If there’s one thing I learned from the incredible experience that was Slow Fashion October last year (barely glimpsed in the pics above), it’s that it’s an even more complicated conversation than I realized — and I knew it was complicated! But it is, plainly, a hard one to talk about. It’s hard even to say what “slow fashion” is, as it’s different for every person. I don’t think it’s at all important to agree on either a definition or a list of shoulds or musts or don’ts. What’s important is having the big messy beautiful discussion — right out in public — and getting each other thinking. So, difficult or not, bring it on! I couldn’t be more excited for season two.
Last year I set up a framework of loose weekly themes to give the discussion a tiny bit of structure (Small, Loved, Worn and Known). I liked the theme approach, and think you all did too, but I feel like they were so loose that some of what seemed obvious to me actually seemed non-existent to others. Such as the fact that the conversation is not just about handmade — it’s about all the ways (and reasons!) we can approach a slow-fashion wardrobe. When I first created the @slowfashionoctober Instagram account last year and had to reduce the idea to one sentence for the profile, I wrote:
A celebration of the small-batch, handmade, second-hand, well-loved, long-worn, known-origins wardrobe.
I thought that was pretty good! And I still think looking at it from all of those angles is key. So for this year’s themes, I’m making them slightly more specific to (what I see as) the primary facets of slow fashion. Here goes:
Week 1, Oct 1-9: INTRODUCTIONS
Who are you, and what does slow fashion mean to you. What got you started thinking about it — people, books, films, etc. Are your concerns environmental, humanitarian, financial? Most important: How does your thinking factor into your life and closet. Also, any special plans or projects for Slotober, and what are you hoping to get out of it?
+ My Slotober project for 2016
+ Elsewhere: Slow Fashion October edition 1
Week 2, Oct 10-16: LONG-WORN
How can we make the most of the clothes already on the planet — from taking care of and mending and wearing things longer, to thrifting, swapping, heirlooms, hand-me-downs, alterations and refashioning.
+ 21st-century thrifting: On the hunt for Dries Van Noten
+ My week in the Craftlands
+ Elsewhere: Slow Fashion October edition 2
Week 3, Oct 17-23: HANDMADE
How do you understand your style, choose projects well, advance your skills, get the right fit, and keep things interesting and long-lasting at the same time. What are your go-to patterns and most successful garments. How do you avoid mindless acquisition of yarn and fabric, or making “too much.” How do you make time and space for making — and why?
+ Why I make my clothes
+ Walking a mile in self-made shoes
+ Elsewhere: Slow Fashion October edition 3
Week 4, Oct 24-31: KNOWN ORIGINS
Good (especially good and affordable) sources of yarn and fabric with traceable origins. And for the things we buy, favorite sources: from small-batch designer-producers to fashion companies trying to do the right thing in a transparent way.
+ How much can we know about where clothes come from?
+ Is it more expensive to make your own clothes?
Two issues came up in the past few days’ discussion on IG that I especially want to encourage anyone with knowledge or advice to weigh in on along the way: 1) the challenge of kids and fast fashion, and 2) plus-size options, both in terms of patterns and ready-to-wear.
So, just like last year, this is a framework that you can choose to use or ignore as you like, but it’s here if it’s helpful. I think this year I’m also going to post regular (daily?) questions along the way that you can either respond to in the comments or use as a prompt for a post of your own. Maybe you respond to one a week or maybe all of them — totally and completely up to you.
There is no right or expected way to participate — chime in wherever and however and as frequently or infrequently as suits you. If you’re posting on your blog, use pingbacks or leave links in the comments on my posts here so people can see what you’re writing. On social media, use hashtag #slowfashionoctober to contribute and follow along. And I hope you’ll also strike up the conversation in your 3-dimensional world throughout the month.
The most important thing I can emphasize is this isn’t about judgment. We all have different opinions and resources and time and wishes and skills — we are each on our own path. Like I said at the start of this post, what matters is just to be talking and thinking about it, and doing whatever is desirable and possible for you.
I can’t wait to hear from you!
PREVIOUSLY: Slow Fashion October 2015