The month of October has been newly dubbed Slow Fashion October by the astute and eloquent Karen Templer of Fringe Association. It is certain to become a tradition in the modern vernacular just as Me-Made-May has. Here we are half way through said month and this is the first I am posting on the subject. Ideas have been swirling around in my wounded psyche for two weeks now. However getting said ideas into type has been challenging. I owe this space a post on the LLADYBIRD weekend from the end of September, and in true Samantha style have a shit-ton of images to edit before I can pull that together. Please believe me when I say it is coming....
Perhaps my tardiness with the aforementioned post can be attributed to the sudden appearance on the interwebs of a huge outpouring of opinion about the nature and implication of Slow Fashion, as highlighted by Karen. I am literally and truly overwhelmed. I had been aware of the October highlight since May, when she first floated the idea, and I silently applauded her for taking on the topic. Karen is very good at getting to the meat of the matter. What I think I underestimated was how far-reaching and all-encompassing the discussion about Slow Fashion would be. The idea is not new, as I think Karen would fully admit, having been covered to a degree by Elizabeth Cline in her book Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion back in 2012. But Karen's timing, and her reach and influence, have brought the subject to a wider audience, and the ensuing conversation is fascinating. I urge anyone reading here, who is unaware of the breadth and depth of this conversation, to start with Karen's blog, and the attached links. Give yourself some time when you start this exploration. It's a deep pool. I had the greatest of intentions on October 1st to jump into the fray with my thoughts and opinions. Somehow that hasn't happened. That is the theme of this post.
From the pea soup of my brain has recently emerged a couple of thoughts. I will preface this next bit by admitting some issues I am dealing with personally. My past decade has been chock full of starting two separate small businesses. The first is the Rabelais, Fine Books on Food & Drink, a labor of love that I brought into being with my terribly talented, and obsessive, bookseller of a husband, Don Lindgren. I am very proud of this venture that we undertook together, and which I have since relinquished total control of to Don. That man of mine literally eats, sleeps, drinks, talks, and generally lives for books. While I do love books, and consider them a crucial part of my life and education, they do not hold the same place in my heart as they do for him. When I came to that realization one day, about three years ago, I started to hatch the idea for another business, related to my true love-the pursuit of fiber and textile handcrafts. This started me on the road to A Gathering of Stitches. Because I am not good at sitting still. If you are, or have ever been, the owner of a small business, you know the stress that this path can cause. If you have never worked for yourself, then just imagine a driven boss, who has the most fickle and mercurial demands, expressing constant disappointment that you haven't filled the company coffers yet, and you'll begin to understand the paradigm. This past decade has seen so many ups and downs that it is a wonder that I am standing upright. Combine that sequence of events with the roller coaster of our current economy, and my passage through Menopause, and you have a potent stew of over-stimulation. My psyche has chosen to grab my attention by foisting a persistent yet low-grade case of vertigo onto my plate.
I won't go into details here, over sharing is my stock in trade, but even I think this one is too personal. But I will say that the body has a way of telling you when you aren't addressing all of your shit properly. I have been stopped from my frenetic forward motion by an inability to process what previously was normal to my daily existence.
This has meant that some parties I would have gleefully joined with gay abandon, are not currently available to me. I had thought the Slow Fashion October party was one that was perfectly timed for my need of a new Fall wardrobe. I have been trying to plan(!) a grouping of new garments for the past month and getting nowhere.I cannot even plan! Can not get my brain to focus enough to think about what items my closet is lacking. And when I do make an attempt, I find myself moving at a strange snail-like pace, accomplishing very little. Two conversations that I have had within the past two weeks keep rattling around in my head. One was with the preternaturally talented Lauren Taylor, of LLADYBIRD fame, on the first night of her arrival in Portland. We were sitting around with the group talking about what was going to happen for the next four days when the topic of copying garments came up. I have been personally frustrated by the refrain I hear so often, asking for guidance in copying a beloved garment. I try to steer people in the direction of the ever-growing panoply of fabulous sewing patterns being released in rapid succession for a simple solution to the copying conundrum. I have not been as successful as I would like with that offering. But sitting around with Lauren, she brought up the most simple answer to that question. She said that she would rather spend her time sewing than drafting a new pattern. Just like that I had clarity about the issue. I, too, would rather be sewing, than trying to figure out how to take apart another garment and put it back together anew. Brilliant!
And then last week, when Jacquie Gering (!) was here for a too-short visit, teaching a brief three-hour, unannounced workshop. I heard a similar thing come out of her mouth. We were talking about the beast of Social Media and blogging and how many likes or followers one had. She said that she would rather be sewing than posting things on social media. Again, time. How do you want to spend yours? Priorities. Right? What is important? Where do you derive your greatest pleasure? Where do you want to spend your energy? And this brought me around to Slow, and Small. And now Loved. I want to write a pithy blog post about how important it is to me to sew my own clothes. How much pleasure, and satisfaction I get from the process. How important I think it is to pay attention to where the Fast Fashion industry is trying to take us. I also want to write about how I love Small. How, without getting all Konmari crazy, I want to live with less, because the little things give me so much pleasure when I can focus on them. Can you see where I'm going with this? I would rather be doing most of this than talking about it. At least right now, with my psyche in lockdown, and my emotional skin stretched thin, and my bandwidth filled up. Right now, I can only do the actual sewing. I need to give it all of my attention. Because it is so good for my soul, it gives me so much Love. It soothes so much of what is rough in me.... So I need to step back from the conversation that is flying around the internet. Please join in for me?
.....And no, the irony is not lost on me that this has turned into a long blog post..... But it has been written over the period of two days. One day where I spent a few hours in the sun with a quilt in my lap.