Tuesday 16 February 2010

100th Post and Some Thoughts on Sewing

Happy 100th post! At the moment I'm busy preparing my wardrobe for my self-imposed Me-Made-March challenge with four projects on the go. Also, I am generally disinclined to show uncompleted creations, I thought I'd spew a post's-worth of my recent thoughts on sewing clothing.

Sewing clothes from scratch, refashioning existing garments and buying second-hand items means that you are free from the clutches of the clothing industry. You are not responsible for the inhumane working conditions of the thousands of sweatshops and factories, or for the waste and damage caused by clothing production and transportation. I know that is quite a simplified statement, and that undeniably we are all responsible for the mal-treatment of other people and the world which we share, but I'm pretty convinced that removing my role in a particularly damaging and exploitative manufacturing industry I am not making it any worse (incidentally, this is why I gave up my 'career' in the clothing industry). From this 'vantage' point, I can research into the practices of this industry easier without being compromised by personally being part of it's chain.

Another related realisation came to me yesterday. All the thousands (millions?) of euros/pounds/dollars what-have-you that are spent every year on advertising clothing brands and retailers? To me and other committed sewers and refashioners: irrelevant. Nothing more than pretty, or often boring, pictures. I haven't touched a fashion magazine in weeks, but when I do chose to, the most that can happen is that I'll be inspired by the silhouette or detail of a garment that I may try to sew in the future. I cannot be pursuaded to part with my cash in any particular store on any particular aspirational line of clothing. To the ad-man, I may as well not exist. That's quite liberating.

I hope the Me-Made-March challenge, like the Makeshift project that inspired it, will encourage sewers and refashioners to rely on their creations to perform the function they are intended for: to clothe you. You know that rush that you get when someone compliments you on something you're wearing that you happened to have made yourself? Well, what if you gave yourself the chance to experience that everyday? I'm not saying it's going to be easy: I might fail or resort to wearing the same three things for a month when the rest falls apart, but I think it's an endeavour worth attempting. Oh, and to celebrate the Me-Made-March challenge, I will be having a Me-Made/sewing based giveaway each week throughout March, so make sure you pop back during that time.

Seeing as I don't have any new completed garment at the moment to show you, I have illustrated this post with recent uploadeds to Burdastyle that I have found particularly inspirational. Click on each image to see the full garment, details and talented creator.


Len said...

Wonderful post :) I noticed these creations too on BurdaStyle, they're all very lovely :) I've been considering the issues you raised in your post a lot recently, and I decided yesterday to sign up for a 2 month pledge at Wardrobe Refashion beginning in March :) it'll be interesting, as I've only found one rubbish Oxfam and one decently priced second hand clothing shop here in Dortmund, but I'll give it a shot anyway! I like the idea of being clothed in stuff I made/altered myself, rather than sitting here as I am now entirely clothed in H&M, specially considering what they do with their unsold stock, ugh.

Can't wait to see your creations anyway, I'm glad I'm not the only one who dislikes posting unfinished creations!

ButterPeanut said...

"To the ad-man, I may as well not exist." -- I had this very realization this morning while flipping through the first fashion mag I've bought in years. I agree -- so liberating!

Drop Stitches Not Bombs said...

What a thought-provoking, articulate post. I am very jealous of your ability to liberate yourself from the clutches of commercial clothes; your blog is a constant inspiration to develop my negligible sewing skillz that I might one day be able to do the same.

Camelia Crinoline said...

Great post. Part of the reason I make clothes, aside from how fun it is, is because I hate the thought of corporations making a huge profit from the use of sweatshop labour. I also love being liberated from the advertising saturated consumer culture and all the negative things that go along with it.

Ali said...

This is such an inspiring post! I read this when you first posted it and returned to it now that I've signed up for a two month refashion pledge. Keep 'em coming!

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