No money for a new wardrobe? No problem.
Over the Christmas season I have inadvertently undertaken a moneyless wardrobe reinvention.
Moneyless living can be abundant. Again I have proved to myself how easy this is. Or maybe I’ve just proved that I live in a world of ‘peak stuff’.
They are calling it ‘slow fashion’, repurposing, upcycling, preloved, ecofashion, even ‘trashion’ in some cases? All I know (and care about) is that my wardrobe is low-impact, properly sustainable, ethical fashion – non of this green-washed stuff (see rant below)!
My fashion reinvention has come about thanks to a local clothes swap and a visit to my folks’ place for Christmas.
The clothes swap a few weeks ago produced several interesting, colourful pieces. The leftover stuff we all brought along (yes, I still have clothes to give away) was donated to a local charity.
My parent’s place has lots of solar power, tank water, Mum has a sewing machine (with the associated sewing skills), and is a volunteer at a local op (charity) shop. So, in my reinvention, I pulled out a couple of bags of old fabric I’ve had for years, added to it some bits from the clothes swap, some old pieces from my mum, and got sewing.
As I’ve said before, my parents are frugal minimalists – ‘old school’ repairers and repurposers to be proud of. Mum has collected cotton thread from the op shop and doesn’t even throw her crooked pins out! The rest of her sewing kit is stuff given to her and her old collection she’s had for years. It felt good to be sewing with her – low-impact all the way.
I am now the proud owner of a heap of ‘new’ clothes. The photo below is a display of all of the new wardrobe on the old clothes line.
There’s some underwear I made using stretchy fabric I collected years ago; an A-line maxi skirt made from a curtain from the clothes swap; an old T-shirt of Mum’s modified into a little babydoll shirt; a vintage ‘night gown’ that I’ll wear with a waistband (a scarf) to create a cool summer frock; some bikini tops and bottoms made from scraps of fabric in my collection; and the clothes swap pieces. Added to these are some modified and repaired clothes I have had lying around for a while and a couple of pre-loved items given as a christmas gift.
The result: enough for an entire wardrobe (for summer at least) and time spent with my Mum.
The creative juices continued to flow – repurposing old bits of fabric for hair ties, waist drawstrings, and gifts of cotton fabric scraps for my friend to make into beeswax wraps.
I also cut my own hair – hacked it really – and hacked it some more until it resembled something like the hair I wanted. I’m wearing it in pigtails and going ‘Princess Leah’ style a lot – just ‘cause I can! I’m even embracing my natural body hair – fighting the conventions I am exposed to everyday about how a woman’s body should look.
On a final note, grief is an arse. One of the few positives I have found, in those times of real grief in my life, is that I will come to a fork in the road – one leading to more of the same; one leading to change. The changes I am currently making are not limited in anyway by my state of moneylessness and are easily achieved in a low-impact way.
And a last thought: I am reminded again that I am a privileged white woman living in a wealthy country. Even choosing to live my current lifestyle, it is so much easier for me to live comfortably than so many I share this beloved planet with. I want to reduce the suffering caused through a lack of understanding of the impacts of our consumerism. So, I experiment and I write.
I don’t believe in ‘ethical’ or ‘sustainable’ clothing if any part of the process involves new fabric being consumed, fabric being transported long distances, factories of any kind, or any part of the ‘fashion’ process involving the use of new fossil fuels. Any use of fossil fuels is unsustainable if we’re being real. There is so much ‘green washing’ still going on in the fashion industry, sadly, as well as all other industries as far as I can tell. To ensure you are wearing low-impact clothes simply wear ‘pre-loved’ stuff!