This week's topic of consideration for Slow Fashion October is "Known Origins". This one is kind of a no-brainer for me in terms of the materials I use in my knitting because that's something that's so easy to control. There are a ton of known-origin yarn brands out there, brands where you can practically trace the wool you're knitting with all the way back to the specific sheep it came from! In fact, I remember meeting a vendor at a fiber fair a few years ago who wrote the name of the specific alpaca that the yarn was made from on each of her hang tags. It was adorable and in terms of known-origin you can't get much better than that!
When it comes to my personal contribution to the industry I'm happy to say that I knit with my own yarns so much and I love them to death, but when I feel like flexing the ol' yarn purchasing muscles I tend to gravitate towards brands that are totally different from what I have to offer (i.e.: not hand dyed merinos) and until right now I hadn't realized that most of the brands I've been buying lately happen to be known-origin wools. Over the past few years my yarn dollars have gone towards things like Brooklyn Tweed, Elsa Wool and probably most excitingly for me is Sweet Fiber's Canadiana yarn. What's interesting about these yarns is that they are all awesome, but they are also all on the more rustic side and are not suitable for lots of the types of projects that I knit - socks, stuff for my kids etc. which is why I'm so proud of our line of PureWash yarns for filling that gap by being both ethically sourced and organically treated but also soft, multicoloured (never underestimate the importance of rainbow colours!) and of course, washable. Though the merino does not come from Montreal sheep (ha!) it's a product that I can feel good about supporting and putting out into the world.
Aside from the supplies I choose for the handmade portion of my wardrobe, there are lots of choices to be made in terms of the ready to wear components. I'm not going to pretend like I don't buy the majority of my clothing from fast fashion brands, because I do. I'm ok with buying fast fashion items most of the time because that's what suits my lifestyle and my wallet, but regardless of where or how the items were made I care for the clothing I have in an effort to give them the longest life possible.
Having said that, supporting Slow Fashion brands would be pretty cool and is something that I'm going to try and do more often going forward. Switching gears here a little bit, I'd like to direct my Canadian readers to the Style Bee Canadian Responsible Shopping Guide which is neat because it lists a ton of Canadian brands who are "ethically producing beautiful, worthwhile goods". She's broken down the list by type and has also added indications of price range which is helpful. Still pricey and overall, frankly, most are not really my style, but it's a jumping off point! Feel free to peruse the list at your leisure.
One of my favourite brands on the list, and I'm realizing that I don't own nearly enough of their items (I have 1 dress) is Preloved. I find their whole vibe so inspiring. Not only am I happy to support them, I can't browse their site without the desire to pick through my lesser worn items and transform them into wearable works of art! Such a fun mash-up for the ethical shopper/maker, right? This is the ultimate in terms of Slow Fashion for me. I'm going to try and up-cycle something this fall. Remember this?