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Function, Fiber, and Reporposing is the New Fashion

Most of us have heard the buzz words – slow food, watershed, farm to table, reuse, re-purpose, and recycle, right? Have you realized similar words can relate to the clothes we wear? 

Slow fashion- this has to do with the process of how clothing is made, (it may take longer and have more steps like food) and using natural materials as much as possible. Slow fashion also means buying better quality garments that last longer, and are more about function than fashion. 

Fibershed – this is a geographically specific area in which fiber resources, such as angora, cashmere, flax, hemp, cotton, etc., are produced and used by people in the area. The Fibershed movement connects local fiber with communities and creates sustainability within the textile system. For more information on Fiber Sheds in Montana, go to

Farm to wear – just like getting to know the farmer or rancher that grows the food you purchase, farm to where is like knowing where your fiber comes from. As a rancher of a small flock of sheep, having our wool processed into roving and felt sheets and experimenting on my own creates excellent satisfaction in using a product in a sustainable, natural, historical way.

Learning where our clothing is made or following the story of how it got there will give a greater appreciation and personal value to our product. I am amazed at the work put into “pure clothing and crafts.” 

So you may ask why we should use these fibers. They are natural, renewable, biodegradable, and versatile. You may also ask what we can do to support these efforts. Here are a few ideas:

  • Ask questions about how the garment is made 
  • Read the labels
  • See if you can visit the farms and ranches
  • Attend Fiber Festivals
  • Shop at secondhand and vintage stores
  • Support and build connections with local weavers, spinners, and makers
  • Learn about different fibers from good books
  • Join a sewing, mending, spinning, felting, or weaving class
  • Most importantly, have fun, re-purpose, create, and enjoy the journey!
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