Slow fashion is very important for me as a knitwear designer, because I make my own clothes, create my own fashion and help other knitters do the same!
Slow Fashion October is a movement initiated by Karen Templer from the Fringe Association blog to start a conversation about how we can make more sustainable and ethical fashion choices. For slow fashion october this year, Karen is inviting us to think more carefully about our style and our closet. As knitters, we get to create our own unique style in a very powerful way, because all of our knits are unique since we were the ones who made them.
By chosing to make our own clothes, we understand the slow part of the process. We understand the value of what comes off our needles, the need to cherish it and wear it over and over. To me a big part of slow fashion is to be aware of the value of each item in our wardrobe and we know that for sure when we put so much time and love into making them!
But knitting our own clothes is only one part of the process and before that comes the yarn. I've always chosen to steer away from synthetic fibers and pick only natural ones, but I now take a closer look at exactly where my yarn came from. I like my yarn to be in at least a few of these categories: Natural, artisan, hand-dyed, local, sustainable, organic.And I chose this because I care about the environment and the animals, but also because these kinds of yarn have way more stories to tell, stories that inspire me in my own creations and bring more value to them in my eyes.
I see a lot of guilt-tripping around sustainability, or that's the way I feel anyway sometimes. Because we can't all afford to buy expensive artisan yarn or just because we can't always make perfect choices. But I came to realize that there is no such thing as a perfectly sustainable lifestyle and wardrobe. Slow fashion is a process, a slow process and a way to think more carefully and also creatively about your wardrobe and your craft.
An eye opening moment was when I interviewed the two founders of Bouclelaine, a small natural yarn company, a few weeks ago. I learned so many things about the process of making natural yarn and the people involved in it from the farmers to the people like Brigitte and Clotilde who create a bridge between them and us by transforming the fleeces of their animals into beautiful skeins that we can in our turn tranform into beloved clothes. I realized that slow fashion isn't about gilt-tripping around poor purchases that I've made in the past, or the numerous items in my wardrobe that I never wear. It's more about discovering that process of where my yarn comes from and how I can give it the value it deserves that will in turn bring more value to my own creations.
I became a knitwear designer because I had a story to tell, a thirst for creation and a desire for discovering, learning and sharing my art with others. To me, the diversity of stories around our craft and all the people behind them, from farmers to knitters, indie designers and dyers, magazine editors, LYS and yarn company owners... make all the beauty and strenght of our knitting community.
I'm really happy to see more and more bridges between all of us, from magazine and designers featuring local, small-batch yarn and sharing the stories of the people behind them, to yarn dyers who chose to work with local fibers instead of the same old merino/nylon bases, to farmers who share their story, process (and cute animal pics!) on Instagram. To me slow fashion in our industry is all about making these connections, bringing us together to add more value to our fibers, our yarns and our knits.
How about you, what does slow fashion mean to you as a knitter?