Dexter Cardigan - Slow Fashion October

Slow Fashion October :: Introduction ::

Over the course of the last week one hashtag in particular has caught my eye on Instagram :: #slowfashionoctober :: It instantly caught my eye because avoiding ‚fast fashion‘, repurposing, mending, knitting wardrobe staples, conscious shopping and ecological/eco friendly clothes have been on my mind for the better part of this year now.

Searching for more background info on this whole thing I stumbled on the instigators of this interesting effort – Fringe Association. On their blog they tell about the master plan for this year’s Slow Fashion October.

Week 1, Oct 1-9
Who are you, and what does slow fashion mean to you. What got you started thinking about it — people, books, films, etc. Are your concerns environmental, humanitarian, financial? Most important: How does your thinking factor into your life and closet. Also, any special plans or projects for Slotober, and what are you hoping to get out of it?

So here we go. I am  a not yet 40 old (online) marketing professional with a background in the publishing industry. I live in a small house in the suburbs with a husband and two kids. I’ve been knitting for probably 25 years now and went all the way down the production chain and learned how to process and spin wool myself maybe 15 years ago. There was no deep reason behind this besides the fact that the engineer in me (I even have the degree to show for 😉 ) always wants to know HOW EXACTLY things work and to try them out myself.

But when it came to buying clothes I have always been so very frustrated. At 6 feet tall and with a European size 42-44 lots of ready-made clothing did not fit or fit badly. I still wonder why the industry thinks a size 36-38 on a 6 feet tall woman is the norm. As students on a budget who wanted to at least go with the trends we all pretty much stuck to H&M for years. Then as a young professional I tried to find brands or chains that were maybe a step up from H&M but this somehow did not work out for me. The sizing was worse (how is this even possible?), the prices were hefty but the quality and durability of the garments came not even close to my trusty 10 years old H&M cotton T-Shirts. I was soon back to omni-present store with the red letters.

Maybe ten years ago a friend introduced me to a Scandinavian Designer called Gudrun Sjöden. I instantly fell in love with her bold prints, bright colors and unusual combinations of styles. And she was making an effort to offer ecologically sourced materials and support fair production. Back then I felt a bit too young for some of her clothes. But I bought a few select items even though the price tag was something I was not used to. Over the years I started to realise that the cheap clothes from the chain stores came and went but those few items were still there. Still very wearable. Still a style I liked. Something clicked.

Also having to kids of course changes things. You want to protect them, keep them warm and cozy and keep all harm at bay. Suddenly contaminant-free clothing actually seems like a good idea. I am lucky in that my kids are not allergic or overly sensitive but still I usually take a closer look at what I buy for them nowadays. At the same time I am quite aware that we all – me, the husband, the kids – have way too much stuff in our wardrobes that never get worn or not get worn close to enough.

So to sum things up, for a while now I have been trying to be at least a bit more conscious about what clothes I buy  for myself. And also what to do about old clothes. (The article ‚No one wants your old clothes‘ shows the problem with the masses of clothes we ‚consume‘.)

The questions I try to ask myself:

  • Does it go with the rest of my wardrobe?
  • Are they versatile enough to serve as office clothes as well as for lounging around?
  • Can they be combined and layered to bridge seasons?
  • Are they durable enough to last more than one season?
  • Are they produced locally or at least come with a trustworthy fair trade label?
  • Can this hole be mended?
  • Can I maybe change/reknit this hand knit sweater so I will wear it again?
  • May if I take this to the sewing machine and change it so it will fit better.
Dexter Cardigan - WIP

Dexter Cardigan – Thanks to a little progress marker I can at least see that it’s growing.

Also in my knitting I turned to more timeless wardrobe staples. I love my Elementary Sweater, a round yoke sweater that will never go out of style. Same goes for the April Sweaters. And my October knitting project is a denim blue Dexter cardigan that I can imagine going well with about anything in my wardrobe.

On the shopping front I am still looking for a new winter coat/jacket and I would like new pair of jeans. Maybe I will actually find something over the course of the Slow Fashion October.

Happy knitting!

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