Slow Fashion October is upon us!

Slow Fashion October is upon us!

In under 48 hours, depending what time zone you’re in, it will officially be the 3rd Slow Fashion October. I still think the best description I’ve ever given of this event is the one in the @slowfashionoctober profile: “A celebration of the small-batch, handmade, second-hand, well-loved, long-worn, known-origins wardrobe.” Slow fashion, to me, is all of those things — from the thrift-store find to the me-made to the special purchase, and everything in between. Slotober is meant to be fun, thoughtful, enlightening and challenging, and has been for the past two years, so I’m looking forward to this year’s conversation.

How and how much you participate is completely up to you. If you want to weigh in daily/weekly/just once for the month; here, on the #slowfashionoctober feed or elsewhere; in brief or at great length, I applaud that. I’ll be posting on my @karentempler account and trying to share highlights on the @slowfashionoctober account as in years past. And here’s what you can expect to see here on the blog:

1) Katrina is doing four Slow Fashion Citizen interviews for this month (essentially one per week), and she asked if I would be one of the interviewees, which is a little weird for me but also a great way to organize my current thinking on all of this. So I agreed, and that will appear here on Tuesday. But in the meantime, I do want to offer up some links to past posts for those who might be new to the conversation or the subject, and I hope you’ll share your favorites (from wherever) in the comments:

How much can we know about where clothes come from?
Why I make (most of) my own clothes
Can Slow Fashion impact Fast Fashion? (Or why I don’t make all of my clothes)
What makes a garment slow fashion?

2) Tomorrow (hopefully, or soon thereafter) I’m going to post some further thoughts and details following our chat about the idea of a clothing swap.

3) I mentioned before that I’m going to do outfit lineups one-month-at-a-time for the foreseeable future, and my October outfit plans will be up on Monday — along with a little wardrobe challenge for anyone who’s up for it.

4) And since a lot of people feel strongly about the conversation starters, I’m going to give you/us a topic each Friday for the next few weeks, starting today — a question or thought to respond to wherever/however you like. (Or simply to ponder for yourself!)

THE WEEK ONE TOPIC IS: WHO. As in not only who are you (i.e. introductions) but who has influenced or inspired you to think or do differently with regard to clothing yourself, and in what way? And if you’ve set any goals or plans for yourself this month, include them in your introduction!

ALSO: If you are hosting or aware of any tie-in events or promotions, are posting on your own blog, or have anything else to point to or share, please do include a note and relevant links below!

And with that, we’re off. See you in the comments and on the #slowfashionoctober feed — have fun and happy weekend!


PREVIOUSLY in Slow Fashion October: Can Slow Fashion impact Fast Fashion?

Photos above from 2016 via @repair_revolution, @whistlinggirlknits, @anloubroen, @clairemadeit, @mollieelle, @stitchinschmitz, @ecoage, @romidesigns, @thecharmofit


24 thoughts on “Slow Fashion October is upon us!

  1. It was your posts in Slow Fashion October 2016 which led me to launch my business. We have created luxury knitting yarns from the fleece of the Scottish Blackface sheep. This is by far the most numerous sheep in our country,Scotland. But the burgeoning interest in hand-knitting and slow fashion has largely passed the breed by, with most still considering the fleece only good for carpet wool. Our yarns dispel this myth. Our sheep graze our local hills and all growing, shearing, dyeing , spinning and marketing takes place within a 50mile radius of Edinburgh. Our yarns create incredibly long-lasting garments and we invite folk to ditch their synthetic fleeces and rediscover real fleece instead. Check out our website and find us on Instagram and Twitter at @lifelongyarns to find out how we live up to our ethos, Good for the knitter, good for the shepherd, good for the Earth. And thank you for the inspiration!

    Liked by 1 person

      • This is a message for Elenice Kraemer from Brazil who read my comment on the thread. I am trying to reply to your email, but your anti-spam filter is not allowing us to contact you. So I hope you see this message – we would be delighted to ship to Brazil !


    • Hello Pauline,

      Congratulations on your business startup. Your Blackface sheep remind me of my backdoor neighbor (before we sold our home and became full-timers traveling our beautiful nation) and his Blackface sheep. I loved the spring lambs! They were so cute it hurt. I miss baaing back at the sheep. We carried on back and forth a good long while every day. Sweet memories, that is for sure!

      We have not been to Edinburgh, though I have longed to for decades. My sister-in-law, Laurette Lyall and her sweet mother, Margaret Lyall, lived in the Fair-A-Far cottages in Edinburgh. I had the great pleasure of hosting Margaret in my home many years ago. We sat by the fire together, knitting and enjoying each other’s company every evening. Both have since passed on, but my love for them, and the desire to see Edinburgh has not changed.

      All my warm memories of Laurette, Margaret and the Blackface sheep at my back fence make me want to knit your Blackface sheep yarn into something special to keep my memories alive.

      Wishing you every success with your business now and in the future.


  2. The Who for me is Ashley and her woolful podcast. I’ve changed my thinking about crafting because of her podcast, especially the early episodes. In terms of work clothes, I still think about a senior colleague of mine who kindly shared with me how she maintains professional outfits via thrifting. I had just had my second kid, was swimming in medical debt & daycare costs, and also felt a bit lost in terms of having a clear professional identity in my clothes. I had lobbed a “where do you shop” question onto FB and she emailed me her answer. It was so freeing to hear someone I respect share about money and clothes and identity! She was so stylish and so matter of fact about the limits of her $$ and the choices she makes. It made me think that I, too, could be more thoughtful and direct with limits (and with no shame about them).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think that there are many people from my distant era: post war baby boomers with mothers who lived through the depression, who grew up with and have always incorporated the principles of slow fashion. We learned to sew about the time we learned our multiplication tables, and perhaps learned to knit or crochet not long afterwards. Fabric and yarn always came from the United States, and it was always a natural fiber. Clothing was passed on from one sibling to the next, or on to a cousin. It was mended, re-fashioned, and ultimately went into the rag bag when all hope was lost. (Because my mother would have never wasted money on paper towels if a rag was at hand).

    So of course, I would have to credit my mother, and probably her sister (much more adamant than my mom about never ever buying something you could make yourself, and mending everything, even underwear), for the inherent principles of what has been christened as slow fashion today. As someone whose last three sweaters have been made of fingering weight yarn, it is obvious that “slow” is part of my inherent makeup, so I won’t be changing anything for October, but I will enjoy watching the rest of you on the journey.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Yeah, my mom is a huge influence on me in that way. I still vividly remember shopping with her when I was a kid, how she always checked the labels looking for natural fibers and made in the US (she was concerned about quality and longevity and those were more meaningful signifiers then than they are now) and complained if the sewing was sloppy — like non-matching plaids, which was still an outrage then — and checked the seam allowances or hem widths to make sure we could let things out over time. All of that.

      And I’ve never sewn a single line of stitching without hearing her in my head talking me through how to use the machine when I was whatever age I was.


  4. The “Who” is my Mom! I see I’m not the only one here crediting my Mom or other female relatives in this way. My interest in slow fashion was sort of inevitable after growing up with a Mom who made lots of my clothes and lots of her own clothes as well as sewing professionally, shopping in thrift shops, etc. I’ve never been a great thrifter– it takes patience I don’t seem to have– but I have always been interested in origin, fibers, fit (we’re both tall, so can be difficult to buy off the rack!), and I sincerely thank my Mom for all of it!


  5. I am blessed to live in a small, rural community where the pace of life is slow. That in itself was probably the first thing to influence the way I choose clothing for myself and my family. I grew up in suburbia where the greatest thing in life was to go to the mall and shop. 10 years ago, we moved to a town with no mall. Though I struggled with it and often drove an hour to get to a mall, I was eventually weaned and now can’t remember the last time I was in one.

    Living in a place where the pace is slower and not so driven by consumerism is huge. My kids don’t even know what the latest fashion is and could care less. And, having a garden and a milking goat have put me much more in touch with the land, causing me to value life and appreciate the source of the things we consume and wear. After having learned to sew in this slower paced place, I could not help but notice every seam on every piece of clothing. It caused me to value things made, so much more.

    This blog has also been a huge inspiration with all of the thought-provoking discussions and information presented during Slow Fashion October. I really look forward to this month! My whole slow-thinking way of life has also been greatly influenced by the writings of Wendell Berry. He has so much insight. “We must learn to grow like a tree, not like a fire.” – W. Berry

    Liked by 1 person

    • Brenda, I could not have said it better myself. Living close to the land, caring for animals, growing produce, sewing and knitting… is the right kind of life we should all have the benefit of living.

      So happy you have found a slower paced life and enjoy it with your own family.


  6. I am working on an iPhone app for planning a capsule wardrobe. There are some apps out there but many center around purchasing more clothes and I want to center around slow fashion citizens and makers. I am hoping to have it in the App Store in about a week (discounted for the month of October).

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m interested in this–Just packed for a two week vacation in Europe and was happy with my whittled down choices. Still probably have too much in the suitcase, but much less than I used to. Want to transfer that attitude from the suitcase back to the closet–I could get by with so much less.


  7. Like Ellen I grew up in the post war era (b. 1954) but my experience was different – my mother never sewed – in fact she hated it. She grew up (’30’s, ’40’s) in the west end of Toronto which was working class primarily with a large immigrant population (my grandparents were from the UK). She associated handmade clothes with poverty, not fitting in, lack of style – UNCOOL comes to mind :) So when I discovered sewing in my teens and couldn’t wait to make my own clothes she was appalled and disparaging. I had to seriously twist her arm to buy a sewing machine. Terrified her relatively “cool” daughter was going to make her as mother look like a failure :)

    I shocked her by making only “cool” – cool jumper made of thick whale purple corduroy to wear with black turtleneck and black leotards (everyone asked me where I’d bought it), a navy velvet blazer to wear with jeans that everyone loved too :) and a hoodie made of navy knit long before these were popular. This calmed my mother’s fear considerably but taught me about sewing too – make sure it looks GOOD :) It set my bar high in terms of what I made and how I made it. Don’t go too crazy with fabric and style – would you see it in RTW? if not, reconsider :) which has made me a not too daring sewist admittedly but I wear what I sew.

    My mother’s next lament was that sewing didn’t save money – if anything it was more pricey. So why bother? When people say in the old days it was less expensive to make your own clothes, that isn’t actually true. Back in the day fabric (good quality, natural fiber) was expensive. I could have bought those items for about the same price as it cost me to make them. I would say that the savings are higher today (I know people point to the cheap cost of fast fashion in places like Walmart but I would never buy my clothes there so that’s not a fair comparison to my hand made clothes) My mother bought my clothes in high end department stores like Eatons. So I’m comparing apples to apples and oranges to oranges when I say the costs are comparable. I’m appalled when I read young readers say they could purchase their items less expensively than making them – I wonder what are they comparing their handmades to??


  8. Thank you for creating Slowfashionoctober, it is very inspiring! I love your blog. :-)

    My grandmother grew up on a farm in Texas where she had to sew all her own clothes. When I visited her, I remember her sewing room beautifully organized with pull-out drawers for fabric and fashion magazines spread out on a table which she used for inspiration. Her house was filled with unique, beautiful things. This taught me that if you learn to make something beautiful with your own hands, you will never feel poor.

    I try to wear hand-knitted garments most days to work to remind myself I am never cut off from my creativity. Currently, on my blog:, I am on day 71 of a challenge to design an outfit around a handmade item 100 days in a row. Outfits are posted daily on instagram at #yarnstylist and I will be blogging and posting on instagram re: slowfashionoctober as well.


  9. As a mama to three, and maker and second hand shopper and always always accepting those bags of pre worn, pre loved hand me downs, I am absolutely in love with the ideas of slow fashion. In this light, I also direct most of my making towards my kids, so i guess, WHO
    in my case, and maybe for others, too: is the next generation…

    making it normal to say: “cousin x wore that before you, i only added that patch to fix the ripped knees” … “your friend grew out, but you are smaller, he ‘d happily share his old coat, do you like it?” “mama knitted that” or then often taking my kids around charity shops for choosing new things and ending up taking home acrylic knits, which, as a knitter ache my heart and itch my hands: especially with my always always spinning mind of what I may knit for my kid NEXT,
    …. well “Ok, you like the glittery rainbow hairy cardigan, made entirely from plastic you spotted at Oxfam/// Let’s see: so the Ankers cardigan I am knitting with plant dyed BFL/Masham blend yarn locally sourced will just have to wait its turn”… I think being a Mama, also means, accepting and learning with their tastes, yet not giving up on my own makes to enter their hearts, aka wardrobe;)

    I am currently hosting the magic3mal, where a group of amazing makers knit, sew, craft three items for a child (either their own, a friend’s, a relative’s, a neighbours, for charity)
    creating: a top, a bottom and a toy.
    Yes, knitting toys is a great passion and just as high of value to me as the clothes my kids wear: i love making them their companions or play things myself, or best: in collaboration.
    three mama made (not a lot of papas joined so far, not one yet, but we got two weeks, so who knows ;) the make along runs until 15th October. So, please feel free one and all to join in ( baby things are whipped up in no time/// cast on/cast off ;) find us with #magic3mal my IG account is @liebwedd


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  12. Thank you Karen – this will be my first Slowtober! My slow (but steady) path towards slow fashion has its roots in the outdoor community of all places. When I moved to California, I took up rock climbing and surfing, and spent quite a bit of time camping. My wardrobe was mostly synthetics. Polyester and lycra, neoprene and nylon – Cotton Kills as the scouting saying goes! This all changed when I tried my first merino baselayer. It was warm, soft, I could wear it for days and it wouldn’t stink – why hadn’t I known about this sooner?! From there a lot of my education about the environmental impact of the clothing industry came from Patagonia’s Cleanest Line blog ( It blew my mind that one of the biggest labels in outdoor retailing had such difficulty tracing their own supply chain from raw material to end product and enforcing their quality controls (and were so transparent about it). I learned more about organic cotton, and went from a rather dismissive view, to a necessary requirement for new clothes in my closet containing cotton. I would say that the outdoor community, if not the labels (although there is progress there too), is moving away from synthetics ( Leave no trace is one of our most cherished principles after all.

    Personally, last year was the watershed moment for me and my closet. A tear in my Achilles tendon had me housebound for a few months, and so I took up knitting again after a few years of dabbling. I knew I could make hats and scarves better than I could buy, but I was thrilled to discover that I could make better sweaters than I could find at a store! Well, more to my taste anyway. I discovered Fibershed ( through my LYS, as well as Fringe Association, and I watched The True Cost all in the space of a month. I couldn’t really go back to business as usual after that. And I didn’t want to moreover.

    Goals for the month are to mend, to make a sweater out of locally grown & dyed yarn, and to put some hardworking and well loved clothes to rest.

    Thank you Fringe team!


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