Updated May 28, 2016:
I can happily say that one year after I originally wrote this post, my feelings and opinions on the importance of Me Made haven’t changed. Rereading what I wrote served as a healthy reminder as to why I take this blog so seriously and why promoting hand made clothing is a life goal.
Child labor sucks and puts a blemish on modern society’s “We’re Evolved!” point of view. For a lot of people, the issue of child labor is enough of a cause to try and reverse all the wrongs of the modern fast fashion industry. For me personally, its the mindless consumption that drives me up the wall- the idea that a SALE sign topper fills people with adrenaline and a high when the credit card purchase goes through. (Having worked in retail in a previous life, I can assure you that that “sale” isn’t really a sale.) A lot of articles have been written as of late about the constant sales and how even amongst retailers, its starting to harm their bottom line.
The lack of value that is placed on a piece of clothing- and in turn the art of sewing- is unfortunate. I know plenty of people who would baulk at paying more than 20$ on a blouse. The usual cry is, “I can buy that for cheaper elsewhere!”
But, when it comes to Me Made clothes, I gladly pay more than that every time.
Spending 40$ on fabric for a blouse + time and labour could easily turn a Me Made top into a 100$ blouse if I paid myself proper wages. But, its a sacrifice I am happy and fortunate to be able to make.
This past year there was a great hashtag trending on Instagram, “Who Made Your Clothes?” If you haven’t had the opportunity to check it out the website of this great cause, please do so. I was happy to open my social media every day to see people discussing this and for awareness of the issue to be raised amongst so many consumers.
As for me and where I stand, my goal last year was a start. As of this update, most of my clothing is Me Made. My last garment purchase was a pair of Hue tights which were made in the USA. I endeavor to keep making conscious decisions like this in the future.
Originally Posted May 2, 2015:
I, Bianca from Vintage on Tap, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’15. I endeavour to wear Me Made items at least 3 times a week for the duration of May 2015′
If you haven’t heard of Me Made May, it’s a lovely self challenge that promotes the appreciation of the handmade garments seamstresses make for themselves. The challenge has been out in the blogosphere for about 5 years and draws hundreds of participants who post on Flickr, Pinterest, and Instagram (#mmm15)
For each seamstress, the MMM15 challenge means something different, but the purpose is the same: incorporate handmade items into your daily rotation, wearing less RTW and (eventually) phasing those items out.
The concept is something I’m extremely passionate about. The ease at which fashion is disposable is astonishing: while fads come and go (and no doubt I love seeing what’s “in” right now)– the idea that there are so many people around the world who are bending over backwards for that 5$ top boggles my mind. Sweatshop conditions for millions of people around the world is agreed upon to be unethical: but walking the walk is hard when you just need to pick something up real quick for that one thing you got invited to.
We all fall prey to that discounted pair of jeans- I am definitely not above that- but if one less garment made in deplorable working conditions is in my regular rotation, then I am doing what I can do from here. Ultimately we vote with our wallet when it comes to these sorts of things– its important to at least be aware of who made your clothes or where they came from. And frankly, I’d rather spend my money on the raw materials to make fabulous clothing for myself. I’ll undoubtedly buy some sweater someday, somewhere that wasn’t ethically made- no doubt about it- and I’m sure all my readers will, too. But raising awareness and being conscious of those decisions as they happen- and conscious when you’re replacing them with something vintage or Me Made will help offset those habits. Its all about doing what we can when we have a choice.
Speaking about the challenge specifically, it will be interesting for me because I have a bunch of really random pieces of clothing in my wardrobe, all of which I made for random reasons. Incorporating them into a daily wardrobe will certainly be tricky, but it can definitely be done.
Recently I was linked to a Coletterie wardrobe challenge that was posted in 2014 and really hit the nail on the head for how I’ve been feeling about my struggles to complete a strong closet. A lot of the clothes I’ve made previously have been all over the place, not flowing together and being cohesive enough to evolve into a functioning collection of pieces. If you haven’t checked out the Coletterie series of posts, I highly recommend them! [May 10, 2016: I actually started doing this wardrobe challenge and you can read more about that here]
Either way, fostering the curiosity of who made your clothes is a small step.
All it takes is looking at the tags in your clothes every once in a while and deciding that maybe next time, you want to know who made your clothes.
Invest in a quality piece instead that was made in a place that doesn’t exploit child labor or continually takes advantage of poor working conditions. Just one piece at a time.