By Cathy Johnson
The calendar and the thermometer both say it is time to get busy in your closet and change out your wardrobe to be ready for “deep fall” and the inevitable Michigan winter. And we all know what that means. Wash and pack away all those beloved warm-weather articles – sleeveless tops, capris, light and flowing dresses – and open up the sweater chest or cedar closet and get out the layers and the woolies. We know what is coming – turtleneck season.
But this closet change also coincides (no coincidence here) with the annual observance (in some circles) of Slow Fashion October. This is a movement discussed here last year and originated by Karen Templer, a maker and blogger at the Fringe Association. Her products conform to the standards she outlines for Slotober, and as a businesswoman she says, “I know first-hand, feel it daily, and understand quite deeply that how you spend your money matters – whether that’s a farm or a small business or a corporation. And that informs my view of all of this.”
What is Slow Fashion October? In the words of its founder: “A celebration of the small-batch, handmade, second-hand, well-loved, long-worn, known-origins wardrobe….Slow fashion, to me, is all of those things – from the thrift store find to the me-made to the special purchase, and everything in between. Slotober is meant to be fun, thoughtful, enlightening and challenging.”
But wait! Not everyone has the time and talent, to make, sew or knit all of their clothes. Templer herself doesn’t. “I don’t make all of my own clothes, nor will I. Not only do I think it’s not necessary to make 100% and not only do I not want to restrict myself in that way, I believe it’s critically important to support the companies that are trying to make a difference in our messed-up clothing industry. In other words, opting out of fast fashion is a good step, but so is opting in to better alternatives.
“I like knowing that I’m not just opting out of the read-to-wear industry altogether and hoping the situation will improve without me, but that I’m using what purchases I do make as a way to support sustainable small-batch makers and even big companies that have done something I want to encourage.”
One of her suggestions for this year involves a mathematical fashion concept called mix-and-match. How many outfits can you make out of say 10 or 20 articles of clothing? Enough to make 30 outfits for the month of October? Or one garment per week worn six different ways (you can find this documented on Instagram). Or the best one of all: one dress worn 30 different ways for the month.
This type of project also involves the concept “less is more,” and when it comes to our closets, that’s saying a lot.
We all know that slow food is much better for us than fast food. Hopefully the idea of slow fashion is one that will receive consideration as well. Happy Slotober.