So, my best friend recently started this called the 100 mile diet. She intends to only eat produce that comes from within 100 miles (0r 160 kilometres-ish) from where we live – sunny little Perth in Western Australia – incidentally the most isolated capital city in world. It’s a pretty neat idea, you can read about it at a hundred miles from anywhere.
It’s quite an appropriate concept, especially for somewhere like Perth, because for things to travel from other places and cities to here is actually pretty epic. And the more you think about it, the food aspect really wouldn’t be ridiculously hard (we do produce a lot of great fresh produce in WA, I think the only thing she’s struggling with is coffee), and it got me thinking. What other things do you buy that might have travelled thousands of kilometres to get to us, that perhaps don’t necessarily need to come from forever away?
If you’re anything like me, you probably spend a fair bit of your money (perhaps more than you do on food…) on your clothes. And chances are, they’re made somewhere very far away, be it chain store finds from China, investment pieces from Europe somewhere, or even “locally-produced” Australian designs (Sydney is a pretty hefty 3,900 kilometres from Perth).
Look, it might be an ridiculous idea to try a clothes version of the 100 mile diet. Things like shoes for example, or underwear, are both going to be pretty difficult to find locally produced. But I know lots of incredible Western Australian designers, producing their ranges in WA, whose creations I covet more than many other international and inter-state labels. As well our idyllic climate being pretty nicely suited to make delicious foods, Perth’s abundant sunshine also seems to help produce a very healthy crop of innovative, original and exceptionally talented fashion designers.
And there’s nothing much better (sartorially-speaking) for the environment, for my wallet and, well, for my conscience, than buying op shop clothes. Even though they might not originally be from within the 100-mile radius, they embody everything this idea is about; lessening my impact on the environment, and supporting my local community. And hey, it solves my shoe dilemma! (Albeit not my underwear one…. Ew.)
Then of course there’s the fashion equivalent of growing vegetables in the backyard: making my own clothes. Sewing’s one of those things every person should know how to do, it really isn’t hard (if you can follow a recipe to make a cake, you can follow instructions to make a dress). I’m pretty average at sewing (my dressmaking lecturer will be the first to tell you that), but I know the basics and I like to experiment cutting things up and draping, and that’s all you really need.
I plan to undertake this sartorial version of the 100 mile diet at the same time as my best friend undertakes the foodie one; for the month of November. This gives nearly a month to research West Australian made clothing, look into things like fabric production (with the exception of wool, there aren’t any textiles manufactured from scratch locally that I know of), and find out if such a thing exists as decent WA-made underwear…
It’s basically just a bit of fun, a small challenge for a month and potentially a pretty silly plan, but I think it’s an interesting idea. Why not stop and smell the roses right here in our own backyard?
And if all else fails, I’ve got the hilarious word-play title of my blog to fall back on, right?