Although crocheting and knitting can become slow fashion, the yarn community has a propensity to over consume, directly contributing to environmental damage.
The low quality and rapid deterioration of fast-fashion pieces encourages consumers to purchase items while they’re trendy then discard them when they inevitably fall out of style. Slow fashion, by contrast, aims to produce high quality designs and timeless pieces buyers can use past one season.
Knitting and crocheting draw in many beginners—myself included—because the internet characterizes them as a part of slow fashion. I started crocheting this past summer because I wanted to expand my wardrobe without the guilt of contributing to the destructive system of fast fashion.
I later came to discover knitting and crochet aren’t always sustainable.
TikTok is full of content creators testing how many items of clothing they can knit or crochet during a long car ride or on an airplane. This surge in popularity has led many crafters to create a lot of projects they don’t need or use.
Content creators produce an endless quantity of free patterns they make available to their viewers. The accessibility of these patterns promotes the excess creation of trendy items crafters wind up discarding after some time.
Acrylic yarn is often inexpensive, making it appealing to crocheters and knitters, but its affordability comes with drawbacks. Its manufacturing produces fossil fuels and requires a large draw of energy. When discarded, acrylic yarn doesn’t decompose like cotton, wool, or other natural fibres do.
Like fast fashion items, the low price of this textile leads to its overconsumption. Knitters and crocheters can buy cheap acrylic yarn and create even more projects they’ll never use again.
The threats of overconsumption and environmental damage involved in knitting and crochet can be lessened by adopting a slow fashion mindset.
To avoid overconsumption, ask yourself if you really need what you’re making, or if you’ve made similar things in the past. If you have created similar projects in the past but want to complete another one for fun, donate the product to people in need, or give it to a friend.
Repurpose old projects—try unraveling abandoned past projects or thrift store items for yarn.
Breathe new life into old items, instead of discarding projects in landfills.
Arden is a third-year sociology student and The Journal’s Editorials Illustrator.
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