There’s a palpable feeling of satisfaction that comes from making clothes yourself – the dress you sewed, the jumper you knitted and even that favourite pair of jeans you’ve patched over and over again have a personal significance that no amount of money can buy. Perhaps the dress is made from something your mum used to wear, or the jumper incorporates a particularly tricky knitting technique mastered only after many dropped stitches (and swear words!), and maybe the scraps used to mend your jeans came from your boyfriend’s old shirt. Handmade and hand-mended garments all have stories to them, and The Slow Clothing Project is seeking them out in order to start a national conversation about clothing use, ethics and sustainability.
Led by Textile Beat founder Jane Milburn, the project’s original aim was to collect 40 handmade garments from 40 makers across Australia to be showcased at various conferences and public spaces this year. The garments reflect Textile Beat’s slow clothing manifesto – many are made from natural, high quality, locally made or salvaged textiles – and they aim to encourage people to think about the different ways they can reduce their wardrobe’s negative impact on people and the environment. As with most good ideas, The Slow Clothing Project has taken on a life of its own, with nearly 150 people signed up to contribute and registrations still rolling in. Jane’s revised plan for the project is to have more than 100 makers involved and to showcase their work digitally – the first few makers and the stories behind their garments are already up on the website, so head over for some inspiration. And if you’d like to share your own Slow Clothing masterpiece, it’s not too late to pick up your needle and thread and join in!