Let’s kick things off with the WHY of creating our own knitted wardrobes...
Why bother? Why go to the effort? What are the benefits?
You might be a knitter yourself, but as mentioned in Never Been Knit's last post, that doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone knits FOR themsevles.
As a personal stylist at New Boots and Panties, I hear so many reasons a to why knitwear so often doesn’t make it into our everyday wardrobes - it’s the same factors and self-doubts that are usually at play, that most of us have inside of us: lack of body confidence, concerns over how it’ll make us look, sense of self-worth and being deserving of such a time-intensive piece, convenience, budget - some of these we’ll look at, and debunk, later on in this series.
Today, rather than working on the concerns that make a knitted wardrobe a WHY NOT, I thought we’d kick off by taking a look at the WHY YES - what are the pros and benefits of building yourself your very own knitted wardrobe?
There was a time where if you wanted a new garment, you had to make it yourself - be it by knitting, sewing or weaving. But post-war society with the rise of industrialism and capitalism saw the uprise of mass-manufacturing in factories and outsourcing of labour, resulting in cheap goods. It was suddenly affordable and achievable to buy your own clothing. And since women (i.e. the household clothes-makers) were now working 40-hour weeks, when they weren’t before, the desire for convenience (understandably!) took hold.
In the past couple of decades, we have seen a massive upsurge of cheap, fast-fashion and global chain-stores which are made possible by atrocious working conditions for those making our clothes in factories aka. sweat-shops in third-world countries. As well as often being a violation of human rights, fast-fashion is also having a massive negative environmental impact with it causing excessive pollution and oversaturated landfills - our planet is simply unable to keep up with our disposable attitudes when it comes to fashion and the billions of garments that we toss away each year.
The 2013 Dhaka garment factory collapse, with a death toll of over a thousand was a wake up call to many, however years later and fast-fashion still reigns supreme. Whilst factors like economic inequality, and lack of plus-size options, means that fast-fashion brands still have a valid place - there are ways that we can all begin to make our wardrobes slower, more sustainable and carefully executed.
Luckily, as knitters, we hold the power of slow-fashion in our cute and clever lil’ hands! With just two needles and some yarn we CAN make a difference in the world, and produce garments that are kinder for the environment and stand up against needless consumerism and fast-fashion one stitch at a time.
A handmade knit is for life, not just for a season!
Handmade items, lovingly, slowly crafted over time simply last longer than those made in a factory. There’s a reason why there’s so much great knitwear in op shops, and why it’s such an in demand genre in the world of vintage fashion. A well-made hand-knitted item, when properly cared for, will last decades. So whilst the initial investment - be it in time, patience or financial - will certainly always be higher than buying a synthetic knit off the rack in a mall, chances are that yours is going to be a one-time-only investment. As for that synthetic, cheap, on-trend piece? I think we’ve all experienced a washing machine or dryer disaster on it’s first wash - a one-way ticket to landfill.
IT'S GOOD FOR YOU!
We all know that knitting is good for you, so I’m not going to go on about this one for long - mindfulness, stress relief, endorphins, mental agility, time away from doom scrolling social media - you know it all already!
Let’s just say that knitting is a bit like going for a run every day for a month...and getting something totally cool and beautiful and unique to wear at the end of it!
Why is couture and bespoke fashion so desirable, idolised and expensive? It’s because you’re getting a one-of-a-kind piece, made to your exact measurements, in whatever colour you want.
Why is knitting your own garments so great? It’s because you’re getting a one-of-a-kind piece, made to your exact measurements, in whatever colour you want.
Oh....hang on!!! Knitwear is like COUTURE you can make for yourself!
NATURE LOVES US!
Wool. It’s actually kind of magical, isn’t it?!
100% natural, 100% biodegradable, 100& renewable, wrinkle resistant, breathable, reacts to body temperature in its own climate controlled system making you warm when it’s cold and cool when it’s hot, odour resistant, absorbs moisture, fire and UV resistant - oh my, I’m feeling a little giddy from this glorious list - these are the kind of properties that scientists toil away for years trying to recreate synthetically, costing millions of bucks - and yet this is natural material that we can ACTUALLY just pop down to Outlaw Yarn and buy?! I’M SHOOK!!!
All hail the beautiful and lovely sheep - the four-legged WIZARD OF TEXTILES!
I hope by looking at the many and varied benefits of knitted, wool based, garments, they begin to outweigh the reservations and prejudices that we hold within us.
In the next instalment of this series, we’re going to look at ACCESSORIES! Hats, beanies, scarves and gloves - whatever your jam, we’re going to look at different styles, and accessible patterns for all tastes and skill levels to help you begin planning and assembling your handmade, knitted wardrobe.
See you then!
I'm Lou, an Ōtautahi based personal stylist and craft-lover, and this is Never Been Knit - my journey from complete knitting virgin to...well, let's find out together!