pasionaria : Joana Uchôa
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An old used up shirt covered in stains belonging to her father was the spark that lit the fire to Joana Uchôa’s creativity. She went out to buy fabric paint and reveled at customizing the shirt by covering the stains.

Since that moment, Joana has spent time browsing through thrift shops searching for the pieces of clothing that inspire her to develop her customized styling and hand patterns.

Born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, 21 year old Joana Uchôa is an artist in every sense of the word. After exploring different mediums such as drawing, painting, embroidery, sculpture & design, Joana focuses her attention to fabric painting and the values of « slow fashion ». She believes in quality & longevity and the principles of  fair wages, lower carbon footprints and ideally zero waste.

When we asked Joana what made her create clothes with the hand pattern, her inspiration was very clear. 

" I chose the hand as my main symbol because it portrays several things to me : 

Firstly, the hand pattern represents the hands of the exploited sweat shop workers (mainly women) who despite their work are invisible to the eyes of society. I think of these workers who with blood, sweat and tears, produce clothing in terrible working conditions. By customizing an dress or shirt with the hand pattern, it is my way of honoring the work of these workers. I transform the piece into something desirable again and give the clothes a new lease of life. Therefore the hands represent the power of transformation. 

We also wanted to know her feelings about living in one of the world’s most vibrant cities and how Rio influences her work.

"I believe that my city, Rio de Janeiro, influences me a lot in my work. Not only on the collection I am presently working on which is focused on slow fashion, but on all my creations so far. Rio excites me. It is an extremely beautiful place, a city full of life, with an energy that I haven’t seen anywhere else. It’s a city filled with artists. The streets are crowded with people and small bars and tables.  On the sidewalks, crammed with people and the proximity, the physical proximity it creates, allows people to talk to each other easily.  People from all walks of life mingle. This favors exchanges and people who barely know each other chat, communicate and exchange ideas throughout the night. 

Rio is a place where you wake up in the morning to a beautiful sunny sky, where you head to the beach for a few hours & meet up with people.

Even when you work or go to College, Rio is surrounded by beautiful mountains and lush vegetation, the sun shines and the interaction with people is constant. I’m in love with this place ! "

We were curious to find out what the meaning of Joana Uchôa’s brand name #ousejabrecho : "The hashtag #ousejabrecho means thrift stores." she explains.  "Its a little joke that I created because I am always talking about how investing in these types of stores would be much more ethical, ecological conscious compared to financing stores that rely on the fast fashion model of consumption and production. On my Instagram and Youtube channel I'm always talking about these matters ! This is what I fight for!  My focus is slow fashion + feminism where you  promote by investing on thrift."

How can one not be inspired by the passion, the energy & the charisma of this hand loving designer with a cause. 

The Hand Has Its Social Media Moment by Amanda Hess published in the NYTIMES.COM
The Hand Has Its Social Media Moment by Amanda Hess published in the NYTIMES.COM.png

The disembodied hand has a sinister cinematic reputation. In horror films, it can be seen scampering across the screen, enacting nefarious deeds — murder, usually. But on social media, the hand has been cast in a new role, as a symbol of artisanal craftsmanship and entrepreneurial zeal.

The online video hand is just as driven as the horror movie version — both appear to have minds of their own. But this time it’s a helping hand, channeling its energies toward cooking party foods and executing creative household hacks. And it’s extending its reach across the internet. A quarter of video views on the Facebook pages of media companies go to these sorts of instructional videos, according to the digital video analytics company Tubular Labs. No faces. No bodies. Just hands.

BuzzFeed’s food video juggernaut, Tasty, popularized a particular form of cooking video — camera pointed straight down onto the kitchen counter, point-of-view style, with cooks appearing exclusively from the wrist down — that has since taken over top Facebook and YouTube crafting and cooking channels like Blossom5-Minute Crafts and BuzzFeed’s own D.I.Y. channel, Nifty. (The New York Times Cooking section produces such content, too; they’re called “hands and pans” videos.) Now even the Food Network, which built its television brand by promoting fully realized human cooks, has started posting hand-focused cooking videos on its Facebook page.

The hand has also emerged as a star of a popular genre of YouTube children’s content: toy unboxing videos, where new playthings are removed from their packages and taken for a spin. One of YouTube’s most popular personalities is an anonymous unboxer known as Disney Collector, who appears exclusively as a set of playfully manicured hands. And on Instagram, the hand has come into its own as a beauty icon, thanks to Instagram-famous nail artists like Madeline Poole and Jin Soon Choi.

Second to the face, the hand is the most demonstrably human body part. Its opposable thumb allows it to wield tools, flash symbols and now, type out texts. It’s probably not a coincidence that the hand’s image has risen online just as mobile devices have taken over our social, work and creative lives. We’re living amid what the French philosopher Michel Serres has called the “Thumbelina Generation”: Instead of talking with our mouths, we’re creating vast and complicated visual and textual messages with finger taps and swipes. We shoot smartphone videos with the device in hand, thumb resting on the “record” button, then turn around and watch the video in our hands. The hand is the driver of modern communication, and now it’s the star of it, too.

“We’ve seen a re-enchantment of the hand,” James Leo Cahill, a cinema studies professor at the University of Toronto, told me. “It’s finally getting its due as an onscreen organ.”

For decades, instructional TV shows were built around celebrity chefs or crafters, filmed on sets with wide camera shots. These shows could make viewers feel as if they were hanging out with Rachael Ray or Martha Stewart, but they didn’t mimic the sensation of actually cooking or crafting themselves. Tasty “presents cooking from the point of view of the cook,” said Andrew Gauthier, BuzzFeed’s head of global strategic projects.

BuzzFeed started playing around with hands-focused cooking videos in 2012, but the format really took off in 2014, with the rise of video sharing on Facebook. In August, Tasty racked up more than 800 million Facebook video views and 58 million more on YouTube. On social media, instructional videos don’t need celebrity hosts, Mr. Gauthier said, because “viewers essentially play the host as they share the videos.”

Hands-only videos represent the antithesis of the personality-driven D.I.Y. show. One of the annoyances of learning a recipe, fixing a problem around the house or executing a crafting project through online video is encountering the branded D.I.Y. vlogger who rambles on and on about unrelated matters instead of just showing you how to do the thing. The hands-only video is soothing in its lack of personality. “We do anything that we can to make sure our hands aren’t stealing the spotlight,” said Scott Loitsch, a senior producer for Tasty, whose hands can be seen cooking some of the internet’s most popular recipes, including guacamole onion rings (94 million views on Facebook) and lasagna-stuffed peppers (51 million views).

That means keeping hands manicured and clean, but also avoiding distracting details like longer nails and intricate polish. “It triggers different people in different ways,” Mr. Loitsch said. Because the hands are stand-ins for the viewer, any flair can feel alienating. One recent Tasty commenter was set off by a bracelet: “UGH! Stop wearing jewelry while cooking,” she wrote. “So gross.”

There is a specific grammar to the hands-only video. “It’s important that the hands come from the bottom of the frame instead of the top,” Mr. Gauthier added. A hand reaching down from above “feels disembodied, like someone is making it for you,” he said, but if it arises from below, “the hands become proxies for your hands.”

If the disembodied hands of horror appear as threats, these hands impart a feeling of hyper-competence, executing complicated recipes and household chores on the viewers’ behalf, and at fast-forward speed. Meanwhile, unboxing videos give our proxy hands access to a simulation of endless dispensable income, as the unboxer touches and feels the hottest new action figures and toy sets. And on Instagram, paint-mixing and slime-handlingvideos show hands engaged in creating oddly satisfying images and sounds.

The internet’s new class of hand models are staged to feel like our own appendages, except more skillful, accomplished and rich. The effect can be enthralling. One Facebook commenter on Mr. Loitsch’s churro ice cream bowl video (183 million views) wrote: “Call me a nut, but is it wrong that I can’t take my eyes off the guy’s hands? I want to know what the rest of this man looks like, and if he’s single.”

Elsewhere on the internet, video makers are working in the opposite direction, imbuing the otherwise anonymous hand with personality and character through tiny, ornate decorations. The blankness of the hand – the same dynamic that makes a Tasty producer’s bracelet a distraction — can be used to build a particular hand’s brand. The Disney Collector unboxer is known for her stylish and topical nails, which change from Hello Kitty-appliqued pink to a frosty “Frozen” theme to fit the toys on display — a bit of flair that’s helped elevate her from the pack.

As the hand becomes a stand-in for the creative self on social media, nail art allows self-expression to seep into every shot. Just as Instagram selfies have placed a spotlight on the assets of models and celebrities, and subjected all women to a kind of internet-wide beauty competition, nail art eliminates the distractions of the face and body, focusing instead on pure artistry and immaculate detail.

If the face has come to represent narcissism online, directing human energies into beautified selfies and funneling issues through the personal testimonies of YouTube personalities, the hand projects a quiet seriousness of purpose. In an online landscape of endless chatter, it’s all business.

Follow Amanda Hess on Twitter @amandahess.

A version of this article appears in print on October 12, 2017, on Page C1 of the New York edition with the headline: There’s an Allure To Hands Online.

The Hand in the Native American culture

The highly complex Native American Indian culture was based on a religion dominated by rituals and spiritual connection with nature.

Several beliefs were illustrated in various symbols such as the Hand symbol. Their clothes, tepees and most of their belongings were decorated with these symbols depicting their achievements. The Hand print was also a common symbol that was painted either on the face of the warrior or on his horse. The most prized handprint was when preparing for battle, if it was a kill-or-be-killed mission, an upside-down hand would be placed on the warrior’s horse. If a horse knocked down an enemy, right and left handprints were put on the horse’s chest.

The hand symbolized human life and this sign channeled energy to the wearer. It also represented spiritual power, strength, domination & protection. One way of using the symbol of the Hand was by applying « war paint » before battle. When preparing for battle, the hand symbol in war paint was applied to intimidate their ennemies during warfare.

Medicine Men or Shamans chose the hand symbol as a marking representing powerful magic that was passed on during application of the war paint. The warrior believed himself to be invincible. For certain tribes, the Hand symbol represented success in one on one combat. 

In Native American art, the hand symbolizes the presence of man. The earliest traces of hand imprints on cave walls depicts his personal history.

A hand with a swirl in the middle of it, is said to be the « eye in hand » meaning the all-seeing hand. It becomes a mystical representation and implies the presence of man’s great spirit. These Native American hieroglyphs have been found in a number of places in the south-western part of the US.

It is also known as the Healer’s hand or Shaman’s hand as an ancient symbol of healing and protection. 


There are no words to express the freedom I feel in writing today and I will tell you why.

As I watch the words that I scribble, slowly filling the blank pages, little by little, step by step, it reminds me of our lives. Yes, we arrive in this world like an empty book with blank pages ready to be filled up. Every thought, every word, every action, every touch : each of these experiences will layer up on these blank pages. It is all about leaving a digital print, a handprint on the Universe.

After all isn't this the purpose of our existence ?

Whatever you decide to do (or not to do) resides in your hands …

By Annaël Assouline

Schiaparelli's hand

Elsa Schiaparelli was one of the world's leading fashion designers in the 1920s and ‘30s.

Born in Rome in 1890, she lived in London & NY and moved to Paris after her divorce, where she continued her work in the fashion industry. She soon began designing clothes of her own, and in 1927, opened her own business.

She befriended artists from the Surrealist movement and launched in 1934 a collection inspired by their ideals. She presented an embroidered design on a jacket taken from one of Jean Cocteau’s drawings. With her accessories the hand pattern was used in belts, bags, jackets & capes. She collaborated with Dali on fabric design and her interest in trompe l'oeil and the subjects of surrealism continued throughout her work until she closed her eponymous house in 1954. 

The hand was seen in many Surrealist artworks, such as those by Man Ray, and Schiaparelli used it in remarkable ways to accent her clothing designs. The wearer is literally embraced around the waist by the belt, an image echoed in the well-known jacket from the fall 1937 collection, featuring a woman with her golden sequined hair draped down one arm and her arm and hand wrapped across the body and waist, again embracing the wearer. The design was inspired by a drawing by Jean Cocteau for Schiaparelli. Millicent Rogers, the previous owner of this belt, was an avid supporter of Schiaparelli's work, especially her more unorthodox creations.

Schiaparelli died on November 13, 1973, in Paris, France. She has continued to be regarded as a giant in the fashion world. In 2012, New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art featured her work, along with that of Italian designer Miuccia Prada, in a major exhibition.


The hand expresses what the heart already knows.” – Samuel Mockbee

I don’t remember his nice words or the compliments he gave me, nor do I remember his flirty texts, his Instagram likes or the roses he sent. But, I do remember the first time his hand brushed my cheek, the first time our hands touched ; the first time he held my hand through my pain. I also remember the first time his hands yelled at me ; the first time his hands cheated on me ; and, the first time his hands stopped loving me. His hands, unlike his words, never deceived me. They were always truthful to what he was and what he felt.  

Truthfulness. What I aspire to every single day. And yet…

In today’s world, where texts have replaced hand-in-hand walks in the park and where social media “likes” have replaced kisses, there is little place for genuineness. How many times did we write a comforting message to a friend, instead of holding such friend’s hand? How many times have we looked at our phones while walking next to a person we love, instead of holding this person’s hand? How many times?

Not to say I haven’t myself been a victim of such a phenomenon, but I always wonder how different my life would be without a screen separating me, my life, and my feelings from reality. Is it that our generation has become lazier? Or is it that we are afraid to put ourselves out there and really feel. Yes, I do remember the time his hands stopped loving me. But, what I remember most is the time he combed my hair with his hands while I was laying on a hospital bed. And that, is worth everything. 

I know, I know, how hypocritical, you’re thinking. You’re even thinking “she probably has no time to meet her friends, has 13k followers on Instagram and likes every dog picture her best friend posts on Facebook”.  Yes, you’re maybe right (although I promise you, my Instagram is not full of selfies taken in front of my bathroom mirror). But, I never said I was an example to follow. I want to change.

I want to use my hands to share a handshake with a stranger, to cook a meal to a friend, to hold my newborn baby, to give food to the homeless, to play music to sick children, to go through his hair while watching a movie, to love him, all of him, to wipe his tears, to laugh, to cry, to live. I want my hands to express to the world what my heart already knows

by Diala Abouchalache


Hands seem to inevitably appear as elements of garments in the world of fashion. Either delicately as a highlight or hauntingly as in the maison martin margiela 1988 bustier constructed from gloves. the hand is a regular feature in many collections. 

Take jean-charles de castelbajac who has clearly been inspired by the hand the motif of hand silhouettes has been present throughout his career. he not only created his incredible hand-shaped bags but later dressed lady gaga for her 2013 video in which she wears a piece of his A/W 2011 collection.