The Name

La Cocaigne

After months agonizing over the perfect name, I announced to myself, "How about cocaine?" It's catchy, memorable and has a sharp inflection sound. All the things your name should be – right? Half joking – half just wanting to get on with my life, I mentioned it to my future ex-husband, he hesitated, then pulled out his laptop, and started typing. Okay, well, I guess it's a bad idea after 10 minutes of silence.

 

Then he showed me a painting by Pieter Bruegel, the Elder, a 16th-century Dutch painter titled, "Le Pays de Cocagne." The Land of Plenty, as it translates - known in modern times as an imagined utopia where the necessities to survive and flourish is abundant.

 

Art historians who studied Bruegel, also famous for the Tower of Babel, interpret the painting as a "place of extreme luxury and ease where physical comforts and pleasures are always immediately at hand" and "that we need only open our mouths to take in what we desire."

This all hit me like a ton of bricks when I took a hard look at my own mindless comforts and consumption, especially with my clothes.

I was on autopilot when it came to my closet. I had a room the size of my childhood bedroom crammed with clothes just like the pile of stuff animals I collected for no good reason other than I could, and they were cute.

The painting represented my fashion life and the relationship I had with clothes. Stuffed till it hurts, kind of like Christmas dinner – it's painful, but you keep putting one more bite in your mouth because it's there.  All I had to do was open my wallet and pull out the Visa, giving little thought to the act.

 

My life changed when I started to ask myself, does the investment of these clothes bring me a positive return, not only emotionally but financially too?

 

After some hesitation about the name (and not to lessen life-threating addictions) – I surrendered accepting I was a clothes addict. Today, I have a different relationship with my clothes and a much smaller wardrobe. I feel joy getting dressed and embrace my transformation with clothing using only second-hand pieces.

 

It's been a rewarding journey to build my dream wardrobe with second-hand fashion in Paris. I found my Land of Plenty, La Cocaigne, in Paris.

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Styled by LETICIA GONZALES