I was raised to shop for clothes twice a year. We shopped sales, and my Gramma trained me to always find the best price; to seek out quality, but at the lowest cost possible. Fast fashion crept up on me before I knew it was a thing. As a parent, I found myself obliging my daughter’s constant requests to take her shopping with her friends, where they found the latest thing at a low price, and must “have it now,” because it would be sold out by next week. It turned out, usually that “must-have” item was ready for the garbage heap by the following week. Maybe it’s because I was raised in the country, the oldest of four children on a single income, that I can’t stand to waste anything.
In 2011, I was tired of the constant push to buy things, so I learned how to crochet, so my daughter would have something handmade under the tree at Christmas. I made her a scarf, and was captivated by the slow, beautiful process of making fabric by hand.
Never once have I considered myself crafty. I hate the idea of anything cutesy or overdone. I have no eye for scrapbooking, and no creativity in coming up with children’s craft projects. But I could not stop crocheting. I loved going to my local Walmart and combining yarns to create colour and texture palettes in the blankets I was obsessed with making.
That experience changed my perspective completely the next time I took my daughter shopping. I found myself wondering how the shops could sell a knit hat for $5, when I’d be hard-pressed to buy the yarn for that price, and I wondered how they paid all the people who handled that hat from fibre prep to final sale.
Four years later, I’m still figuring out the best ways to make my family a slow-fashion family. It’s difficult for my teenaged daughter to understand, and it’s difficult for me to remain true to my new-found (yet rooted in my upbringing) ideals of less waste and more quality, when there’s only so much money to invest in clothes for the family.
But it’s important to honour my core values, so I must learn new ways of doing things. I want to know the story of my clothes, and those I choose for my children. I want to learn new skills in sewing, mending, cloth making, so that I can create beautiful things of my own.
It’s a bit daunting to call myself a “slow fashion blogger.” I don’t especially like being in front of the camera, and I don’t know if what I’ll have to say will be useful in a world already full of loud and powerful voices. Yet I know I have something to say, however tentatively. I want to bring you along on my journey to true slow fashion, however messy it may be, because I want you to know that if I can do it, you certainly can.
Welcome to my journey.