where do our clothes come from??

vintage sheet dress made for me my by my hubby (yes, he is awesome!) and a thrifted cardi..

Where do our clothes come from?
Who made them?
What were they paid and what conditions were they working in?
What impact does the making of my clothes have on the environment?
Which big businesses (whose ethics I don't agree with) benefit from the purchases I make?

undies made by me, using fabric and elastic found in op shops!

These are just some of the questions that my husband and I started asking ourselves almost 10 years ago, which has led us on a journey of choosing to buy and wear (apart from the odd necessity) only second hand clothing. Sure, it helps that we both adore op shopping, and we're the arty farty types who can get away with the alternative look that happens when you don't go for what's in fashion, but the "opshop" look is much more then a look for us, it's a statement. A political, ethical and spiritual expression for us. I know that sounds a bit over the top, but it really is that significant for our family and the way we do life.

pretty collar made by my clever sis in law Taz, opshopped tshirt.

The purchase of a sewing machine a couple of years ago expanded the ways in which I thought about clothes. Suddenly I wasn't only wearing second hand clothes, but I was actually attempting to make my own with all the wonderful thrifted fabric I kept finding on Op Shop jaunts. I had (still have) very limited sewing skills, but determination, creativity and KEEPING IT SIMPLE made it possible to make quite a lot of the clothes I now wear. Sewing clothes really highlighted to me once again the patience and skill that must go into each garment we buy. And it really has me wondering how a shop like Kmart can charge $5 for a packet of 3 pairs of women's underpants, for instance. What percentage of that price are the factory workers receiving, I wonder? Surely, not much. And surely they deserve more.

thrifted sheet dress made by me, cardi from op shop

So we wear second hand. And handmade. Often upcycled handmade. Most days I feel like one of the Von Trapp children in Maria's curtain-come-playclothes creations (gotta love the Sound of Music!)Sometimes our clothes are made by us, and sometimes they are made by other wonderful folk we know. If we hear of an ethical social enterprise type clothing company, we try and support them as well. I have a real passion for justice and I feel like I am literally wearing my heart on my sleeve each day that I get dressed.

crocheted slippers made for me by my friend and old neighbour, Lily

As a bit of extra fun, I have been wearing something handmade every single day, as part of an online challenge called Handmade 365 put together by the inspiring and original Granny Chic, Rochelle, who writes the wonderful blog Ted and Agnes. Come find me on Instagram and perhaps join the fun!! The photos in this post are all from my daily Instagram feed. Pip Lincolne has also been getting the conversation going about many of these matters over on her kick arse blog Meet me at Mikes.

necklace made by my bestie Ash, shirt/head scarf are secondhand.

I'd love to hear your own thoughts, stories, ideas on this topic...... I understand that what works for me not work for everybody!!

Mezz xo


  1. I love seeing what you make. I have a pile of fabric and a sewing machine, now I need to conquer dresses. I can never buy the right length because it's not usually in fashion so I WILL make my own. You've definitely inspired me :)

    1. thankyou for your comment!!you can do it!!

  2. Oh Mezz, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing all that lovely handmade goodness. The knickers are flipping awesome and Mr Mezz made that dress for you? Good God, I'm in shock! Do you follow patterns (I can never understand patterns, they like some unintelligible foreign language to me)? Can you recommend some on your blog? The commenter above is right, you (and your hubby and friends) are inspirational. xx

    1. hi loo...yes the knickers are pretty fun!! no, I cant follow patterns either.. they tend to freak me out!!! I choose clothes that I already have that look simple enough and then "copy them" as best as I can. there have definitely been a few fails, but sometimes they work out! the only recommendation I can give is KEEP IT SUPER SIMPLE. maybe start with a favourite piece of clothing ( an A line dress??) and see if you can figure out how it was made and then give it a go. xx

  3. oh yes, and the hubby is a maker of all sorts and he thought what the heck and is now quite handy with sewing machine!