To the editor: It’s truly wonderful to see our town come alive during Stroll. Business is so promising that full seasonal restaurants can restaff and reopen just for the crowds of happy strollers. A welcome flow of cash and people supports an otherwise slow time on the island, and I know many, many islanders and businesses very much look forward to the weekend and the prosperity it brings.
I look forward to strolling around town on Stroll Saturday every year, but what I love most is the opportunity to wear my vintage fire engine red hand-knit sweater, complete with skiers and snowflakes on each shoulder. Some years, it’s warm enough to wear my outfit sans coat, with a nice pair of jeans and some heeled boots, but this year, my skiers had to take cover beneath a puffy jacket due to the weather.
Now, I know everything must evolve – new attendees, new businesses, and fresh campaigns to spread our love for the holiday season. However, one unexpected shift has caught my attention: a growing trend among our campaigners to promote and sell single-use costumes, scarves, hats, and other one-time-use adornments only to be discarded days later or tossed to the back of the closet. And for those who would say these items don’t get thrown away, well, you try to wear an ACK STROLL 2023 scarf on the streets of Boston or New York and see how cool you feel.
Is it possible that this is the new reality & future of Stroll Weekend? Halloween 2.0? This trend toward throw-away costumes and clothing is disappointing, especially coming from a town that takes immense pride in its environmental stewardship.
We have five incredible consignment stores on Nantucket that do a bang-up job of procuring Stroll-ready clothing items from sweaters, sequinned and bedazzled dresses, vintage fur, tweed, plaid, wool and so much more. Kristin’s Rainbow Fleet has so much beautiful vintage fur, and Beth’s Current Vintage makes sure that the men don’t get forgotten with Stroll-ready duds for him. We could commission festive and beautiful evergreen boutonnieres crafted by the Nantucket Flower Collective, Moors end, or Flowers on Chestnut, or maybe have themed Stroll weekends where attendees dress the theme (Apres Ski anyone?). We could collect the scarves and hats that are unwanted at the boats to wash (Holdgates!) and reuse again next year, or who knows… maybe we could just encourage our visitors to go back to wearing regular clothing from their closets.
I know it’s not popular to knock holiday spirit (or capitalism for that matter) and acknowledge that visitors will continue to dress up – and I will continue to wear my red sweater – but I feel compelled to express my viewpoint on this matter. Just as taxpayers voice their concerns about ill-fitting projects, I now share my perspective, hoping others will join the conversation if they share similar sentiments. Or, at the very least, if this note encourages just one person to step away from the stroll scarf and embrace a vintage sweater or preloved plaid scarf, then this rant will have been worth all of the Scroogey looks I will receive in the future.