At Textile Beat, we love natural, simple, handmade things that don’t cost the Earth. We are endlessly refining the message about mindful, thoughtful ways of dressing that align with our values of authenticity and individuality. In the same way we endlessly upcycle our clothes, here’s the latest version of our slow clothing manifesto!
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.
This revolution in fashion was sparked by a Bangladesh factory collapse two years ago when thousands were killed and injured making cheap clothes for Western bods. April 24 has become Fashion Revolution Day.
While global supply chains are churning out clothing choice for the masses – thoughtful consumers are alive to the fact that quick easy on/off-trend fashion comes with invisible price tags of waste, contamination and human suffering. Continue Reading →
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.
Brisbane-based upcycler Jane Milburn spent every day of 2014 restyling cast-off clothing and engaging others in the process of refashioning old into ‘new’ as part of the eco-social change project Sew it Again.
Using simple home-sewing skills to snip-and-tuck unworn textiles (mainly linen, cotton, wool and silk from op shops and friends) Jane then posted the upcycles at sewitagain.com to demonstrate ways to re-new rather than buy-new.
“Every day, we eat and we dress. We are now more conscious of our food and it is time to become conscious of our clothing and its footprint on the world. A global rethink about the way we dress is beginning, as people question where clothing is made and what from, is it ethical and sustainable, and does it exploit people or planet?” Jane said.
As an agricultural scientist turned creative, Jane is raising awareness about the ecological impacts of our cheap/disposable fashion culture that consumes finite resources and generates textile waste at an alarming rate. Continue Reading →
We humans are autonomous, we make our own decisions, or so we think. But watch this documentary The Men Who Made Us Spend and understand how our ‘free choice’ is easily manipulated by a few making lots of money while our environment is junked with unnecessary resource use and waste.
In The Men Who Made Us Spend, investigative journalist Jacques Peretti explains how planned obsolescence, the organised creation of dissatisfaction and computer-aided design cultivated competitive consumerism throughout capitalist societies.
The documentary includes an economist saying change during the past two decades has seen the average American’s clothing consumption double from 34 pieces of apparel per year to 67 – equating to a brand new item of clothing coming into their wardrobe every 5.4 days. Once the garments are no longer ‘socially valuable’ they either go into the waste stream or the global apparel trade. Such waste and indulgence is wrong. Continue Reading →
Albert Einstein said no problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.
Excess consumption of clothing grabbed Jane Milburn’s attention because FAO figures show it is has increased by 80 percent in the past two decades, from 7kg each in 1992 to 11kg, when global population only increased by 25 percent. Most of the increase is in cheap synthetic-fibre clothing, made from petroleum.
Jane’s consciousness was raised by recent personal experiences and postgraduate study that provided reflection on ways to bring her wide-ranging career and life experiences together in a creative and meaningful way. Continue Reading →
The walls of Pandora Gallery were cloaked in creative and unique garments this month as it hosted the first Upcycled exhibition mounted by Jane Milburn in her quest to change the way we think about clothing and textiles.
Local visitors were engaged and intrigued – including local solicitor Michael Baxter who was in town to present a Wills and Power of Attorney session at Coolah library during National Law Week.
Pandora Gallery coordinator Jennie Stephens said the exhibition was extremely well-received and sparked a lot of community involvement and interest. “It reminded us of the many ways we can utilise what we have, rather than becoming a throw-away society,” Jennie said. Continue Reading →
It is the ability to imagine how new things might change our lives that drives us to acquire them. New Scientist magazine’s March 29 feature The Meaning of Stuff described this as transformation expectation, imagining how it may enhance and somehow make things better.
But being more mindful about consumption – of food, energy, clothing, technology, sweet stuff – leads to better outcomes for ourselves and the planet. For example, use of apparel fibre has increased by 80 percent in the past two decades, three times the rate of population growth, according to the table below from a 2013 FAO World Apparel Fibre Consumption Survey. The report is written from a consumption perspective on recession impacts but can be interpreted as an overall warning because per capita consumption between 1992 and 2010 ballooned from 7kgs up to 11kgs of fibre per person per year. This is unsustainable. Continue Reading →