Ready-to-wear items (new and second hand) made up 60% of the total cost of clothes and shoes.
Looking at the number of items per category, the handmade garments were cheaper in average than the ready-to-wear garments. This surprised me, because for most of the handmade items I deliberately tried to source my materials more thoughtfully. While, on the other hand, several of the ready-to-wear items were very cheap.
With this in mind, I realise that making garments myself means quality, ethical fashion is within reach. I thought the cost of ethical fabric would make it unattainable, but really it is finding suitable fabric that is my main challenge. The most expensive handmade item last year was the blue Kalle shirt dress, which added up to 800 NOK (€83, £73, US $101) including pattern, ethically sourced fabric, shipping and taxes. I can live with that. I would rather reduce the number of items than skimp on the fabric.
The repairs gave most value for money, though here the numbers are misleading. I only paid for one repair: the boots I took to the cobbler. For the rest I used materials I already had.
How do you measure slow fashion success?
I added more items and mended fewer than I would have wished. Another question just as relevant as the number of pieces added, is the number of pieces that went out. Where did they go: into storage, donated, thrown out, repurposed as fabric? I didn’t keep track of that. But there certainly were things that went out of my wardrobe last year.
Ideal vs. real
Ideally, all the new additions to my wardrobe last year should have been real wardrobe workhorses and they should all have come from sustainable sources. Ideally. Realistically, I am not there yet.
As a second-time mum, my body has gone through big changes over the year and I am still waiting for it to settle into its new shape. As an adult and woman I am still figuring out how I like to dress. As a professional I am still finding my place. And as a maker I am still learning. This all takes some exploration, some trial and error, some time to hone in on.
Slow fashion is not only about the amounts of clothing I have. It is as also about having the right clothes, for me and for my lifestyle. Do I feel comfortable in my clothes? Do I have clothes that work together? Do I have clothes I want to wear and will want to repair when they need it?
Adding and subtracting clothes in a thoughtful and more sustainable way is my goal. Getting there is a journey.
Was 2017 a slow fashion year for me?
Well, it kind of was and it wasn't. I am thinking: mend more, buy less and enjoy the process of making.