*side note: I began to write this post a few weeks ago when I was thinking of starting my site but I was nervous about posting it because I felt I didn’t know enough about it to have an informed opinion but I’ve just discovered Fashion Revolution and decided that maybe every little helps so this is my input for Fashion Revolution Week.
One of the reasons why I decided to start making again was partly because I struggled to find much I liked in the shops, but also, because if I did find a shape I liked, the fabric would be awful or the garment would be thrown together rather than carefully thinking about the finishes or it would be so cheap that I honestly couldn’t bring myself to buy it knowing that someone somewhere had been paid so little. “How cheap can this garment be made for?” is top priority in so many high street fashion chains and I guess it just started to grate on me more and more.
I also started to grow concerned about the chain of supply. One question alone (and there are many) was about the quantity of polyester garments I see in the shops. There are millions of garments made from polyester. Then, I started to think about how often these garments are worn before they are a:given to charity (good) b: fall apart (likely) c: get chucked away because they no longer fulfil the needs of a fast fashion culture (not good).
Considering polyester doesn’t break down and decompose, I have a picture in my head that there’s a big giant mountain of fabric floating somewhere in the world, being eaten by animals and generally adding to an already frightening landfill issue. And then there’s the working conditions and wages at the factories. Each garment has been made by someone’s hand but sadly, those people are rarely given any consideration. Maybe it’s from knowing the time and effort that goes into garment construction (and I know a production line is different) but I find it so upsetting when I see a piece of clothing that costs less that a fiver when the retailer has bought it for half that again. So how can all that fabric, labour, transport, packaging and more cost so little money? Someone is missing out and it’s not the retailers.
There are so many layers to it that you could drive yourself mad when you consider it all. And that’s the pity, because it is easier to not think about it…and as awful as I feel about it, I don’t see how to stop it but I did decide that maybe, just maybe, I can buy less of it and make more of my own stuff. At least that way, I can choose the fabric I use and make it so that I love it enough to wear more times than a throw away fashion item.
With this in mind, I took a quick look into more friendly fabric choices…oh dear. Because if I thought the ‘are you informed about the clothes you buy’ debate was difficult enough to get my head around, that was just the tip of the iceberg. What about the “where does the fabric that goes into your garments come from?” question and the “what chemical processes are used in fabric manufacturing?” question? HELP! I’m still standing on the iceberg and I may never see below the surface but bloody hell there are just so many layers to the industry it’s quite scary.
Yet this is the industry I chose as my career so I want embrace the good in it and I’m just going to try, in my own teeny tiny corner of it, to make the right choices by me, as far as I can manage on at least one link in the chain.
First step, I am going to try and use up fabrics from my stash before buying more if I can, and giving what I don’t need to my friend who is an art teacher. That way, it’s going into the Irish educational system, where her students can use it to create and I can give back a bit to the community. Win Win!
Wish me luck because I’m certainly going to need it.