When I was a child, my mother made most of my clothing. She worked at a small fabric store and let me pick whatever prints or colors I wanted to wear. It was utter and complete freedom.
Yet it wasn’t always successful. I remember one pair of elastic-waisted cotton pants, not unlike pajamas, that were blue and printed with something yellow (maybe lemons). For some reason, those pants were all I had on hand the night my ice hockey team had an awards ceremony. Maybe I wore them because I thought they were cool and comfortable and special—I don’t remember why, only that the other girls wore beautiful dresses their parents bought them at the mall. Apparently, we had reached the age where we could be tough on the ice as long as we looked pretty.
Slow fashion wasn’t something I thought about—it was something my mother did without much explanation as to why it was important. When she taught me how to sew, we created a yellow and blue quilt for my twin-sized bed, and as I grew up, I graduated from sewing quilts to re-fashioning vintage t-shirts found at the local Salvation Army.
It was merely a hobby, an unserious pursuit, and a way of setting myself apart from my peers. Now, it’s a humanitarian, environmental, and ecological concern. It’s a way to confront the myths we’re sold and the myths we tell ourselves.
Women are powerful. 80% of purchases are made or influenced by women. Yet at our core we are not consumers—we are creators. Makers. How can what we wear empower us without also disempowering others?
What does slow fashion mean to me? Without understanding how to sew or make our own clothes, we lose sight of how much time and energy it takes to make a garment, and that disconnection from the process leads us to view clothes and the people who create them as disposable. It’s time we all pause, take a deep breath, consider the originations and implications of what we’re wearing, and refuse to move blindly into the future.
My aim for Slow Fashion October is to write, reflect, and participate. I’m not big on social media, selfies, or flat-lays, but I want to take part in this conversation about what we make, how we make it, and what it means for us personally and universally.