20 August 2013

Love Fashion Hate Sweatshops


Like many DIY dressmakers, a major factor motivating me to make my own clothing is an ethical conscience. I love clothes, yet the adverse impact that fast fashion can have on both our natural environment and the lives of the people working in the industry makes me feel deeply uncomfortable. The Bangladesh factory disaster, which killed 1,127 people who were making garments for the high street shops we know all too well, served as a nasty reminder of what can happen when cheap clothing is considered more important than the welfare of human beings. While my own spending habits are by no means perfect (I should really spend more on ethically-sourced fabric, for example), I do endeavour to take a mindful approach to consumption myself and to support work to encourage sustainable consumer habits more widely.

Which is why I'm proud to be backing Craftivist Collective's latest project for War on Want's Love Fashion Hate Sweatshops campaign. In advance of London Fashion Week, Craftivists are asking people to stitch mini protest banners with messages related to the exploitation of sweatshop workers. These banners can then be hung in public spaces, and photographed for a display at this Autumn's Knitting and Stitching Show. If you'd like to part of the project, take a look at their website for more details.

For more on the Craftivist Collective, take a look at my interview with their founder and my report on what a great time I had at one of their stitching events. And big thanks to Sarah for featuring me as Miss August in their Craft Crush series.

18 comments:

  1. I also sew and refashion clothes for that very reason. Mini banner will be made and displayed to show my support

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  2. Such a deeply important issue Tilly which I also raised in my blog a little while ago. So many people take for granted that clothes have to be cheap that even the handmade market suffers and I've seen some ridiculously priced handmade items at the Camden market lately. Glad there is such an initiative as the "Love Fashion Hate Sweatshops" campaign though, it will take a while to change mentalities but this is certainly a good way to start. Thanks for spreading the word!

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  3. Craftivists are such an important collective - I used to attend meet ups when I was at university in Manchester and thoroughly enjoyed meeting like-minded people.
    Obviously the most important aspect of craftivitism is the need to challenge people's attitudes towards consumption in order to challenge society's capitalist structure, one that represses workers and characterises life as a series of relentless acts of consumption.
    However, we can't underestimate the importance of the mode in which we take action as craftivists. Using craft for action not only makes people stop and think about the message we propose, but the mode of action itself challenges the way in which capitalism demands that we live, as we don't simply consume, but instead we produce for our own purposes and needs to challenge the very structure that demands we consume.

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  4. A very important issue, thanks for the reminder.

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  5. I'm a beginner - I can make clothes but not mastered fit just yet but I'm getting there. I buy fewer clothes but buy fairtrade or made in Britain - some clothes are cheap but the people who make them pay the price - thanks for raising this issue - love Froogs

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  6. Well said Tilly, it is a very good cause.

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  7. It's a great project - that's why I'm getting involved and stitching (very wobbly!) to show my support.

    Look forward to seeing what you come up with design-wise :)

    www.mancunianvintage.com

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  8. what a fantastic way to show we care, thank you for sharing!

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  9. Such a great cause. Do you have any suggestions on places to find ethically-sourced fabrics? As I've been making more and more of my own clothes, I've been thinking about this a lot, so it is quite a timely post!

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    1. Try Fair Trade Fabrics, plus some of the regular fabric shops sell eco and ethically sourced fabric too.

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  10. An inspiring post Tilly and I fully support your argument. It is about time that something was done about all of this and I certainly want to be involved.
    Lots of love
    Dorothy
    :-)xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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  11. I think it's a great idea for people to be aware of where and how their clothes are made. But when I look at fabric and sewing supplies in Australia, at least 90% are made in China. I can't help thinking that they are made in factories where the workers face similarly unpleasant conditions.

    Let's hope that there will be a small resurgence in locally made fabric and supplies too :-)

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  12. nicely done lady! this issue is huge to me too and anything we can do to help create awareness is a great thing!

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  13. Thanks Tilly for a great reminder. I am consciously trying to spend more on properly fitting quality items, avoid supermarket clothes, and when my desire for new items becomes too much raid the local charity shops! However I could do so much more! Definitely off to stitch and blog a banner:) Vicky

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  14. This campaign sounds great. It's all well and good having access to lovely clothes but never at the expense of other's suffering! I'd much rather pay more for something made by a brand that supported it's workers :)

    http://fairygobmother.blogspot.co.uk/

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  15. Has anyone bought from www.organiccotton.biz ?
    They have some interesting prints, jersey and bamboo mixes.

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  16. Thanks for highlighting this Tilly.

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  17. Hi Tilly! Thanks for this inspiring post, a concern for all of us.
    Just a quick note however. I do not agree with what is said on the picture above. Garment workers in Vietnam are not paid 25 euro per month. I've been living in Hanoi for 4 years now. Things are certainly not perfect but the textile industry is rather seen as a good example for others asian countries - especially India, Bangladesh and Cambodia - where brands are able to produce 3, 4 or even 5 times cheaper than here.
    Best regards, Michela

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