"Sustainable" is a term that is often misassigned when it comes to fashion. Is fashion really sustainable, if the soil in which its fibers are grown is not healthy? Is fashion sustainable if wearable clothing ends up in landfills or clogging up the economies of foreign nations? Is fashion sustainable if those who make it cannot afford to live with their families? Is fashion sustainable if those trying their best to produce it are burnt out on by stress of it all?
Making one's own clothing has been called slow fashion in recent years in an effort to highlight its alignment with sustainability. I appreciate this line of thinking...to a point. There are many makers out there embodying this slowing beautifully with thoughtful project planning, sourcing local fibers +/or growing plant dyes, etc. But when we consume so much goodness all collected together in our social media feeds, we can feel the desire to make, make, make (+ share) constantly. It may take us longer to make our clothes, but if we are making more + more of them...we are not actually slowing our consumption.
I would argue that sustainable fashion has more to do with a slowing of consumption than almost anything else.
Sustainability is the point at which we eat food that is grown on farms not so far from home. We wear clothing grown + made not so far from home. We wear out our clothing + make it into something else useful. The peels + pits + bits of rag left over regenerate the valued soil. Farmers + garment workers live next door. Our children attend school together + we all receive health care when we need it. We welcome new families into our community, because we know there is enough for all of us + that they will contribute to our collective well-being.
Lovely images via Elizabeth Suzann.