Slow Fashion Beloit: Sustainable Clothing Use through Sewing Education
Kerry Randazzo ’20, Portland, Maine
Majors: Environmental Studies (Arts and Communications); Theatre Production
Slow Fashion Beloit is an initiative built on the principles of sustainable and mindful use of the clothes people wear. In a time where clothing is being produced faster than it ever has before, about three fifths of all clothes end up in incinerators within only a year of being made. This means that the clothing industry generates a notable eight percent of the world’s emissions annually, making it one of the world’s most pollutive. While individuals may not have control over what fast fashion brands choose to do, they can control the relationship they choose to have with the clothing they already own.
The focus of Slow Fashion Beloit is to give people the tools to change their relationship with their clothing through teaching them how to sew. Throughout the first half of the semester, Slow Fashion hosted biweekly sewing education hours and monthly theme-based sewing workshops. Students would drop into the weekly hours and learn skills, such as fixing holes in pants and using a sewing machine. The more specific monthly workshops would teach skills, such as hand-sewing techniques and how to alter clothing, all within the context of how the topics related to sustainability. In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, these themed workshops were adapted into video tutorials.
Slow Fashion Beloit aims to teach Beloiters how to repair the clothes they love and alter the clothes that no longer inspire them. By doing this, students are able to significantly extend their clothes’ lifespan, keep them out of landfills and incinerators, and begin to curb consumption of ecologically harmful fast fashion goods.