Clothed in Connection
Dani Ellis is an Australian mother of three living in Los Angeles. A self confessed impulse shopper on a journey to slow down and make conscious decisions. You can follow her journey here. Following, is a beautiful story by Dani which looks at the connections we have with our clothing and how this has changed through the years.
Clothed in Connection by Dani Ellis
Once upon a time there was no need to ask who made your clothes. The person who made them lived in your community, made your outfits to order or personalised them to suit your needs. Your local dressmaker understood that you had small hips but no waistline to speak of. Sometimes you were the maker and had the skills required to mend, alter or improve clothing passed on or gifted by family and friends. Fabric was repurposed. Mum’s old curtains became your newest skirt sensation. Shopping meant going down to the store on your town’s main street and being assisted by the shopkeeper who knew everyone by name.
Our shopping habits today are wildly different with the super speed of fast fashion releases, online stores and new selling methods evolving every few months. I wouldn’t know even where to start trying to explain to my eighty-nine year old Grandmother that I’ve recently bought a dress on Instagram. The convenience of modern day purchasing is phenomenal. We click a button and a parcel from the other side of the world is placed on our doorstop without ever exchanging a word with another human being. Yet there is something precious that is lost in this process.
While sustainable fashion is not immune to the challenges of modern day consumerism, I believe its strength is the connection that it is reintroducing to us. Slow fashion and small batch makers are filling the gap by creating small communities in which women can share and connect directly with the maker of their clothes. I have experienced the most genuine customer service from slow fashion brands because it is possible to interact directly with the individuals who are making the product. I’ve sent my personal measurements to makers who have advised me of the best sizing choice and purchased from others who have been more than happy to keep exchanging items (at their cost) until I’ve found the right fit.
Social media has provided a virtual meeting place with these makers. There is a unique connection offered when you open one of those parcels left on the doorstep and inside is a beautifully handcrafted piece of art that has been made, wrapped and posted by the hands of a person you feel you know. The social media sphere also provides a meeting place for like-minded consumers of your favourite slow batch makers. I’ve joined online communities where women share photos of themselves in their new sustainable fashion purchase, swap advice and trade items. I’ve purchased and sold clothing on online forums where the ethic is not to make a profit on your unwanted goods but to pass them on at cost price or below to someone else who will love them.
There are still days when I long for that friendly face at the local store and the opportunity to get it right the first time by trying on all the sizes of those coveted pair of jeans. It’s a brave new fashion world out there and this new futuristic face of consumerism can seem a little scary. However sustainable fashion is shining a small but bright light that brings me hope that the most valuable aspect of fashion will not be lost forever.
Connection still exists in our clothing choices.
Find Dani on her blog and on instagram as @soulcase77