Fabulous Frugality And Slow Fashion

August 24, 2019

There is something quite liberating about being a dedicated follower of fabulous frugality!  While such an  attitude (even philosophy?) can run through all manner of things in our daily lives, 'frugality' is especially wonderful if you love seeking out pre-loved clothing in charity shops.  Op shops and their ilk often have clothing never seen elsewhere and generally the quality is far better than what is found in chain stores - or even more high-end establishments.  Apart from the textiles being great quality and often natural fibres, the clothing seems to have a better finish and the colour palette is nothing short of diverse!

When DID our world become so 'grey'?!  It is so enjoyable to be confronted with so many colours.  I must confess to looking through the Fancy Dress section in favourite charity shops and often being astounded at what is there.  A recent acquisition purchased for next to nothing was a 3 piece suit in faded blue denim with all manner of sequin and lace embellishments seemingly in some places literally 'thrown and stitched' wherever they landed!  Such delicious irreverence and abandonment for the sake of art clothing! What a find.  It was also brand new and will be worn and enjoyed for many  years before being passed on to someone else.

We know that so much modern clothing is often discarded and ends up in landfill after it ceases to be 'fashionable' or just because other items purchased on impulse need space in the closet.  Yet tragically there is another dimension to all this:  Two thirds of clothing is now synthetic.  This has enormous ramifications for our planet, as synthetic clothing sheds micro-plastic particles with each wash at the rate of around 2,000 particles per wash.  Via wastewater, these micro-plastic particles end up in the ocean.  When mass-produced clothing is so cheap (and people are paid often appalling wages to sew this 'fast fashion'), it becomes easy to throw out and buy new again rather than  repair and value.

This is indicative of a far bigger problem.  Waste - generally plastic - is permeating our planet, from simple items that just do not work (I'm thinking here of the modern very plastic dustpans and brushes to the equally plastic brooms that do not sweep!)  It was such a revelation to purchase a handmade millet straw broom several years ago, just like the one I remember growing up with.  It worked!  It actually sweeps properly and even better, I can break off bits of straw to test cakes with - just like I did when cooking as a child.

Taking this a few steps further, if we are going to dismantle the plastics industry, and I hope we can do this very quickly, it means not supporting the very industry that produces this junk and also being proactive around some solutions and refinements that could happen now:  Do we really need plastic caps on aerosol containers?  Do we really need synthetic dishcloths when knitted natural fibre ones work far better, last longer and can be added to the compost or buried when at the end of their lifecycle?  Do we really need shampoo plus conditioner in plastic bottles when a shampoo bar will perform the same function - and often even better.  When good design and functionality come together in an item, we have something very powerful.  Has the march of plastics everywhere - crept up on all of us?  I think so.  Once upon a time a plastic bag was so 'valuable' it was washed, hung out to dry, and reused.

What all this means is that multiple, and seemingly insignificant personal acts of change using alternatives to plastics, add up to totally changing the way products are manufactured, especially if we share these easy solutions with others.

Getting back to the 'fabulous frugality' around Slow Fashion, and if you are interested in finding out more, visit the Cultural Tourism section on my blog for your copy of the Blue Mountains Slow Fashion Guide.  It is designed to be a 'meander' on foot or by rail through our very different villages, surrounded by the magnificent World Heritage Blue Mountains.  You will need days to get through this, as apart from clothing (mention is  made of great small businesses with natural fibre clothing and where to buy Fair Trade in the Guide), there is also a section devoted to Village Secrets!  Here you will find information only the locals know!

What are some further examples of 'fabulous frugality' you have discovered or enjoy? Please share!

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