Today I made a very informal pledge for Me Made May 2016: to write about how sewing interacts with clothing, shopping, body image, and self expression. All of these topics are individually fascinating, so I’m thrilled to write about them together, all month, as my #MMMay16 participation.
This week I’m talking about the Fashion Revolution movement, and their question ‘who made my clothes?‘ For those of us who make our own clothes, the answer is fun to give — ‘I do!‘ Not only do we get a chance to be publicly proud of our homemade creations, but we also enjoy the process of bringing them to life.
Unfortunately, the question arose out of a 2013 tragedy in which over one thousand people lost their lives, and thousands more were injured or personally affected by the massive loss. Newly aware consumers began to wonder what stories lay behind the clothes they’d taken for granted.
In the sewing community, there were already many who made the connection between our clothes the world around us. RTW fasters, refashioners, upcyclers, DIYers, and estate sale mavens, all stitched with a purpose: to reduce waste, to conserve resources, and add back in some of the corners which retail clothing manufacturers cut out.
The difference now, at least for me, is thinking of ourselves as clothing manufacturers in our own right. Certainly most of us sew for fun, but the more fun we have, the more we share. So many sewers branch out into sewing for their spouses, children, parents, siblings, friends, and co-workers. Even I, with my tiny social circle, sew for several people every year.
It’s weird to say we’re clothing manufacturers, isn’t it! But we source and assemble materials, cut and construct garments, commit to a level of construction quality, and wear what we make. Maybe we don’t use industrial machines, and maybe we lose our mojo at times, but we’re definitely part of the manufacturing community. And given the beautiful, thoughtfully made garments we create, I think we’re a great part.