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.
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.”
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: