Thursday, October 20, 2016


I planned to write lots about slow fashion in October, but we took a big family trip east to see relatives in NYC and Virginia (near DC) and we only got home yesterday. (Priorities here: family travels overruled all blog posts and computer time)

All went smoothly, and I think our twins mostly had a great time.  ...We had one 'throw up on Mommy on the airplane incident' but luckily, I had a change of clothes for everybody with me.  You know, par for the course when travelling with a couple of five year olds...

So, here are a few things to catch up:
Here's my latest piece on the CBC, which ran while we were travelling.  It is (surprise!) about priorities...educational ones.  How do we decide which students get priority?  Why do some misdeeds related to stealing intellectual property get seriously penalized while others are ignored?

International students pay more, get less at University of Manitoba

Also a matter of do you know when to salvage something, how to mend it, and when to give up?

This is a mending job I did recently on a beloved quilt.  It belongs to one of my twins, it was handmade for him and has his name quilted right into it!  However, some of the stitching came out.  So, I made a very obvious repair.  I used matching embroidery floss and stitched it a bit like a crazy quilt, so that it was clear what I was doing.  I knew I couldn't make the repair invisibly, so instead, I fixed it like I meant it--in the tradition of meaningful mending that makes beloved textiles last a long time.

By contrast, I've developed a "two time and you're out" method when it comes to kids' pants.  I started by using cloth wipes left over from our cloth diapering days.  These are clean bits of well-used fabric, I hemmed and stitched them across knees as necessary.
Here is the backside of the pair of you can see, the stitching is not fancy.

Then, as the patches loosened, I went with iron-on patches on the back and front to keep the patch in place longer.  The patches are random; I bought a big bag of them, so I don't always choose a perfect match.  (at this point though, the priority is to keep the pants in circulation, so I don't focus on high fashion!)

After a few more wearings, this may or may not last..we may have to re-use this in the rag bag soon.  While visiting my family, my dad kindly did a third mending/repair job on two pairs of trousers that were worn hard and re-torn while playing at playgrounds.  We have a history of fixing things when they break, and having help on this was really a nice respite!  (This trip was a tour of living rooms, backyards, playgrounds, gardens, and a synagogue, for the most part; no major site-seeing despite the big city locations.)

The thing that I focus on when it comes to Slow Fashion (or how educational institutions work) is this:  What are one's priorities?  What is most important here?  Do we need to waste time or money unnecessarily?  How can we put people's needs first? Can we optimize conditions to re-use, recycle, or learn to make good use of new material to meet the needs of both people and the environment?

Those needs can be basic (food, water, housing) or a little more advanced (higher education tuition, registration, etc.) but it all comes to how we prioritize.  We need to use our ethical and moral values in the mix.  Let's not throw things out unnecessarily- but people's needs (and the environment) come first in the equation to maximize long usage of things into the future.  At least, that's how I hope it works in my house.  What do you hope for?

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