Slow Fashion October 2018

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It’s Slow Fashion October everyone! Karen Templer from Fringe Association started this conversation four years ago and sparked a movement that will have years of impact on our consciousness and our planet. If you want to know more but you find information easier to access/digest by listening, you can listen to Karen on the Love To Sew Podcast.

I will be part of an event put on by Green Action Centre this month on October 17 at the CCFM in Winnipeg. They are screening River Blue a documentary about the environmental impact of clothing production around the world. I’ll have a small selection of items from Franglaisewn to purchase and I will be speaking after the film. I hope you can join us! Tickets are available on Eventbrite.

My last post about slow fashion was all about how I came to it and how I imperfectly practice mindfulness with respect to my clothing and style choices. Today, let's talk about adding slow fashion into your wardrobe, no sewing machine required.

First, as Ally C. Tran put it so well in her post, a mind-set shift is required. I found that this took the longest time for me, and truly, I'm not quite "there". I have a hard time thinking that if I wasn't making my own clothes, that I would be shelling out for others to do so a few times a year. Looking at pieces of clothing as investments will help prevent impulse purchases "just for this event" or "but I love the colour!".

The most sustainable thing you can do is to wear what you have. Mend it if necessary. Adding new buttons to a garment can make an old garment look new or bring it into the current fashion, just like one would add new knobs to kitchen cabinets. Chop off (by which I mean carefully cut then run a line of stitching so it doesn’t fray to oblivion) the collar of a button down shirt or jean jacket. Make too short sleeves into actual 3/4 length sleeves by taking off another two inches or so. You probably have a wealth of clothes already that can be used to re-invigorate your wardrobe.

Another barrier is that you have to be pretty clear on your style. I'm using the word invest for a reason and it's because it implies something costly that will hopefully be worth it, whatever that means to you. So to pay $180 for an ethically, slowly made blazer means that you need to really think about whether or not that blazer suits you and your style, it should fit properly, and it should be constructed to last for years and years. But if we aren't clear on our style, then what? Reading really helps with this, you can check out The Curated Closet by Anuschka Rees. She has a great system for doing the work to nail down our style. Or what if we consistently fluctuate between two sizes, or you're not the same size at the bust as you are at the hips? Here, if these are your only barriers, custom is the way to go. Find a tailor or a seamstress in your area and start with the one thing you can never find, or the one thing that never fits properly. You might be surprised by the time and effort that goes into the clothing, and when you finally put on your (not literal, but maybe literal?) unicorn pants, or top, or dress, you will be so, so happy.

Balancing the ethical, environmental, human considerations along with time and effort and money, is not easy. I struggle with mending socks. I need to learn how to darn because I have twelve feet in this house that go through an alarming number of socks. I’ve ordered Katrina Rodabaugh’s new book Mending Matters because I need to learn better ways of extending the life of my garments, handmade or not. All my RTW garments are from years ago and they still are in regular rotation, so they need a bit of sprucing up or mending. I look forward to sharing my experience with mending on my Instagram if you follow along there.

 How are you spending your time and money this Slow Fashion October?