Today is Fashion Revolution‘s #insideout day! My #insideout outfit today is also a #handmadeinsideout outfit. The coat is my blanket coat, made from an old woolen blanket, my tee was made from two of hubbies old team building tops and I knitted the hat. As you can see, I don’t always put the right coloured thread in my machine, but then that’s one of the charms of me-made fashion.
In a way, I have to be thankful for fast fashion. It’s how I got my start in the world of sewing. When I was about 10 years old, my Dad worked a second job at a local clothing factory that produced clothes for Target. He did maintenance on the big machines. Anyway, like much of the Australian clothing manufacturing industry, the company went bankrupt and closed down. Making local fashion was getting too expensive. Just before the debt collectors went in and took everything, my Dad went in a got me a whole heap of fabric and notions and a huge pair of tailors shears. I used the fabrics to make clothes for my Barbie dolls and I haven’t stopped sewing since.
While I have the rise of fast fashion and offshore manufacturing to thank for igniting my passion, I think I’d still prefer it to have stayed the way it was. I think I’d prefer that clothes were still made in Australia and that way I would know they were being created by people who could feel safe to go to work, who had such a thing as the minimum wage, and minimum working age. But is it that simple?
Ok, so the clothes are then made here, but where does the fabric come from? Where does the cotton come from to make that fabric?
And what if manufacturing stayed in Bangladesh? Should Australia ban clothing imports from the country until the conditions are made safe? Would that put the workers in Bangladesh out of a job? Would they prefer to go to work even though it was dangerous to work there? What would the alternative be?
This is such a huge and wide reaching issue and the solutions are far from simple! So what can we do? This year I have been on a fabric buying ban. I don’t have the largest of fabric stashes, but it’s certainly big enough to keep me going for at least this year, probably next year too. The ‘need’ to have the latest collection of fabric makes me a bit sick when I think about it. I’m almost certain that most of the fabric we buy comes from these same factories with poor and unsafe conditions. If I don’t think it’s right to buy a tshirt for that reason, fabric isn’t any better! So using what I already have rather than buying more and more makes me feel that little bit better. I’ve also really stepped up my upcycling/refashioning and recycling of old clothes. If a piece of clothing can be remade and then have a whole new life, that makes me feel great! I’m also shopping more at thrift stores/op shops for the same reason.
What do you think the solution is?