DIY Seamstress Embarks On Year-Long 'Clothes Diet' | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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DIY Seamstress Embarks On Year-Long 'Clothes Diet'

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Lauren Talley, 25,  finishes sewing a dress in her apartment in Northwest D.C.
Emily Berman
Lauren Talley, 25, finishes sewing a dress in her apartment in Northwest D.C.

Lauren Talley grew up sewing. She made sleeping bags for her Beanie Babies, and even designed her own prom dress.

Now, a decade later, Talley says she's alarmed at the poor quality and high price of much of the fashion industry's offerings. So she's decided to go off the grid, fashion-wise. No clothes buying, for a full year.

"I calculated how much I spent [on clothes] in the last year," she says. "It was over $2,000! I was shocked and kind of embarrassed that I had spent that much."

It was on a shopping excursion at Bergdorf Goodman, late last fall, that this all started to come into focus. As someone who sews, she saw Bergdorf's akin to a museum. She walked around the store, examining the way skirts were lined, and the blouses were stitched. She held up a beautiful dress, and looked at the tags. It was made of cotton, made it China and the price? $500.

"I didn't understand why you'd spend that much money on something that is the same quality you could buy much cheaper," Talley says.

So she decided to take a time out. "I can't change that our clothes were made there, but I can choose not to buy them."

The way she sees it, making your own clothes, is a lot like making your own food.

"You could easily go to a fast food restaurant and grab your dinner, and its another thing to go the farmers market," she says. "In the same way, you can run to H&M and pick up an outfit. To make something, you really have to want to make it."

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