Sunday, October 18, 2015

Most Loved - SFO

I meant to post this earlier in the week, but October has been surprisingly crazy busy. Week 3 of Slow Fashion October is themed "LOVED" - proudest accomplishment / most loved item / most frequently worn item / thing you saved up for / investment pieces / thing you worked a long time on / oldest thing that’s still in rotation. Far and away, my most loved, most frequently worn item is this amazing sweater my mom made for me a few years ago for Christmas. 

It was about three years ago that she made it for me, and I have worn it hundreds of time since then. It is (I believe) the Georgetown pattern from Hannah Fettig. Mom made it a little longer for me, and increased the rib shawl a bit to be extra full and cozy. She made it with an alpaca/wool blend and it is literally the most perfect color in the entire world. It goes with everything. I'm not sure I have the words to express how completely I love this sweater.

When people compliment me on something I'm wearing, I'm not quick to offer up a, "Thanks, I made it!" because it feels self-indulgent, even though that's probably not the case at all (and I love when people tell me they made things I compliment). But when someone compliments this cardigan, I get so gleeful to say, "Thanks! MY MOM MADE IT!" because how freaking impressive is that? I grin ear to ear when I get to say it. And believe me, I get a lot of compliments on this sweater.

And I'm always happy to share the tag with people, too -- it tends to make everyone smile. The "Mend when torn" portion of the care instructions rings true: Mom fixed the cuffs for me, and when I washed this recently, I found a hole I need to mend. I am hanging on to a partial ball of this yarn expressly for these purposed. I intend to continue to wear this sweater for forever. It means so much to me that her hands formed every single stitch of every single row of this (huge, finer gauge) sweater. To me, the way I feel about this sweater is every bit the essence of slow fashion. What if everything I owned held this much meaning?

Sunday, October 11, 2015

SFO: Brands & Labels

This is kind of different than my normal what-I-made fare. It's been a long time since I posted an outfit, and to be truthful, that's not something that interests me anymore. However, I did want to post this because I had some thoughts pertaining to Slow Fashion October and the industry I work in. Week Two's theme is SMALL, and regards capsule wardrobes, indie fashion, living with less, etc. 

I don't work in a slow fashion industry. I'm proud of the retailer I work for and the quality we build into clothing, because few can afford true "slow fashion" items, and it's nice to offer true value to our customers and their families. However, I am not under any delusion that the world needs more clothes, and I understand the immense complications of pollution and waste that come along with mass manufacturing.

I wanted to specifically talk about this alongside this outfit because both of these pieces are Kohl's private label brands. But -- they are also really old. The sweater, a short-sleeve cashmere top under the Croft & Barrow brand, was passed to me from my mom, and given the logo design, I can tell it's well over a decade old. The pants I found at the thrift store, and are Sonoma denim, from when Sonoma branded itself as the Sonoma Jean Company. (I'm also wearing Minnetonka moccasins, purchased in my hometown several years ago.) These pieces have lasted, enough to cycle in and out and in again in terms of fashion trends. And I really like that. I like that the product we build is made to last. I like that I got these pieces indirectly, and that they get a new life in my closet. It makes me happy to know that ten or fifteen years from now, a garment I worked on could resurface in a store somewhere and it will still be a staple that could be worn. 

The conversation surrounding slow fashion has given me plenty to ponder lately, and while I would ideally like to move toward my entirely handmade wardrobe, I'm glad to supplement with pieces like this. 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Slow Fashion October

Carolynn posted about Slow Fashion October today, and though I hadn't heard about this month-long activity, I was immediately engrossed. The principals of slow fashion are something I have pursued on and off for many years, though less recently than I'd like to admit. When I was in high school, I endeavored to create an entirely handmade wardrobe, and succeeded for several years. This was a great way for me to learn the basics of sewing, because what wasn't sewn from scratch was taken apart and reconstructed from thrifted clothing: the ultimate way to learn how clothing is constructed and how pieces go together is to take them apart.

When I went away to college, I remember having a realization that I actually had a rather small wardrobe. Because most of it was made by me, I simply never amassed the bursting closet of clothing many of my friends had. But time went on, and I didn't have time to make or mend, and I discovered how easy it was to buy fast fashion. I still made clothes for myself, but substantially less and less as school became more strenuous. This is pretty well evidenced by my pace of posts here on this blog. I've never stopped loving slow fashion, though. My most prized garments were (and still are, with a few additions) a beautiful wool and alpaca cardigan that my mom hand knit for me over the course of months, and my first fully tailored coat, with its hundreds of hours of construction. The majority of clothes in my closet are pretty dispensable (and disposable), which kind of makes my gut clench a little.

Now that I've settled more into my life post-college, I want to make an effort to return to a handmade, mended, long-term, ethical and thoughtfully purchased wardrobe. I have longterm goals that involve paring down my closet--and my life--substantially, and so these also will be steps in helping me get there. I am very excited also about the community and participatory aspects of this project, as well as the goal-focusing. Personally, my goals are to discover great people who make beautiful things, finish the sweater pictured above, cleanse my closet a bit, and sew up some holes. I also want to dress thoughtfully every day of the month, so I might post some of what I'm wearing from time to time.

Let me know if you are participating so I can follow along on the ride! There is some magic happening on #SlowFashionOctober on Instagram! (Find me there as @addie__marie)