I am overwhelmed with pride of all those who took part in the challenge to make a locally sourced outfit as part of #1year1outfit in 2015.
It is difficult to adequately represent the effort and creativity required to complete each outfit in one post, and have decided to dedicate a post to each broad region as the challenges each faced were unique.
Let’s Begin at Home – Australia and New Zealand.
The participants from Oceania, all found the same thing, wool as a raw resource, is plentiful, but processing mills that were in existence have all but shut down in recent decades in favour of overseas processing. In addition to wool, we found small niche producers of silk, barramundi leather and alpaca.
Despite the mills of old having all but closed, there are signs that small, local, niche mills are on the rise. These small businesses are in their infancy and need our support if they are to thrive. My list of South West Australian suppliers is here and Rachel’s map of Victorian suppliers is here. For New Zealand, check out Libby’s podcasts for some great interviews with local suppliers.
The challenge became about making fabric from what was available, which was either the raw wool product, roving or yarn. Each of us used the skills of local spinners to varying degrees and made fabric by some combination of knitting, felting or weaving. As there was no Australian local thread or notions available the next challenge was to work out how to turn that fabric into outfits sans sewing machine.
All of us posted about the challenges of this process throughout the year, and I thought it was worth highlighting some of the most interesting posts:
- Felting at home set up with Sue
- Felting with Carolyn
- Felting with Hyperlocal Fur with Megan
- Shoe making with Sue
- Shoe making with Carolyn
- Natural dyeing with native indigo
- Natural dyeing with Australian plants on linen
- Learning to Weave
- Knitting machine with Sue
- Making silk tissue from cocoons
- Rachel’s Entire Blog!
Without further ado, I am proud to introduce the proud owners of locally sourced and made outfits! Much cheering!! Thank you all for joining me on this crazy journey!
“After all, it’s not just an outfit, it’s the culmination of a whole process of researching, gathering materials, experimenting, learning and creating. It’s also a reminder to look at what is on your doorstep, unleash its potential and consider the environment and the mass production factories in the process.”
Sue’s final outfit is a lesson is ways to manipulate wool! Sue’s outfit included 8 pieces, shoes, underwear and bag included. Sue’s commitment to the project was incredible, with her motto being, if at first you don’t suceed, try and try again.
Sue also made her husband this stunning jumper, courtesy of Molly the Alpaca.
Carolyn made her entire outfit – cardigan, dress, bag, shoes and under things – from West Australian wool, alpaca and timber. The details of this outfit are outstanding, and I urge you to take a stroll through her blog to read all about her leanings and techniques, and to drool over the embroidered details of her dress. In her own words “This has been one exceedingly amazing ride, has blown my mind more than any other dressmaking challenge I’ve ever done, and really pushed my creativity to the limit.”
Raquel has a fledgling business in northern NSW growing dye plants and I cannot wait to see where it heads in the coming years. Raquel made this gorgeous adult sized alpaca poncho with the help of local spinners who came to her aid when she fell ill this year. I wish her a year full of health and flowers in 2016!
Rachel’s participation in this project has been invaluable. Rachel is yet to make an outfit, but has systematically and methodically been research all the aspects of textile production in her area. As a result her blog has become a fantastic resource if you want to know anything about wool production in Australia and the processing plants that still operate in Melbourne. She has gone on several site visits and her posts are always thought provoking.
If you live in Melbourne, you need to join her Facebook Group, Fibershed Melbourne, dedicated to finding local textile suppliers and talent in Victoria.
Libby is a New Zealand based knitwear designer who is dedicated to using local yarns. She designs specifically to local yarn providers, and as part of this project has designed a sweater using a Romney yarn. She is yet to publish the final sweater, but this sneak peek has me drooling!
And just for completion, my outfit is here too.
Read on to ….
See the European local outfits here
And the US local outfits here.