Weaver bird nests - Masai Mara - Kenya 2016
Image at Lake Baringo - Samatian Island - Kenya 2016
A world wide wave, the Fashion Revolution, swept across the globe last week. Did you hear about it? Did you wonder who makes your clothes? Did you ask a brand you like to wear where you clothes come from? (see footnote)
I have a feeling this journal post will have more questions than answers, or at least more wonderings than advice or information, most likely due to the fact that I don't find huge amounts of clarity when it comes to understanding the impact of fashion, fast or otherwise.
On the one hand, fashion employs so many people from farmers to fabric suppliers, to garment workers to wholesalers, to retailers. It is just a massive movement of materials across the world, with people handling them at different stages. Who am I to demand these people stop how they are doing things so that I can feel better about it?
On the other hand, this same industry creates problems, too. Problems in unsafe work conditions, low wages, fantastic skills being wasted when a garment is made so quickly, so cheaply only to be worn and thrown away. So my one glaring problem is over production. Why do we produce so many garments? Why don't we value to skills of the garment workers to the extent that we want them to work for more money, make fewer garments - to truly be valued as amazing sewers of clothing and accessories? But getting back to over-production.
I know the challenges minimum quantities pose to designers...my roof cavity is loaded with plastic tubs of past collections because, although I was producing as sustainably as possible, I didn't find a big enough market for my ranges. So, even though my quantities were tiny compared to most brands, I still over-produced for my market. To be honest, there is sadness for me when I know that what we created is well designed, well made and reasonably priced, yet this is not enough to make it viable and so to keep designing and producing. I guess we only need so many clothes (yet another conundrum of sustainability in fashion).
No wonder brands resort to land fill or second hand clothing bins to off load excess clothing. By using these methods of removal it immediately eliminates signs of over-production or failure to reach the market, or any number of other reasons why a style just does not work. And the window for the range or the style to work is getting smaller and smaller. Once upon a time we had at least 6 months to sell the range (spring/summer or autumn/winter). Now it's all mixed up with short runs, mini collections, trans-seasonal options and one-offs that are made to order. And then there is fast fashion on top of it all.
Which brings me to the conundrum of sustainability in fashion.
I know for sure, because I feel it in myself, that there is often a disconnect between what we believe (our values, principles, ideals) and how we live. Not for everyone, of course, as I know there are people who live with little compromise, however, I think they are the exception rather than the rule. Most of us will justify just about anything if we really want something badly enough.
This is sounding a bit dark and angsty. But it does bother me. I have an uncomfortable feeling that things are not right yet there still isn't the will in most of us to make the necessary changes to begin to make it right. Even Fashion Revolution is a one-week-a-year focus (for which I am exceedingly grateful) but what happens when it's over? Do we continue forward looking for change or do we slip back into our comfy stance? I know which one I want to do and which one I am most likely to do, too.
My big questions are: how can fashion be sustainable if we keep producing vast amounts of it (even if it is sustainable in some way - organic fabric - fair wages - better working conditions - recycled fabrics)?
And: how can sustainable brands remain viable without going down the path of over-production to keep costs down? The hard reality is that the more you make the cheaper it is to produce.
Oh, dear, I think my journalling is starting to unravel. Time to pause, to bring to a close my ramble on this topic.
One thing is certain; there are no guarantees and no perfect fixes in this world. We will work to see our ideas come to life, hoping against hope sometimes, that we can live with less impact and clothe our bodies more sustainably.
And, thank goodness for Nelson Mandela.
Footnote: - a huge thank you to the many who shopped online with One Colour and the other brands who work towards sustainability in fashion, during Fashion Revolution Week.
Focusing on Fashion Revolution Week.
Thursday 13 April until Sunday 23 April
50% off selected Autumn/Winter garments
I have to work hard to enjoy crows. They are clever, noisy, wily. I have never seen a dead crow on the side of the road, yet. Over the years I have heard their distinctive cry in the Snowy Mountains high country and when I lived in country NSW and now, in Brisbane. So they are adaptable, too. Maybe this characteristic is their brilliance.
A while back I had a chance meeting with a lady while walking in the morning. We both discovered our interest in local birds and compared notes on what birds we had observed, when and where. In the course of our chat she mentioned that she talked to the crows who visited her verandah. The mental image of someone speaking to a crow in crow speak...the sound...the shape of the mouth...perhaps the head movement...it started me thinking about my own attitude to crows and why I looked at them with disdain...too noisy....the sound grates...they move in a strange half hop/lope.
The truth dawned on me - I had decided that crows weren't worth speaking to. Kookaburras, magpies, lorikeets, coucal (cuckoo family but raise their own young), I found I was happy to speak to just about any other bird, but not the crow. And again, the wheels turned in my mind, who did I, in my own wisdom/view of the world, speak to and who didn't I speak to.
Crows aren't people but what this lady's comment did for me was to open me up to wondering - who is worth speaking to? Maybe I don't like how they say something, or what they sound like when they say it, rather than what they say? Does the sound get in the way of the content so I don't even bother to listen to, let alone speak to, the other.
I am still thinking on this.
Found this link on the Brisbane City Council Site, if you are interested to read further.
Image from google images
Image by Jean Moral 1954 - light brown silk dress by Gres.
Lukas & Lote, by Jordy, wearing Nuts and Treeheart t-shirts - organic cotton African made t-shirts.
Our carport will host a T-shirt Sell Off on Saturday 4 March between 9am and 4pm. If you live in Brisbane and want to own a One Colour t-shirt made with African Cotton then visit us at 9 Holdway Street, Kenmore. We'd love to share our t-shirts with you.
A percentage of each sale will go towards funding an operation for our friend Milka in Kenya.
Blank or original artwork t-shirts are available.
Nice pics of Lote & Lukas by Jordy.
It's a great realisation that flavour is more important than form.
How wonderful to take steps to support change in the life of someone else, especially that of a child. My good friend, Jane Shakespeare has been working tirelessly to support change in the lives of orphaned and disadvantaged kids in Sierra Leone since 2015. Jane first visited Sierra Leone in 2006. The children have remained close to her heart and she is now in a position to offer support and help where it's most needed. So, in partnership with her, we can offer a $10 donation on the sale of each Kenana Knitter Jungle Fun Critter. But first, here is a little more on the charity she has founded.
The Fig Tree Children work for orphans and other underprivileged children in Sierra Leone. We help provide food, clothing, shoes, school materials, medicines and we pay school fees. We are focused on helping underprivileged children and their families who have no other ways of providing for themselves.
We find a sponsor for one of our benefactor children and help provide funds towards supplying basic materials including food (rice) that they need every month. We believe that it is very important for us to locate those orphans and underprivileged children who cannot access food, basic healthcare and education. Without an education we all know that these children will not have a future to look forward to.
Our program is a developmental one which provides food, clothing, shoes, medicine and school materials to orphaned and underprivileged children in Sierra Leone. We believe that every child deserves to feel safe, be loved and have access to basic healthcare and education. Education is key to bringing this country out of poverty.
- Jane Shakespeare, Founder
And the really great bit of news is that you can be part of this change by either buying a little jungle fun Kenana Knitter critter ($10 from the purchase goes to The Fig Tree Children) or, if you want to, even sponsor a fig tree child and see their lives transformed.
It's up to you.
As printed in Simplicity Diary published by Sellers Publishing Inc, South Portland, Maine, 04106, USA.
WHAT IS THIS
Impossible to pass up, for me at least, was my recent purchase of "The book of Uninspiring Quotes to complement your empty shell of an existence" by Sunny Leunig.
When browsing through the books at Dymocks, this one caught my attention:
Imagination allows you to envisage the type of success you will never have.
I hope you don't think I am being particularly negative or flippant because I do draw great inspiration from wise words and uplifting quotes from influential or ordinary people past and present. It's just that the focus the wise quotes draw us to may actually be distracting us from the things we really should be paying attention to. I find that the really good quotes can even make us feel inadequate, shallow or past it. We then have to regroup, breath deeply and have another go...in my case it's often about sticking to my plan to clean out the kitchen cupboards, or vacuum under the stairs where the dust and pet fur is 2 inches thick. If I did those things I am pretty darn sure I would feel as if I had really achieved something, rather than the usual state which is thinking about doing these good deeds but never actually making the time to do them.
Another that tickled my funny bone was:
Today is the day for Positive Change. Tomorrow is the day to default back to your inevitable disappointing self.
It's hard not to see the truth in this twisted sister of a quote. Good intentions abound. What's that other quote, not in the book; "We judge others by their actions and ourselves by our intent". Yes, we are past masters and mistresses at fooling ourselves into believing good psycho-babble, when it suits us. Well, I know I am.
And finally, to round out this journal with a truly inspirational, uninspiring quote:
The best things in life are sadly out of your financial reach. (cue two gorgeous people lying in the sun on a yacht that is floating on impossibly blue water)
The bitter truth of this little wordster is that we often chase after those things that others say we must have (via ads, family, facebook, instagram, even respected friends or mentors). The trick with it is, in my opinion, to be thankful, then get busy.
So, my motto for the year, at least for the next few weeks, if I'm really honest, is to "work less and do more". I want to be less bogged down with work/stuff/what could go wrong and be more into breathing right/looking up/smiling more/cleaning those cupboards and vacuuming under the stairs.
And, there are plenty more quotes to be found between the covers of "The Book of Uninspiring Quotes to complement your empty shell of an existence" by Sunny Leunig. www.affirmpress.com.au.