Sunday 11 October 2015

Slow Fashion October II: Quality vs Quantity

Slow Fashion October: Quantity vs Quality

Buying and making things that are higher in quality, rather than having a lot of lower quality items is something that I've been thinking over a lot lately. And seeing as my recent thoughts on this tie in nicely with #slowfashionoctober I thought I would dedicate a post to my thoughts on this. I'm not promising any conclusions, because it's just a jumble in my head at the moment! Although usually getting things down on paper (or, er, the web) organises my thoughts a little better, so here goes!

In my mid to late teens, I was definitely a sure fire follower of fast fashion. A contributing factor to this was that I was very much figuring out my own sense of style, and quite liked the fact that I could buy something, wear it for a while, and get rid of it without being committed to it for a long time because I'd spent a lot of money on it. We certainly had a lot of fun, fast fashion and I.

Of course over time I got to know what it was I really liked wearing (although I'm still susceptible to the odd trend), and my cheaper clothes just weren't lasting the way I wanted them to. When I love something I tend to wear it to death, and when it's something that fits in perfectly with your wardrobe, when it inevitably breaks or becomes too worn, it can leave a gap. I began to want clothes that would last a lot longer, and this is where I really started putting more consideration onto my second hand buys. If you read my first Slow Fashion October post, you'll know that second hand shopping has always been something I've done. However up until recently I would buy pretty much anything if I liked it, because usually it was affordable enough, and more sustainable than buying from the high street.

BUT - buying in this way was actually no better for my wardrobe than buying fast fashion. My wardrobe was filled with things that didn't get worn often enough, and things that didn't go with anything else, and multiple items that were actually nearly identical. Sound familiar? The last straw came after I developed a serious penchant for stripes after buying a striped sweatshirt from Land's End via a charity shop. I have got so much wear out of said sweatshirt, that I decided that I obviously needed more stripes in my wardrobe. Do I wear any of these similar tops? Nope, I always reach for the Land's End sweatshirt because it's my favourite. Lesson learned.

So I have seriously reviewed my second hand buying habits, buying fewer, but better quality items, and also avoiding buying something if I already own something similar (stop. buying. striped. tops.).

Slow Fashion October: Quantity vs Quality

What about when it comes to handmade items though? I'm a pretty slow sewer and knitter, so quantity isn't something I have to worry about too much! Slow and steady wins the race, and I would rather take my time over each project to make sure it's tidy and finished well enough to last a while.

However, recent reading let me to discover a study that found that, when learning a new skill, it was better to make lots of items (with lots of mistakes), rather than take your time over fewer items. This really shook me, but I have to admit that I think it's true, and can think of many times in my life when it has been proven to be true (particularly learning new skills at work!). So what does this mean for my handmade items? I obviously want each item to be the best quality I can manage, but don't want to waste time, fabric, and wool churning out lots of practise runs. It's a bit of a catch 22.

I've decided that all I can do is continue making things to the best of my ability, and try out as many new techniques in each project as I can, in order to improve upon my current skills. And I think it's going well - I've sewn up three (as of yet unblogged) variations of New Look 6838, and with each one I am seeing a marked improvement. In obvious things like how neat the neckbands are, but also in more subtle things such as being able to tell what makes a nice jersey fabric, and what doesn't (one of the fabrics I used is awful, but that's a story for another day!).

Wow, that turned into a bit of a ramble, so well done if you made it to the end :) I'm loving the conversations Slow Fashion October has started, and am really enjoying checking out everyone else's thoughts by looking for the hashtag on social media (make sure you do the same!). I'd love to hear any tips on balancing quality and quantity too!

No comments:

Post a Comment