⟨ Slow Stitch ⟩

Slow down and stitch through time

SLOW STiTCH PROjECT

Words / tobycrispy
translation / Iris Heung

在陽光下和手黹起舞

手指配合手腕微微的轉動,每一根神經正與針線在布面上舞蹈著節奏,這種溫柔細微的觸感,與心靈的互動,被遺忘了卻再次被回味,是「忘記了」還是「忘不了」?

疫症讓我們重新思考生活的需要、物質的意義;我們被迫慢下來,開始懷疑從前「快」的必要,這不就是我們在時代巨輪上追趕得喘不過氣來時,一直渴求的細味生活嗎?

Stitches dancing in the sun

The wrist is subtly bending in harmony with the movement of the fingers, choreographing a beautiful dance of needle and thread on a piece of fabric. The tenderness of the movement interacts with our souls to remind us of the once-forgotten treasure of life. In fact, did we ever forget about this irreplaceable treasure?

The pandemic has taught us to rethink about our actual needs and our material life. When being somehow forced to take life slowly, we began to doubt why were we living at such a fast pace. Isn’t the slowness that we are now having exactly what we craved for when getting suffocated on the stressful days?

慨嘆工藝何價,不能想像這麼細腻的人手刺繡是來自速食的時尚品牌。

從前迷失在「快時尚」中的羔羊,逐漸醒來,意識到快速低廉的代價是時候償還,一雙雙被遺忘的巧手,一段段動人的典故,終於像如獲至寶。正如權威的時尚趨勢專家、Anti_Fashion Manifesto的發表者Lidewij Edelkoort所說,我們正經歷一場「消費隔離」,疫症為時裝界打開空白的一頁,讓我們重組體系,撰寫一個可持續發展的未來。

「時尚」是以服飾來作社會的鏡子,「慢」正就是當下的關鍵字,一眾走在前端的時尚生活達人都正在以不同的方式推動「慢時尚」,重拾得來不易的手藝和生活智慧,強調製作衣服的藝術,並歌頌工匠們的歷練。

What is the value of craftsmanship? Can you imagine these delicate embroideries being the products of a fast fashion brand?

Once lost in the swirl of fast fashion, we now woke up from the illusion and realized the price we had to pay for the fast and cheap fashion. We have left behind the skillful hands of the artisans, we have left behind the stories that once moved us. After a long detour, these gems are in our grasp again. Lidewij Edelkoort, the world’s famous trend forecaster and the author of Anti_Fashion Manifesto, said the virus was causing “a quarantine of consumption”, that “we will be in a position of having a blank page for a new beginning” of “a better system”. 

Fashion is a mirror that reflects the ideology of a society. “Slow” is one of the most important keywords of this decade. Many of the trendsetters began to advocate for slow fashion and the return to craftsmanship and the wisdom of everyday life. The new trend of fashion stresses on clothes as a form of art, and praises the techniques and stories of artisans.

位於京都的minä perhonen piece,以裁剪剩下的布碎來裝飾布簾,卷裝布剩下的紙筒來作天花的燈飾。

日本時尚品牌minä perhonen設計師皆川明先生,重視設計的持久性,他位於京都的概念店 —— PIECE,以永續生活為主調,在牆壁上打了個洞,透露製作的過程,故意把車衣機的聲音融入店內的空間。

我們不需要每年的52個季度系列、1000億件衣物生產,因為只有能讓觸感帶來安慰或喚起情感的,才值得面世,以及在衣櫥裡留一席位。

若要脱了軌的時尚循環回歸生活的本質,就得回到原點。世界上最具影響力的時尚博物館——英國的Victoria & Albert Museum在蘇格蘭東部丹地的分館 V&A Dundee,找來倫敦的Stitch School合辦Sewing Box For The Future,在線上線下教授多樣基本的縫補技巧,鼓勵再生時尚的減廢生活概念自不待言。

「慢時尚」依舊愉悅心靈,並注入多元的方式,把被遺忘了的手藝傳承到未來,如美國的「慢設計」先鋒Alabama Chanin,把她的設計品、生產工房、 造衣學校以及高級料理結合在一起;而我最愛的造衣工具品牌Merchant & Mills,就將他們的Sewing Retreat帶到海邊民宿⋯⋯ 故事總是越慢越令人著迷,是時候整理我的書簽記錄,逐一找來他們一起對談有關「慢時尚」的理念,在日後和大家分享。

The minä perhonen piece store in Kyoto is decorated with fabric scraps from curtain production, and some empty cardboard roll after being used for rolling up fabric. 

Akira Minagawa, the designer/founder of the Japanese fashion brand minä perhonen, endeavors to achieve sustainability. The brand’s store piece, Kyoto, is themed around sustainability. Going into the shop, you can see a big “hole” that allows you to peek into the background of the production, where a seamstress is busy sewing with a sewing machine. In fact, you can even hear the sound of the sewing machine running in the shop.  

The contemporary fashion industry has 52 seasons a year that produce up to 100 billion pieces of clothes. Do we really need that much? Perhaps not, because only the pieces that can stimulate your emotion are needed, after all.

The current fashion cycle is apparently still on the wrong track. If we would like to see it back on track, the only method is to first return to the very beginning of fashion. The V&A is the world’s leading museum of art and design. Their branch in Dundee, Scotland is collaborating with Stitch-School on an exhibition titled Sewing Box for the Future, which provides practical online and offline needlework classes that advocate recycled and upcycled fashion as a means to help reduce waste.

Slow fashion can bring joy to our souls. Traditional craftsmanship can also be passed on to the future through a variety of creative ways. The American fashion designer Alabama Chanin is one of the most renowned slow design movement activists. She has taken the extra mile to combine designer items, production, fashion school, and fine dining into one integrated experience for her customers to understand her value from all angles. My favorite sewing tools brand Merchant & Mills also took their Sewing Retreat classes to a seaside vacation rental to make sewing a vacation activity. These are only two examples of how people advocate for slow fashion I have on top of my head. There are many more fascinating stories that I can tell, but I better spend some time organizing the list I have and share it with you one by one in another article. 

在香港,就讓我的《慢針黹》企劃先以一年為期限,把縫補針黹藝術帶回日常,以不同的形式,例如線上至線下的針黹教學、集體藝術創作、作品和書籍分享、交流會、以及再生時尚服務,在不同的在地場境下,把一衆「慢時尚」愛好者聚集起來,共同創作,成為改變的榜樣,好讓衣物的質感和設計的心思重新被欣賞,從過程中療癒疲憊的靈魂。

大自然儘管發怒了,卻給我們留點後路,以疫症提醒我們重拾生活的本質和技能,靜下來慢慢修繕自己的故事。

Shifting the focus back to Hong Kong, my SLOW STiTCH PROjECT is a one-year project that aims at making sewing and stitching part of our everyday life. The project includes multiple hands-on online and offline activities for participants to learn embroidery skills, to try a collaborative design, to share with other participants works and books they like, and to engage in recycled and upcycled fashion. The project provides slow fashion followers a platform to get to know one another, and hence join forces to advocate the value. Through this, a bigger crowd of people can take it slow to enjoy the beauty of the nice fabric and the mindfulness of the designers’ work, so fashion items can, once again, soothe our exhausted souls.

Nature is angry at the irresponsible behavior of human beings, but it is still giving us a second chance. The virus is a signal from nature to remind us of the essence of life and the purpose of craftsmanship. With such realization, we can gradually turn the story of our lives into a finer one.

詳情可留意Tobycrispy的專頁Instagram的動向。