Thursday, April 24, 2014

Inside Out

Meggipeg alerted me to the fact that today, 24th April, is Fashion Revolution Day; thank you Megan! and it was lovely to finally hang out together, in person  :)
So I am wearing my dress and my cardigan inside out for the day.
A year ago today the Rana Plaza garment factory in Bangladesh collapsed killing 1133 people and injuring over 2500 more.  Fashion Revolution is suggesting that out of respect and acknowledgement we wear our clothes inside out to display the hidden inner workings; the labels, seams, hems and bindings that seamsters labour over.  If you bought your clothes readymade there are more things you can do; outlined here.
Generally I stay away from political and social conscience opinions here on my blog, although in person I can be quite the bore on a subject once I get going!  Don't get me started!  However the issue of ethical manufacture of consumable goods, particularly clothing; is dear to my heart and one of the primary reasons why four years ago I started down this rather bizarre path of eschewing ready-to-wear clothing entirely and of making with my own two hands just about every item of my clothing that I possibly could.  I don't know if it was a sensible or reasonable decision; but it felt like a good idea at the time and years later it still does, so I'm going along with it, still.  I can make my own, so I do.  It was my own decision and I know not one that another person would or could make.
Wearing your clothes inside out for a day may not seem like much at all in the scheme of things, but may make more people aware of the questionable ethics of "fast" fashion.  A day of tweeting to brands may make a difference, and I hope so.  People may treat it like an amusing distraction in an otherwise uneventful working week, but any action that makes people think twice is a good thing.  For me, I do think about the ethics of clothing manufacture a lot but the reality is that the greatest hardship I will undergo today is going without the use of my pockets.  Also, maybe someone will point out that my clothes are inside out, but probably not.  People are quite polite around here  :)

Details:
Dress; dress M with minor modifications, from the Stylish Dress Book by Yoshiko Tsukiori, red cotton, details here
Cardigan; knitted by me, Jo Sharp fitted cardigan in Soho Summer dk cotton, colour Calico, details here
Scarf; a strip of cotton jersey
Shoes; Bronx, from Zomp shoes

25 comments:

  1. No doubt your seams are beauty to behold so wearing inside out for you will be a work of art!

    I have become a bit of a manufactured clothing bore, forever banging on about ethical practices/sweat shops/blah blah. At the beginning of the year I decided I was not going to buy any new RTW clothing (exception being lingerie as I have ZERO talent there). I either have to make it, or, better still, wear whatever is already in my expansive wardrobe. Four months in and so far going OKish. I have allowed myself one purchase from an op shop, I figure it was in the recycling spirit. And the fabric was gorgeous, I couldn't possibly leave it there. And I bought a ski jacket, in my defense it was on an excellent sale and I could never make something like that. And it is American made, I believe (hope!) that their manufacturing conditions are 1st world.

    But what has been enlightening is that I have no desire to buy anything. I look in the windows, think, yes that is pretty, and walk away not feeling any pressure to procure a new winter wardrobe. I'm even sewing from the stash (which let's face it, isn't exactly small!) which is also very satisfying.

    I know I am hardly going to change the world but you know the saying, "think global act local".

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  2. Garment workers are extremely oppressed. It is interesting that feminism in America emerged from within the New York garment trade - google Annie Goldberg if you are in need of a heroine. I also worry about sourcing ethically made fabrics. We don't get much information on that!

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  3. Yes I heard about this only yesterday on the ABC radio. I don't know how many people really think about this, but if you sew then it's hard not to cringe and feel empathy for the slave wages these (mostly, but not all) women make in the name of buying a t-shirt and then being so affluent (relative) that you could toss it after a few wears.

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  5. Yes I agree with Gail, sourcing ethically made fabrics can be difficult too. Not only do you have the labour of producing the material there is also the question of how the natural fibres are grown,how they are picked and processed and whether toxic dyes are used. Quite a quandary.

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  6. A point very well made. I have just turned my cardigan inside out! Thanks for stopping by my blog. Jo x

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  7. A couple of years ago I told someone that my goal was to one day make everything I wear. The response, "why would you want to do that?" LOL In all fairness, it was someone who did not sew, and I'm sure it sounded like quite an undertaking. I'm not there yet, but I do make a lot. I enjoy sewing for my 3 children, so time is split sewing for 4. My son in particular is so proud that I make everything for him except for socks. He will let everyone know too! Not bad for a 12 year old to brag that his mom even makes his underwear! I really like the idea of keeping the sewing skills alive. I told one of my girls to be prepared to be "teased" because she likes to knit and crochet. I was at that age and things still have not changed. I wish they would. I wish more people would embrace these skills and promote them to our youth. What a world we would live in, once again, if we were more "self-made."

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  8. I heartily endorse all your sentiments above; I do so agree with Shirley Ann too, but as her girls get older [and wiser] they'll be proud to have a Mum that was thoughtful and useful and that they have the precious skills so important to us sewers. The first thing I thought of when I read this was 'it's a good thing Carolyn's finishing on the inside is as good as the outside!'

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  9. Your finishes are so beautiful that people probably didn't even notice your clothes are inside out :).

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    1. That's exactly what I was going to say! So well done...I really need to pick my game up.

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  10. Thanks for reminding us about this terrible tragedy. I have already cut back on my RTW purchases (sewing skills have improved just as life has simplified so not much of a sacrifice) but the stories about those working conditions should be enough to make all of us pause and consider our spending habits.

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  11. I had to squint to see that your clothes were inside out - and I was looking for it! I also wore mine inside out today, but didn't leave the house which was a bit of a waste, and I also forgot to take photos because I was busy sewing :)!

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  12. Carolyn I must admit that when I saw what you wearing on Tumblr this morning before reading your blog this afternoon, a thought or two or three flashed through my mind - "Huh??" Ok so now I get it, and I admire your stance on the "ethical manufacture" of most goods today. It should affect our consummable buying choices to such an extent that we change the world - if only!

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    1. Aw, thanks Rianna! I wasn't sure anyone even looked at that! so it's sweet of you to notice.

      "Inside out" is a small thing to do; but at least people will become more aware and able to make more informed choices. I was shocked at footage of the Rana Plaza tragedy; the news showed conditions were even worse than I had thought.

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  13. Thumbs up from here! :) Did anyone notice?

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    1. No! Well, no one said anything! :D

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  14. Solidarity. I wish I had known about this yesterday! Well, now I'll know for next year.

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  15. This is something I've thought about a lot for years and have tried various ways to avoid (I.e. Adding to the misery of fast fashion). Sewing 'seriously' is just the latest stage of a long journey, but for those that can't sew, it is possible to base a wardrobe on ethical garments through fairly traded items and second hand, as I used to do. Your blog has encouraged me that it is possible and not completely crazy to attempt to sew all of one's own clothes and I find it very inspiring. So thank you!

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  16. Carolyn, there is just so much we do not know about the textiles, garment and footwear industry, and if we did, we would be quite sickened. I did a subject called "Art as Social Action" when I did my Arts degree some years back - the convener was Professor Peter Sellars, who was over from the U.S.A - and female "prisoners" in China are made to make shoes, regularly abused (yes, all the way) by the "guards"and so on. If we stopped and thought about all this, we would make vastly different decisions.

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  17. I'm sorry I missed reading this yesterday, though it might have been an interesting experience wearing my (2nd hand) jeans inside out; I had a day out with a friend at a neighbouring village touring the heritage sights and browsing charity shops. She might not have wanted to be seen with me, I don't know! I'm certain she would not have turned her clothes inside out. I agree that the working conditions of people who make our clothes (and most of the other things we buy for that matter) should be of concern to us all.

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  18. I happened upon your blog from another sewing blog and I am so glad that I clicked that link. I agree with you 100%. I live near Charlotte NC USA. Our town was basically built around the textile industry back in the 1920's and like so many other towns, manufacturers were sold to a corporation and then sold again and ultimately, closed completely as they moved their operations to countries that have no regard for fair labor, much less, human rights. I made the decision to sew my own clothes several years ago and to search for fair trade organizations to purchase items that I don't have the skills to make. There is one thing that still bugs me - sometimes I have difficulty finding the origin where some fabrics are made but I'm getting better at being a fabric sleuth... I look forward to reading your blog each day.

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    1. Thank you beckypb :) I think the same story has played out in many of Australia's homegrown clothing business too; such a shame. I used to support Australian-made but it got harder and harder to find, and I finally went cold turkey over four years ago now. Plus, I just love sewing :)

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  19. I didn't know about this initiative, although attention was given in the media to the anniversary of the terrible event in Bangladesh. And to the fact that very little has changed.
    Although, like you, I make almost everything I wear myself, for a variety of reasons, I think the really change in this situation will have to come from the RTW buyers. Only if a majority of people is willing to pay more for ethically produced clothes and there is a large demand for transparency about the production of clothes and other consumption goods, things will change.
    A lot of us on sewing blogs are aware of this, and many other people besides, but I am confronted too often with 'the others' not to be aware of how much of a minority we still are.
    However, you never know what will trigger people to think about the choices they make... Seeing several ladies on the same day wearing their clothes inside out may just give some a nudge in the right direction. So, more power to you!

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  20. I was unaware of this Fashion Revolution Day, so thank you for sharing! I was just recently thinking about this issue and applaud you for the way you live your life in light of it!

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  21. Your 'insides' are always so perfect I don't think even the impolite locals would notice! Lovely thoughts on the Fashion Revolution, I hope it gains momentum.

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