Slow Fashion October: Introduction
October really sneaked up on me this year. We've had unseasonably warm weather (the new norm, probably, because #climatechangeisreal) and the school year/fall semester hasn't exactly gotten off to an easy start. It always takes a few weeks for my freelance schedule to fill up and for me to settle into a regular practice/rehearsal routine, and on top of that, the kids have already been through two rounds of illnesses (one is still home today). I'm just not in my groove, and yet we're talking about Halloween costumes and I think the holidays will be here before we know it.
But that's not really what I meant to post about! Slow Fashion October is upon us again, and once again there are a lot of really good, thought-provoking posts on what it means to have less waste in one's wardrobe.
|Here I was wearing my linen Gemma Tank from Made-by-Rae, and my Milk Stout Cardigan in Julie Asselin's Nurtured yarn|
I'm not sure I really have anything new to say about my feelings about a handmade wardrobe, or my discomfort with the textile industry and fast fashion, and my mixed feelings about what this means for families (the handmade clothes industry is almost exclusively marketed toward women, even though many people who aren't women also wear clothes!!). It's nothing I haven't already said, and most of my sentiments on these topics have been written about already, quite eloquently, by others.
If you care to read the posts I wrote last year, you can click on the links below:
Week One: About me
Since a year ago, I've made more sweaters, tried and failed at making jeans (I've not given up for good, though) and gotten better at sewing with knits. I have made several t-shirts for my daughter and have nearly given up on making anything for my son except for a pair of neon pink socks he stole from me on a hiking trip this past summer. (He is 10, so wearing things your mom made is decidedly not cool. I'm ok with that.) Slowly but surely, I think I'm moving towards more of a handmade wardrobe for myself, which is a fun and rewarding creative exercise for me, though I'm not sure if it's really as virtuous as I'd like to believe.
|Aren't I funky in my Cloud9 Luna Pants (also MBR) and new wool shoes from AllBirds.com ?|
For another thing - and here's where I might step on some toes - I think we have to be careful about getting too caught up in our sense of virtue by focusing so much on clothes and their origins. I see the slow fashion and handmade movements as one way of coping personally with issues of environmental destruction and humanitarian crises that are almost too large and frightening to ponder. This is certainly true for me! It's distressing and overwhelming that humans are gobbling up fossil fuels and other natural resources, polluting the air and water, dumping trash everywhere, and exploiting each other for labor, with little or no sign of slowing down. It's a natural reaction to find some small part of your life to try and get control over some part of that so that you can say to yourself (and possibly anyone who will listen/read on social media): "Look at me! I'm making a difference! I'm a good person! I care!"
It's not just clothes. This feeling of virtue drives decisions in other aspects of people's lives, like the food we eat, the cars we drive, and even whether or not we shop at thrift stores or buy from Amazon. It makes us feel better about ourselves. It feels like the more effort you go to, the better it must be somehow, like making vegan cupcakes or re-using a priority mail envelope or biking 2 miles to the ATM instead of driving there. Whether or not these individual actions are really making a difference on a global scale is debatable. (For the record, I do two out of those three - can you guess what they are?!)
Yes, I'm cynical. I believe that without strong enforcement of environmental laws, without a forceful change in the way major countries (including ours) approach energy production and consumption, without a complete restructuring of the global market, these small actions are going to take a very, very long time to add up to any significant change. Not that we shouldn't try.
I haven't even gotten to my thoughts about marketing and privilege, but that's a post for another time.
Now then. Despite my pessimistic comments in the previous paragraphs, I want to be mindful of the origins of the things I consume! I try very hard. I do not in any way intend to throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater. In fact, I do ride my bike and buy local produce almost exclusively and reuse packaging and, of course, I make some of my own clothes.
|Another Gemma, this time out of rayon I bought at a yard sale.|
All that said, I don't have any particular goals for Slow Fashion October. This is partly because I'm still trying to sort out my schedule and figure out how to get a household routine running smoothly so focusing on clothes just doesn't fit into that right now. It's also because I am pretty happy with my making life (lots of knitting, spurts of sewing here and there) and I don't want to disrupt that.
Readers, what do you think? Am I totally a party pooper here? Am I way off base? Or is there something to what I'm saying? Please comment and let me know your thoughts (politely, of course).