1 - 7 November, 2021
This week's wrap up is a bit of a mixed bag.
Firstly, I share a really interesting video and podcast on the topic of clothing poverty that I stumbled across earlier in the week. This is such an important topic, but one that doesn't necessarily get as the attention it deserves. I know I have only skimmed the surface myself, so I hope to delve into this issue further in a future post. Watch this space!
I have also included an article on the changing attitudes towards the Melbourne Cup (an annual horse race back home in Australia), another on where to start when it comes to spotting greenwashing, and I conclude with some mending and alteration techniques that we can all get involved in.
Take a watch
This short five minute clip from Economic (in)justice, featuring Louise Cooke, founder of Sharewear Clothing Scheme, draws attention to the often forgotten issue of clothing poverty.
Take a listen
If you are interested in finding out more about the issue of clothing poverty, I recommend listening to the full 15 minute podcast with Louise Cooke, where she talks about;
The power of community organising in São Paulo, a place where the poor have so little, but manage to make the most of what they do have through sharing, repairing and repurposing. Louise brought this model back to the United Kingdom in a grassroots way through the provision of basic and dignified clothes for life.
The importance of creating an environment where individuals don't feel like they are receiving handouts. Instead, like the Sharewear clothing scheme, individuals should be provided opportunities that give them agency, where they can make their own choices, and feel like they are shopping in-store.
How clothes can be an enabler. We often don't think about the need for dignified clothing to get into work, to go to school, or to simply spend time outdoors, but this is an important factor in clothing poverty.
The need to think about what we are donating, asking whether we would wear it ourselves, or want to see a member of our family wearing it, before making the donation.
Take a read
The Melbourne Cup is Australia's most famous and prestigious horse race. It occurs every year on the first Tuesday of November (a public holiday in its home state of Victoria) as part of the annual Spring Racing Carnival. However, the nation's relationship with "the race that stops the nation" (with almost everyone not in attendance tuning in to either watch or listen to the race) may be changing.
One way that this is becoming apparent, is the choice by some designers and brands to distance themselves from the event, declining invitations to attend, or market the event. One such brand is vegan footwear brand Twoobs, who choose to say #nuptothecup.
As The Australia Financial Review article The Melbourne Cup is falling out of fashion points out, this shift in attitude may stem from a growing concern around gambling (a significant part of Aussie culture) as well as the issue of animal welfare.
If you are a reader of my weekly wraps, you probably know what greenwashing is by now. If not, it is essentially marketing spin that gives the impression that a product or service is more environmentally friendly than it actually is. The practice is rampant within the clothing and textiles industry.
The Refinery 29 article How To Vet A Fashion Brand’s Ethics & Sustainability Practices provides
some great tips that can help us all suss out a brand’s values, beyond their virtue signalling. Some of the key takeaways include;
Looking at what information the brand has provided. Start with the brands "about" and "sustainability" pages. Try to dig into the crux of their practices, such as whether workers are paid a fair or living wage, and what conditions they operate in. A good rule of thumb is that if a brand isn’t providing much information at all, it’s usually a sign that sustainability and transparency aren’t high on their agenda. When it comes to what materials they use, if they aren’t discussed on these pages, it’s worth digging through product pages to gain a general idea of what type of fabrics are generally used.
Seek help from third-party organisations in relation to how brands rank socially and environmentally. Some good places to start include Fashion Revolution, Fashion Checker and Good on You.
As I mention in an earlier post, Sew good for you, I truly believe that gaining a better understanding of how our clothing is made, will not only help us develop a greater love and respect for what is hanging in our wardrobes, but will go a long way in ensuring things hang around for longer.
The Guardian article A stitch in time: simple, low-skill clothes mending and alteration techniques provides easy to follow instructions, tips, and links, on how to complete six common (and achievable) mending and alteration techniques that we can do at home with some basic equipment. Here is a summary of the key tips:
Sewing on a button: Look at the other buttons remaining on the garment before sewing, this will tell you how to stitch (e.g. criss cross or in straight lines through the button holes), and remember to double your thread for added strength - buttons tend to go through a lot.
Darning a sock: Use a darning mushroom, and stitch in vertical “jail bar” lines first before weaving in and out horizontally.
Sewing a patch over a hole: Embrace visible mending, and in doing so it doesn’t matter what colour your thread or patch is, or what your stitching skills are like. Simply pin in place and run in and out with the needle.
Fallen hems: Again, remember to look at the existing hem on your garment for ideas. Some options include;
An iron on hemming tape, for a quick, temporary fix.
Stitching by hand using a single thread, trying to catch only a few yarns (i.e. don't go all the way through the fabric) to produce an invisible finish.
Simply machine stitching, but remember to test your stitch width to ensure the fabric doesn't pucker (you may just need to make the stitch slightly wider than usual).
A good tool, I recommend, is the Prym sewing ruler, with red slider, as you can easily transfer the width of your hem along.
Turning jeans into shorts: Lie them flat first, matching the in-seam (inside leg) from crotch to ankle. Fold the jeans in half placing one leg over the other, this way you can cut through both legs at the same time. Just remember to leave a bit of extra length as jeans tend to fray.
Adjusting the sleeve length: This is dependent on the sleeve length, style, fabric, and the possibility of fraying.
I also love the final piece of advice shared in the article that we should “Know that it’s not that hard and give it a crack. The most important thing is knowing that you can do it, especially if you put in a little bit of time."
Please GET IN TOUCH or leave me a comment. I would love to know what you have been reading, watching, or listening to this week.
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