When asked what I do, I always explain that I take old textiles and make them into new clothing. Those asking the questions nod their heads and sometimes even say a few 'ooohs and aahs'. I nod along with them, assuming that they know exactly what I am talking about. It is often the case that when you work on something almost everyday, when you are in the bubble that is your passion, it is easy to forget that not everyone understands what or even why you do what you do.
The term Slow Fashion was coined to be the opposite of what we has become the 'norm' on the high street, the fashion chains that release new collections to keep the consumers coming back week after week. Slow Fashion is also as much about buying the products at a reduced rate as it is the time that it takes for those making the garments.
I also like to think that choosing to use materials that already exist, such as vintage tablecloths, linens etc, I am slowing down the waste that could or would be created if these textiles were to remain unused in their current state. More often than not, the textiles I come across are in such good condition it is almost like they were never used, perhaps they were the tablecloth used only for special occasions or never even had the chance to be used. The embroidery and craftsmanship of some of the textiles used in my collections are so pretty and deserve to be highlighted in the way of garments or as I like to call them 'wearable heirlooms'.
What good are traditional textile heirlooms if they pass from generation to generation sitting in the cupboard or in a box under the bed. To me we should be celebrating the slow art of the past by showcasing it in the form of clothing to be worn into the future and past from person to person. When taken care of, the life of a garment can last much longer than we think. The fibres of most of these vintage textiles are natural with the most common being Cotton or Linen. A dream to wear as well as wash.
Perhaps it is the challenge of creating something out of something that was made for a different purpose, or perhaps it's the previous lives these textiles had or it could be a combination of them both. I do know that as long as these textiles exist, I shall continue to search them out and reimagine them into garments.