Climate. Fashion. Vision.

Lissome Letter #97: Essence

Dear precious people,

How have you been? In the Northern hemisphere, we are in the midst of a long dark winter that, in conjunction with the on-going pandemic, weighs heavier this year. In Berlin, winter is always a time of withdrawing to the indoors, of life vanishing from the streets. But this time around, everything feels more existential – as if we are collectively going through a time of “wintering” as author Katherine May calls it in her beautiful book of the same title.

And she reminds us: “Plants and animals don’t fight the winter; they don’t pretend it’s not happening and attempt to carry on living the same lives they lived in the summer. They prepare. They adapt. They perform extraordinary acts of metamorphosis to get them through. Wintering is a time of withdrawing from the world, maximising scant resources, carrying out acts of brutal efficiency, and vanishing from sight; but that’s where the transformation occurs. Winter is not the death of the life cycle, but its crucible. (…) It’s a time for reflection and recuperation, for slow replenishment, for putting your house in order. Doing these deeply unfashionable things – slowing down, letting your spare time expand, getting enough sleep, resting – is a radical act now, but it’s essential.”

It’s indeed a radical act in a world that seemingly expects us to always be “on”, and at the same time a fascinating experiment – what happens when we shift our perspective, when we allow ourselves to rest and wander inwards to open up the space to see anew? I recently found myself giving my work another dimension by turning it into something more magical – by creating rituals around it. Instead of dutifully checking off to-do lists (my strategy in the past), I might now start the day with dance, I light a candle, I listen to the music of trees, I savour a cup of fresh thyme tea, I take breaks. These simple acts of playfulness and joy seem to resonate with me deeply, like a subtle healing force guiding me home to my sensual and dreamy nature, to the awe and mystery of being alive.

The year of the pandemic shows itself as one big “wintering” – an act of surrender experienced, in one way or the other, by all of us – deeply exhausting, sometimes traumatizing, and with an immense potential to transform. Or in the words of Katherine May: “The changes that take place in winter are a kind of alchemy, an enchantment performed by ordinary creatures to survive. Dormice laying on fat to hibernate, swallows navigating to South Africa, trees blazing out the final weeks of autumn. It is all very well to survive the abundant months of spring and summer, but in winter, we witness the full glory of nature’s flourishing in lean times.”

So please take good care of yourselves in these trying times and of all the precious beings around you. We will be back soon with some joyful news about our beautiful second print edition that’s now been a year in the making and ready to be birthed into the world.

– Much love, Dörte


New Online:

Essence Fashion Story by Anna Rosa Krau

We are not made to be autonomous, and we are not alone. We are in a constant state of interbeing – touched by life. I can only nurture myself by taking care of you. Thus the essence of ME is YOU.

V I E W  O N L I N E


As a Ceremony shines light on the aesthetics of respect /
Interview by Michelle Torres

Turning on the lights in our homes and lighting up the nighttime streets is an everyday act that we take for granted, and barely pay much attention to. In conversation with Alessia Pegorin and Antonia Insunza of Berlin-based light design studio As a Ceremony, writer Michelle Torres reflects upon the various factors posing a challenge to healthy and holistic ways of design and production in the light industry, such as lighting pollution and the looming e-waste crisis, and shares As a Ceremony’s design philosophy of “love, respect and appreciation for the process, all beings, darkness, light, and one another.”

V I E W  O N L I N E

7 Senses / with Cecila Portela, founder & designer of MATKA

Taste: What do you love to taste at the moment?
I’m enjoying comforting stews with loads of veg, chickpeas or beans, and spices at the moment, such as this one by Anna Jones.

Smell: What smells keep you calm during these turbulent times?
I like bringing home fresh rosemary after a walk in the park, and lighting a beeswax candle in the evening; always with a wooden match that I leave burning until the end. Those subtle essences help me be more present.

Touch: What touches you?
In winter, cashmere and silk.

Hearing: What are you listening to? 
I like getting immersed in BBC Radio 4’s Grounded with Louis Theroux or In Our Time with Melvyn Bragg. I’ve been also enjoying Talk Easy with Sam Fragoso. But I’d like to mention The New York Times’s 1619, hosted by Nikole Hannah-Jones, as one of my top choices from this past year. 

Vision: What are you looking up to inspire you?
I keep Writings by Eduardo Chillida near me, as I love going back it.

Intuition: What is your intuition with regards to how 2021 will unfold?
I believe that, generally speaking, we’re at a tipping point, and a major shift at all levels is not only necessary but inevitable. 2021 is looking very challenging but I’m feeling a sense of community that is growing and getting stronger by the hour. I trust that this will save us.

Proprioception: What movements or actions empower you?
Dancing. I haven’t been in the mood for it lately. As I’m writing, I realise I do it when it’s sunny. It does boost my energy.


Food for Thought, Body and Soul / In Wintering Times

Things we find nourishing and would love to share with you:

On Being: Katherine May, How 'Wintering' Replenishes

The book is a beauty and so is this conversation with its author Katherine May. Her graceful metaphor of “wintering” illuminates the importance of slowing down, resting and retreating in trying times, and at once places them in the wider cycles of seasons and life.

Future Fashion Visions by Amie & Ania
Ania and Amie of Sustainability5.0 offer us a gift in form of their first Spirit of Design podcast episode of 2021, in which they share their visions for powerful, fair and thriving futures. We need these powerful visionings now more than ever - have a listen! <3

People around the world recorded the sounds of their forests for this project initiated by Ecosia, so you can escape into nature, while in lockdown or unable to travel.

Mask Off. Masculinity Redefined by JJ Bola

I loved this rare and sensitive read about masculinities by writer, poet and educator JJ Bola and couldn’t agree more with his words: “Books like this need to exist in this era because the system of patriarchy must be dismantled; (...) if we are to ever live in a truly equal world, then we must all do the work.”

Noteworthy / News on climate, fashion, vision

“Will the circular economy save the planet?” is the question that writer Elizabeth L. Cline finds nuanced answers for in her comprehensive article
for Sierra magazine.

Don’t make regenerative the next victim of greenwashing: the New Standard Institute breaks down the current scientific understanding of and things to watch out for to ensure that this concept leads to significant positive change.

The world made by Amazon: the Amazon founder’s relentless quest for ‘customer ecstasy’ made him one of the world’s richest people – now he’s looking to the unlimited resources of space. Is he the genius our age of consumerism deserves?, asks Marc O’Connell in The Guardian.

The curse of ‘white oil’: electric vehicles’ dirty secret – while the EU focuses on emissions, the lithium gold rush threatens environmental damage on an industrial scale, writes The Guardian’s Oliver Balch.



Having a big crush on these lush creations by photographer & art director Hannah Thornhill.

With LOVE and gratitude.


Published by:
The Lissome Magazine

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