I want to live a life I can be proud of. One where I can think back over the choices that I've made and know that they enriched my life. One where I didn't get so distracted by the buzz of the connected world that I spent so much time in my virtual life at the expense of my real life. And by virtual life I include time spent in my imagination. I want to be mindful of the life that is right in front of me. I want to make sure that I am prioritising what will make me feel fulfilled in the long term. And not get caught up in the quick fix.
I want to consciously build that life I'm proud of. Construct it. A construction that is a work in progress over the next fifty years. Making sure my values are at the core of it, and they enrich both my life, and the lives of the people around me. Especially my partner and my kids. My local community. And my environment.
I want my kids to understand my values and watch me walk my talk. I have no choice. Smart cookies that they are - they will see through me if I don't.
And all this is why I love Slow Fashion October.
Over the last year I've been writing about my journey in a project I called Stash Less. It's initial aim was to talk about my consumption around craft but it's scope also included ideas around what I was making, how and why. It's changed my making and furthermore it's changed me. I've learnt so much about myself and what I value - and yesterday on October 1st Stash Less was a year old! The very same day that Karen launched Slow Fashion October - such a lovely coincidence!
In a very lovely and supportive way, Karen and I have been on a bit of a parallel journey around our wardrobes over the last year. It's something we both talk about in the Woolful episode we were featured in early this year. Ashley titled the episode "Handmade wardrobes, Intentional making, stashes and talent". And I think her title was perfect!! In it we both talk a bit about our evolving thoughts around concious wardrobe creation. I've found Karen's journey so inspiring! And I'm so glad she came up with the idea to create and host Slow Fashion October. It feels really timely to me.
Late last year, I wrote a Stash Less post called Selling Discontent. In it, I talked about how I felt that even though I was hand making, sometimes my approach towards making was more akin to fast fashion than slow. That my crafting wasn't necessarily connected to my values. And how I was letting the time poverty of early parenting act as an excuse (a good one but an excuse none the less) to make at a frantic pace. Churning things out without putting as much thought as I would like to into whether I was creating a body of work (read: wardrobe) that I would be proud of and that suited my needs.
Me Made May this year showed me clearly that actually it probably isn't as bad as I thought. Over the last few years I've created wardrobe that is versatile and coordinated. There are a million outfit options open to me that mean that I'm not getting bored and I'm able to look like I want. However one thing I did identify in that post was that most of what i had made fell into the category of Simple Sewing 101. This is great, as that is mainly what I wear, simple clothes. However, when I look at my visual diary via Pinterest, I can clearly see there is a disconnect. The pinterest page shows I really, truly, love frocks. And yet my frock making tally consists of two frocks in total, one of which I don't wear.
Frocks are my white whale (terrible analogy but go with it, I'm a little tired). They are the thing I never get to making even though they are the thing I really want to make, and really want to wear. I never get to them due to the hum of distraction and instant gratification. I prioritise all the easy stuff. The kids clothes, the sweaters, the cushion covers as I know I will get the result I want. I am yet to make a frock I love - I avoid the frock making as it is a bit harder. I will have to work on getting them to fit. And they might not work. The perfectionist in me is in full avoidance mode.
And so I live in avoidance land. In anticipatory hum of when I will get to the frock pile of fabrics and patterns. Oh the joy that will be had when I get there. And yet I don't. Get there. Because I prioritise all the easy stuff at the expense of the thing I really want.
My commitment to Slow Fashion October!
I plan on using Slow Fashion October as a way to focus. I think the loose structure that Karen has provided gives a lovely framework within which focus can be found and intention set.
Put simply, my focus is to do the hard stuff and to make the frocks that have been sitting on my wish list forever.
One caveat to my plan is that Slow Fashion October will not be a slow crafting month for me. October is a seasonal transition month in Australia. It is the month where each year I remake the kids wardrobes with the things they need for the summer. And there is a birthday which means special sewing. So as well as making frocks for me I need to make four pairs of small boy shorts, two pairs of small girl shorts and two small girl dresses - one of which is a birthday dress. That said, birthday dresses take time and are all about intention so that fits well.
Lucky for me I love a bit of a deadline and I love me a bit of focused making. Also lucky for me the definition of Slow Fashion October is up to the individual (thanks Karen!) and may or may not include speed making. As long as that making is done with intention.
Cause that's point is really.... to think about what is meaningful!
My commitment to Slow Fashion October is to think about the intention behind the things I make and ensure that my making sits comfortably with my values.
If anyone else feels like joining me in a bit of frock sewing I'm hashtagging it #slowfashionoctoberfrocks. A wordy hashtag to be sure but one I'm chuffed to be participating in.