Greetings, dear friends. I hope that you are able to keep sight of all that is good in your life and in the world, at this time of suffering for so many.
This is a little date claimer for folks who are local to me. Covid restrictions permitting, we will be gathering in Rundle Mall outside H & M (the second biggest producer of clothing in the world), for some socially distanced public mending on 14 September.
Image: The leg of a mended pair of jeans, on a beautiful coloured rug.
In 2018, the average person in the USA bought 68 items of clothing every year. As long ago as 2015, a British study found that the average garment in that country would be worn 7 times before being thrown away. The sheer volume of textile waste is overwhelming: “Australians discard an average of 31 kilos of textiles per person annually, at a national rate of 15 tonnes of textile waste every ten minutes” according to the Federal government.
There is so much to be concerned about in the story of fast fashion: the conditions and pay of garment workers range from exploitative to lethal. The environmental impact of textile waste (without even discussing manufacture) are offloaded from countries like Australia onto countries with much less wealth. For example: there was a recent Foreign Correspondent episode about the toxic outcomes of Australian textile waste in Ghana.
The extremely awesome Sweet Honey in the Rock were raising the consciousness of folks such as myself on these issues, back in the 1980s, in song. Check it out!
And of course, every kind of waste impacts on the climate crisis. Fossil fuels are embodied in many synthetic fibres–which one of my friends has long called “petrochemical by-product” and which I now refer to in my own rude way as “plastic s***”. Energy is required to grow and process or manufacture the fibres from which clothing is made. Energy is required to turn the fibres into cloth and to make buttons, zippers and such. More is required to turn them into clothing. The energy involved in the transportation of raw fibres, and then cloth, and then clothing, and then textile waste–it all adds up, and especially when each step is done in a different part of the world. And of course, this is only a partial accounting of the costs of our clothing. If you want to know more about the climate cost of fast fashion, I recommend the Climate Council’s explainer.
And so, to mending! And mending in public. I doubt you need an explanation of the connection, if you are reading this blog. If you are able to join us, please do come along to #stitchitdontditchit in Rundle Mall on 14 September. We will be there from 12-2. Come along, bring a folding chair if you can (and a spare one if you can). This event will be Covid compliant, so bring your mask and wear it, check in when you arrive and we warmly welcome you. Bring your mending. Someone will help you, if you are a beginner. All ages, genders, and skill levels are welcome. We will be participating in a global event. If you are on Instagram, you can follow @streetstitching and/or #stitchitdontditchit. You can follow me as well if you like! @localandbespoke.