The average couple in Norway will spend up to 22,000kr per year on clothes and accessories. Women often trump men on our clothing budget. We love clothes and accessories right? I know I do.
On average each one of us throws away about 23 kilos of clothes a year. That’s about the same weight as an 8 year old child. Each year. Wow! One in five items are never actually worn, but thrown away anyway. Erm… Double Wow!
A small % is sent by our ‘better selves’ to charity shops and resold. A shocking and frankly landfill busting amount is trashed by our ‘too busy to recycle’ selves. Wow and Wow!
On average handmade clothes have a relatively higher price tag than mass produced ‘fast fashion’. But I wonder, is it more economical to buy a lot of cheaper ‘throw away’ clothes or a few handmade items that cost more, but you might just love them that little bit more too.
I was lucky enough to grow up in a very creative household, with two generations of eager sewers. My Mum and my Grandma. My Mum made clothes for me, and Grandma made most of her own clothes. It’s maybe because of this that I have always had an appreciation for handmade clothes, although my own sewing skills are bordering on mediocre.
I have made my own, and also buy handmade jewellery. Because I understand the work involved in it’s creation I cherish each piece and take good care of them. I don’t buy for the sake of buying, my wallet would not allow it. But I buy pieces because I love them, and they last a long time, because I love them and look after them. I do not show the same level of devotion to the cheap mass produced clothes that loiter in my closet. My subconscience it appears has categorized my wardrobe and accessories in to ‘treat it with care and it will always be there’ and ‘the cost was so low, just destroy it and throw’.
Members of the Handmade in Norway group will know that I do have a passion for all things handmade. So I will gladly pay the extra for an item that has been crafted with care and attention and by someone who loves to create. I love the unique quality of handmade items, although the same maker might make the same item often, no two are exactly the same. I can also find items that others do not have and that tell something about my personality. Unlike a lot of people, I do not wish to look like everybody else. I do wish that others would also see the benefits of buying unique instead of creating a clone-closet. Harsh but fair!
So is it better to fill your closet with clothes that were cheap to create and easy to throw, because you have no actual attachment to them? Or is it better to buy less, but better quality items, that have been crafted by somebody who loves what they do?
That, is your call to make. I am just a stranger with a blog to you. We are blessed with freedom of speech and the luxury of choice. You need to figure that one out on your own. But I for one, am happy with my decision.
Here’s a very useful article (in Norwegian) about the buy to throw fashion industry, or ‘fast fashion’ https://www.nrk.no/ostlandssendingen/nordmenn-kaster-tonnevis-av-klaer-1.13062888
And here is a similar article in English, about the same problem in England http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/earthnews/9301326/Clothes-join-rubbish-of-our-throwaway-society.html
Please feel free to comment on this blog, I’m very interested in hearing your opinion xx
Check ut what we do at Handmade in Norway by visiting our website www.handmadeinnorway.com
You are so right… On one side I see that it is slowly changing. More and more people start thinking about what they have/buy and try to minimize it to what is beautiful, what they like and what they feel well in. This means that buying crap in chain stores is loosing on popularity 😉 Also, a lot of chain stores started paying more attention to quality (I’m talking about materials they sew of), what has to be caused by people demanding something better. On the other hand, handmade market is growing and next to really beautiful things, there are many crappy ones. That makes people a bit skeptical – they don’t trust handmade brands enough. Or they expect handmade brand to compete with price with chain brands like H&M. I hope that would change as well. Anyway, it’s good you’re writing about taking care of stuff and thinking about the quality of what we buy.
Thank you so much for the comment. It’s great to know that there are some people out there that appreciate handmade. But like you said, the quality is so important. Somehow ‘handmade markets’ need to raise their profile and focus on providing the best quality items… without skimping on price. It takes time and dedication to make something from scratch. That process should also be respected.