Fashion from a Fey
What came before
Montsilt was a small farming community, located at an opportune spot on a trade road in a remote forest. While they had access to goods coming through, they had to be considerably independent to live in the remote region. The dress of the people in the community needed to be durable and practical. Historically clothing had been made of wool and leather more than plant fibers. When Lavani became mayor, she introduced a material not used much for clothing in this region - linen made from the flax plant. The plant was plentiful in clearings and in clumps throughout the forest and had been used for fodder for the goat herd. Linen was used as bedding material. The seeds were used in cooking and in making oil.
Festival of Gifts
The Design - Cottagecore by Lavani
The trees seemed greener, the crops grew faster, and everything seemed more abundant after Lavani was rescued. She was attentive to the town and garnered many fans. Lavani was magically creating her outfits but that did not stop people in the community from trying to copy her style. One of her strongest supporters in the community was Emma, a weaver and seamstress that lived in the town. Emma found a mixture of linen and wool produced a very similar material to the clothing Lavani was wearing. This was not a common practice in the region and outright banned in cities far to the south for religious reasons. Linen was also useful as the material in the base layer of the outfits as it wicks away moisture.
The Materials - Linen and Wool
Wool being used in the outfits came from the goat herd the town maintained. Crops were rotated in fields that circled the core town. The forest would quickly reclaim fields that needed to be fallow for several seasons. The goats were used to keep the land clear until it was needed. Wool from the goats resists static, dirt, dust, and does not absorb moisture from spills. A clean cloth could soak up a stain or spill on wool with relative ease. Wool is also antimicrobial, so it does not harbor smells as much as some fabrics. That all added up to a material that needed less washing and lasted longer - key attributes the community needed.
Becoming a Trend
As much as Lavani was a surprise to the community of Montsilt, the fashion style she started was also a surprise. Lavani would say she is influenced by the people of the community in what she chooses to wear and how she innovates her outfits. The women of the community that emulate her dress would say the opposite. Either way the trend is clear, after Lavani's arrival there was an explosion in interest in new outfits and designs. Both Lavani and the community were ever focused on being practical and sustainable and weaving the new styles into their routines.
It was not just the women of the town taking a renewed interest in their clothing. Led by Yelsin, who has a clothing store in town, the men of the town started to request the new material for jackets and light long sleeve tops for layering. Yelsin described the look as "A relief as we emerge from the dullness and drudgery of the old mayor. My outfit conveys I am doing better and content. It might be a romanticized look in the city but here, the clothes work for us too."
A diplomat from Etonia took samples back to the city and placed several orders with Emma. The community already had economic ties to Etonia and several members of the Montsilt council started hoping there may be a broader interest in the material that would give Montsilt more power in decision making. Lavani was proud of the community's innovation and thinking. As the attention on her outfits grew and she made one request, "Let everyone be able to make it. Hide no detail and include the story of where it started. We will be a beacon to those who need our community. Share our story a thousand times over and again."
Table of Contents
More About Flax Processing
Flax is pulled out of the ground rather than cut down, this preserves the length of the fibers. The longer fibers generate a smoother fabric.
When pulled the stem breaks off from the roots, which remain in the ground, where they naturally enrich the soil. Flax had already been used in fallow fields around Montsilt for this purpose.
The pulled plants are then laid on the ground in swathes for retting - a process of separating the fibers through natural decomposition. The fibers are sorted further with scutching and hackling after retting in preparation for spinning into fine thread.Fiber Preparation Tools
- Drying Ovens
- Wooden Mallet for breaking the woody part of the stem
- Scutching Board and Knife to remove woody parts
- Hackling Comb to remove remaining shives and short fibers
More About the Goats
Rolph the town's butcher oversaw the goat herd. He knew first-hand the quantity of parasites the herd could carry. He could see them - when a goat died the animal was processed along with any deer brought to the butcher shop.
Rolph found that adding dried Flax to the goat's food along with honey reduced the load of parasites in the herd's intestines. Emma, the seamstress, was quick to point out any decline in the quality of the wool and she would bring half the town into the debate so Rolph kept on top of the parasites.Fiber Preparation Tools
- Blending Boards
- Combs & Hackles
- Drum Carders
- Hand Carders
Sustainable Deer Hunting
Forests of different ages support different quantities of deer. In studies done by Etonia, it was estimated there were 5-10 deer per square mile of forest. That would mean there are tens of thousands of deer just in the forest between Montsilt and Etonia.
Lavani did not have a problem with the hunting being done because it was being done sustainably. The hunter's guild had the expertise to know that a deer population maintained at 60% of the carrying capacity would keep the deer in a state with a high reproductive rate.
The carrying capacity is the maximum number of animals that an area could support. Populations of deer at carrying capacity are at a stable state so very few offspring would be produced. By taking 3 deer from a hunting area and moving on to the next area until the next year, the guild would essentially never run out of deer.
After a successful hunt. the deer were processed by Rolph and his crew at the Butcher Shop. Skins were sent to the tanner in the town of Everst to be turned into a variety of leather products.
At first it may seem odd that there would be an objection to using linen and wool in outfits when there were clear benefits. It turns out that many religious groups in cities to the south, where vestments were made of linen and wool, used their outfits to portray their authority.
To emphasize their elevated position in the eyes of their god as well as emphasize their authority over worshipers, the material was banned from every day use. This would be similar to banning individuals from wearing City Guard uniforms if they were not in the Guard.
However, in many places this has created opportunities for abuse and corruption. Someone well-traveled may be concerned about what those groups would think of this new fashion style.
Shoes and Pockets
Most people in town do not remember ever seeing Lavani wear shoes. Her outfits never have pockets either. A seamstress, like Emma, is used to adding larger pockets to woman's dresses and outfits. Like horseshoes for a blacksmith, enlarging pockets is her bread-and-butter task. Emma told Lavani "Whoever is making clothing never takes the size of pockets into account. We are not putting out new outfit designs into the world without proper pockets."