It became clear in 2016 that I needed to make a stand about fashion.
Fast fashion was impacting the planet and its workers (mainly young women).
After talking to a number of people in Canberra it was evident, that mainly women were trapped into the fast fashion marketing whirl. Women are buying garments and accessories they don’t really need and don’t really suit them, while their wardrobe are stuffed with barely remembered clothes.
Men I spoke to about my Sustainable fashion challenge: one year of buying no new clothes, didn’t see it as an issue for themselves. But their partners were a different matter.
Women feel pressured to look young, trendy and sexy and wear the latest off-the-shoulder striped t or dressy sneaker. My older female friends speak of feeling invisible to men.
For years we’ve been talking about the impact of our food choices on the planet. Buy local, buy organic is the mantra or grow and make your own.
As we put food into our bodies every day. It should nourish us. Similarly, we dress every day (except for those on a reality tv show set on an island where all the dating action is in the nude).
Our clothes shouldn’t harm us or anyone involved in their manufacture (not include toxic chemicals or be created in sweatshops).
The idyll would be a Canberra or local district farmer, producing high grade wool (from sheep) or angora (from goats) in a sustainable rotational farm system. The fleeces would be spun locally (within a 100km radius of our city), dyed locally (from natural products, like Eucalyptus, St John’s Wort and Roses) and turned into beautiful fine fabric.
An up-and-coming designer from the Canberra Institute of Technology or ANU School of Art would turn them into wearable pieces of art.
Like a handsome piece of pottery, you’d only buy one or two, ‘cause you couldn’t afford more, but you’d treasure it.
Your woolly outfit, wouldn’t get stinky and you could carefully mend it when it was ripped and gently handwash it and dry it in the shade. This is slow sustainable fashion.
At the end of its life you could let the dog use it for bedding or allow it to decompose in the garden. I’ve added old wool jumpers to Canberra compost and they took around a year to break down.
This brings me to the capsule wardrobe. Or a wardrobe of staples. Basics in neutral colours that can mix and match and can be jazzed up with accessories – a scarf, a bag, shoes and earrings. You can get great accessories second hand. Check out op shop and pre-loved stores.
I’ve found a number of great looking capsule wardrobes – you can check them out on Pinterest.
Over the next few years I’m working towards developing a wardrobe of staples. If I buy them during 2017 they must be second hand or I could make them with my fair hands. Lucky I learnt to sew when I was a teenager – I even made my wedding dress which I still have.
So are you caught up in the fast fashion trap? Do you buy clothes when you are unhappy or stay up late on-line and look for bargains? Is your wardrobe already bursting at the seams?
We need to stop thinking of purchasing everything as CHEAP as possible because that usually implies it’s harmed the environment or someone.
Like an apple at the Farmer’s Market, ask the seller where it’s come from and how it was grown. Curiosity can make a difference to the world.