yarns about us..
I can remember exactly, the moment, that I traded in fast fashion for good. I know the decision to make ethical choices is ongoing, and of course one is usually a bit more, say morally inclined then the next. But I can still pinpoint the moment, or collection of moments, that led me into the light, as it were.
It was a tea towel.
I had just returned home to Canada, after living and traveling overseas for a few years. And I was furnishing yet another apartment, on a tight budget- as I’m sure many a wanderer can relate to. I scoured the thrift stores for pots and pans, dug out an old antique sofa from storage, and found a cheap vintage bike off Craigslist..
When I needed household linens, I did what many people do- I hit up the big box stores, looking for “deals”. And there were plenty to be had, if you were looking. Thing was, when it came time to hand over my money at the counter, I wavered. I couldn't do it.
Turns out, I could no longer blindly fall for these so called 'deal’s'.
"somewhere, somebody's paying something"
It didn't feel right, buying anything labeled 'made in China' or 'Bangladesh' anymore. So I kept searching and searching. And as my kitchen cupboards slowly filled with beautiful spices and natural food & my fridge looked like a tiny Farmers Market; as I finally found a good bike route to a shop where I could find ethical imports, such as fair trade coffee and coconut oil...
I was considering putting sheets on my bed that were made in a sweatshop?
And so my linen closet remained empty.
I was still rocked by all that I had seen on my travels. I remembered Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand. The filth, the poverty. The beautiful people and the smiling faces despite it all...
And I admit, I drifted in and out of nostalgia, those first few weeks in my new apartment. I watched the winter snow falling down for the first time in years, I sat on the floorboards, surrounded by my books..
I tried to forget things, I tried to remember things….
My favorite author once wrote,
“Thus it is that no cruelty whatsoever passes by without impact. Thus it is that we always pay dearly for chasing after what is cheap.”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956
I realized I could not argue the fact that, up until now, I had been contributing to the atrocities of slave labor. It was unavoidable. I WAS. Because I had been going to Target and buying cheap pillow cases, dishcloths, and sheets- and maybe a cheap T-shirt too while I was at it. Just like everyone else.
"Look at these tea towels I got for a dollar!" we all exclaim to one another, beaming,But how can a tea towel be only one dollar?
Well, I found out the answer. It can't.
My moral compass was darting wildly to and fro. I couldn’t ignore it anymore. Nor could I ignore the fact that I really, really needed new sheets.
And in this reorganizing of my linen closet, there was a reshuffling of my life, my values. When I just let those shelves be empty for a few weeks, I unintentionally fought against that weird instinctual need to ‘have stuff’, to fill spaces...A lot of things came out into the light, in that way an empty apartment, that doesn’t smell like home yet, can illuminate feelings you didn’t even know you had…
In the process of simply returning home and 'moving', I came face to face with what I didn't even realize I believed in.
And found that I believed in it passionately.
And so I can remember when, simply sitting at my old beat up, 1950's Formica and chrome kitchen table, contemplating the label on a tea towel,
Now I am on a quest to find out how things are made, to find the true artisans out there, who have been cast aside in these last decades of fast fashion.
I have realized perhaps I need just two sets of really beautiful, ethically made, quality sheets- instead of four sets of polluted ones.
And I have come to the conclusion that, we can pay a little more-
We can afford it.
And we can have a little less, 'cause we can afford that too..
I invite you to join me, follow me, and cheer me on if you can, while I search the world for quality, artisanal textiles. As I hand pick, curate, and bring that selection home to my shop, know that each and every piece is made for a fair wage, in an ethical and sustainable way. And by supporting Hope + Twine, you are supporting the artisans that make them -allowing us to place yet larger and larger orders for them to proudly fill.
-Thus employing more people, and setting off a ripple effect of awesomeness.
thank you so much for your support,
Long live slow fashion!!
Peace and Love,
Hope & Twine