Textiles and Community

Food is often talked about as the community gatherer. We break bread together. Family meets for meals. Events revolve around elaborate feasts. 

Communities also share in common the types of clothes that we wear and textiles we use. Clothes have often been important cues to tell us the status and role of the people around us. Clothes might help tell people what tribe you belong to or region you came from.

Because many feel that the types of clothes we wear define our status in society, we feel we are at the whim of pressures to keep shopping for latest fad. Meanwhile, clothes are increasingly homogeneous and we are feeling more detached from the origins of the clothes than ever. Clothes are often so cheaply made that we hardly have time to get to know them before they are gone again. Even expensive Italian designed shoes are made with cheap materials and with cheap labor. While some feel helpless with these trends others scorn any interest in thinking about our wardrobes. 

But what if, rather then scorning fashion, we were to recapture our relationship with our clothes, ensure that they truly reflect our values and remember the social connection that they represent? 

How to reconnect with textiles:

Rich Fabric of Textiles
Get back to basics with the materials around you. It can be highly satisfying to renew your understanding of the knits and weaves in your life. Check out these awesome options in our region:

Fixing and Making New Clothes
A few basics on sewing can help you keep the clothes you love longer. It also helps when you are shopping so you know what a good hem looks like and better quality products. Even if you are never going to get to a class, just about every dry cleaners in town also does mending and alterations. Ask about it at the one nearest you.

Can Shopping Be Communal?

Host a swap party! or give, receive and trade at these Portland community centers call Swap n plays:

Online Swapping Instead of Shopping
Did you think just because you prefer to use your laptop to shop that you would have to be left out of this conversation? Well think again! There are also great resources for the virtual swapper. Shop closets all over America and sell your clothes too!

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