I have signed up for six months worth of the Wardrobe Refashion challenge, thinking it will be a breeze, since I already make most of my own stuff, and have cultivated a pretty low maintainance look over the years. (Yes, cultivated! You think this frizz came easy?!) This morning, I had a meeting in Metrotown, a bloated suburban mall. Normally, I would pass by the window displays without a second thought, but, strangely, I now found myself carefully considering what I have publicly declared I will not wear. There's something both brilliant and perverse about the challenge - it's made me so aware of all the things out there to buy. Not that I had any desire to purchase anything I saw today - it just seemed like there was MORE of it than I had realized before.
What actually made me stop in my tracks and take a picture was this display in American Eagle. The T-shirt is printed with a leafy design and the apparently hand lettered words "Grow your own everything." Obviously cashing in on the DIY, eco-conscious trend, this shirt made my inner cynic cringe. On one side was a picture of a bicycle in a grassy field. On the other, a male mannequin was sporting patchwork shorts and a baseball cap with the "Recycled" symbol on it. I walked away in disgust, then backtracked once again. I was pissed off enough to enter the lair of the enemy.
I surveyed the table laden with identical shirts proclaiming "Live your own life". Another design had detailed instructions on how to do so. They were cute, I admit - obviously someone at AE has been checking out Craftster. A perky sales clerk came up to me and I asked her if the shirts were organic cotton. She studied the label and said, "Well, it doesn't say organic, but they are 100% cotton." I noted that the shirts were made in Peru, and then asked about the baseball cap. Was it really made from recycled fabric? The helpful clerk sweetly checked that label for me too. "Nothing about recycled, but they are 80% cotton." The caps were made in Taiwan. I thanked her for her time and couldn't get my ass out of there fast enough.
Well, you've read No Logo. I don't have to go into detail.
I've noticed something else since I started True Stitches, and became immersed more deeply with fabric than ever before. I will be taking apart a kimono, and be almost overcome with emotion that this garment was stitched by hand, by a person with a lifetime of experience, who was respected for what they did. It feels like sacrilege ripping out the seams. Sometimes, and I swear this is not an acid flashback, I will be so conscious that this fabric came from something that was alive, that it was cotton growing in a field or wool on a sheep's back. I am aware of all the steps that were taken to harvest the fibre, to spin it into thread and weave it into cloth.
I make a vow that what I create out of this cloth will be worthy.