Today’s the official start of Slow Fashion October 2016, and I’m even more excited than I was last year. My closet and my thoughts have both evolved considerably over the past year, and I’ll be sharing about that in assorted ways throughout the month. But today I just want to get us going!
In my outline for the month, I set out for this first week to be about INTRODUCTIONS — of ourselves and ideas — whether you post once or many times, here and/or @slowfashionoctober, or on your own blog or Instagram feed:
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?
In the weeks ahead, we’ll delve into the environmental and humanitarian crises around fast fashion, how to do right by the clothes and materials in our possession, the joys and perils of handmade, and the challenge of getting to the bottom of where things really come from. But the overarching question for the moment is what are we even talking about when we talk about “slow fashion,” and why are we talking about it at all?
I don’t believe there is any one true definition of (or path toward) a slow fashion wardrobe. It can mean a million different things to a million different people. But I believe the core of it is simply mindfulness. Educating ourselves about the problems of fast fashion, then learning to ask ourselves about any garment we intend to make or buy, or otherwise acquire:
– How much do I know about where it came from and what it’s made of?
– And do I care about it enough to take responsibility for its existence on this planet?
There’s so much more I want to say about what slow fashion maybe is or isn’t, and if I try to pack any of it into this post, I’m aware that each sentence is really a post or day or week of its own. So I’m going to leave it there for the moment, because in my view that’s really the nut of the thing. Being mindful. Asking questions. Making conscious choices.
As far as why this squishy term has even come into existence, there is so much out there about what’s wrong with fast fashion — the human and environmental costs of our gluttony — that it’s hard to know where to begin. But if you haven’t seen them, I recommend these two for starters:
1) No one wants your old clothes — the best standalone article I’ve seen about the problems with the glut of clothing already on this planet.
2) Unravel — an incredibly thought-provoking short video about one shredding-recycling plant in India and the workers’ attempts to understand where all of these clothes are coming from.
The main thing I want to say at the outset about me personally and my outlook on all of this is that for me it’s a joyful thing, building a slow fashion wardrobe. It’s about appreciation, not deprivation. About the thrill of making my own clothes, supporting small businesses and contributing to the resurgence of the garment industry in the US in numerous ways. Does it mean the world to me that, in doing these things, I also avoid supporting slave labor and environmental waste as much as possible? Yes, it absolutely means the world to me. As I’m fond of saying, I want to feel good in my clothes — and that doesn’t just mean feeling cute. It means feeling proud of my part in them, and free of concern (again, “as much as possible”) that any humans were harmed in their making. It’s not easy, and it definitely is a slow process, but I find it rewarding beyond words.
ALL OF US
So this a month to talk about the choices we all face. It’s a long road from first awareness of the issues to a slow fashion wardrobe (however we define it!), and we’re all at very different places on that road. So I’m asking again that everyone keep that in mind, as well. We have different resources and outlooks and skills and demands on our time. What’s possible for one person will not be for another, and nobody should feel judged — by themselves or anyone else in the conversation. Mindfulness above all as we head into a world-bending month of conversation, yeah?
So here we go! See you in the comments, on the @slowfashionoctober page, and as much as possible on the whole of the #slowfashionoctober feed*. If you post to your own blog throughout the month, please include a link to the Slow Fashion October outline, and feel free to leave a comment here with a link to your post so others can see!
*I know I said on IG before that we should use #slowfashionoctober2016 but I take it back. People will wind up using both and then nobody will know which one to pay the most attention to, and it will make my job harder. So let’s just stick with #slowfashionoctober.
PREVIOUSLY: Slow Fashion October 2016 (master plan)