Reuse, recycle, upcycle, looping, mending, minimalism, sustainable, organic, local, slow fashion. Those of us interested in being more conscious consumers have heard these terms before. And to be honest, it can be daunting to know how to bring any kind of revolution into our wardrobes.
Not sure where to start? Well, my advice would be to start small, and insert yourself anywhere into the Fashion production chain. Between fiber and the item hanging in the high street, are so many ways to make a fabric and turn it into a garment. You could learn to spin, learn to weave, to knit (by hand or machine) or crochet. To sew or embroider. Choose one thing, and start small.
Become a maker. Once you dip your toe in, and try it out, you will realize two things (at least): you become more thoughtful about what you make, and what you make it out of. A whole world of choice opens up to you. Which colour would you like your new shirt to be? What fabric would you make it from: new, organic source? Or upcycled from a fabric that caught your eye in your local secondhand shop?
Make something you can wear once completed. Make a hat or a cowl. Relatively small enough to be finished in a weekend. You can get as fancy or stay as simple as you like. Since making clothes for myself, I’ve found myself slowing down: I’ll let ideas run through my head about what I’m going to make, what colour or texture I want and how it will fit in with what I already have. Becoming a producer, even on a small scale will give you power over what you wear.
As long as you complete your project, you’ll likely feel the IKEA effect kicking in. Researchers have basically found out that we’re more likely to love something we’ve made ourselves. When we love a piece of clothing, we wear it more often. And if it tears, we are more likely to ask someone to mend it for us, or learn to mend and mend it ourselves.
(This piece was inspired by a Fashion Revolution call for submissions. I didn’t think it quite fit what they were looking for, so I posted it here.)