By Cairistiona Bates
When you think about handmade clothing, what is your first thought? Do you think back in horror to Granny’s wonky knits; badly fitting and made with some horrible scratchy wool? Did your mum like nothing better than getting the sewing machine out and having you wander around in her creations like one of the Von Trapp kids? Well, fear not! I’m happy to say, those days are far behind us. There are so many beautiful options available to us now, and I’m going to share five reasons why choosing handmaid beats fast fashion hands down.
It’s been a whole year since we paused the universe and the shops shut. I know that I’m not alone in having loved a good old guddle in the shops, but I have to say, this last year has been a bit of an eye-opener for me. I’ve been guilty of buying things just because I can for years, and with that mentality comes a sloppy attitude to what it is I’m actually buying. It’s ironic then, that I’m also a massive advocate of handmade, and have been an avid knitter and crocheter for years! I’m pleased to say though that this enforced shopping trip ban has been just what I’ve needed to pull me back around to being more considered in my purchases. I’m buying less and being mindful of how what I do buy is made, what it’s made of, and the impact it has on the planet.
So then, here are my 5 reasons to choose handmade:
1. That expensive handknit is actually a total bargain!
Hang on? I hear you say, how can that expensive handknit be a bargain? That doesn’t make any sense. Well, hear me out. Many years ago, on a knitting forum, I was part of, we were discussing pricing to sell items and the cost of the yarn to make them. One lady told us that she thought about it in terms of price per wear, not price per item and I think that is genius!
Say a handknit jumper costs you £100, I know that at first, this is going to feel like far too much money but take into consideration that the cost reflects the quality. The yarn is likely to be a high-quality handspun yarn, seams will have been carefully hand or machine sewn if there are any (handknits often have fewer seams than a machine assembled knit), and with that, you get a hardier item. Say you get 200 wears from that beautiful handknit, that’s 50p wear straight away, and I’m willing to bet you get far more wear than that.
2. High quality, natural yarns.
Cheaply manufactured clothes are inevitably made from cheap materials. When you buy handmade, you can make a choice about what your clothing is made of. Whether you are buying a handmade knit or choosing to knit something yourself, there is now a vast array of yarns available to you.
Best of all, you aren’t limited to animal yarns anymore either. There are lots of natural, vegan-friendly yarns, each with its own particular qualities, available to you. The cotton used to be your only option, but now you can find yarns made from Hemp, Bamboo, and even Banana fibre!
3. Slow and steady wins the race.
Fast fashion. It’s everywhere. There’s all this pressure on us to keep up with the next best thing, and it feeds this culture of wear it once, then bin it. Handmade items tend to be in more classic shapes which adds to their longevity in your wardrobe. Rather than being a limiting factor, I think having these pieces to hand means that you can change up your look easily without the worry of suddenly finding yourself off trend. Instead, use it as an opportunity to really put a stamp on your own personal style. Because nothing stands out more, in the best of ways than a person who is completely comfortable in their own skin.
4. Kinder to your skin, kinder to the planet.
I’ve touched on this a little already, but all those natural fibres are a massive plus for you, your skin, and the planet too! No harsh chemical treatments, natural moisture-wicking properties, so much warmer than man-made fibres.
What’s not to love about all that?
5. You’re supporting a small business, maybe two.
Lastly, by buying a handknit, you are supporting a small business owner, and we all know how important they are to their local communities and country as a whole. In fact, I bet you three pairs of hand-knit socks, that if you buy a handknit, you’re actually supporting the knitter, possibly an artist who has hand-dyed the yarn, and then the yarn producers too. I think that’s pretty great for a humble wee sweater!
Some of our favourite slow fashion brands are:
- Prolong Scotland – Lucia UPCYCLES donated clothes into ONE-OFF limited pieces which are super cool! https://www.instagram.com/prolongscotland/
- Hakon Clothing – hand-printed streetwear based in Glasgow https://www.hakonclothing.com/products
- Dear Green Claes – vegan clothing based in Glasgow https://deargreenclaes.com/
- Lucy & Yak (I love their vagina-patterned dungarees and I hope that they will be back at some point! I keep seeing them from time to time and I am like – OMG! I’d totally embrace having a pair!) https://lucyandyak.com/
- Saturday by Megan Ellaby https://saturdaybymeganellaby.com/
If you want to know more, check out Slow Fashion Movement on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/slowfashion.movement/ They provide a lot of useful information daily!
What are your favourite slow fashion brands? We really want to know more 🙏 ❤️