It's bits of information like this that reveal so much. As a sewist, I can't imagine sewing together 34 pieces in 54 steps in only 43 minutes! Yes, they have equipment that I don't have access to...but that is skilled labor. Many brands would have no idea about any of these numbers. Keeping manufacturing close to home allows them to know for certain. It also allows the miles each garment travels during production to be almost 20 times less than the industry average!
And that only happens due to an all-American supply chain...including American-grown cotton. All of this might sound like obvious choices for American brands, but very few American clothing brands source labor or cotton from the USA.
Yesterday's dreamy post was only a portion of what I was thinking about at the time I wrote it. Sewists often view beautiful images + pieces in terms of inspiration for their own makes. So here is the other half of my thinking in regards to those romantic shapes. Of course a lot of other sewing patterns + fabrics could come into the mix here...but these are a few that came to my mind. So much lovely possibility!
All lovely photoes via links.
Part one of Doen's autumn collection dropped today + oh, it is just achingly dreamy. We are enjoying the magical weather right now that makes this sort of dressing possible. The light is yellowing + I'm totally feeling this...my most favorite silhouette...flowy, abbreviated dresses with three-quarter sleeves. I'm also loving these gorgeous tops.
As I grow older + as I try to figure out my style...I notice the things that I am drawn to decade after decade. These dresses prompt memories of long rides home from the mall, as a teenager, with a new Laura Ashley catalog to pour over again + again. These shapes also have me remembering the many Built by Wendy dresses I made + wore almost exclusively for many summers.
These are the short lived weeks when bare legs + longer sleeves just make sense. I'm considering whether I might wear one of these dresses with straight jeans, a waist length cardigan + boots when the weather cools. The blouses would be dreamy to wear with cut-off shorts, jeans or overalls. The same sweater would warm them up as well. Doen, you are just one more reason I wish the weather could be like this every day.
All lovely photos via Doen.
I recently finished + enjoyed Yaa Gyasi's Transcendent Kingdom. (Her last book, Homegoing, was my favorite book I read that year.) I finally got my turn with How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi + am looking forward to being inspired by Meera Sodha's Fresh India this weekend. (I love the library!)
Mourning the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg + all that it means for our precarious future.
Poverty has its freedoms; opulence has its obstacles.
Kombucha leather + mushroom bricks.
The equivalent of seven billion fleece jackets being flushed into our waterways.
But I have to wonder how much equestrian flooring + how many standing desk pads we need.
Both science + metaphor.
My thoughts are with all of you dealing with the weight of fires, floods + this pandemic. I hope this weekend finds you safe + able to breathe some fresh air.
Loads of love,
We have to be willing to do things differently,
even if it's harder or not as convenient at first.
But it won't always be harder.
The more you do something, the more normal it becomes.
To create, one must first question everything. ~Eileen Gray
I don't believe this is exclusively true. Often wonderful things are created when we just go for it. But seeing this quote right after deciding to finally cut into this fabric seemed fitting. :)
If you are a sewist, I'm sure you've had the experience of finding it hard to cut into a precious piece of fabric. I bought this piece at least a year ago, with one project in mind (which I can't even remember). Then I had my doubts that I'd picked just the right project...and I considered other plans. I think I've narrowed it down again, and today was supposed to be the day that I finally committed + cut into that gorgeous fabric. Then I went to get the fabric + couldn't remember if I'd pre-washed it...realized that I can't tumble dry it...and now it will be another couple of days until I can actually cut into it.
Oh well. Instead I will patiently prewash + line dry my fabric...as quickly as possible. I will put my most closely related inspiration in one place (above). I will look through my scrap bin to see if I can pull something to use for binding. And I will keep all my fingers + toes crossed hoping that I will do this project justice...eventually. :)
Just a friendly reminder to our American friends...there is still time to request an application for a mail-in ballot...but not much time. We've requested mail-in ballots, because who knows if we'll have Covid-19, have been exposed to someone with Covid-19 (+ be in quarantine), or have a cold or suspicious cough on November 3rd. Voting this way reduces the number of people poll workers are exposed to as well.
We plan to fill out our ballots as soon as we receive them, get them notarized (a further requirement in our state) + drop them off in the designated receptacle ourselves. Many states are allowing votes to be counted before November 3rd + ours is one of them.
I also want to encourage awareness of + investment in local + state elections...down to the seemingly most inconsequential elections. School boards are making decisions on how our children learn, how well they are protected from the virus, and the access every child has to the necessary tools of education. Sheriffs are setting the tone for police departments and determining what policies, behaviors + attitudes are acceptable. We have an elected county commissioner here who has written a long public post encouraging residents to buy guns + ammunition in order to be ready for the coming war following election day. Local + state elections matter.
Vote for our planet. Vote because black lives matter. Vote for justice for all. Vote because science is real. Vote because immigrant lives matter. Vote for unity over division. Vote because love is love. Vote because climate change is real. Vote for integrity. Vote for love over fear. Vote because differently abled and trans people and women matter. Vote for truth over lies. Vote for clean energy. Vote for healthcare for everyone. Vote for more love. Vote for our future. Vote for our right now.
Vote local, vote state + vote the $%&#* out!
A few years ago, I read an article explaining that plastic microfibers shed from polyester + nylon clothing in the wash + make their way into our drinking water. I went through our closets + pulled out our own microfiber producing pieces. I tried to think of alternatives for as many of those items as possible. My partner + I replaced our plastic fiber fleece jackets with 100% wool Ibex jackets (like the navy one above). Not long after, Ibex announced that they were going out of business.
Fortunately, not long after that, Ibex announced that they would return...in time. I'm happy to say that Ibex has come back, and it might just be better than it was before. At the moment there are just a few, basic pieces in their collection. Some of the pieces are made from 100% merino wool (including tees + the jacket above). Many pieces (including the tank, sweatshirt + sweatpants above) are mainly merino wool plus just a touch of added spandex or elastane. The people who work on Ibex products, throughout the supply chain, are employed by WRAP certified manufacturers.
As the weather cools, I thought I'd revisit Ibex as an alternative to oil-based plastic fleece + polyester fibers. Whether polyester or nylon is recycled or not, it will produce plastic microfibers. Merino wool is a long lasting, natural fiber that wicks moisture away from the skin + resists odors. It keeps us warm with relatively little bulk or weight. Wool is worth repairing + with care, will be ready for heavy wear year after year.
All lovely photos via Ibex.
Yesterday, I came across a pair of fair-trade certified jeans at Target. They cost $34.99 (full price)! They have the fair-trade logo on the tag + in the jeans. This discovery got me thinking + doing a little bit of digging.
I noticed that these Target fair-trade certified jeans cost $34.99 (full price), while the same style of non-fair-trade certified jeans cost $29.99. Sadly there is not even a mention of the fair-trade certified jeans being fair-trade in the title of the item on the website or in the store, so the only difference most shoppers will notice is the slightly higher price tag.
These Madewell fair-trade certified jeans cost $128 (full price), while the same style of non-fair-trade certified Madewell jeans also cost $128. Again, there is no mention of fair-trade status in the item description. The identical pricing leads me to believe that the cost increase of making jeans in a fair-trade certified factory must not even be enough to be reflected in the cost to consumer! Madewell's enormous mark-up can easily absorb this cost.
It's interesting to imagine that sourcing cotton from farmers, processing that cotton, spinning, weaving + dying that fabric...transporting the fiber from one process to the next...the zipper, other hardware thread, tags...all the detailed sewing of jeans...transport to warehouse + stores...AND mark-up...could be done for $34.99. I'm assuming that only fair-trade (overseas*) sewing has been included in the fair-trade certification of these jeans. Fair labor throughout the supply chain has not necessarily been addressed...not to mention cotton that is grown without toxic chemicals. I imagine that the same goes for the $128 jeans. The only difference is that Madewell makes a lot more money than Target does on mark-up.
Even so...if fair-trade (overseas*) labor can be achieved for $35...then how much more would it really cost to pay fairly throughout the supply chain?
And really...shouldn't fair wages just be part of the system? Most of us lived under the assumption that garment workers were paid fairly for some period of time + needed to wake up to the fact that fair wages aren't already part of the system that brings us the clothes we wear.
Who is responsible for unfair wages? Anyone choosing to keep a little (or a lot) more money for themselves. This comes down to heads of brands who cast a vision for profits over people. It comes down to owners of factories who want to grow their own wealth rather than that of their employees. It comes down to us...when we continue to choose cheap/easy/instant gratification without regard to who is paying the price that we are unwilling to pay.
These jeans seem to reveal something that even the self-proclaimed "transparent" brands are not sharing with us: fair-trade does not cost them much. They cannot continue to sell us on the lie that WE would not want to pay them enough to pay their garment workers fair wages.
Photos via links. Unlinked photo, mine.
*Just one more thing to address: The brands mentioned here outsource labor to countries with the lowest standards of living, so "fair wages" are falsely low. Jeans made closer to home cost more, because a living wage is higher. Even then, many garment workers in the USA are paid poorly. It is important for brands to manufacture where they live, so that they can have close relationships with those making their (our) clothing.
on a journey toward zero-waste, simplicity, + compassion :: daring to choose fair one choice at a time