4 min read

Slow fashion October 2016: An introduction & long-worn

Slow Fashion October's purpose is to encourage thoughtful making and consumerism, mending, and care of what we wear. To approach our clothing in a more intentional way. You can find more info on Karen Templer's Fringe Association in this post about Slow Fashion October // see my thoughts from last October here.

It's (the middle of) Slow Fashion October again. Coincidentally, I'm also in the midst of my 6 month spending hiatus on clothing (just where I was last year). I feel the tug between wanting minimalism and understanding the benefits of owning less, but I also want to avoid waste, and careless cast off of clothing leads to inevitable waste. Yes, I donate my "cast-offs" but many still end up in sketchy textile industry endeavors. The long term solution is thoughtful, minimal purchasing, I suppose, with careful attention to craftsmanship and with the mentality of Will I want to wear this in five years? I like neutrals and classic shapes and dressing to flatter by body type. I'm not a "trendy person." My biggest issues with impulse buys comes in the excessive emotionalization of clothing. That's when I purchase more than I should and make thoughtless buys because of how they makes me feel. I've found that taking a complete break from buying clothing works as a way to keep this in check.

I've thought of doing a capsule wardrobe, and I won't rule that out in the future, but I struggle with the concept of assembling a capsule wardrobe entirely of fast fashion capsule. Buying low quality items, even ones with timeless styling that you theoretically would want to wear for years, will only get you so far if they fall apart in a year or two.

Personally, I want to be more comfortable with less—fewer purchases and more thoughtful ones, at that. But also, I would like to be more comfortable with modifying to avoid the "dump" of clothing because it didn't fit quite right.

I suppose my goals for slow fashion October (and the coming months) are three-fold:

  1. Be thoughtful in my making. Continue in my goal of #stash_less, or using what materials I have on hand before buying new. Having a "stash" is not beneficial for me and just stresses me out. Specifically: plan and outline for a cabled cardigan—finish deciding on a yarn, pattern, and sizing. Also, knit a pair of wool socks, using yarn from my stash.
  2. Mend, make do, or repurpose whenever possible to avoid waste of materials. This includes mending my pre-existing wardrobe, ripping out knitting projects I have no intent to finish so the yarn can be repurposed, etc. Specifically: unravel my Atelier—the pattern is wonderful—the yarn is not. And although I love the color, I don't see myself wearing it in garment form. The sleeves are much too big and the neckline rolls in, which drives me nuts with sweaters. This yarn would be much happier as an accessory or for a gift.
  3. Be thoughtful in my purchasing. Buy ethical whenever possible and don't buy things I don't need or won't want to wear years from now. Specifically: continue in my 6-month spending hiatus. When I do buy clothing, ensure fit, quality, and my taste are all taken into account.

A note about long-worn clothing:

The second segment of Slow Fashion October encourages us to comment on items worn for years—handmade or otherwise. I have several colors of thread and I've mended countless items of clothing in my closet. Items damaged in the wash or worn and well-loved have their wearability extended by taking less than five minutes to repair them. I wanted to mention a few particulars: this Fossil dress, the Gap button down, and the J. Crew skirt are well-loved years later because of the quality, the fit, and that they are all in colors I like to wear. All wear pricier purchases at the time, but the amount that I've worn them accounts for that. These clothes have grown up with me, so to speak. The skirt is from high school, where I wore it at my hips with an untucked shirt. These days, I wear it with a tucked-in top, belted. For years, I wore the dress alone, but now I also layer it in colder months so it's essentially season-less. And I wore the button down yesterday and today, only taking it off for a picture.

P.S—I know that a common caveat with slow fashion is cost prohibition. I've reconciled with this by buying higher quality, but much, much less of it. What are your thoughts about this? Slow fashion/buying vintage/repurposing/buying ethically? It's a hot topic, I realize, and there are a lot of people with opinions. I'd be curious to hear your's.


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