10 Things to Love About Slow Fashion

10 Things to love about slow fashion: What I learned from mending a sweater

The Slow Fashion movement is gaining popularity around the world. Quite simply, the idea is about choosing more sustainable clothing alternatives such as eco and fair trade fashion, second hand buying, swapping and repairing existing wardrobe items.

As a crafty girl that puts a lot of time and effort into design and making, I can definitely appreciate the fact that quality is better than quantity. So, when my husband's favorite sweater was in need of some TLC, I decided to take the time to repair it instead of just chucking it in the trash.

My husband keeps this sweater in his office and it has likely been worn every work day for the last five years. Unfortuantely it had developed two problems. First, the zipper pull broke off in the laundry. Second, one of the pockets was detached and beginning to unravel.

The good news about the zipper was that my husband never actually uses it. Also, there was already a redundant set of buttons in place, just in case. This meant I was able to simply remove the zipper and restitch the facing. Easy peasy.
The pocket presented a slightly larger problem, but one that I was able to solve thanks to my knitting experience. Since the pocket was unravelling I needed to re-knit the stitches. Fortunately the yarn was not damaged. After that I used a piece of scrap yarn from my stash to graft the pocket back into place.
So, what did I learn from this slow fashion experience?

1. Slow fashion is empowering!

In just a couple hours, I was able to at least double the life expectancy of this garment. That may not seem like a big deal to some people, but I feel like I accomplished something pretty amazing.

2. Slow fashion discourages a throw away culture.

It is so easy to just throw away a cheap item knowing that you can pick up a replacement at the local big box for a few dollars. Is that the type of lifestyle we really want to embrace and model to our children?

3. Slow fashion is a way to practice creative skills.

This little project gave me a chance to flex my creative muscles. I had to figure out how to make a sturdy repair that looked nice and was functional. I was able to incorporate my engineering, knitting and sewing skills. Just look at those neat little handmade stitches!

10 Things to love about slow fashion: What I learned from mending a sweater

4. Slow fashion saves time.

This may seem counter intuitive because fixing this sweater took a couple hours. If I had thrown it away and purchased a replacement we would have driven to the mall to browse a number of different stores or spent time online searching for the perfect replacement sweater. And of course there is the time spent working to earn the money to pay for a new sweater.

5. Slow fashion saves money.

I used a seam ripper, needle, thread, knitting needles and yarn to fix this sweater. I already had all of the tools and materials in my sewing room, but even if you consider the full price for each of theses items, it would add up to less than the cost of a new sweater.

6. Slow fashion is a way to express yourself.

My repair was fairly basic, but I have seen other mends that involve patching or embroidery and they can be a beautiful way to incorporate new color and texture into an old garment.

7. Slow fashion creates less waste.

It's well known that the fashion industry creates a lot of waste in the production process. My repair minimized the need for the waste from producing a new sweater and kept the existing one out of the landfill.

8. Slow fashion shows you care.

I took the time to fix this sweater, in part because I know my husband really likes it. I hope that every time he wears it he feels the love that I put into every stitch.

9. Slow fashion makes you appreciate the importance of a job well done.

Of course I am proud of my own repair work and glad I took the time to do it right. While I was working, I also noticed the well-thought design elements from the original construction. Who ever chose to add a sturdy facing to the sweater opening was a genius. It was more expensive to manufacture the garment with this feature, but if the facing had not been there, removing or replacing the zipper would not have been an easy task.

10. Slow fashion generates quality time.

As I sat at the table making repairs, my husband sat with me and we were able to savor a cup of coffee, chat about current events and just enjoy each other's company. Definitely time well spent!

10 Things to love about slow fashion: What I learned from mending a sweater
How do you incorporate the concept of slow living into your daily routine?


  1. Absolutely correct and I'm sure your husband really appreciated what you did

  2. Absolute true. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!!!!
    When I was a child (ups, I'm not a new chicken) my grandma corrected everything - I mean even the hole on the socks, changed the length of the pants, took care and kept her clothes years long.... That time we did not buy all of our cloth at the stores, we had a dressmaker - so we had some unique skirt, blouse, dress.... and we still felt the fashion - it was not in the middle of our life for sure.

  3. What a great post, Ellen! I'm a big promoter of "slow fashion", although I didn't know yet that was what it was called! I have repaired and reworked many a damaged, torn, supposedly ruined clothing item in my lifetime, and I encourage my non-sewing friends to let me "fix" things for them whenever I can.

    Recently, a friend had rubbed up against a really rough concrete wall by accident and ruined a beautiful, expensive, off-white skirt. Many threads were pulled up and out on several rows of the tight wool crepe weave, and it was hideous looking. She was heartbroken. Well, I used my little knit/thread puller tool and a lot of time to pull all the threads back through and smooth everything out with a good pressing. It looked like new and she was so amazed, and so was her husband who really thinks she looks great in that skirt!! :)

    Sadly I didn't have a sweet hubby to sit and talk to me while I worked, and it did take a couple of hours. But my darling sidekick, Minka, sat on my work table and purred up a storm while she watched my needle-type tool go in and out of that fabric I was working on! And I truly enjoyed seeing the progress and the end result and felt so good that I had salvaged an otherwise perfect garment so it could continue being used. It was a quality high-end garment, and it really was unwearable from the damage; so to see my friend wearing it again recently made me feel very good! Best of all was the fact that I helped a friend in need, a real privilege.

  4. Great project and post! Always worthwhile to make an effort to fix things!

  5. Great post! My contribution to the slow movement and sustainability to making my own tableware and jewellery --- and growing my food as much as possible!! Also, lots of recycling :-)