the first photo, snapped by the inimitable Bill Cunningham for his The New York Times column, Sacha has a highly stylized sense of fashion. Who else looks so stunning riding a bicycle to the Union Square Green Market?!
I met this South Wales-born, England-raised creative soul when we both were studying pottery at Bodanna under my talented friend and former building-mate, the artist Jeff Nimeh (who sadly has since moved to Japan). And at some point we realized we’d been starting the day together, too, as East Village neighbors, swimming summer laps at the Hamilton Fish outdoor pool. Unfortunately, we’re no longer involved in either, although Sacha continues her successful pottery career at La Mano in Chelsea (she sells her numbered tea/coffee mugs on commission and also at craft fairs, such as the Christmas-time one she holds in the courtyard of the d.b.a. bar, where she occasionally bar tends!).
Sacha has her fingers in a lot of pots (seriously! pots! check out her lip balms and other natural products that she sells on her website), and as a green-oriented individual, she has tons to say about ways of making the world better, especially the fashion industry, in particular. Fast-fashion manufacturers, are you listening? Sacha? Take it away!
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FashionWhirled: You are a certified holistic wellness counselor, with a “green” way of looking at life, eating and living. What role does fashion and style play in your everyday life? 
 
Sacha Jones:  It’s funny, as much as I love dressing up and am quite interested in clothes and fashion, most of the time I find myself in my yoga clothes, which is, I suppose a combination of being lazy, and being comfortable as I work largely from home.  My favourite yoga/writing outfit is a pair of organic black cotton full legged black trousers and any one of my vintage t-shirts.  I need to dress in such a way that I never feel restricted.  I need to easily and freely move – be it to dance, run, ride my bike.  I don’t like to feel stiff or stodgy and always need to feel like me – whatever me feels like showing up that day.  This shows up in never wearing suits or stilletos or classic professional wear. I also am very lucky that when I see my clients I can be barefoot, which is the happiest place for my feet.
Wheeee!

Wheeee!

As for make-up, I don’t wear any or use things like “products.” I use things that are natural or homemade. And for jewelry, really mostly I just wear my wedding ring that we had made for us by Tara Cullen, and sometimes some chunky ceramic necklaces that I made or was given to me or gawdy orange or red beads made of Bakelite.
Just some of Sacha's ceramic work

Just some of Sacha’s ceramic work

I think my interest in vintage clothing is as much about keeping things out of the landfill and not contributing to waste, as it is to style, not to mention clothes that have made it to vintage status that have been around for 40-60 years had to have been made really well.
 
FW:  As a public person, giving classes, meeting with clients on a one-to-one basis, performing ceremonies as a Life Celebrant, how does your presentation of your public persona, fashion- and style-wise, differ from your at-home “personal self?” What is your creative process for dressing every day? For dressing for a class, or a Green Market workshop? 
 
SJ:  As I said, at home I get really into comfy mode, but this isn’t always just staying in my yoga gear. Sometimes (when I’m feeling playful, or am cleaning/organizing) at home I like to dress up and be really silly.  I love wearing vintage aprons, scarves & hats, knotted twisty hair and braids, beads, boas, knitted Mary Jane slippers, a poodle skirt, and so on…. it’s pretty much like I am playing dress up or something.  It helps me feel creative and energized, playful and light.
Sacha's favourite dress

Sacha’s favourite dress

But, like a good New Yorker, I love to wear black – it’s flattering and doesn’t show the dirt!   And in the summer time I am mostly known to be wearing a simple vintage or vintage-inspired frock.  When I officiate weddings I am more about classic style dresses, mostly black.  I have a few favourites, but my all time favourite wedding officiating frock is black velvet with a full skirt.  I actually think it may be called “the Audrey” – it’s made by Trashy Diva and I bought it in New Orleans in their store.  I love it, I feel so happy in that dress.   When I officiate weddings I am more about classic style dresses, mostly black.  I have a few favourites, but my all time favourite wedding officiating frock is black velvet with a full skirt.  It sits just above the knee and is really well made – I feel I will have this dress forever (the one in the photo, below).  I have a beautiful pair of deep purple suede shoes from the 1940’s that belonged to a friend’s grandmother, and some chunky red heeled sandals, but other than that I’m not particular fond of (or good at) heeled footwear.
Sacha officiating with scarlet accents
Sacha officiating with scarlet accents
I really love to dress up for parties and special events – mostly appreciating vintage clothes from the 20’s through the 60’s, sometimes dipping into the 70’s.  Dressing to give a Green Market tour will depend on who I’m showing around and what the weather’s like, and my mood that day, of course!   When just going to the green market for myself my fashion accessories are my bicycle and my cloth bags.  And riding home with a basket full of kale, carrots, fresh flowers – can’t get much better than that.  In those moments my style is for sure 1940’s farm girl, I think.  I don’t ride my bike with flowers in my hair anymore as I always wear a (union jack) bike helmet but I LOVE wearing flowers in my hair.
Flowers in her knitwear

Flowers in her knitwear

FW:  Who is your style muse and why?

SJ:  This is an interesting question.  I think I jump around quite a lot with my style and fashion mood, so it’s likely I have many muses. Of course, Audrey Hepburn has to be on the list and has been since I was in my 20’s –  I am probably most at ease in my skinny black pants, a black turtle neck and flat black daps, with my hair tied in a pony tail.   For a few years now, I’ve been asking my hairdresser to cut my bangs (aka my fringe) in the style of “1960’s french cinema” thinking Anna Karina in Band of Outsiders – short and choppy, but I have a feeling Audrey Hepburn had those bangs too at some point.  I am also inspired by all the gals from the ’20s – I love wearing dresses and I do the Charleston to almost any kind of music.  And then there are the dresses of the 1940’s that I really adore.  I love old film, from the silents to screwball and so much more – and in a lot of ways this is to do with the fabulous styles, I think I have many muses!  Not sure who my red tutu muse is but I love wearing that big red frilly petticoat-underskirt-tutu, especially when biking on summer streets  – hey, it caught Bill Cunningham’s eye!  

A very cool vintage dress

A very cool vintage dress paired with crinoline

I am not such a big fan of winter because it involves far too many layers and it’s hard to look good, but I love hand-made (by myself and friends) hats and scarves and mittens, and in my imagination I am skating around on a frozen pond in Central Park in chunky knitwear, my beautiful flared 1940’s forest-green coat with old white skating boots and cupped between my mittened hands is a big bowl of hot chocolate, and tunes from the 1930’s are playing and everyone is smiling.

 

sacha loves handmade creativity

sacha loves handmade creativity

Sacha in a scarf she created from old socks

Sacha in a scarf she created from old socks

I love jacket season (spring and fall) and find that I am most drawn to buying outer wear.  I’m really not a fan of shopping, except in really great vintage shops, so find I do most of my shopping when we go upstate to the town of Hudson, or when we go to London, or pretty much anytime we leave NYC – I do tend to find better priced and better quality vintage and thrift anywhere else but here!   (I’m sorry but it’s hard to see ’80s clothing as vintage, I suppose it’s how my Mum felt about the ’60s stuff we’d love to wear but really the ’80s is far too familiar, and it was not a flattering period!) 

FW:  If you could have any impact on the fashion industry, what would that be and why? How would you propose obtaining those goals?

SJ: Oh my goodness, I think I’d start with having clothes being more well made and less disposable, as well as having, where possible, clothes made from recycled material.   Nowadays, you can buy clothes so inexpensively – but they’re made by underpaid workers in shitty conditions, and they’re designed to be thrown away pretty soon after purchase.  Very little clothing that’s made today will be found in thrift shops 60 years from now, of this I am quite sure.  I’d like to see clothes better made, with organic cottons and hemp and other natural fibers that require little pesticide, and natural dyes, and with the idea that they will last for many years.  I don’t believe people save money by buying cheap clothes.  I’d also like to see the whole fashion industry examine working conditions for those growing (pesticide-filled) cotton, and those sewing/making fashion.

Stiggly Holistics

I’d also love to see more tailors and cobblers – shoes re-soled, and torn seams/dropped buttons repaired rather than so haphazardly tossed away. And I’d like to see less “dry clean only” items, (as well as more chemical-free dry cleaners, and for all dry-cleaners to do away with draping the cleaned outfits in plastic bags!!).

I’d also like to see more recycling of textiles.  We have a collection here in NYC at the farmer’s market for all kinds of fabric and textiles, so even when that old t-shirt has become too worn even to be a rag, or a sock or glove has lost it’s mate, or it’s elasticity – it doesn’t have to be a landfill item – but I’m not sure how commonly known this is.  Perhaps if clothing stores themselves had drop boxes for recycling/repurposing that would get people more tuned in.  There are so many ways we can be recycling and repurposing these days and the fashion industry is so highly influential, it would be really amazing to see this become the norm.  We all know about bringing out own cloth bags and eating organically but tend to “forget” when it comes to fashion.

I also would really like to see more smiles.  Most models are posed with sad, serious or angry expressions.  There is nothing more beautiful than a smile.  Could smiling models be role models for more smiles in the world?  Perhaps that’s naive sounding, but smiles really are contagious. Imagine the ripple effect of more smiling in the world? And while this is rather obvious I’d love to see less skinny models and more focus on healthy looking models.  I work a lot with people who want to release weight and while this in part comes from a desire to be healthier and happier, this is also influenced by our media portrayal of “perfect”.  In my world of work we know that beauty comes from inner-wellness.  That when we are healthy we smile more, we wear a better posture, our skin radiates.  That’s true beauty.

FW:  What words of wisdom or inspiration, or daily affirmation do you strive to live by in your daily life? And what legacy, fashion or otherwise, do you hope to leave to the future and why?

Yes, you can call Sacha a tree hugger!

Yes, you can call Sacha a tree hugger!

SJ: Breathe!  Chew your food.  Don’t be afraid of healthy fat – it’s the key to gorgeous skin, healthy hair and yes, even weight release!  Be nice.  Dance, stretch, wiggle.  Drink plenty of (filtered tap) water.  Eat your greens.  Laugh and smile as much and as often as you can.  Be grateful for what you have.  Express your gratitude each and every day.  I believe everyone should strive to be our best selves every single day.  We should all realize that our personal actions (or lack thereof) have ripple effects into the world. Choices matter.  You get to vote with your fork when you buy organic or grass fed, or bring your own cup to the coffee shop,  and likewise in the world of fashion, your decisions matter!

Simple pleasures

Simple pleasures

*All photos taken by or courtesy of Sacha Jones, unless where indicated

4 thoughts on “Stiggly Holistics’ Sacha Jones is Out to Change the World – One Crinoline at a Time!

    1. kim cihlar Post author

      Stephanie, Sacha is truly a godsend! Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. Have you participated in one of her cleanses? Hope to see you on the boards.xxoo

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