At the very least, having handmade skills contributes to my sense of self-worth. I feel proud when I make something I love, and I've been stopped in the street many times and asked where I got my dress. "Slow Clothing" pg 71
Living simply looks different for different people. What does living simply look like for you?
I’m probably not the best example of someone living simply, as I do enjoy some (many) indulgences and I’m aware there is a lot more that I can do! My husband and I live in a 2-bedroom apartment rather than a house. It’s all we need, and by default it prevents us from accumulating too much stuff. We have a little herb garden and composting system on our balcony and are thinking about setting up a communal vege patch in the yard of our apartment block.
I think the biggest thing that I personally do is try and educate myself on how things are made and where they come from. This started with clothing around 10 years ago, when I became more aware of sweatshops and fast fashion. However, it also extends into other aspects of life, such as understanding where food comes from, having awareness of and empathy for others — particularly refugees, First Nations peoples, and those living in developing countries.
Do you have a specific interest that you like to focus on in the area of simple living?
My special interest is sewing — I make most of what I wear (mostly dresses, skirts and tops). I still buy some things (underwear, exercise clothing, jeans), but I try to buy fewer things that last longer, and largely from companies who are sustainable or on their way to becoming sustainable.
One of my favourite things is being able to make a new outfit for a special event — I can guarantee that no-one else will be wearing it (especially since I buy a lot of my fabrics in India when I travel there for work).
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey toward living a simple life. Was there a catalyst that led you to follow this path?
As I educated myself about the fashion industry, I became increasingly uncomfortable financially contributing towards it. I decided to teach myself to sew my own clothes and had varying levels of success to begin with!
I don’t like when people refer to it as a ‘talent’ — it’s simply a skill that anyone can learn with time and patience. I didn’t have much of the latter when I began, but I do now!
What do you find challenging about trying to live simply?
At the moment, it’s having the time and space. My sewing space is in a study/dining nook in our apartment, and this became my full-time office in 2020. After working long hours in there, the last thing I wanted to do was stay longer to sew.
I’m very lucky to work for a company that encourages work–life balance, and for the next 4 months they’re giving us Friday afternoons off to do something for ourselves. I plan to get back to sewing!
What are some of the benefits of this way of life for you?
I love having unique clothing that no-one else has. I get an enormous sense of achievement when I complete a garment that is just for me.
What simple pleasures bring you joy and help you to slow down?
This is something I’m really bad at, unfortunately. Does drinking a gin and tonic count?
Are there any podcasts, books, documentaries or websites that you have found helpful?
I struggle to listen to podcasts (as I find my mind wanders), and books can also be difficult for me due to my job in the publishing industry (it’s like more work!). However, I do have a few books and documentaries I can recommend!
What is something new that you have done or learnt about in the last year?
I learnt about Tiger King! I may have watched a lot of Netflix.
But, seriously, I was fortunate enough to remain employed in my publishing job throughout 2020, and I was incredibly busy! Even though I was at home all the time, I didn’t have the time or headspace for sewing or baking.
I guess the main learning is that humanity is the most important thing. I find it really upsetting seeing how much worse nationalism has become during this crisis — it’s every country for themselves instead of everyone working towards a resolution for the greater good of all people.
It’s especially an issue with the current situation in India. I have spent a lot of time there for my work, so I have first-hand insight into the challenges that people there are facing. I see a lot of the Western media blaming ‘poor behaviours’ of people without having any concept of what the living conditions are like. We should all be working together to help overcome these challenges for the collective good of all people, rather than turning countries against one another.
What would you like to learn about or do in the future?
I wouldn’t mind doing an MBA or economics degree, with a focus on ethics and sustainability.
If money or time were no option what would you like to do?
I’d love to be able to help fund sustainable projects to enable First Nations peoples and those in developing countries (particularly women) establish businesses to achieve financial independence.
I think it’s particularly important to provide the resources for people to be able to leverage their own cultural capital, rather than it being used by others for profit.
If people would like to learn more about you and what you do, how can people follow you online or get in contact with you?
I’m out of the blogging world these days, but you can find me on Instagram (@kyliepc). Hopefully you might see fewer photos of gin and more photos of sewing projects!
Hello! My name is Margy. I enjoy living simply, I am trying to slow down and I am learning how to be still. I would love you to join me on this exciting adventure.