This week’s interview is with Anuschka Rees, current Berlin resident and mind behind the fantastic site, Into Mind. I first found Anuschka sometime in the middle of last year, while I was looking for articles on wardrobe organization. I soon found myself sucked into her blog, Into Mind, and reading all of her articles on building streamlined wardrobes for every season.
I was thrilled to have the opportunity to interview Anushcka late last year, and am happy to finally be able to introduce her on the site. Enjoy meeting Anuschka!
Who are you? What do you do, and where do you live?
My name is Anuschka Rees and I’m 24. I’m German, but have also lived in the UK on and off for a total of 7 years. My boyfriend and I just moved from London to Berlin. I spend most of my time doing one of three things: Writing my doctoral thesis in social psychology, working as a copywriter for a start up here in Berlin and running Into Mind.
When and how did you decide to start evolving and focusing your blog towards building a minimalist wardrobe?
I am a psychologist at heart and once you get me started on the topic I will not shut up about self concepts, attachment styles and the evolutionary basis of romantic relationships. So, at the beginning I wrote a lot about psychology, but also posted DIY tutorials and other random stuff. Eventually, about 6-7 months ago, I decided to ‘do this thing right’ and develop a proper concept. Wardrobe building and personal style were the two topics that I felt I had the most original ideas to contribute to. There are so many great DIY blogs out there and even social psychology sources, but in the fashion blogosphere the ‘fast fashion’ blogs definitely outweigh the rest and only a few give actual, practical tips on how to define your own personal style and build a small, high-quality wardrobe.
How has your own personal, defined style evolved over time? What was it before, and what is it now?
When I was younger I was never even 20% satisfied with my clothes: I bought everything from H&M, lots of bargains that never looked right and had no consistent style. The core idea that started my whole personal style journey was having a uniform: I originally developed a uniform as a way to add some sort of structure to my wardrobe and to make sure that at least a small portion of my wardrobe is right and wearable. For about two years, when I was 20/21, my uniform consisted of long sleeve dresses, tights, ankle boots and a leather jacket. Right now, my uniform is still flat shoes (ankle boots or loafers, I’m not a fan of heels), slim-fitting trousers + a lightweight crew-neck knit sweater. My colour palette used to be very defined, I would mainly wear neutrals and softer, light shades, but recently I have expanded it a bit more (my current favourite item is a tomato red shirt). I like layer-less, simple looks, stripes, pure cotton fabrics, delicate jewellery and men’s wear inspired footwear.
What is your view on “fast fashion” in the wake of human rights incidents in Bangladesh and all over the world? I’m sure that most of us have items from Target, H&M, other “disposal fashion” culprits in our wardrobes. Do items from these shops have a place in our wardrobes, as long as we get good wear from them?
This is such a huge topic, and I’m glad that the ‘ethics of fashion’ have become a point of discussion on so many blogs. Ultimately, I think the only solution as a consumer is to buy less and focus on the most ethical and sustainable sources available and brands who are the most transparent about their process. It’s a tricky subject, because we don’t have perfect information and, especially on a student budget, it can be almost impossible to avoid cheaper lines. Hopefully, the increased awareness will put some pressure on the industry to increase transparency. Transparency and awareness are the key factors I think, because the majority of people (and brands) will not change their spending behaviour until it gets really difficult to ignore the damage they are doing.
What about luxury goods – what is your view on them, and their place in a minimalist wardrobe? Do you believe in spending larger sums on luxury items?
I definitely believe in investing in items, not necessarily money, but definitely time. Really taking the time to define exactly what you want from an item, and then searching for the perfect fit, shade and material. If something is 100% your style and you can see yourself wearing it for seasons to come, then, yes, I think its a good idea to pay a little more. If there is no added benefit except for the label, then: no. The shortcut higher price = higher quality does not always work.
I’m sure that many people read your site and leave inspired – determined to revamp their wardrobe. What are some common mistakes you see from those who want to start having a more streamlined wardrobe?
I think that the idea of ‘style advice’ sometimes leaves people thinking that there is one specific style and one set of clothes that is the gold standard, and also only one way to attain that. I am not a fan of articles like ‘The 10 things every woman needs in her wardrobe’, because we all have different lifestyles, aesthetic ideals and because not everyone needs a crisp white shirt! The goal of my blog is to help readers develop their own personal style, that fits their individual taste, body shape and day-to-day activities. I try to offer lots of different tools and techniques that people can pick and choose from, depending on their wardrobe needs and creative process, but sometimes readers get worried if one technique does not work for them or overwhelmed by how much there is to do.
Colour Analysis is a good example, some people love it and some hate it – the point is, use whatever technique works for you. If I or someone else recommends xyz because it has really helped them organise/improve/upgrade their wardrobe, but it doesn’t really seem to address your problem, then don’t do it – just try something else.
What are some of your favorite items in your wardrobe now? How about some of your most frequently worn items?
My most-worn recent purchases are definitely my COS jacket and a black & Other Stories skirt. Other than that, my jewellery uniform is probably the most stable component of my daily look: For the past year and a half I have worn the same rose-gold 2mm ring, and two silver studs in each ear. I also wear a little leather cross-body bag nearly every day. It used to belong to my grandmother, then my mother and now me. It does not have a label tag, so I’m not sure where it’s from, but it still looks and works great.
How do you approach building and maintaining a wardrobe from a budgetary perspective? What is your spending philosophy?
My shopping habits are very cyclical, I tend to buy a lot just before the beginning of the two major seasons, around September and March/April, but hardly anything in between. I don’t ban myself from shopping and I might buy little things here and there, but I prefer to examine my wardrobe all in one go, so I can see what I need and how everything works together. I definitely try to save up for those months, but I don’t have a set budget (although I probably should!
Let me share a situation which I am often faced with – an item I really love appears that I know will have a great place in my closet, but it is full price. Do you wait for it to go on sale?
I think the system works a little differently here in Germany, we don’t have those big sales and when we do there are hardly any good items left, so waiting for an item to go on sale is a really risky strategy. Before I buy something I will usually have compared all my options and made sure the item truly fits into my wardrobe, so I don’t mind paying a bit extra. I actually avoid going shopping during sales, because, as a psychologist, I know how much even just a tiny reduction in price can cloud your judgment.
What are some of your other hobbies and passions?
We just moved into our first real non-student, unfurnished apartment, so I currently spend most of my free time trying to find the ideal cushions, carpets, etc. The process is pretty similar to building a wardrobe actually, so I get to try out my techniques in a whole other arena. Other than that I like to learn new things and am always working on some new skill. At the moment that is Adobe Illustrator. It is hard!
Finally….please share something surprising about yourself!
Well, this is definitely not a surprise to people who know me in person, but I am a serious nerd and can easily spend several hours in the book store, just reading about history, zoology, politics, agriculture (I’m not kidding), astrology, anything. I also LOVE statistics, which is helpful for my Phd, but even when I don’t have to analyse my data, I will sometimes just open up my statistics program and calculate random stuff. Odd, I know.