My fascination with slow fashion isn’t only a profession of high ideals. It’s an intersection of two innate parts of my personality: the thinker and the creative. I’ve always been fascinated and delighted with the tiny details. From the time I was a child, I would listen to the same piece of music over and over again, reveling in the tone, tempo, cadence. I studied botany and philosophy in school, because I loved to think about the deep things in life, and to dissect the beautiful.
Study New York defines slow fashion as “the movement of designing, creating, and buying garments for quality and longevity.” There’s currently a trend in New York and around the world to re-examine the fashion industry through this lens. This speaks to the philosophical side of me on so many levels. I know that even small, gradual changes over a broad swath of people will have a profound effect on future generations and their ideology. That’s how the world is changed. That’s the way to start—and win—a revolution.
That’s also how a life is changed. At least, that’s how my life has changed. I’ve learned a lot over time, and the changes have been gradual, both in my thinking, and in my practice of clothing my family. When I first learned about the detriments of fast fashion, my first response was one of self-preservation: “well, that’s really unfortunate, but I don’t have unlimited funds, so I need to continue to shop at the cheapest places.”
I knew it was a lame excuse. I kept reading. It started to be uncomfortable to walk into fast fashion shops, knowing the price paid by others and the environment so that I could “save a little money.”
Then I started making and selling crocheted accessories on Etsy. I figured I was doing my part to offset my poor purchasing choices, by giving others the option to make good ones by buying my natural-fibre, high-quality pieces. Again, I knew it was a lame justification. Self-awareness is often a gradual process.
Pushing myself to produce items as quickly as possible en masse, while living outside of my own values took a toll on my hands and my psyche. I knew prosperity would never come if I was working in an unsustainable physical and mental framework.
At the beginning of this year, in the dead of winter, I took a step back, spiritually, mentally and physically. I reread One Face, written by my BFF Sarah McDugal. I went to yoga classes, added more nourishing foods into my diet, and all but stopped making things.
It was in the cocoon of this winter quiet that I realized I needed to stop making excuses for doing things that weren’t working in my life. I wanted to be the active ingredient; to do things intentionally, and to enjoy doing them. I wanted to stop hiding behind the mask of never having enough. I wanted to find my voice to say what I need to say, whether anyone is listening or not. I wanted to keep seeking to satiate my curiosity, unbounded by expectations of settling in to the role of “maker of knitwear.”
We shall see where this goes.