The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School

The Black and White

The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School

The Black and White

The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School

The Black and White

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Crocheting for the environment (and my wallet)

When I make my own clothes, I know exactly what I’m putting onto my body, and the pieces of clothing I’ve made are better quality and less expensive than fast fashion.

On a typical Saturday night, most teenagers are hanging out with friends — but for me this isn’t always the case. On the weekends, I can often be found in bed, binging the latest reality TV shows with a crochet hook in hand as I indulge in the multi-colored threads. 

In seventh grade, I fell in love with fiber, fabric and yarn arts. I found the patterns and the rhythmic knots and ties intoxicating. I spent summers making intricate friendship bracelets and braided keychains for everyone I knew. Between basic candy stripe bracelets and advanced patterns, I expanded my expertise with each new craft.

 Upon entering high school, my workload and after-school job started taking priority. After three years of homework and endless shifts, I revisited my forgotten love during spring break of 11th grade. 

The beginning of my crochet journey was difficult — the different stitches and patterns were overwhelming and complex. I craved the ability to make more intricate designs and skip the learning process, but unfortunately for me, that was a mere fantasy. I could barely make the basic chain stitch, let alone any of the designs I saw on Youtube and Pinterest. Motivated to improve, I started watching countless videos on easy stitches and small patches, spending hours just stitching and undoing seams until I was finally satisfied.

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After I was satisfied with my technique, I was eager to finally create something of my own. My quest for inspiration brought me back to Pinterest. As I scrolled through endless boards, dozens of pictures of crocheted clothes flooded my screen, and I knew I had to recreate them. After following tedious templates, I finally completed my first piece: a single-colored bandeau top.

The first top wasn’t the end though: it was the catalyst. Crocheting tops became my favorite pastime and my favorite item to create. I found that the formula was simple: a tight stitched bodice followed by a creative flowing pattern on the bottom. Using this newfound recipe, I created various pieces. Handmade clothes took over my closet, and the most rewarding part of the process was finally getting to wear them. 

 When I wore a piece of mine, I was always nervous that someone would be able to see the unfinished seams and poking threads, but much to my surprise, I received compliment after compliment. People kept asking me where I got the top, and a huge smile would spread across my face as I revealed that I had made it. 

Before I started crocheting, many of my clothes came from fast fashion — cheap mass-produced clothing. Quarantine sparked an uptick in the popularity of fast fashion brands, and people bored at home routinely shopped online. Since 2020, fast fashion has skyrocketed in popularity, with cheap prices making it easy to order substantial amounts of clothing in one sitting. However, that convenience has consequences; clothes from fast fashion sites are often poorly made and harmful to the environment, with one cotton shirt requiring 700 gallons of water to manufacture.

Alongside the less than desirable quality, some of these companies have faced accusations of unethical labor. Multiple parties made forced labor and human rights violations allegations against Shein, a popular fast fashion site. Shein has also been accused of stealing designs from small businesses and creators before mass-producing the work, without giving credit or profit to the original designer. 

When I make my own clothes, I know exactly what I’m putting onto my body, and the pieces of clothing I’ve made are better quality and less expensive than fast fashion. The satisfaction I get after finishing a piece is exhilarating. It motivates me to perfect the craft even further, and the creative freedom that I have when designing my own patterns is something I can’t get from fast fashion — it’s something I’ll always relish.

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About the Contributor
Deirdre Pryal
Deirdre Pryal, Opinion Writer
Grade 12 Why did you join The B&W? I've been passionate about writing since elementary school. What is your favorite song? What Once Was by Hers

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