Latest News

ARLF Fellow launches new book – Slow Clothing

7 February 2018

Dressing is an agricultural act, if you want to wear natural fibres

Two icons of Australian agriculture – the natural fibre industries and Fairfax Agricultural Media – were central to the recent launch of Slow Clothing at the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation.

Authored by ARLF fellow Jane Milburn, Slow Clothing follows the lead of the slow food movement in taking a thoughtful approach to what we wear with the focus on quality, local, natural fibres as a counter to the social and environmental issues associated with fast fashion.

As an agricultural scientist and social entrepreneur, Jane’s philosophy builds on her earlier work experience and the past five years of research into sustainable clothing culture.

‘Leadership is an action we take, not a position we hold. That was my key learning from the Australian Rural Leadership Program and I am incredibly grateful to have been sponsored on the program by Fairfax Agricultural Media in 2009-2010,’ Jane said.

‘ARLP provides a rare opportunity to reflect and build on our skills and knowledge, then step up to lead where we see a need. This slow clothing work was definitely informed by immersion in ARLP and doing the Graduate Certificate of Australian Rural Leadership qualification.

‘I saw a need to rethink clothing culture. Clothing is more than fashion, it is integral to our health and wellbeing. That means we need a more holistic approach to the way we think about, choose and care for what we wear, rather than just focusing on the latest fashion colour, style or hemline.

‘I was troubled to learn synthetic fibres, that are shedding microplastic particles, now dominate the apparel market. We need to appreciate that natural fibres, like cotton and wool, come from agriculture. That makes dressing an agricultural act unless we like wearing plastic, which I personally don’t.’

At the launch in Canberra last week, ARLF Board Member Anna Carr acknowledged the valuable contribution of sponsors to the program while economist and Curing Affluenza author Richard Denniss said Slow Clothing presents innovative thinking around culture.

The book includes the Slow Clothing Manifesto as a framework based on individuals gaining autonomy and agency through 10 conscious beliefs and actions – think, natural, quality, local, few, care, make, revive, adapt and salvage.

Jane founded Textile Beat as a social enterprise in Brisbane, Queensland, in 2013, as a way of rethinking clothing culture and exploring creativity for personal and planetary health. She has presented hundreds of workshops and talks around Australia with individuals, groups, teachers, students and councils.

Slow Clothing: finding meaning in what we wear is available at for $28 plus postage.

More information

Contact Jane Milburn on 0408 787 964 or

Read more about the Australian Rural Leadership Program