Slow Fashion October: Introductions

Karen Templer over at Fringe Association is hosting the second annual Slow Fashion October (Slotober).  She has posted an outline of topics to drive the conversation during the month of October about what slow fashion is, our feelings about it, the things we do, if any, to eschew fast fashion, and why we care.  As makers, we feel compelled to join in the conversation and give our takes on the weekly prompts.  We are a bit late getting started as this is already week two, but here we are with our quick takes on the first week’s prompt, Introductions.

Who are you, and what does slow fashion mean to you? What got you started thinking about it — people, books, films, etc. Are your concerns environmental, humanitarian, financial? Most important: How does your thinking factor into your life and closet. Also, any special plans or projects for Slotober, and what are you hoping to get out of it?

Rachel’s Take

I never really thought much about fast vs. slow fashion until the last couple years.  I think the more I got into knitting, the more I got interested in making my own clothes, and as I learned to sew, the possibilities of what I could make grew.  That was a catalyst for thinking about reasons for making my own clothes.  Obviously it is fun, but is there another reason not to buy the $10 skirt when I can make it myself for more money and several hours of time invested?  That’s when I started to realize there was a disconnect between the cost of producing something and how much I pay for it.  How can that skirt cost $10 when it takes me several hours to make?  Who is really paying for it?  I don’t know much about the clothing manufacturing industry, but I have enough common sense to know something doesn’t add up.  That said, I suppose my concerns are humanitarian.  I haven’t gone so far as to buy only well-sourced materials, but I like to hope that I’m making a small difference by at least limiting my purchase of ready-made items.

I have bought hardly any clothes since I learned to sew last year.  I have bought one pair of jeans, two dresses (one that I almost didn’t buy because I knew I could make it myself), a pack of ankle socks, and a sports bra.  I’ve never been one to go shopping for fun nor to buy clothes frequently, but I have definitely cut back even more since learning to make my own.  Now if only I could make running shoes.

I don’t have any special plans for Slotober other than to continue doing what I do.

Amanda’s Take

Slotober is my favorite pokemon. 

As to what Rachel said above, it’s completely true. The math will never add up, unless you have (as Sarai of Colette Patterns has put it) a beer budget and champagne tastes.

Something that has always appealed to me is having custom made, and custom fit items of clothing to fit my body and lifestyle. The only way for that to be attainable for my budget is to make it myself. That doesn’t mean I’ve ever been particularly successful at a me-made wardrobe, it just is one of my biggest motivating factor. I am in no way immune from Lifestyle Ambition…in fact it’s how I run my life. I’m an iterative process, and I’m always trying to develop habits that get me a little closer to what is a life-long dream for me- a me-made life!

My husband and I would someday like to live a bit more off the grid, and try to be very capable. I could joke it off like it was some Zombie Apocalypse training, but the truth is just that we like being able to create, it really satisfies something in our souls. We both value the skills and time required for the creation of things we take for granted in modern life. I take pride in my garden and my home-canned pantry, and in my self-made wardrobe items. He likes to create hand-joined furniture, and I like to knit. It takes both of us to special zen places where we value the process of creation as much as the created Thing.

Not to say that I only think of slow fashion as handmade. My personal definition of it, is like slow food. Just…the opposite of fast! I consider a meal at a farm-to-table restaurant with a bottle of wine and good friends to be a slow food experience. By the same token, I consider a well-made item of purchased clothing to be just as good. I take as much pride in my multi-season Frye boots as my hand-knit shawls. 

My special Slotober plans are to continue to improve my space to create, and to finally knit a sweater for myself Debbie!

Debbie’s Take

So, I’m the odd-woman-out in this situation. I frankly don’t really think about fast/slow fashion…or anything, really. At least not in a sense of “I’m doing this because it’s *good*!”

Slow fashion means nothing to me, at least it didn’t until a week or so ago when the lovely ladies above said they were interested in Slotober. My original thought was…well pretty offensive and best left unsaid 😉 That being said, I do actually have non-offensive opinions on the subject. 

I like making my own things. I’ve done this for years now, and the reasoning behind it is usually, “Because I can!” and not anything to do with the environment, humanitarian, or financial concerns. I made my own butter, just because I found out that you could. (Homemade buttermilk biscuits and gravy, with homemade butter? Delicious, by the way.) Same with marshmallows, tortillas, flavored liquors, egg noodles, hummus, etc, etc, etc. 

When it came to crafting, I started out with crochet. I didn’t do it because I wanted to save money (that’s always a laughable idea when it comes to crafts), but because I needed something to do with my hands. My family has always liked to make their own things – my mom did a lot of woodworking growing up. But it was always fun things, never something that actively took the place of something mass produced we would’ve bought.

The reason I picked up sewing recently is because I could? Because it’s just nice to be able to make something, to say that you did it yourself. “I made this!” is a great motivator for me. I’m not bashful about it, I take pride in what I make and love when people comment on it. Purely selfish, I guess?

As for plans for Slotober…Not much of anything? Keep going with sewing and finally make something I will really be proud of wearing. But I’d be doing that anyways. 😉