What an amazing experience. To do something repeatedly for a whole year and come out the other side with an entirely fresh perspective.
It has been challenging and lonely at times. The reward is the transformative journey of honouring the commitment I made in December last year to upcycle existing clothing every day. And daring to start a conversation about resewing clothing and textiles.
Hats off to the professional makers and designers of clothing which I admire from afar and I am proud to be part of the Fashion Revolution.
In the same way we have become conscious of food, it is time to become conscious about where clothing comes from and ask more questions about where, who and what it is made of, and consider the true cost of our clothing habits. My personal choice is to seek out pre-loved clothing from local op shops and use creative methods to adapt them to suit myself. That way, my clothes have a good story to tell about how they came to be.
Julie has been developing Ministry of Handmade over the past three years to teach handmade skills with a contemporary twist. From her studio on Brisbane’s northside, Julie encourages people to slow down and take time to embrace the joy that comes from making something by hand. It was fascinating to talk with Julie about her workshops (which include lampshades, ottomans, cushions and picnic frocks) and how she engages people in the process of making, not just the end results. Sew wonderful to spend time with someone who has shared values, and who also believes home-sewing as a life skill just like home-cooking! Continue reading →
As I work my way through this Sew it Again year, I enjoy meeting people and starting a conversation about clothing – where it comes from, where it goes to, and what happens to it along the way.
There is significant community awareness of the disposable culture flowing from the cheap and seemingly endless supply. People are becoming more conscious of the negative environmental and social impacts of the clothing binge, in the same way they know about negative health impacts from over-consumption of cheap processed food, But doing something about it is another matter.
Items that are unique and locally handmade with heart are rare. They standout among the sameness of the mass-produced and are valued by conscious consumers. They’re doubly special if you take the time to learn the skills and make them yourself. Continue reading →
Hacktivism strikes me as a great term to describe the art of hacking into reject and cast-off clothing that is no longer loved, at the same time as making a statement about waste and exploitation that arises from contemporary fashion consumption habits. (That was until I googled it and found it’s more readily aligned with computer hacking.)
Anyway, this method of upcycling reflects the #scavengerstyle fashion political statement made by upcycler Karen Ellis whose 24/7 practice is wearing garments salvaged from the point of landfill in Victoria, Australia for the past five years.
Karen brought my attention to Otto von Busch and his >self_passage< research project that ‘explores how fashion can be used for empowerment, self-development and personal growth instead of being a phenomenon of top-down decrees and collective anxiety’. Continue reading →
Connectedness and community is something inner-city neighbourhood friend Lisa Baumann and I reflected on this morning. These positive characteristics of old-fashioned country life are not always cultivated in modern cities but are comforting when you come across them.
It was lovely sharing a coffee at Abode and scoping up Lisa’s day-old newspaper before heading home. Then to open the Sunday Mail and find a spread which has stories about Cunnamulla friends and sheep/wool producers Pru and Stu Barkla beside Ministry of Handmade’s Julie Hillier, well it’s made my day. I feel the urban and rural connection. Continue reading →
How about this for an amazing statistic – China’s annual consumption of tissues is about 4.4 million tons. This has led to an Eco-Handkerchief event around the use of handkerchiefs over tissues as part of an eco-business trade mission to China from Australia to promote sustainable and environmentally friendly products to a ‘green-hungry’ Chinese market.
So many things that were once considered old-fashioned and traditional are returning to the fore because we recognise them as ‘eco-friendly’, sustainable and practical ways of living.
It was affirming to be among creative women for the sixth birthday celebration and opening of BrisStyle HQ at 24 Macquarie St at Newstead last night and chat with others who value handmade and traditional craft skills. Continue reading →