Once you start thinking about slow fashion you find that changing how you think about clothes and how you dress will starts effecting almost every other aspect of your life. Your habits, even your values and priorities will shift.
To me slow fashion starts by shouting “STOP”. It’s about saying NO to media, NO to advertisment, no to powerstructures, no to corrupt capitalist systems. You have to say NO to letting other people dictate how you should feel about yourself, what you do and how you look.
If you have a closet full of clothes but constantly feel like you have nothing to wear there’s a chance you need to practice saying no.
About three years ago I started
thinking about what I would wear if I really and truly didn’t care about what other people thought of what I wore. If I didn’t care about my own associations with certain prints or styles either, but simply chose, or designed, clothes that I loved. Trying to find out what you like, what you actually like, by itself, without thinking about the message it sends to other people, that is a difficult task. We usually choose our clothes because of how the clothes make us feel, and usually that is based on what we think other people will think of how we look. It’s all about the message we want to send out about who we are, but too often we don’t send out a message about who we are, but rather who we think other people want us to be, or who we think we need to be to do the things we want to or need to do. The female pant suit is a good example of that. But if there were no other people around, or if people truly didn’t care about other peoples style, what would you wear? What do YOU think looks good on you? What represents your true preferences in comfort, practicality and aesthetics?
How many of your clothes do you own because someone else told you they would look good on you, whether that was a well-meaning friend or a commercial, poster or article in a fashion magasine? How many clothes do you own because they were cheap? Maybe you didn’t really like them, but they were on sale, so you got them anyway? (I think that you should really only buy things on sale if you love them so much that you would be willing to pay the full price for the item. It’s a pretty good measure.) How many clothes do you own because you “settled”? For many of us that might be most! We liked the style, but not the colour, or we loved the colour and style, but it didn’t really fit too well, or we didn’t really like it that much, but it was plain enough, and very cheap, and would be good for work. And so on..
Many people don’t actually care that much, and maybe they should simply just have many copies of one or two outfits that work for them, like jeans and t-shirts and a couple of sweaters. I know there are a lot of people who secretly want to wear basically the same thing every day, and not have to think about what to wear every day. That is totally fine! If that is what you want I think you should do that. Find a pair of trousers that fit really well and buy several pairs. Do the same with t-shirts and some sweaters and that’s it. Done! You won’t need to shop clothes again in years, and will wear out those you have, saving your wallet, the environment and clear up space in your closet!
Other people might want to wear sequins every day because the way they sparkle makes them happy. In my opinion that should be a totally legitimate choice, and if that person started doing that, and managed to stop thinking about what other people thought I think he or she would be happier.
For me I think my wardrobe would mostly consist of sligthly loose fitting A-line dresses, in beautiful colours with prints and patterns from nature. The length would be from 5-10cm below the knee to 5-10cm above the ground so I could move easily, bend, sit down on the ground, run, without my bum showing or without tripping. I would also have a few knitted sweaters and warm tights for the winter that could be worn with the dresses. The dresses would have narrow sleeves for easy layering. I can’t really find these exact clothes I’m picturing in my head anywear, so I’ll try to gradually build up a wardrobe like that by making them myself… but until then just coming to that conclusion does make it easier for me to choose clothes I actually want and end up wearing a lot, and donating clothes I acquired for one of many other reasons as mentioned above.
What is also important in this process is to find out which colours suit your skin type and which shapes and silhuettes suit your body type, because even if you didn’t really like a colour, you might love it when you see how it makes your skin glow, or how it compliments your hair. And when you have clothes that fit well, that make YOU look beautiful, instead of you trying to get a body that can suit a certain trend or style, you’ll feel so much better and you can open your closet and want to wear everything in there. So, I think the first step to slow fashion, whether you make your own clothes, shop new or used, do alterations or dye or mend, whatever you do, take a moment, or many, and try to find out what you love and what makes you look good, and feel good, because YOU like it, regardless of what’s trendy, or on sale, or expected. Then take it from there.
What do you think? Please share your thoughts 🙂