Fashion brands and clothing manufacturers rely on a global supply of extractive and linear materials. This economic model leads to exponential growth in waste across every supply chain stage. A growing trend to reduce textile waste from overconsumption is based on a capitalist model of exponential economic growth meant to keep people wanting more. Research on sustainable fashion focusing on alternative futures through small and local making practices explores how engagement with clothing deepens our attachment, illustrating the vitality of practice to reshape the disposable nature of fashion. To shift away from fast fashion, the collective efforts of everyday citizens demonstrate how social forces can have a significant impact. This paper explores an ongoing research project on prolonging garment and textile usage by engaging with surplus textiles and hand stitching. As a developing method for future research, the aim is to imagine a useful future for garments, stitch by stitch. While narrowly focusing on the slow stitch, there are connections to the larger problem space.
KEYWORDS: systems thinking, design for repair (DFR), product longevity, reverse supply chain, slow fashion, care and maintenance, generational garments