November 19, 2010

If the pants fit, wear them out.

Clothes and fashion are topics that pop up regularly on Sew Green, and with good reason. We all dress ourselves on a daily basis (and many of us are also dressing our children), and I'm sure we notice and respond to what other people have dressed themselves in every day too. But it seems to me that clothing and fashion are inherently not about sustainability. Core drivers of the fashion industry are consumption and change- constantly throwing out the old, and buying the new. And the reality of wearing clothing is that it wears- few (if any) garments have a unlimited lifespan.

When Shash did her recent post about Slow Clothes, I had also been thinking long and hard about the state of my (and my family's) wardrobe, and doing a little bit of sustainable fashion research. One of the web resources that I found that I felt was quite useful, in regards to clothing yourself and your family more sustainably, was this post at Planet Green, which I found via Treehugger. There are many ways of approaching a more sustainable wardrobe, and this post succinctly captures 10 key ideas. Some might tie in with things you already do, others might fire your interest and inspire you to research, think or take action in a different way. Their tips cover a number of approaches to shopping and thinking about your clothing needs, caring for your clothes, and disposing of them when you're done.

Number 2 on their list (love your duds) inspired me to sit down and do some mending to some toddler clothes. I received a couple of pairs of good quality pants from a friend when she was clearing out her son's wardrobe a year ago. In addition to being worn by her son for some time, they've now been worn by my son for most of the year too. I have to say we love them. They have a great feature that gives them true trans-seasonal functionality- the bottom of the leg can be zipped off so they transform from long pants into shorts (particularly great when you live in a place that is famous for offering four seasons worth of weather per day). However, after so much wear I noticed that not only were the hems well past being well worn, but the fabric was starting to fall apart at the knees.

As they still fit really well, and are so handy to have, I decided to give them a bit of a life injection by patching the knees. We pulled out some fabric scraps from the scrap tub and I stitched them over the worn places with rows of three-step zig zag. Definitely not perfect, but perfectly appropriate for casual toddler play pants I think. While I was in the swing of it, I also mended a fraying linen tea towel (the only kind of tea towel to have) and a few holes in some toddler T-shirts (must keep a closer eye on him when he's playing with his scissors!).

I hope the Planet Green post also inspires you in some way. Some other inspiring links and resources I have come across include:
  • ecouterre which provides posts in a range of fashion and beauty issues and news items, and whose mission page highlights some hard core facts about the environmental impact of clothing and the fashion industry; 
  • How big is your eco, an Australian site listing local fashion labels including their eco credentials in relation to fabric, care, packaging or carbon footprint. It's made me more aware of some local designers and manufacturers(like Otto and Spike, and Gorman) who I'm now keeping an eye out for on those occasions when I am shopping to buy something new;
  • This article on Zero Waste Fashion, an idea which is slow to catch on in the mainstream fashion industry, but it perhaps something that home crafters and sewers are in a great position to employ;
  • And not far removed from the idea of Zero Waste Fashion is the inspiring work of Sew-Green contributor Lisa Solomon, with her creative side project MODify/d, making use of fashion industry "waste" and transforming it into something beautiful and useful.

4 comments:

Beth said...

Just love this! Thanks for the ideas. My fifteen year old son would just love this post and definitely your blog! Thanks for sharing.
btw... I made the deodorant you shared on your post today and I can't wait to test it out. Fun and so easy to make.

sascedar said...

Thia is an awesome post! My friend and I have been sharing our kid's clothes for a little while now, as well as making our own. I am trying to refashion my own clothes where I can, and have only bought clothes for myself from op shops for a little while now. And it is very freeing! Will be following this fab blog from now!

Terrence Flendersen said...

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