Let's not dance around the facts...2019 was a real piece of work, not personally, in fact I've had a reasonably good year as have many others I know, but from where I am standing, it hasn't been a positive year for us as a planet, as a nation, as a people. It is a heavy moment in history. More than ever our choices will leave a lasting impact. I am finding myself in a vacuum of despair - life feels like a confusing dance, swinging between the small day-to-day and the gigantic problems calling for action. It feels as though the little things don't make sense when the big things have become so incredibly gigantic. The problems we need to care about are so engulfing that everything else seems meaningless. I do believe, though, that we need to allow ourselves release from grim reality so we can continue forward and enjoy the life we are given. It is ok to take solace in the fanciful, to be soothed by art and day dreams, even for a moment. Often, in the worst of times, we need it all the more, to keep going, to find a reason to fight, to re-energise ourselves so we can get up and make the world a better place.
So, while New Years Resolutions this year will be and should be monumental, I am today writing instead about something lighthearted (although, still centered around making a positive impact rather negative because nothing is free from politics, nothing is exempt from consequence, nothing is separate from meaning, even the shoes on our feet).
1. Be A Little More Bold
Living in Australia, the land of the tall poppy, means living in the land of playing-it-safe. This is particularity true of living in little old Canberra town. You'd be hard pressed to find anyone bold walking down the street here, instead you will find suits, corporate level appropriate outfits on repeat and the occasional odd ball...but bold. Not so much. Our style is so influenced by our surrounds yet we don't often realise how we are being influenced until we step outside. Scrolling my Insta feed over the last few years I can see the playing-it-safe threaded through every single choice. Yuk. How did I allow this to happen? The little vintage lover in me used to wear faux fur and crazy hats and big shoulders and Olsen-esque silhouettes. I gotta say, I miss that girl. She was the one who got me into this game and now I've abandoned her. In 2020 I'm coming to rescue her.
2. Say Goodbye To Fast Fashion For Good
I am proud of how far I've come on this. I am ashamed to say I collaborated with one of the worst fast fashion brands on the planet last year but I am stoked to say I no longer do this and no longer will. It wasn't a choice I consciously made, I was simply uneducated. I hope others follow this example. I have narrowed down who I will and will not work with and also who I will dress my clients in. We cannot afford fast fashion on this planet, it is one of the biggest polluting industries in the world. It is horrific and I am saying no more to it. I don't believe we need to vilify anyone purchasing fast fashion because it truly is a matter of education. If we don't know how terrible something is, we can't make a better choice. We shop blindly and willingly without information to guide us. So rather than throw shade, I want to look to those leading the way on eco and ethical fashion and join their tribe. I hope to inspire others to do the same.
3. Repel Men
Ahhh the Man Repeller, long may we worship at your wacky, creative, game changing throne. I often hear that quote that women don't dress for men they dress for women. Um, sorry, disagree. Have a look on social media and I'm not sure that statement holds any weight - do we really love this barbie doll, plastic aesthetic which is hell bent on manipulation of all that is natural. I don't want that. Each to their own, but personally, I am finding myself moving further and further away from this and walking head first into the land of Man Repelling (just ask my partner, he thinks my latest paperbag jeans make me look like a Genie in a bottle...in his defence he said he loves them anyways, what a keeper). I also want to lament that I am all for celebrating femininity, what I am referring to is finding freedom from the male gaze. That, ladies, is where you find yourself.
4. Start Sewing & Designing Again
I miss it. I am not very good at it. But oh how I miss it. My sewing is ad hoc, wonky and wild but I thoroughly enjoy it. Give me some fabric and leave me alone with my sewing machine (and no kids, thank you kindly) and I am in heaven. So, far from perfect or not, I am going to start sewing more again. Speaking of design, my sister and I have a new label in the works and I could not be more excited. Talo Alto will landing sometime in the new year and it is a blend of the values we share - it is a celebration of women, inclusion, ethical production, shaking up the status quo. Watch this space!
5. Educate Myself
As mentioned in resolution 2, education is key and changes everything. How and where our clothing is made is not a side issue, it is THE issue. We cannot unlearn something, once we discover something which does not align with our values, which causes harm to people, the environment or communities, we have no choice but to turn our back. Education starts with us, we cannot wait for a news report to tell us, we have to seek it out. I am committed to finding out as much as I can about where my clothes come from and, above all else, I will choose vintage and thrift as much as I can. My love for second hand will forever be a part of me. For a list of ethical fashion retailers and labels in Australia, check out this list.
I wish you all a happy New Year (in advance, it's mid December but you know, let's get excited now because 2019 was brutal for the world stage and here is hoping the next one is better for us all, collectively, as one!)