At the start of this year I set myself a ridiculous challenge. I had no idea whether it was achievable, and that was part of the attraction. I promised you that I would make an outfit that was made from local fibre, local labour and local colour, even if that meant wearing a crochet bikini! Following the Fibreshed philosophy was a massive ask given the remoteness of the city I live in.
Well, here I am fully clothed in local wool, alpaca, silk and clay, feeling pretty darn chuffed. I learnt to felt, knit, weave, crochet, natural dye, wood fire and handstitch in the making of this outfit. My one skill that I had any experience in (machine sewing) turned out to be completely and utterly useless.
Throughout the year I actively recorded the colours and seasons around me in my visual diary (cough, instagram), and I fell head over heels in love with this city again. The brightness of the sun, sky and sand, and the sleek black of the swan were my inspiration for the colour palette. The nuts and flowers of eucalypts created the pattern in my vest and the pom poms in my shoes. The herringbone weave chosen as it looks like patterns in the sand under the waves. Somehow it seems silly to write this all down, but I really do feel like this outfit is both perfectly me and this land that I grew up on.
I wanted to learn about the sustainability of textiles and I thought that working from the ground up would be the best way to do it. I can tell you now, that it was that and so much more. I am privileged to have meet so many wonderful people (and animals) this year, people who care passionately about the environment and textiles and who shared their knowledge with me.
Some of these crazy people even decided to give this challenge a go themselves, and together in Perth we have built a little community. A little community of local textile discoverers who have made this project feel less overwhelming and who pushed me to make something that at the start of this year I would never have dreamed of. For those in Perth, we hope to hold a gathering in the new year to celebrate this wonderful Fibreshed in which we live.
Watch this space for more posts on local garments made by participants far and wide, and for details on doing it all again next year if you are thinking of joining in!
Felt top: merino roving and olive oil soap, details here
Zac’s tank: Alpaca fleece, details here
Herringbone Skirt: handspun wool, sour grass, local clay, merino roving, alpaca mill off cuts, hand reeled silk thread, details here
Necklace: local clay, handspun wool dyed with sour grass and eucalypts
Pom Pom garland: alpaca mill off cuts, handspun wool dyed with sour grass and eucalypt, details here
Neck warmer: merino roving dyed with native indigo, details here
Boots: not made by me, but 10 years old and resoled, re zipped time and again, making them a sustainability stand out in my wardrobe