Where were you 20 years ago?… What were you doing?… Did you have the same job?… Were you still in school?… Were you even born?… 20 years ago I began to wear this t-shirt.
I am not your typical eco-fashion blogger. I don’t do capsule wardrobe. I don’t know what a fashion week is. Leopard prints make me nauseous. I don’t watch Project Runway. Basically , I don’t like fashion, yet I am part of it.
It Was the Summer of 1999
I was attending a summer camp tennis school and we were playing a tournament. I just had lost my doubles match. I was a pretty bad loser. At 11 years of age, winning a meaningless tennis game, that was so important. Prizes were given to participants and I won the tee shirt. On it was(still is) the logo of the tennis school we had just lost to. I thought I AM NEVER GOING TO WEAR THIS.
Fast-forward 20 years, it’s my favorite garment. With time, it was molded to my body. It feels so(oooo) good. I like it more than my hemp organic cotton jeans, more than my hemp handwoven hoodie (I am a very enthusiastic hemp person). But this tee is made of 100% most-likely-pesticide-intensive-monsanto-gmo-cotton. It was probably sewn in Bangladesh in very questionable work conditions. The inks used to print the logo surely contained phthalates. Why do I like it so much?
Maybe because it’s been with me for most of my life. Through the worst & best years. It’s part of me now. I’ll wear it forever and I’ll mend it like it’s the apocalypse. #menditlikeitstheapocalypse
Is This Slow Fashion?
As far as I can remember, I’ve always absolutely hated shopping. Especially for clothes. Going to the store, browsing, going to the change room, listening to comments from mothers and sisters, spending money without really needing to. I’d much rather play Pokémon Yellow Version on my GAME BOY Color.
I still don’t like shopping. Does that make me a natural born #slowfashion expert or just another guy who hates shopping ?
Is the absence of fashion still fashion? Not buying anything. Just wearing what you already have. Take what is given to you and make it last as long as possible. No new styles. No new trend. Nothing new. People wearing their
banal old clothes on the catwalk. Nothing flashy. No fashion statement.
Isn’t #slowfashion an obvious paradox though?
Fashion by its intrinsic nature is always new.
Always new is as often as possible.
As often as possible is as fast as possible.
But by saying “fashion” we actually mean the whole apparel industry. Right? Every piece of clothes we wear. It’s just easier to say fashion industry.
Try saying it out loud…
Garment industry(2nd best)…
Yeah! That feels right. Doesn’t it? It flows so easily. Those two words are soulmates in their pronunciation.
Fashion’s meaning is often expanded to all clothes. It’s an umbrella which includes fashion(as a trend and an art) and all sorts of functional clothes(even if they aren’t fashionable).
The other meaning of fashion is really a synonym of trend. An in vogue kind of design, style, color, texture. This one can be out of date, faux pas and has to ALWAYS be new. There is no #slowfashion in this definition. There is mostly fast-paced carelessness.
But isn’t it a fashion statement for me to say: “I am going to wear this ugly t-shirt and assume it.” Kind of like anything can be called art. Like an unmade bed if exposed in a gallery. Anything can be fashion. It’s one’s true expression of her(him)self. So this is my expression of fashion.
This tee is my shameful piece of art. It represents a solution to this broken world in which we live where we unknowingly damage everything.
In many ways wearing this t-shirt for 20 years is #slowfashion. Not only in the broader sense of fashion but also in its trend-specific definition. This is a trend. An everlasting one. We want to care more. We want to buy less. This is part of a greater consuming less movement. And to me that’s what it’s all about. Slowing down consumption.
But you have the right to feel beautiful! Yes, that’s true.
Fashion makes us feel beautiful that’s why we like it. But guess what…
I’m going to quote Christina Aguilera (or whoever wrote that song)
You Are Beautiful no Matter What (they say)
You are beautiful even if you wear the same out-of-style dress for many years. You are beautiful even if your body is not perfect. You are beautiful without makeup!
It’s all about changing our perception of ourselves. And changing our relationship with our clothes. We need to respect them. Respect the craftsmanship required to make them. Rethink of their disposability.
No, we don’t all need to keep our clothes for decades to make a difference.
But I’ve read that people now are wearing their clothes on average 7 times before throwing them away. Less than 1% of clothes are recycled. I’ve heard the whole fashion industry produces now over 100 billion garments a year — double what it was in 2000 — and 3 in 5 of those will end up in the landfill in the first 12 months. This has to change.
I don’t know how many times I’ve worn this t-shirt. I didn’t count. Even if I did, I would’ve lost count. But let’s be conservative. Let’s say 25 times a year — or once every two weeks — for 20 years. Maybe less some years, maybe more other years… #30wears … it’s more like #500wears
I’ve always seen myself as not being part of fashion. There’s me. And there’s fashion.
The two never cross paths…
But now I see that I fit right in…
I fit right in this new fashion movement. One that cares for its environmental impact.
Where trends are no longer dictated by a few designers on top but are created from the bottom up by people like you and me.
Everyone has the right to her(his) own fashion.
Everyone has the right to be an artist.
Written by Ugo Dutil :
I grew up in the ecovillage Cite Ecologique. I like this way of life that values human relationships, sustainable development and personal growth. I’ve been working with Respecterre since 2013. Minimalism, #slowfashion and moving towards sustainability, especially in textiles, fascinate me.