It’s time to bring back the needle and thread. What do we mean? Bringing back crafts like sewing, crocheting, embroidering, and knitting is one of the most creative ways to contribute to the sustainable fashion movement. We’re here to tell you that picking up the art you once deemed only necessary for your mom or grandmother is crucial for the ethical, sustainable fashion industry.
The youngest generations are creating innovative businesses, inventing never-before-seen technology, and demanding equal pay and treatment. Impressive stuff. But being able to sew, rework, patch, and put garments together is a skill they simply can’t boast about. In fact, ATTN Media reports that 70% of young people don’t even know how to sew on a button. Maybe we think we’ve evolved past this skill because we have others to do it. That attitude couldn’t be more upsetting. Your ability to create and rework clothing can have a huge impact on your fashion footprint. And, once you get the hang of it, it’s just plain fun to express yourself through what you make with your own two hands.
Many of us think that by donating our clothes we are giving them a second chance at life, which, in ways, is very true. But, unfortunately, the recycling industry has a lot of flaws, and we don’t always know where our clothes will end up. It’s very likely that the local shop you donate your clothing to may not be in need of it and will toss it out, adding to the millions of tons of waste produced annually. They might even sell it overseas to poorer countries, which means it will be dumped there. According to various news reports, the international trade in used clothing is big, and while it would seem that donating clothes to developing countries is a good thing, it actually can hurt their economies and put their local shop owners out of business. That’s why research before donating is extremely important.
It’s also why we should think of new ways to give clothes a second life. Mending and repurposing clothes is a wonderful way to extend the life of garments, especially those for which we hold a special emotional connection. We’ve all had that pair of jeans or shoes that we love deeply but that has seen better days. When they finally wear and tear, we’re bummed to see them go because, after all, we’ve had some great times in those pieces. But it doesn’t have to be goodbye! At least not yet. Picking up a kit that can teach you how to patch up your jeans, or shirt, or what have you, is as easy as clicking here. This site, Bluprint, is home to a collective for DIY beginners and experts and can help give you the tools you need to give your clothes some more love.
There is a whole community of fashionistas bringing back the needle and thread and promoting how to make your clothes last longer. We mentioned that your clothes can hold precious memories. You wouldn’t throw away the memories, so why throw away the clothes? Why not share the memories and keep their stories alive? If you have a story or memory you’d like to share about a piece of clothing you love, check out do tell, an online community inspiring others to cherish their clothes as much as the memories they make in them.
Sewcialists is another online community, one that loves to connect about sewing. Its goal is to build a community that makes everyone feel welcome and provides a voice to all, regardless of their background or self-identity. Just a group of people coming together for the love of sewing. Each month, Sewcialists publishes a sewing challenge, which motivates members to express themselves in their craft based on the given theme. What is so great about groups like this is, by joining, you’re no longer on this journey toward sustainability alone. You have a community of peers and friends to help encourage and push you to be better along the way. Not to mention it will feel amazing showing off something you’ve made yourself and, heck, you should be proud! You might even inspire those around you to join in.
If you’ve ever considered picking up an activity or hobby to create and mend your own clothes, we hope this has given you an idea of how great it can be. If learning new skills, forming new friendships, and being a part of sustainable fashion all sound great to you, make it sew!