Who made your clothes? – Sew Solidarity

I love clothes, last weekend I dipped into Primark with a little sense off guilt. All around me were clothes piled high at prices that you simply cannot ignore – I know how much time and effort goes into making a t-shirt, so buying one for £2?

Everyone’s perception is distorted by the low prices of items – everything is made so cheaply that we have begun to perceive these as throwaway items. Why repair a microwave when you can purchase another for less than £30? Why bother storing your clothes from one season to another when you can buy new every season for less than the price of the weekly shop.

Sewing machines made today don’t have the staying power that machines did years ago – a friend of mine ‘wears her machine out’ in a year and happily buys a new one.

I have greatly reduced my clothes buying, even those from charity shops, I just am feeling a little sickened by the sheer wastefulness. Have a look at this lovely film – it really does show the scale of the problem. It is about the workers in India that deal with our discarded clothes. They think we throw clothes away hardly worn because we cannot afford to wash them!

Our sense of value is being distorted in such a way that craftspeople and artisans are no longer valued for the work they do. We believe that a t-shirt should cost £2 without even considering how it is made or where the cotton comes from. Or the true cost of the lives who are paid low wages so that we can have it all cheap.

The world is getting smaller, we are recognising that we can no longer distance ourselves what is happening in China and Asia will affect us one way or another. China is paid in dollar bonds they hold enough to bankrupt America if they called those in, and yet we and the Americans get more and more dependent on China for goods.

How much longer can we sustain this balance? We don’t make things in the Uk anymore, so where are our wages going to be coming from in the future? What do we as a country offer the world? Could we ever be self sufficient? We have lost all our skilled labour – generations ago.

But there are things we can do,  April 24th is a day we can all do something simple, have a look here. Its in memory of the factory disaster two years ago, when a building collapsed killing thousands of workers.

You don’t have to pay anything, you don’t have to go anywhere, just use your voice to join others in asking for sustainable, fair clothing.

We might just be one voice, but together we can help to change things.

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13 thoughts on “Who made your clothes? – Sew Solidarity

  1. Bravo. It is so true. These days, things are made to break. As you express so well, the real cost is high in so many ways. These are some of the reasons I try to be minimalist in my living, and also because of the damage we are doing to the environment. Thanks for helping raise awareness.

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  2. Great article – I am guilty of buying too many clothes, mostly from charity and the throw away price shops. I went into a shop the other day and saw some skirts and realised I already had some in that style that I’d kept for a few years. Minimalist is the way to go for sure, I wear the same thing all the time anyway 😞

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    • I think it is harder to resist the endemic culture of consumerism that pervades everything we do. It is a battle, because these things slip under the radar. My weak area is magazines and before I am even half way through – I realise I want this and that!

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  3. This is so true…I also feel quite strongly about this issue and last year or the year before said I would do a year where I made all my own clothes. Needless to say I failed but I have massively reduced the amount of clothes I am buying and making sure I don’t buy anything unless I really need it. What a great post…..maybe I will try th home made year again.

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    • Kitty if you massively reduced the amount of clothes you bought then you did not fail! You made a difference, and that is a great thing, so celebrate your success!
      I personally prefer to have goals with a little more ‘give’ in them. So I have resolved to reduce my clothes buying and use my fabric stash to make new ones – it means that if I do buy something I haven’t written off a whole year’s worth of good intentions!

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  4. I think one problem, amongst many, is that so many people see shopping, particularly for clothes, as a form of entertainment and bring their children up to think so too. I hate shopping, so at least I have an advantage in attempting to cut down, but I still have far too many. At least I’m getting much better at revamping them into something else at the end of their lives.

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    • Hi Bekki, thanks for taking the time to comment, its kind of you. You are absolutely right, I used to be one of them! It is so easy to fall into a routine of going shopping, or meeting up with friends in a shopping centre. Since I live near the beach it has become a place to meet and much nicer.

      Revamping is so much fun, I have a couple of summer dresses I am planning to alter – its like short cut dressmaking! Can’t wait to see one or two of your projects, how is the wine making coming along?

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      • I hadn’t thought of it that way, but recycling is often is a short cut way of making a lot of things – what a bonus! Been a bit tied up with family lately and all free creative time on that cross stitch, so not a lot project-wise happened. Next wine making piece is out tomorrow, so that will then compel me to then go pick the gorse while the sun is shining. Thanks for asking xx

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  5. It’s easier not to buy huge quantities of clothes if you are a non-standard shape (eg short, short waisted and HUGE bazooms) and are not a fan of shopping. I either wear my clothes until they are worn to holes or only wear them once in a blue moon so they last for ever. I hate to ditch clothes just because I haven’t felt like wearing them for a couple of years. I liked them once so I’ll like them again, won’t I?

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    • Hi Kim, thank you for taking the time to comment.

      short,Short waisted and Huge bazooms oh yes, we could form a club! Boy is it challenging to make clothes! but nigh on impossible to buy something that fits! So shopping isn’t such great fun!

      I use a seasonal wardrobe system – when I get the summer clothes out in spring it feels like a whole new wardrobe, some of my dresses are over ten years old, but they are beautiful and I love wearing them, I am sure you will love wearing them again.

      Liked by 1 person

    • No I have haven’t heard of that one will have to check it out.

      I imagine the way things are going our economy will collapse because we are importing and not producing. It is short sighted.

      It also gives us such lack of respect for clothing.

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