#slowfashionoctober – week 1

Le texte en français se trouve plus bas.

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A first for me, but not for many who have been participating in the Slow Fashion October initiative, craftily orchestrated by Karen Templer from Fringe Association. All the rules are here, anyone can play.

This year I have decided to give it a go. My recent move has made me painfully aware of how much there is in my closet, and how few of my clothes I actually wear. Some still have tags on. One of my goals for this month is to reduce the size of my closet, and recycle a host of beautiful designer clothes I do not wear but might interest someone else. I am still reluctant to simply give them away, but will do it if there is no other option. I have already started by giving my daughter, who is now a bit taller than me, some beautiful dresses, skirts and tops that no longer fit me.

One thing I can console myself with is that I have very little fast fashion, cheap garments that nobody seems to want. A long time lover of fashion and trends, I used to shop designer sales, or high-end items from big retailers like Zara and such. So most of what I have is beautiful, made with lovely, durable material. I still own a beautiful black velvet jacket I bought when I was 19.  Trends come and go, but a beautiful garment in a classic shape can live for a very long time.

But quantity is the problem here. I just have too much because I have not thrown anything away for the past ten years. Since then, not only has my body changed, my size, my tastes, but also my life circumstances. I no longer have to dress for work as I work from home most of the time. I dreamt a being a vintage siren, clad in gorgeous 30s or 40s inspired dresses, but feel most comfortable in jeans and cozy sweaters. The mid-life crisis has come and gone. I no longer feel the need to follow trends, even if I still love to look at what’s new and imagine crazy outfits for another life, or another me. The real me needs very little.

So Slow Fashion October means a new beginning on my quest for style – paring down, focusing on what fits me and my lifestyle, and getting rid of the impulse buys of the past. I realized a couple of years ago that most of my shopping was a way to reduce stress. Once the main source of stress was gone (a job I no longer cared for), as well as the shopping opportunities (working in downtown Montreal for years was a constant source of temptation), I became free of the need to shop. Taking up knitting a few years ago also helped a lot, even if I had a moment of compulsive yarn buying that created other problems (see here and here). Filling time with creative endeavors is a great way to relieve stress, and realizing that you can make things and wear them a revelation.

The real issue on my quest for a simpler, environmental friendly life has to do with kids clothes, a subject mentioned by many participants. How can you reconcile meaningful shopping, protection of the environment, care for quality when you have two children that grow like wild plants and always need something new, especially when you’re on a budget? I cannot escape the big retail brands, and see no point in spending a fortune on a sweater or a pair of pants that will be worn 6 months anyway. On the plus side, I have recycled most of my kids clothes since they were babies, and my daughter also has a fair portion of donated clothes in her closet. I wish I knew how to sew so I could reduce the percentage of clothes I buy for them. I’m not there yet. One step at a time.


Une première pour mois, mais pas pour beaucoup qui ont déjà participé au Slow Fashion Octobre, initiative savamment orchestrée par Karen Templer du blog Fringe Association. Toutes les règles sont ici, tout le monde peut participer.

Cette année j’ai décidé de jouer le jeu. Mon déménagement tout frais m’a fait douloureusement prendre conscience que j’ai beaucoup trop de choses dans mon placard, et que je porte très peu de mes vêtements. Certains ont toujours leur étiquette. Un des mes buts pour ce moi est de réduire la taille de ma garde-robe, et recycler une quantité de beaux vêtements de créateurs que je ne porte pas mais qui pourraient intéresser d’autres personnes. Je n’aime pas simplement donner mes vêtements à des inconnus mais je le ferai si je n’ai pas le choix. J’ai déjà commencé le travail en donnant des jolies robes, jupes et hauts trop serrés à ma fille qui vient de me dépasser en taille.

Une chose qui me console néanmoins: je possède très peu de vêtements cheap dont personne ne veut. J’ai toujours aimé la mode et les tendances, et j’avais l’habitude de faire mon shopping dans les soldes de créateurs, ou bien parmi les articles plus luxueux des marques de masse comme Zara ou autres. De fait, la majeure partie de ce que je possède est de belle qualité, fait de belles matières durables. Je possède une belle veste noire en velours que j’ai achetée lorsque j’avais 19 ans. Les tendances vont et viennent, mais une belle pièce de coupe classique peut vivre très longtemps.

C’est vraiment la quantité qui est problématique pour moi. J’ai juste trop de choses parce que je n’ai rien jeté depuis dix ans. Pendant ce temps, non seulement mon corps et ma taille ont changé, mais aussi mes goûts et mes circonstances professionnelles. Je n’ai plus vraiment besoin de m’habiller pour travailler puisque je travaille de la maison la plupart du temps. Je rêvais d’être une femme sirène glamour, enrobée dans des robes magnifiques de style années 30 ou 40, mais je ne me sens bien qu’en jeans et pulls cosy.  La crise de la quarantaine est passée. Je ne sens plus le besoin de suivre absolument les tendances, même si j’aime toujours les étudier et imaginer des ensembles fous pour une autre vie, une autre moi. La vraie moi a besoin de très peu en réalité.

Slow Fashion October marque donc le début d’une nouvelle recherche de style – épurée, centrée sur ce qui me correspond vraiment ainsi qu’à mon style de vie, et débarrassée des achats compulsifs du passé. J’ai réalisé il y a deux ans que la plupart de mes achats étaient un moyen de réduire mon stress. Une fois la source principale de stress disparue (un boulot que je n’aimais plus vraiment), ainsi que les opportunités d’acheter (travailler au centre-ville de Montréal était une source constante de tentation), je me suis libérée du besoin d’acheter. Commencer le tricot a beaucoup aidé également, même si j’ai eu ma phase d’achat compulsif de laine qui m’a posé d’autres soucis (voir ici et ). Remplir son temps libre de projets créatifs est un excellent moyen de soulager le stress, et réaliser que vous pouvez faire des choses et les porter une révélation.

Le véritable enjeu dans ma recherche d’une garde-robe plus simple et plus écologique est lié aux vêtements d’enfants, un point mentionné par beaucoup de participants. Comment réconcilier shopping intelligent et la protection de l’environnement avec deux enfants qui poussent comme du chiendent et ont toujours besoin de quelque chose de nouveau, surtout lorsque vous avez un budget serré ? Difficile d’échapper aux grandes chaînes, et je ne vois non plus pourquoi payer une fortune pour un pull ou un pantalon qui sera porté six mois. D’un autre côté, je recycle les vêtements des enfants depuis qu’ils sont bébés, et  la garde-robe de ma fille contient une bonne portion de vêtements donnés. J’aimerais savoir coudre pour pouvoir réduire la proportion de vêtements achetés,  mais je n’en suis pas encore là. Une étape à la fois.

 

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12 thoughts on “#slowfashionoctober – week 1

  1. Hi,

    I have 8 kids & this is my take on meaningful fashion for kids. First, I limit what we own significantly (general rule of thumb: clothes for two weeks plus seasonal needs like coats and swim wear). Second, I rarely if ever buy new. We go to consignment shops and second hand stores and sometimes yard sales. Generally, the only things I buy new are shoes for the teens and bathing suits for everyone. My kids see thrift store shopping as a challenge & get excited when we find good stuff. The trade off is that it takes more time to keep everyone in good repair and enough clothing. Third, I mend things & patch things. They’re fine with that and my three teenagers tell me that patches are style elements. We’ve talked about fair trade and fair labor and the importance of right treatment of those (sometimes invisible) people who make the things we own and wear. One practice I have that I’m trying to pass on to them is this: if I can’t buy something I know to be ethically sourced (like appropriate ethically sourced scrubs are hard to find), then I thank the person who made my clothes and pray for them. To me, it’s a way of acknowledging their presence in my world…

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  2. I have an 8 yo daughter, and most if what she wears are hand-me downs from my niece. Everything that survives my daughter is then passed on to her three great-cousins, who delight in in unpacking a big box of “new” clothes.

    I do buy new clothes as well, but not very often, and only the essentials (after all, there are only so many jeans and sweaters you can wear in a week). But I make sure that they are of good quality so that they can be handed down.

    I cleared out my closet a year or two ago, as I really only wear a limited set of things. I do knit a lot of tops and pullovers for myself, so I never run out of things to wear 😉

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  3. I’m at the point where I’m really having to define my style and look at what I actually wear in my closet not just what I think I wear or will wear. I have clothes I specifically wear for work and then clothes I find myself mainly wearing at home. The rest needs to be moved on to other family members. Thanks for your perspective!

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  4. Great post! The part about dream outfits for another life resonates for me– I wore a uniform to work for almost ten years but bought a lot of clothes for other lives! It’s fun to imagine those other lives but I don’t need to have the wardrobe for them– I have virtual closets on Pinterest 🙂

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  5. Kid’s clothes is a challenge for me too. My son is going through a growth spurt right now and has outgrown most of his clothes from last year. Luckily, he has smaller cousins so we can hand down most of his clothes to them.

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    • When he was younger, I always tried to buy a bigger size so that it would fit longer. Now he’s very lanky so it’s hard to do that, unless I find pants with elastics that can be tightened to cinch the waist. He’s going on 13, the next growth spur will probably be the biggest one of his life. I expect all his clothes to suddenly not fit, but I’m not sure how to anticipate that.

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  6. I have two bins of my favourite clothes from when I was younger that I’m keeping for my daughter. I remember being a teenager and shopping with my mom, she would would always say, ‘oh, I had that when I was young, I had that, too.” and I thought if she had kept it, she could have saved herself a fortune! I try to not buy things I don’t need, and in particular cheap fabric that wear terribly after washing- that cheap jersey fabric that seems so popular in chain stores, and those thin, flimsy cardigans that never look that great.

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    • Imagine keeping your favorite clothes for your future daughter, that’s called foresight. I see exactly what you mean by that cheap jersey that looks awful after just one wash or two. I have just given a couple of tops to my daughter, I think all the tops that are a bit tight for me will become hers, because they fit her perfectly. It does feel good being able to give your daughter the things you enjoyed wearing.

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