“Clothes could have more meaning and longevity if we think less about owning the latest or cheapest thing and develop more of a relationship with the things we wear”
- Elizabeth L. Cline (author, journalist, and expert on consumer culture, fast fashion, sustainability and labor rights in the apparel industry)
Many of us often take for granted what we wear. A blouse, a dress, a bag. We enter a store or browse online, something catches our eye, we pay for it and leave – or wait for the parcel to arrive in the comfort of our home.
However, until a few decades ago clothes were all made by hand, with great precision, effort and time. With rare fabrics that everyone chose according to their taste and budget – thanks to the seamstress! Notably during the last decades, fast fashion based on fast-moving trends and low prices, reached a point of domination, with mega brands selling identical items at an extremely large scale. For retail chains it was all about cutting production times in half and distributing the most on trend items to consumers in very large quantities. But what about quality?
Thankfully, in the last few years, perhaps due to the change in socioeconomic conditions as well as the result of overconsumption leading to loss of personal identity, we have come to appreciate again the rich value of handmade items – from fashion to design, to food and arts & crafts.
Creating a piece by hand is a meaningful journey. The preparation, the sourcing of the fabrics, the textures, the anticipation, the route, the final result, even the co-creators… they all remind of a journey, in which every minute counts.
Although quality and durability are never compromised, every seamstress has taken a huge step in accepting imperfection; accepting a touch wide of the mark, the color that fell above the lines in certain spots, a misplaced stitch, the tiniest scratches, the beauty of the non-uniformity. They are exclusive and unique.
Handmade garments always have that personal feel to them. In addition to the talent and skills of the creator, a handmade garment carries within it the soul of the creator; brings it brings you closer to them, even if you have never met before. So, by choosing their work, you support their traditional and artisanal skills and processes and contribute to the preservation of their cultural heritage. Wearing their creation proudly, you honor their time, their effort, their dedication. Can you think of anything more unique and tailor-made than this?
A CONSIOUS CHOICE
You buy handmade pieces because you searched for them, found them and decided that you want to invest in them – emotionally and financially. It is a profound choice that you made after thorough consideration, which says a great deal about you and your consumption habits. To put it differently, it means that for you, conscious consumerism outweighs mindless consumerism and that is.
Handmade clothes and accessories are not born in dubious working conditions, like many of their mass-produced siblings. Clothes stitched are more transparent-you know where the raw materials are derived from, the working conditions, they are created by people paid and treated fairly with respect to their needs, skills and time.
The pieces are brought to life by local independent artisans’ very own hands and their sweet time. They look original, because they are. They catch one’s eye, they attract flattering comments, because they’re made with affection. Handmade items often become an occasion to tell others how you got them in the first place or to tell a story about their creator, instead of simply listing the name of a mega brand.
If you really think about it, it is an investment, since the handmade - although sensitive - usually has a longer lifespan since you value it more highly and take better care of it. Unlike the mass-produced top you bought, which if worn or damaged will go straight to the bin, the handmade one will "mean" more, precisely because you know you cannot easily replace it.
Crafting handmade garments means consciously made pieces by low impact materials in humane conditions from a mindful and purposeful brand. In short, a handmade item carries all that love, which has now taken shape, color, texture, smell. It is a totem, a reminder that by carefully and consciously choosing what we wear, we make a mindful decision about ourselves: handmade products and slow fashion promote and strengthen respect for the environment as well as fellow human beings.