To me, slow fashion is more than a buzz term, it became my personalised 2018 challenge. I bought thrift and second-hand garments ONLY, reinvented my unworn garments and stayed away from shopping for new ones. Sounds simple and easy to do, right? But, we all know how addictive shopping can be. I mean, retail therapy is a real thing. My withdrawal symptoms included hours of staring at my cupboard, feeling old-fashioned, outworn, unstylish and irrelevant, with an overall feeling of body disillusionment (body dysmorphia).
Not knowing what my dress size was — according to brands’ various size charts (a disillusionment in itself, but that’s a blog for another day) — I surprisingly ended up in feeling both FREE and DISILLUSIONED.
Not visiting a fitting room, not measuring my waist, and not getting on a scale for a year, allowed me to focus on how healthy and in what a good and working condition my body is without me having to critique or judge it constantly. Size doesn’t matter when you can exercise - not to fit into a new trendy garment - but to feel your body move, feel it grow healthier and stronger and fight bacteria and illnesses. Being content with THAT rather than having to fit into a new garment, THAT is BODY FREEDOM.
When you have no idea what to compare your body size to, you have no choice but to accept it. Unfortunately, the years of listening to the voices of brands and their models in magazines, effected how I viewed/view my body. Not toned, lean or curvy enough, not fitting into that dress anymore, ‘a new one will make you look better’. I felt like my body needed the validation of a new outfit; it needed the validation - and Likes - of a flattering (skinny, beach) photo on social media. LIES!
I challenged myself to not only look at my body in a new way, but also look at my cupboard in a loving and creative way. Seeing potential rather than last year’s trends. I started staring at my cupboard in wonder, picturing all the cutting, sewing, remaking and re-fitting possibilities. I visited thrift stores with the same eyes of wonder.
Friends started noticing the potential I saw in older garments and donated unworn items and unused fabrics to do as I please — so much so that I can continue my creativity and refresh my challenge into the new year.
One of the best parts of upcycling thrift items, is that SIZE REALLY DOES NOT MATTER — I change up an XXL garment to a custom ME-size one! No brand telling me what size I am.
I became more aware of what is in my cupboard, and even though I am still not wearing 100% of my cupboard, I moved from wearing the average 20% to about 50%. I loved the fact that I was able to sort out my cupboard and still GIVE plenty items away. There is always one extra clothing item that you can donate - start noticing it!
I planned my outfits ahead of time — as we do for any event and end up unnecessarily buying something new and wearing it once. I altered and adjusted existing garments, fixed up tears and details and re-worn older garments to new events. I savoured every corner of my cupboard and discovered once again the meaning of WANT VERSUS NEED.
I am looking forward to exploring more of this in 2019.
Exploring more: where my clothing comes from, where the fabric used by favourite local brands come from, what the treatment and wages of their seamstresses are like and how it all affects our view of fashion. I look forward to seeing the SLOW FASHION movement grow and become a universal moral; and brands being more transparent about how they treat their staff and products.
My NEW CHALLENGE for 2019: Buy 4 quality, sustainable and ethical garments — one each (weather, not fashion) season and fashion accessories from local brands only. Join me, would you? 😉
To follow my journey, check it out at @nadine_black