October is here again and that means Slow Fashion October is on everyone’s lips. I love what Karen Templer has started, and that every year (and sometimes multiple times a year) the collective conversation turns to how we can be better people when it comes to our wardrobe. I don’t think that my approach to my closet is particularly unique or revolutionary, but I wanted to introduce myself and participate in the conversation this year, if only to highlight what I think can be really extraordinary in the ordinary.
For those who are new here: Hi! I’m Christina. I was a sewer and dressmaker in my past crafting life, but I am now 100% a knitter. I hardly ever use my sewing machine anymore, except to mend holes, hem pants or patch the occasional flannel. I can’t usually afford basic pieces from high-end, small batch, sustainable designers (although I drool over them often) but occasionally, I splurge on a really special item. In general, my closet has a mix of items from various sources, and I’m ok with that. I had felt in the past that I really don’t fit into the mold of Slow Fashion, but over the years I think being mindful and purposeful with my wardrobe means I do have a place in Slow Fashion, it’s just not a loud or exciting one.
It makes me really happy that more people have started paying attention to the cycle of our clothing, where it comes from and where it goes when we’ve finished with it. I think that the bigger goals here in Slow Fashion are really important! Making sure clothing comes from ethical places where workers are paid a fair wage, making sure clothing is made from sustainable materials, and making sure clothing doesn’t end up in land fill when it’s discarded. But as individuals, it’s hard to see how we can achieve these goals, it feels overwhelming. When I started making changes in my wardrobe to avoid “fast fashion” I really focused on two simple things: Color and Care.
It’s boring but sticking to basic, neutral colors really makes a huge difference. Black, white, grey and tan. Investing in a nice pair of well-fitting black trousers was probably one of the more boring, yet sensible decisions I made a few years ago. I can literally wear them anytime of year, and with almost anything in my closet. I try to keep this in mind when I shop for anything at all. Not every item I own is neutral, but especially when shopping for basics, I find that those neutral colors really stick around and I get the wear out of them I need.
Paying attention to how I care for my clothing items has made a HUGE difference in how long pieces last, and how long they look good. I stopped putting most of the clothes I own in the dryer a few years ago. It’s more time consuming but letting clothing air dry has stretched the life of so many much-loved pieces. I also hand wash quite a few items. This means I started to take more care in the fabrics I selected. Natural fibers like cotton, linen, silk and wool just last so much longer, are easier to mend and when they eventually need to be discarded they have a better chance of breaking down, unlike synthetics which might never break down. (Check out this awesome experiment they did over at Elizabeth Suzann !!!)
In a perfect world we all buy pieces from sustainable, ethical sources, or make our own clothing, but I just don’t think we’re there yet. For now, I plan to take good care of my boring basics so they have a chance to stick around and be boring for many years to come.
Pictured here are two of my recent favorite outfits:
White dress – Linen, from Urban Outfitters (more details here)
Wrap sweater -handknit by me in a wool/cashmere blend yarn (more pattern and yarn info here)
Clogs – Lotta from Stockholm
Black skirt – cotton, purchased from Forever 21 four years ago
Grey tank – handknit by me in a linen/wool/silk blend yarn (more pattern and yarn info here)
Jacket – cotton, purchased from Urban Outfitters 12 years ago (!!!!)
Clogs – Lotta from Stockholm
I’d like to stay part of this conversation all month, sharing some more of my favorite pieces, telling you where my wardrobe budget goes (spoiler alert: yarn and shoes) and maybe talking a little more from the perspective of someone who doesn’t sew and doesn’t really want to. What do you think about Slow Fashion? Does it feel inclusive to you? Or do you feel like don’t fit into the right boxes to participate? I want to know!