Ms Anita Kukretti

It’s Fashion Revolution Week. Set up by ethical fashion pioneers Carrie Somers and Orsola de Castro after the Rana Plaza disaster, Fashion Revolution is the organisation behind the  ‘Who made my clothes?’ campaign (here’s how to get involved). I am a firm believer in considerate consumption, do practise the one-in-one-out rule and follow Livia Firth’s ’30 wears’ philosophy:

‘At the moment of purchase, think “Will I wear it a minimum of 30 times?” If the answer is yes, then buy the item. If it’s no, then don’t.’

Now. I don’t want to sound churlish or ungrateful but I am very careful about accepting clothes from brands. This is something I have practised since my fashion editor days and I refuse to pimp out any old tat. I’ve got more than enough of my own clothes, thank you very much.

Ms Nirmala Tamang

 

Safia Minney the social entrepreneur and founder of People Tree has just published a book ‘Slave to Fashion’ (via Kickstarter) that tells the stories of people who make the clothes with the aim of eradicating slavery from the modern garment industry. Minney is still a non-executive director of the 25-year-old fair trade fashion label but is now working with sustainable footwear brand Po-Zu. It’s always worth having a look at the People Tree website, their designer collection for spring summer is by Peter Jensen and some of the basics look lovely.

 

Here’s a link to a feature on 10 ethical fashion brands that don’t cost a fortune.

 

21 thoughts on “Fashion Revolution Week: Who made my clothes?

  1. Better post than yesterday’s four hundred &’whatever for a pair of shoes!

    However I digress….always consider how much wear will I get from any item follow the 30 wears ethos, other than occasion items, which I buy usually on eBay. Coats also bought there, recent gorgeous Jaeger camel coat for £50, up to 20 wears..so far! Any item which I get bored with charity shops or sold second hand. Also sew own clothes occasionally, dresses, trousers mainly in style of ‘Sahara’ or ‘Masaii’ brands. Age 66, medium build, silver hair, …..feeling smug!

  2. I love how you say this Alyson—refuse to pimp out!!
    I think once we get older and have an established closet, it’s easier to really think about our purchases—where they came from, how much I’ll wear them.
    Either that or I’m finally getting smart…LOL!
    Jodie
    http://www.jtouchofstyle.com

  3. I like Ace & Jig for their clothes and their ethos. They have a very good website and explanation of where they source their fabrics and they seem to have an honest relationship with their weavers.I am just careful not to wear too many items all together at my age, lovely though it looks layered on younger people.

  4. I love the idea of finding out who made my clothes, Alyson – it’s such a thoughtful gesture and one that hopefully would make more people sit up and think more about where their purchases have come from. I clicked through and saw the most fabulous coral parrot print shirt at People Tree… and of course I liked the sold out one!

    I tend not to go by anything like a 30 times rule as sometimes I’ve bought things thinking I’ll wear them loads and then they just didn’t rock my world as much as I thought, and other times I’ve bought things thinking they were a mad impulse buy and I’ve worn them to death. I still buy clothes that will mostly be one-offs for major events but always think about selling or passing them onto to someone so they get joy out of it too (and if we don’t get joy out of them what’s the point…?!)

    Catherine x

  5. YES YES YES! It’s so exciting finally not feeling alone in this. I practised the same ethos my entire adult life & have had my fair share of scoffing, mocking & name calling when talking about the subject.
    Not so long ago people would say it wasn’t even true! I guess these disgusting practices are so abhorrent they were literally unbelievable to many people. Yet here we are finally admitting the truth & now everyone can join in to stop it, even just by NOT buying something we’re making a difference. It isn’t hard really when you “think” about it….

  6. This strikes a chord. I have been thinking about “Who made this?”… ever since that incident in Bangladesh causing death or harm for scores of garment workers and their families.

    Recently, I have begun to realize why closets in North American homes and apartments, built before the 1990’s, are relatively small. I now aim for about 5-7 tops and bottoms only, per season.

    Meanwhile, I wonder about the future of clothing production. Soon it will be robots and once again local production… like Adidas with its new German-based shoe factory. This will cause a different type of hardship for garment workers.

    Anyway…. thanks for sharing those photos. They do make an impression.

  7. Love this post Alyson. I’ve always only bought what I love. Which usually means that I have it for years. That might be partly because I’ve always been a difficult fit for any item of clothing that has legs or sleeves. My limbs all being very long. The fast fashion stuff never, ever fits me. So I end up gravitating to stuff that does fit, and that is usually the more expensive brands.

    I love the thirty wears idea. But that 30 can mean more then just you…the way I look at it. When I was a kid my paternal grandmother used to buy my school clothes at a very good children’s clothing shop. A shop that my mother as a single parent of four could not afford to shop in. And when I had grown too big for the skirts and coats, they made the rounds of the neighbourhood kids who were younger. When I retired I passed on my good business wear to the young teachers with whom I worked. They were happy, I was happy, and the wear-counter was still counting.

  8. Alyson, this “30 times” precept and the “wear / buy what makes you feel good” precept inspired me this morning to gather into a small corner of my closet the clothes I wear most and the ones I never “wonder about” when I wear them. Very interesting exercise. And I was surprised to learn they weren’t what I thought they’d be.

    For instance they’re not all black — there’s a lot more color than I’d have predicted (good for me). The LBD I’d thought was my favorite really isn’t. Purses have apparently become more important to me. And it’s now apparent I still like to dress up.

    My choices weren’t all surprises: Patterns are not my pals. I prefer jeans and slacks, not skirts or dresses. Even in retirement I still love jackets — don’t feel dressed without that third piece, even in warm weather.

    The biggest surprise — I found no obvious correlation between preference and price. I love high-end labels and would wear more if I could afford more. And yes, they last forever. But some of my inexpensive clothes also fit me like a glove and have lasted for years.

    The most over-purchased item in my closet? Black pants. Why in hell do I keep buying those things?!

  9. Great post. I don’t mind ‘banging on’ about the joys of the charity shops so much now. HOW many wears did those items of clothing have before hitting the shop? I remember my neighbour when I was a child was a German lady who bought all her daughters’ clothes in Jaegar (sob!) and passed them on to me. They were my greatest delight – I was bought Etam/Martin Ford/C&A but was given a goody bag of Jaegar. The seed was sown at that point!! Nonetheless, something like my coveted Ally Capellino frame bag which cost a fortune I will use and love until the end of time. My cherished boots and shoes are worn until ready to collapse (they are more comfortable then!), my navy leather jacket (Massimo Dutti) had thirty wearings in the first month, my collection of Uniqlo cashmere jumpers that are worn day after day to keep me warm and snuggly. A judicious mix of secondhand and new, but quality, items work for me.

  10. I almost always look at a label to see where a garment was made. But, the problem I have is I have no idea whether (other than those who have hit the news) the country of manufacture does have any ethics. Eg the sweater I have on now – made in Turkey. The last pair of trousers I bought – made in Latvia. Is there somewhere one can go to find out the answer?

  11. I sew a lot of my clothes. I need an ethical site for fabric. I always think that I’m helping to do my part by making my own clothes but I wonder about the fabric end of manufacturing too,

  12. I am writing from the Third World, and the slavery conditions in which sewing women work is absolutely true; clothes in my country are ridiculously expensive, and the more affordable ones are sewn by bolivian workers who don´t have documents, are ilegal immigrants and are locked up in lousy basements, working all day long. People are well aware of this, but in South America, where wages are not high enough to live a normal life, buying this cheap clothes is very tempting. I wish everybody knew about this, I am surprised some people think this can´t be true.

  13. I once spent a year trying to buy clothing only made in the United States, from cloth produced in the states. It was pretty much impossible. And what I found was incredibly expensive. Few people are willing or able to only shop a couple times a year and pay big money for a handful of items and then wear them for years. Until we change that mindset, we’ll have these near-slavery-type conditions in the garment industry.

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