Long post warning, go make a cup of tea before continuing,
Given recent international events regarding climate change I’ve been feeling very low about the state of the world. Last year I borrowed 2 books from the library that seemed interesting, (ok so the covers caught my eye but I did read them). There were Lucy Siegle’s “To Die for: is fashion wearing out the world” and Elizabeth L Cline “ Overdressed: the shocking high cost of cheap fashion”. Both are well worth a read and really got me thinking. Prior to this I’d been a big fan of fast fashion; it’s hard to argue with $5 t-shirts.
After reading these books I really started thinking about my spending on clothes and the impacts that my fast fashion had on the world. I also read articles in the wonderful Peppermint magazine which highlights sustainable fashion in Australia and overseas. I read Clare Press’s “Wardrobe Crisis”, which was another eye opening read.
I’d been in the habit of buying clothes I didn’t need just because they were cheap. Being the nerdy person I am I did more research and what I discovered shocked me. I also started observing people around me and I noticed many people I know, friends and work colleagues who simply buy clothing because it is cheap; the same why I used to do. I also learnt that fast fashion is addictive and that’s its designed to be to ensure people go into the shops every day.
Recently I’ve been watching ABC’s War on Waste; their episode on fast fashion is incredible and all should watch it. The climate and social impact of fast fashion is huge and is causing big problems. Australians alone consume 27 kilograms of clothing a year. Australians are currently throwing out 6,000 kilograms of textile and fashion waste every 10 minutes, this is covered in the third episode of War on Waste. You can watch this on line or via ABC iView and really everyone should watch it.
This year, as you can tell on this blog, that I’ve made a focus on sewing and part of the reason to make less of an environmental impact. After seeing some of the shocking conditions in which fast fashion is made I could not support it anymore. Now I’m aware this is not a complete answer and I started sewing for other reasons. Since I’ve started however, educating myself about how clothes are constructed and I’ve really started to notice the disposable nature of clothes.
Sewing however has many advantages in becoming more thoughtful in what you consume. Sewing has allowed me to fix numerous items I would have previously donated or thrown out. I’ve also customised many clothes I already had that I brought but then didn’t wear. So far I’ve removed tops from dresses to make them skirts, so that I actually them wear now. Being short I’ve also shortened many pairs of paints and replaced several zips in items that were broken. I wouldn’t have done this previously I would have thrown them out and brought replacements which would have probably have needed replacement by now; and the cycle would have continued
Now my adventures in sewing continue and I’m really loving being able to say “yes I made it myself” when people ask where I brought the dress from. After making your own clothes you also get a real understanding of the work it takes to create an item of clothing. It makes it completely clear that fast fashion is unstainable as a $5 t-shirt from H&M has been made in unethical conditions for the company to make a profit.
If you’d like to learn more I’ve included some sources below. I’m going go back to reading this
The True Cost – This is now on Netflix
War on Waste – Season 1 Episode 3