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Jane Milburn: Australia’s Slow Clothing champion, author and philosopher

By Nina Gbor 15 February 2018 2
Jane Milburn. Photos: Supplied.

Jane Milburn. Photos: Supplied.

As the topic of sustainability becomes increasingly relevant in our lives, Jane Milburn stands out as an empowering leader, particularly in the sphere of sustainable clothing. Jane is a sustainability consultant, slow clothing pioneer, TEDx speaker, upcycler and agricultural scientist.

Recently in Canberra for the launch of her new book, Slow Clothing: Finding meaning in what we wear, Jane says “Slow Clothing is a philosophy. It is a way of thinking about, choosing and wearing clothes to ensure they bring meaning, value and joy to every day.” The Canberra book launch was held with special guest, Dr Richard Denniss, economist and author of Curing Affluenza.

Slow Clothing book.

Jane is also the founder of Textile Beat, a social enterprise inspiring mindful, sustainable, ethical ways of dressing with a good conscience.

Jane believes ethical issues such as synthetic fibres, excessive consumption, textile waste, modern-day slavery and loss of skills and knowledge are the reasons why we need to change the way we dress.

With an agricultural science background, Jane likens what we wear to what we eat. She says clothing, like food, is essential for health and wellbeing. Our clothes do for us on the outside what food does inside. Therefore, dressing is a daily activity that reflects and defines our values. We’re drawn to clothes emotionally, physically and even spiritually. We want to feel and look good, belong, and reflect an image.

However, we choose ready-made garments designed for us based on metrics like spending capacity, status, age, and stage of life. Jane believes until we stop following fashion trends, “we are trapped in a vortex with little thought beyond the next outfit – without consideration for how we can engage our own creative expression, energy and skills to what is already around us.”

Upcycled outfit made by Jane Milburn.

As an antidote, Jane has created a Slow Clothing manifesto with guiding principles for a sustainable wardrobe:

  • THINK – make thoughtful, ethical informed choices;
  • NATURAL – treasure fibres from nature and limit synthetics;
  • QUALITY – buy well once, quality remains after price is forgotten;
  • LOCAL – support local makers, those with good stories and fair trade;
  • FEW – live with less, have a signature style, minimal wardrobe, unfollow;
  • CARE – mend, patch, sort, sponge, wash less, use cold water, line-dry;
  • MAKE – learn how to sew as a life skill, value DIY and handmade;
  • REVIVE – enjoy vintage, pre-loved, renting and swapping;
  • ADAPT – upcycle, refashion, eco-dye, create new from old;
  • SALVAGE – donate, pass on, rag, weave, recycle or compost.

Jane teaches the Slow Clothing philosophy at talks and gives upcycling workshops around the country.

Find your copy of Slow Clothing here.

Also find Textile Beat on social media:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/textilebeat/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TextileBeat/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/textilebeat

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2 Responses to
Jane Milburn: Australia’s Slow Clothing champion, author and philosopher
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Maya123 7:40 pm 15 Feb 18

Good article. About a year ago I made the decision to try to buy only clothing made with natural fibre. (That’s for new clothing. If I buy second-hand it doesn’t matter, as the clothing already exists and that’s reusing it.) So far that’s what I have done, except for a new pair of jeans I bought yesterday. Naively I thought that the denim would be cotton. It is, but only 65%. I must be more careful next time.

Anne-Marie Pixie Bryant 7:11 pm 15 Feb 18

Great article! Got so much to think about and research and design after reading this. Thank you for getting the word out about initiatives that rebel against the current state of our society 🙂

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