Textile Beat founder Jane Milburn was invited to present a WOW Bite session at the recent Women of the World Festival in Brisbane. Below is an extract from her speech.
Today you are either wearing natural-fibre clothes – or more likely plastic clothes derived from petroleum or coal. Only 1/3 of new clothing is natural and 2/3 is synthetic, according to Food and Agriculture Organisation figures. It’s changed from half and half two decades ago. I’m wearing natural fibres that I’ve refashioned – turning a $4 wool blanket from the opshop into a poncho. This is my style of slow fashion – there are many other ways.
Every day we eat and we dress. We are now more conscious of our food – it is time to be more conscious of our clothing.
Jane Milburn was immersed in slow fashion for 365 days during 2014 with a personal undertaking to upcycle existing natural fibre garments for the Sew it Again project. It proved to be a lesson in contemporary dress culture, making Jane more aware of how little we know about the back story of garments that wrap our bodies 24/7.
This awakening informs a reshaped future for Textile Beat. What began as a simple textile upcycling initiative now evolves into a more holistic approach to dressing. Jane dreams of making every garment story a good one – good for the wearer, society and planet.
There are many ways for individuals to dress with conscience. It begins with knowing more than what is visible from the outside. The art of dressing well is embodied in the character of what you wear, not just the look. Your options for mindful dressing might encompass the following characteristics: local, quality, pre-loved, handmade, good and fair, repair and care, zero textile waste, know your style, natural fibres, sentimental, upcycled or classic. Dress well to live well.