Happy New Year, folks! I’ve set myself a rather bold goal this year, among other sewing goals which shall be in a different post, but here is the main one (which I feel a bit nervous to actually announce but here it is):
Do not buy any clothes.
Eep! That’s right! I have been thinking about this for a while, when I realised how few items of clothing I actually bought last year, and thought I could actively try to stop buying any altogether. (Disclaimer – I will still buy shoes, underwear, and possibly swimwear. I’m not quite ready to commit to making those things, but baby steps!)
The main reason for this is the ethics. I am becoming increasingly aware of just how long it takes and how much it costs to make a garment, and there is just no way that most of the clothes I can afford to buy are made in fair conditions. There is so much to learn about “slow fashion” (Google it!), and I barely know any of it, but I understand that the overall aim is to design and create fewer clothes of higher quality, better longevity and less waste. In other words, making my own clothes means I can choose good quality fabrics and make good quality garments that won’t wear out after one wash. (On a side note, sourcing sustainable and ethical fabric is another important angle, but for the moment, I’m choosing my battles.) I also really don’t want to be contributing to any part of factories burning down in Bangladesh. While I’m at it, here is an interesting article about ethical clothing in Australia.
Making my own clothes also means I need to think more about what I actually need or what would be useful and long-lasting additions to my wardrobe, rather than buying stuff because it’s fashionable and cheap. The aim here is to end up with a functional and timeless collection of good-quality clothing. Over time, I will continue to discard clothes that I’ve bought that don’t fit me or are worn out or I just never wear, with the aim of dramatically decreasing my wardrobe size, and ultimately replace any essential or frequently-used item with a handmade substitute. In the meantime, I will keep wearing my RTW clothes because I simply haven’t made enough replacements yet, but will try to do so less and less. As for special occasions (I have a handful of weddings to attend this year, and a first anniversary of my own!), I intend to make myself a new outfit if I really want one, rather than buy it.
All of that being said, of course I have some clothes that I don’t intend to get rid of, like a leather jacket and a big woolen duffle coat and a duck-down snow jacket – these are big, expensive and long-lasting items that I’m not prepared to replace with handmade versions (yet 😉 )- but largely, my clothes would be easily replaceable.
And of course, as any dressmaker or sewer knows, another reason to make my own clothes is that I know they will all fit me, they will all flatter me, they will suit my body shape and they will, literally, be made for me! No more frustrating fitting rooms for me!
So, wish me luck in this endeavour. I know the concept is nothing new and I’m not the first person to do this, but it’s the first time I’ve seriously thought that I might be capable of it. Now, I’m off to plan a wardrobe!