The thoughtful, creative, and incredibly community-oriented writer/crafter behind one of my favorite daily blogs, Fringe Association, has set up a month-long web event she’s calling Slow Fashion October. In response to the established “Me-Made May,” which is a lovely concept focusing on making, wearing, assessing, and showing off garments that people have made themselves, Karen Templer created Slow Fashion October to draw the online crafting/clothes-wearing community’s focus to clothing and fashion in the bigger picture. You can read more about Karen’s intentions for the discussion here. It’s not always cheaper, less impactful on the environment, or more sustainable to make your own clothes. Then again, sometimes it is. Buying or wearing ready-to-wear garments is not always wasteful and detrimental to the environment, to your wallet, or to the people involved in their creation, but then again, sometimes it is. The easiest comparison to make is the Slow Food Movement- knowing where consumable goods come from, being involved in the process of making it, and prioritizing quality over convenience is important in all aspects of our culture, not just in the food we eat.
I found Me-Made May through another blog that I follow, Felicia Semple’s The Craft Sessions, but it was originally created by yet another lovely crafting blogger, Zoe of So Zo, What Do you Know? My immediate perception of Me-Made May was that it’s amazing and wonderful and really inspiring that the participants are able to make so much of their wardrobes, and that I have a long way to go to catch up. It seemed a little like bragging, which, crafters have some serious right to do. The more I thought about it, though, the more solidly I came to the conclusion that my wardrobe is fine as it is. I have many items of clothing that are handmade, either by myself or by my grandmother, and some of them are rarely worn but I can’t bear to donate or recycle them. I also have many items of clothing that I’ve been wearing consistently for nearly ten years, and that seems more impressive to me. Items that I found at the “bins,” Goodwill’s pay-by-weight outlet store, for under a dollar and have worn for years are much more compelling to me than items sewn from fabric of unknown origin using a pattern made to fit a range of sizes by a corporate designer.
I want to start my participation in Slow Fashion October by setting my intentions for both blogging and crafting. Karen has set discussion topics for each week of October, and I plan to write a post in response to each. Since the Earthskills Rendezvous is coming up mid-month, much of my crafting attention is currently focused on creating my wares for sale or trade there- the countdown is still on! Obviously, crafting garments for people to buy, wear, gift, and touch is spreading the ideals of Slow Fashion: one-of-a-kind things made by hand with intention, mostly from recycled or handspun materials. What that means in relation to my personal goals for participating in the “Sloctober” discussion is still percolating, but as a young person working toward an idea of what I want my life to include, my goal is to… create some long-term goals. Once Rendezvous has passed and I’m no longer knitting with an event in mind, I want to post the remaining unsold merchandise on my Etsy store and take stock of the other projects I have going. I will be starting a guest post series with my dear friend back in OR, where we will knit a shawl “together” and compare the process. I want to shift toward making larger, more wearable garments (sweaters, shawls, socks) for myself, and keep making “stashbusters” for sale and as gifts. Basically, I want to keep doing what I do, but more of it and with more thought behind it!