When I think of the word “darning,” (which isn’t very often), I think of my grandma, the characters in Little Women doing “women’s work,” and Father McKenzie darning his socks in the night when there’s nobody there.
Considering that I am a proud, young feminist, and neither a grandma nor a lonely priest, it is not surprising that I scoff at the thought of “darning.” Indeed, I rolled my eyes when we did sewing classes at school, and likely patronised my dear mother, aunts, and grandmas for their skills in that department. (Of course, this didn’t prevent me from capitalising on their dexterity when I needed it.)
Why would I—a 21st century, career-driven, millennial feminist—want to bother with fussy “women’s work?”
Enter: my devastating fears for the environment.
According to the United Nations, the fashion industry produces 10 percent of the world’s carbon emissions, is responsible for 20 percent of global wastewater, and every second, a garbage truck full of textiles is landfilled or incinerated.
My fears have certainly not been abated by moving to London, the shopping capital of the world, where advertisements with scantily clad models dressed in garish colours stare down at you from every corner, and throngs of shoppers heave down Oxford Street carrying plastic bags full of cheap clothing from ethically dubious fashion corporations.
I digress. You don’t need me to lecture you on the environmental impacts of fast fashion. There is a wealth of information out there (see the sources at the end of this story, for example).
In the face of all this, I turned to secondhand clothes shopping. Distracted by the satisfaction of finding good brands at a bargain price whilst supporting charity, I didn’t take much notice of the state of the clothes I was buying. To my dismay, often when I got them home, I realised they had holes.
It seems that people throw away clothing because it has a hole. Which really is madness when you think about it. In 2017 alone, Brits threw away £12.5 billion worth of clothing. How much of that was due to a reluctance to spend 10 minutes fixing a hole?
And so, a battle ensued between my feminist ego and my frugality. The latter won, and I reluctantly bought myself a needle and thread and set about crudely but effectively mending holes.
The result? An ethical and diverse wardrobe, and a millennial feminist with more respect for the women who came before her.
Sounds like a win-win to me. So, go out and get yourself a needle and thread, gosh darn it!
Fash Fashion Resources:
The Environmental Costs of Fash Fashion. ~ The Independent
The five: ways that fast fashion threatens the planet. ~ The Guardian