Karen Templar started Slow Fashion October last year as "A celebration of the small-batch, handmade, second-hand, well-loved, long-worn, known-origins wardrobe". We may have different approaches, but I love the idea of many people having this conversation all at once.
This is one of my favorite topics, and I feel it's important for all of us to have a well-considered wardrobe rather than a thoughtless one. The choices we make regarding our clothing influence the lives of others very directly. Actual men and women grow the fibers we wear, make them into cloth, and sew them into wearable garments. We can choose to honor their work with living wages and safe work conditions. We can choose to keep these garments from becoming waste as well. Care and repair will make them last longer. Thrifted pieces are given a second (or fourth) chance to be worn and appreciated. Natural fibers will compost at the end of their serviceable lives.
I choose slow fashion because it is ethical. It matches my values, in that it puts people and the environment first.
A smaller wardrobe is vital in my approach to slow fashion. I want my pieces to to earn their spots in my closet. By keeping the numbers small, I can more readily make wise choices when it comes time to replace an item. I am able to consider taking more time to search for a second-hand piece... or consider making the piece myself...or consider paying a bit more for a quality, fairly-made piece.
Since I have a limited number of pieces, I like to keep them in good repair. Time spent with needle and thread is usually a treat for me. Since I don't have enough pieces to let things pile up, it doesn't become drudgery. I appreciate my jeans more with every patch that gets added. We appreciate our (thrifted) shoes longer with a trip to a skilled cobbler. One of my favorite shirts becomes more endearing with each added stitch. Over time, wear and care make ordinary pieces into contributing parts of our stories. A certain patch reminds me of how much walking these jeans did on the streets of London... a stitched cactus reminds me of whole days spent driving through the dessert.
Slow and deliberate thrifting yields a periodic treasure to add to my small collection of worn pieces. A pair of jeans found mid-wind through Topanga Canyon... with all of their streaks and smudges remind me that I am becoming part of their story maybe even more than they are becoming part of mine.
Maybe that's the way we need to think about each and every piece of clothing we consider, call our own, and wear. I am just one part of its story. Let me honor all that came before and take responsibility for what happens next.
Just wanted to let you know that we're over at instagram too! I've been sharing some recipes, happenings, and bits over there... trying not to repeat what's here. By the way you don't have to have instagram yourself in order to follow along. I'd love to see you there! :)
The colors say autumn. The taste of roasted vegetables say autumn... and the fact that we didn't roast while roasting the vegetables says it's autumn. :) Plus it's zero-waste!
Autumn on a plate
sweet potato, peeled and chopped, and tossed with olive oil
brussels sprouts, quartered, and tossed with olive oil
brown rice, cooked
Roast sweet potato in a 425 degrees F oven until beginning to brown on the edges... about 40 minutes. Add brussels sprouts for the last 20 minutes. Layer and enjoy!
Neither paper nor plastic, please. It's tough to find a consensus on how many plastic bags are used per year because some count grocery bags only, while others count trash bags and other plastic bags. Conservative estimates still landed at 1 trillion plastic bags being used around the world per year. This is no longer surprising information. Everyone has heard that plastic bags are harmful to wildlife which get tangled in and eat them... they guzzle oil in their production... and it is predicted that each one will take 1000 years to decompose (obviously this has not been observed).
Many of us are not horrified taking them home, whether often or not. The sight of them is just so common. Everyone walks out of the grocery store with a cart full of them. (No, I don't live in a city lucky enough to have a ban or a bag fee.) Maybe we think that we will use them to wrangle our trash to the bin or maybe we think we will recycle them.
Even if all of the bags were recycled (and just for reference, apparently only something like 6% of plastic bags are recycled) they can only be down-cycled once into something other than a plastic bag. This is not a closed loop system. The landfill is where many plastic bags escape and begin to blow in every direction... the thing is that they never blow "away"... each one will be with us for the next 1000 years, at least.
Just stick whatever reusable, compact bags are laying around into your purse/bag/backpack... stick one or three into the glove compartment... stick one in your pocket... grab a bunch on the way to the grocery store... and never ever bring home a plastic grocery bag again. Small shopping trips often require no bag at all... a bagel on the way to the office can get eaten out of hand... milk + eggs from the grocery store can get carried out the same way they were carried up to the cashier... those jeans from the thrift store can tuck right under your arm.
Just make the commitment. I'm doing it too. No more plastic grocery bags, ever.
Just a little reminder that now might be the perfect time to make some simple tomato sauce. This sauce is a great way to stock up on a little zero-waste helper that gets used in so many ways around here. With a freezer stocked full of jars of this treasure, we are able to make pasta sauce, salsa, soup, pizza sauce, and chili all winter long. I actually used my last jar right about the time we were able to pick our first tomatoes in the garden this summer. :)
Even if you don't have a garden, getting a big box of tomatoes from the farmers' market is a great option... plus you'll be all done with the sauce making in one go. (I might be a bit jealous about that.) :) Try going closer to closing time and see if you can get a bargain price for a box the farmer doesn't want to take back home. Dinged tomatoes are ok here too.
The tomato sauce I make is super simple... no tomato peeling. That would have been a no-go for me, personally. This works, because I freeze it instead of traditional canning.
I don't season this sauce before freezing, because I find that the flavors are just more flavorful when added later. This also makes it possible for me to choose any jar and flavor it into pizza sauce, salsa, soup starter, pasta sauce or any other number of uses I find for it.
Simple Tomato Sauce
Wash, destem, and cut large tomatoes in half. Blend lightly (I use the "chop" button). My goal is to break them up, but still have pieces. Bring to a boil and boil over medium heat, stirring as needed (I start by setting the timer for 8 minutes and slowly decrease the time between stirring down to about 4 minutes). Boil down to desired thickness (time needed will depend on the consistency and amount of tomatoes used). Pour into jars and let cool before storing in freezer.
I'm never sorry about the time I've spent making tomato sauce! :)
The idea for this way of dressing came from a page in my journal entitled "Minimal Perfect Summer Wardrobe". It was the end of the summer of 2015, and I wanted to use the knowledge of that season's dressing to dream up that elusive wardrobe perfection. I'd been wanting to dress with less... to love each and every piece I owned... and to feel lovely every day. I ended up drawing three fictional dresses, two jumpsuits that I owned, two pairs of shorts and three tops that I owned. That really was my dream wardrobe, and it was so satisfying to see it drawn out there. I knew that I could be happy wearing those ten pieces all summer long.
I looked at the list realizing that I could substitute three dresses I had for the three dresses I drew... and actually have that dream. It was September already, so I decided to add a cotton cardigan, a long sleeved indigo tee to layer, a pair of Toms, and a pair of flip-flops. With this stack of 14 pieces, I decided to try out my simple wardrobe for a month or maybe six weeks before the weather got cooler. It worked a treat. I felt like I had plenty of choices. I liked what I had. I didn't feel like I was depriving myself. I was content + satisfied. I loved it.
So, I've been making a new stack of around 12-16 pieces every month now for a full year. I didn't take a stack picture every month, but 9 out of 12 are kind of fun to see together here. Pieces get traded in and out over time to reflect the weather, and that provides me with a little more variety... in my own head any way. I haven't bought a whole lot of new pieces, but I notice when different pieces rotate in. I feel like I have enough.
I've kept the total number of my pieces of everyday clothing and shoes under 50 items. This is not a magic number. It just feels comfortable for me. I've been able to track the comings + goings in my closet more easily month by month. This is just a way for me to hold myself accountable + be aware of my consuming.
Now for year two. :)
on a journey toward zero-waste, simplicity, + compassion :: daring to choose fair one choice at a time