Have you heard of the theory of diffusion of innovation? Basically it posits that there is a pattern to how new ideas, trends, technology ... innovations, in essence ... are spread. In public health we'd call this "social norms" and "changing the discourse around social norms." [OK, I call it this. I like to make up my own jargon.] But the basic idea is that there are some people at the very edge of a new innovation, the ones leading the charge, coming up with new ideas, etc., and they're the innovators. The earliest people to catch on to the new idea are the early adopters, followed by the early majority, etc. People who study this claim that if you can get ~18% of the population to catch on to an innovation [i.e. somewhere between the early adopters and the early majority], then it will eventually filter out to the rest of the population. It's the tipping point, but in social science, not Malcolm Gladwell, terms.
I've been thinking about this recently because I'm wondering what it would take for DIY and crafting to "go mainstream." Hit that tipping point. And trying to figure out where we currently are on this curve. I mean, wouldn't it be cool if DIY and crafting and handmade returned to hold a role in everyday life? It could be a pipe dream, but maybe not - I mean, look at where the sustainable agriculture, organic food, local food, slow food, local business movement is! Ten years ago you'd say "Michael who?" if Michael Pollan's name came up. So how can we get more people on board with this? Do you think we're currently innovators, or have we moved out to the early adopter phase?
One difference between food and crafting, of course, is that crafting can be more involved. Well, debatable. Cooking certainly is an involved process, but people can also support the movement by buying organic or going to farmers markets. But crafters have something similar in Etsy and indie/handmade fashion labels, no? They give people a way to participate in the handmade movement without having to make things by hand themselves, although ideally I'd love to see a general return to the "make do," improvised, fix it don't trash it, mentality of times past.
I'm guessing that the first step in my own life would be to talk about the value of handmade, starting with every time I get a compliment on a piece of clothing or bag that I've made. Most of the time I don't even tell people I made it! I don't know why I don't say anything, I think I'm a little shy and hate to draw more attention to myself. But maybe if I really want to get more people on board with the DIY culture, it's time to step out of that shell a bit.
Enough of that. On to the outfits, lady!
Handmade dress. Since it wasn't quite warm enough to wear the dress on its own, I improvised. When I make something new, I like to wear it all the time, unless it really doesn't work for me, in which case it never gets worn and is eventually repurposed or donated.
Handmade skirt. It's funny, even though I find this skirt hard to match because of the difference in value between the deep blue denim and the white background of the pockets, I somehow wind up wearing it all the time. I think that's because it's an in-between seasons skirt that can stretch from early spring to early summer and then early fall into warm-ish winter days, and I don't have very many of those. Note to self: wardrobe gap!
Handmade scarf and underwear. Sigh, I hate to admit this ... but I miss my RTW clothing! Which is really funny because some of my favorite skirts are my handmade summer skirts ... and yet ... and yet? I guess I don't like living off them entirely, like I get bored? Or maybe I feel like wearing a lot of dresses and have only made myself 3 of those? Or maybe I haven't outgrown my teenage rebellious ways? Or maybe photographing my outfits each day has pointed out a certain ... sameness ... to them, like proportion and cut, which is pushing me to want to mix it up except I can't because most of my handmade clothing looks, well, a little bit the same. A-line skirts and all.
Had a really nice, relaxing afternoon in the park. I sat on a bench and called my good friend in CA and she caught me up on all the gossip in our circle of friends [we went to high school together, although Kat and I also did college together and then lived ~1 mile apart in SF for 2 years]. I watched a group of students about my age throw a football around, a group of 3 males play whiffle ball in the baseball diamond and it cracked me up to see the "outfielder" on his cell phone, trying to make one-handed catches. And then I lay in the grass and started Peter Hessler's River Town. I wish I had read this before I did my year in China. At the time I had heard of it but refrained because I was jealous -- who was this foreigner writing about China to such acclaim? But 2 pages into the book it is very clear that authoring such a book has nothing to do with whether you are a foreigner or not, but rather whether you have an open heart, a watchful eye, and a willingness to ask questions. They say envy points you to the directions that you want to grow, and I certainly wish I could write about China the way he does. But, you know, mine is a different story to tell. Right now I'm just absorbing it, dissecting it, gaining inspiration, and letting it all percolate ...