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.
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!
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!
How do you incorporate the concept of slow living into your daily routine?