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Slow Fashion - ethical manufacture of clothing, and its value

 
gardener
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I just wanted to share a point of view that has become stronger over the last few years. It the concept of dressmaking, slow fashion and the fact that whenever I have asked my students if they can make their own clothes, the answer I receive is a resounding NO follwed by the 'why would we?' answer.  My feelings are very aptly and succinctly summed up in the following video from a costume historian.  Skip to halfway through if you are not interested in the story of her design being ripped off, although it does become relevant. I hope you can hear the commentary over my gnashing of teeth.

 
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...Turn to the Left...

-CK
 
Chris Kott
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I forgot not all are Bowie fans.



-CK
 
Mandy Launchbury-Rainey
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I do say in my post that my thoughts are about slow fashion and the ability to make ones own clothes. I do point out that she starts to talk about this halfway through, to skip to that point to not listen to the part about the copying.
 
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great video mandy!
I was especially interested in the unethical knockoff as this practice has become insidious in the craft world.  It is one thing to try to copy an item from a photo found online and in some cases individuals are so bold as to take detailed pictures at a craft show and then try to make it for themselves...quite another to copy and then put on the market.
I know many craftspeople have actual copyrights for their work now.

I especially like that she is using it as a teaching tool...many have the idea that traditional crafts are easy to do and they can achieve the same results cutting corners and cheapening materials.  I think educating the public to the quality differences in fine craft and crappy 'craft' is quite important.
 
Judith Browning
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Mandy Launchbury-Rainey wrote:I do say in my post that my thoughts are about slow fashion and the ability to make ones own clothes. I do point out that she starts to talk about this halfway through, to skip to that point to not listen to the part about the copying.



I don't know if you are on facebook? I follow this page slow cloth  She posts many things in the current 'slow fashion' movement along with ethical production methods in many areas of fiber work and most importantly promotes LEARNING those skills.
 
Mandy Launchbury-Rainey
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Judith Browning wrote:I don't know if you are on facebook? I follow this page slow cloth  She posts many things in the current 'slow fashion' movement along with ethical production methods in many areas of fiber work and most importantly promotes LEARNING those skills.



Thank you, Judith. I will have a look at that. I thought what she says about earnings in the industry particularly interesting. In our markets, clothes are sold at prices that would not cover the cloth, let alone workers pay, factory profit, transport from Asia, distribution, profits for middle men and profits for market stall holders.
 
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Mandy, thank you for sharing this video! I watched it a while back and it was stunning to see differences in quality. It was great to see how she wasn't angry at her dress being knocked off, but rather how many resources were wasted to make a dress that wasn't even worth wearing. To think of the people being paid slave wages to make a dress out of a non-renewable resource (petroleum) that isn't worth wearing because it's so misshapen...and even if it were worn, it would fall apart because the fabric was so thin and the stitches so far apart. The quality is so low that it can't even be repurposed. It's a waste.

Meanwhile, something like the dress Bernadette made has sturdy fabric and tight stitches so that it can be worm many, many times. Thinking back historically, it used to be that people only had 2 or 3 sets of clothes. Clothes take a lot of resources, and they take time to make. So, they were made very, very well so that they could be mended and passed on from generation to generation. People actually bequeathed their clothes in their wills, and fashion itself changed slowly--basically ways they could alter their existing clothes slightly to give a new look.

We buy nearly all of our clothes at the thrift store (I would much rather make good use of resources by not spending a lot, and saving things from landfills. I think it's important to the resources--cloth and hours put into the cloth--that already exist). But, some of the cloth I've gotten is so poor quality that I can't even mend it--it falls apart as I try to sew a patch on to it. I'm saddened by the resources (the water and land used to grow the fibre, energy used to harvest and process it, people paid low wages to make it) that have pretty much gone to waste.

I've read some neat NPR articles recently about the amount of resources and energy that goes into fast fashion. I'm going to see if I can find them again!
 
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All of the video from the Eat Your Dirt Summit
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