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Sunday, 2 October 2016

Slow Fashion October

This month I'm taking part in Slow Fashion October. Started last year by Karen Templar of the Fringe Association, the month is "a celebration of the small-batch, handmade, second-hand, well-loved, long-worn, known-origins wardrobe".

For me, slow fashion is about being intentional in all my wardrobe choices. Early in 2015 I decided to see how long I could go without buying any clothes, and I'm pleased to say, except for a gym emergency, I haven't bought anything 20 months on. That's certainly not to say I haven't bought fabric or yarn, and I've also made myself an item or two, but it has made me much more conscious of the lifecycle of my clothes and really look at ways to extend their life or repurpose them for something else once they are no longer wearable.
The hanging part of my winter wardrobe.
Sadly, for me, slow fashion seems to require the luxury of time. At the beginning of 2016 I returned to permanent work for six months and during that period I realised that one of my biggest barriers to being mindful about my wardrobe – indeed being mindful about anything – was lack of time. Working 50+ hours a week, then adding on 8 hours of commuting, leaves very little time for a handmade, mended or thoughtfully purchased wardrobe. Indeed, it was the lack of time that prompted the emergency purchase. In my rush to get to work I forgot to pack my gear for a session with my trainer, so rather than forego the considerable expense of the session, I bought leggings and a T-shirt so we could at least do Pilates (sans shoes!). For now, I'm back working for myself, so I am able to structure my time to focus on my preferred priorities, but it's something I'll need to think about if I return to a more structured work environment.

So, what do I hope to get out of Slow Fashion October?

Well, first off, I really like that the month coincides with the change in seasons. A time when I'm swapping my wardrobe from a largely winter one to a summer one. It gives me a reason to take stock, to see if my wardrobe can stand up to a second (and a bit) season without purchase, and to plan for mending, refashioning, and, if replacing, to see if I can make it myself, or find a quality, sustainable resource for purchasing.
The mending drawer.
Second, I've recently finished a pattern drafting course, and finally have blocks to fit my very long, quite-out-of-proportion shape, so a goal for this month is to choose an item to sew for my summer wardrobe that fits me perfectly! I've been a life-long knitter, but a hit-and-miss clothing sewer so this is the perfect reason to get back into it.

Another thing I'm hoping to get out of Slow Fashion October is a great list of resources and some new tips and tricks. There are people all over the world taking part photographing and writing about their experience with slow fashion, their go-to brands, tips for fibres and sources, favourite patterns and ideas for repurposing. Such a fabulous community to tap into.

Last, but not least – Slow Fashion October is an excuse for a few finishes... A cardigan that just needs seaming, progress on a top I'm making for my aunt, a pair of pyjama pants made from a thrifted flannelette sheet, and, of course, the mending pile and a prompt to get back to my #midmonthmending project on Instagram.

I encourage you to check out the #slowfashionoctober tag on Instagram and get involved however works for you. Happy Slow Fashion October!

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