Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994

Archive for the ‘Clothing’

Handmade and handwoven: Malong and pouches from Mindanao

January 09, 2018 By: jessicazafra Category: Clothing, Design 2 Comments →

I love traditional hand-made fabrics because they’re beautiful, distinctive, and locally-produced, and because there’s little probability that you will run into someone wearing or carrying the exact same thing. Over the years I’ve come to know the Ilokano textiles called inabel through the BLB—I have a whole bunch of abel blankets, and tote bags that are so sturdy, I also use them as cat carriers.

Last year I was introduced to textiles from Maguindanao. They’re very colorful, with intricate patterns and motifs. In the picture above, Saffy is sitting on a batik malong (You can wear it over your jeans if you’re bored with your wardrobe), next to a pair of zippered pouches made of bunga sama.

Find out more about the textiles and crafts of Mindanao at Mataid Mindanao. “Mataid” means beautiful.

And so, like many, many, many others before me, I fall in love with Japanese fashion.

September 26, 2017 By: jessicazafra Category: Clothing, Places No Comments →

I know, it’s so cliche.

The store is called Kapital. The class struggle between labour and capital is the clash between my desire and my wallet.

Then I find that David Sedaris has already come up with an accurate description of their clothes.

The neighborhood it was in—Ebisu—is home to one of our favorite shops, Kapital. The clothes they sell are new but appear to have been previously worn, perhaps by someone who was shot or stabbed and then thrown off a boat. Everything looks as if it had been pulled from the evidence rack at a murder trial. I don’t know how they do it. Most distressed clothing looks fake, but not theirs, for some reason. Do they put it in a dryer with broken glass and rusty steak knives? Do they drag it behind a tank over a still-smoldering battlefield? How do they get the cuts and stains so . . . right?

If I had to use one word to describe Kapital’s clothing, I’d be torn between “wrong” and “tragic.” A shirt might look normal enough until you try it on, and discover that the armholes have been moved, and are no longer level with your shoulders, like a capital “T,” but farther down your torso, like a lowercase one.

Read The Perfect Fit.

Obviously we recognize the same powers.

Let’s talk about socks

September 23, 2017 By: jessicazafra Category: Clothing 10 Comments →

My favorite shoes with my favorite socks

I’m going on several trips in the next month and doing a lot of walking, so before I left Manila I went to Marks and Spencer and bought a pack of socks. You’d think socks would be easier to find than shoes. Nope. In the last three years I’ve bought dozens of socks that turned out to be useless. Crew socks (mid-calf) and boot socks are easy. Happy Socks and Proppy do them well. But ankle socks, including the ones that claim to be no-show, cause problems—they slip down and disappear into my shoes. I’m talking about you, Old Navy, Calzedonia, and now Marks and Spencer ankle socks. Only Muji ankle socks do their job. If there’s anything that causes me to revert into an eight-year-old, it’s socks that get eaten by shoes.

Yesterday I had barely walked a block when my socks retreated to my arches and my ankles were chafed by the backs of my shoes. Blasted socks. Fortunately there are convenience stores on every street corner in Yokohama so I ducked into one and bought a pair of men’s socks. Which held up perfectly, and saved my feet from bleeding.

Could somebody tell me where to get good ankle socks?

Where are my glasses?

July 15, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Clothing, Design No Comments →


Chus gave me this book, which he found at Dia de Libro this year (at Ayala Triangle, where Instituto Cervantes has moved).

Donde estan mis gafas_Paría Pascual4

It’s a picture book for adults who keep forgetting where they left their glasses. (The solution is to have several pairs of glasses, so you can put one on to find the missing pair.)

Saturday in Cubao: Cat cafe and Pop-up bazaar

April 05, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Cats, Clothing, Places, Shopping No Comments →

cat cafe

We like visiting Cubao because our parents used to take us there when we were children. During the holidays we would stand on the street outside COD Department Store (gone) to gawk at the animatronic Xmas display, and in the weeks before school opened in June we would go to Marikina Shoe Expo in search of school shoes.

In high school when I learned to cut class, my friends and I would watch movies at those standalone cinemas on Aurora Boulevard (Coronet, Remar, Diamond, gone) or at Ali Mall (which is still there).

Last Saturday we visited a cat cafe in Cubao called Bengal Brew. All the cats there are Bengals, which have beautiful coats like ocelots, leopards and other felines in the wild. Admission is Php400, which includes your choice of pastry (the sans rival and chocolate dome are okay) and coffee.


Afterwards we had lunch at Bellini’s (broccoli soup, osso buco, orange cake) and checked out the stores. The last time we were at Cubao X it seemed a little dispirited: so many shops boarded up, not much to look at besides the vintage store that is so crammed with stuff you can barely walk in. I am pleased to report that Cubao X looks spiffy again, with newish cafes and interesting stores selling all manner of stuff.

There was a pop-up bazaar featuring handmade toys and accessories.


At one shop we found this vintage flamingo brooch. We love this stuff.


Making a spectacle of yourself

March 18, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Clothing 5 Comments →

mik somers

At the media lunch for the eyewear brand Theo, I found myself staring covetously at the bright orange frames worn by Theo executive Mik Somers. I wanted to buy the frames right there (I couldn’t, they’re from two or three seasons ago, but they’ll be back eventually). And then I noticed that the wearer looked like Luke Wilson in The Royal Tenenbaums.

luke wilson
Note: Luke Wilson doesn’t look like this anymore.