This week's prompt for Slow Fashion October is about long worn items. In a nutshell, this is what Karen suggests we think about this week:
"How can we make the most of the clothes already on the planet — from taking care of and mending and wearing things longer, to thrifting, swapping, heirlooms, hand-me-downs, alterations and refashioning."
In the photos above I'm wearing a sweater that my grandmother knit for my mother when she was in university. Without giving away my mom's age, lets just say this sweater is upwards of 40 years old. And I still wear it. In fact, I still love it! The sweater is a "Classic Grammy". Very simple detailing, well, basically no detailing actually. Simple ribbed hems, garter stitch button band, modest buttons, relaxed fit, and... wait for it... 100% acrylic yarn!
The reasons that I love this sweater so much for what it has to say about slow fashion are:
A) It's handmade by Grammy, was worn and loved by my mom and is now worn and loved by me and that makes it inexplicably special. Even if this sweater were in a less flattering colour, or a harder to wear shape, I would still love it and wear it. There is zero chance that this sweater will ever end up in a landfill. As long as I'm alive, I will cherish this sweater. That's the magic of hand made!
B) She used acrylic yarn. It's not that I love acrylic yarn, it's just that a big part of the slow fashion conversation tends to frown upon synthetic materials in favour of all natural choices. I think it goes without saying that I'm a die-hard wool lover and would always choose a natural fiber first, but the fact that this sweater is knit in acrylic yarn in no way takes away from it's appeal for me. It's what Grammy had on hand at the time she made it and I dare not judge her choices.
C) It is a classic. More and more these days I try to think about the longevity of the patterns I choose in terms of style. I love fashion and can certainly get caught up in trends, but I try to keep longevity in mind as much as possible. This sweater will never go out of style because it's so basic.
I have clothing that I've mended, favourite thrifted pieces and lots of hand-me-downs. But rather than give you all a detailed list of each and every one of my long worn items I thought that this sweater best exemplified the magic of long worn items in a hand made context. Whether an item is made by you, by someone you love, or someone you don't even know, there is a built in level of pricelessness in hand made items and I dare say that because of this extra special value they possess, hand made items are much more likely to be cherished for years and years over fast fashion store bought items, which is what makes them such an integral part of a slow fashion wardrobe.
** I feel like I have to give an honorary shout out to my other favourite hand-made-hand-me-down sweater, this chunky scrappy beauty! In my original blog post about it I said that it was knit by Grammy, turns out my mother actually knit it for herself! Props to mom. **