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Slow cloth­ing is a way of think­ing about, choos­ing and wear­ing clothes to en­sure they bring mean­ing, value and joy to ev­ery day.

As a slow cloth­ing pi­o­neer, Jane Mil­burn, of Tex­tile Beat, is in­spir­ing peo­ple to re­claim their in­di­vid­u­al­ity and help save the planet.

Few peo­ple sew their own clothes these days be­cause it’s so cheap and easy to buy fac­tory-made op­tions, but our fast and fu­ri­ous, throw-away life­styles have re­sulted in an as­tound­ing 6000kg of cloth­ing be­ing buried in landfill ev­ery 10 min­utes.

“We are mar­keted to on ev­ery level in our lives, which has us be­liev­ing we must have new, brighter, bet­ter to com­pete and ap­pear suc­cess­ful. We’re left feel­ing in­se­cure and un­ful­filled by that end­less cy­cle,” Jane says.

“There is some­thing to­tally em­pow­er­ing about step­ping away from the pres­sures and fal­sity of the fash­ion in­dus­try and liv­ing by a slower, more mind­ful phi­los­o­phy.”

Jane urges us to re­sist the rush to own for rea­sons of sta­tus and looks.

“Our cloth­ing story runs par­al­lel to our food story. Fast food has had a dra­matic ef­fect on our health and sim­i­larly, in­dus­trial cloth­ing has health and en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pacts that we are only now com­ing to re­alise. Syn­thetic fi­bres made from petroleum dom­i­nate the cloth­ing mar­ket and yet re­search shows these plas­tic clothes are shed­ding mi­croplas­tic par­ti­cles into the ecosys­tem with ev­ery wash,” she says,

“I started this slow-cloth­ing jour­ney af­ter be­ing se­lected for the Aus­tralian Ru­ral Lead­er­ship Pro­gram in 2009 and re­flect­ing on the shift in the way we buy, use and dis­card cloth­ing.

”At 27kg per per­son per year, Aus­tralia’s cloth­ing con­sump­tion is twice the global av­er­age. We have to change our ways.”

“Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can. Be­fore you buy any­thing new, take time, re­visit what you al­ready have and con­sider how it may be re­vived, re­pur­posed or recre­ated.”

Tex­tile Beat is a na­tional plat­form dis­cussing eth­i­cal is­sues around con­tem­po­rary cloth­ing cul­ture.

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