There are a lot of people wanting answers to this question, spurred on by the Fashion Revolution movement and the recent Fashion Revolution Week (April 23-29). It's time to take stock of where fashion manufacturing is at and how we can get more out of the clothes we already own.
I grew up as one fashion era was ending - the era tailoring and dressmaking, and another fashion era was beginning - the explosion of mass market designer labels. As a teenager I was always sewing and so were my girlfriends. Back in the 1970's shopping was nothing like it is today. Multi-story shopping complexes were rare, internet shopping didn't exist and global brand marketing was yet to happen. Every suburb across Australia had a local fabric store full of beautiful materials and commercial dress patterns. There was always a neighbour, aunty or family friend who could whip up an outfit from a few metres of linen, wool crepe or silk taffeta.
Although those days have gone, there's a huge shift back to home sewing, repurposing clothing, mending and altering garments. Why? Because as humans we strive to do things that bring enjoyment and meaning to our lives. And creating something yourself is right up there on the enjoyment scale.
I know not everyone is a sewer, but I've lost count of the number of woman who've told me they'd love to be able to sew or at least be able to make alterations to their own clothes. Even if you don't sew, take a good look at a garment before you decide to get rid of it. Can it be reinvented in some way? Find someone who does alterations and see if they can breath new life into some of the clothes you no longer wear:
- lengthen or shorten a hem
- change the shape of a pair of pants by running in the leg
- remove the bodice of a dress and repurpose the skirt section
- put in a new zipper or elastic
- add darts to a garment to give a better fit
I haven't sewn for myself in ages but I'm back into it and absolutely loving it. Nothing too complicated - like the poppy print skirt in the photo above, I've gone mad for floral prints.
By the time spring comes around these colourful prints will be hanging in my wardrobe. I'll keep you posted and show you the finished product.
Enjoy your creative life, Jules