Don’t let these pictures fool you – I am not a super skilled sewer. I am a total novice. I mean I have had a little go before. To date I have a child’s size pair of pyjama bottoms (intended for an adult), a wonky quilt and two aprons to my name.
For my birthday I received this lovely piece of vegetable-dyed fabric, some elastic and some basic instructions on how to make a skirt in an hour. This took me a little longer than an hour to make, I got a little stressed and stuck a few pins in my fingers, but I did it. The finished result is this lovely skirt that is now my favourite item in my wardrobe.
Whilst this skirt was relatively simple to make, I wouldn’t say it was easy. It took time and effort and I think that has made me value it more. When you make something for yourself you can appreciate exactly what has gone into making it.
If I wanted to sell my skirt, I would want a fair price for it. Something that reflects the cost of the materials, my time and then a bit more to make a little profit – a girls got to eat! When we buy cheap clothes it means that someone has had to lose out somewhere, and it is probably the person who has made the item.
I have always known about sweatshops and had an understanding of what fair-trade means, but I think it’s about time I start making a more conscious effort to buy more ethically and try my hand at making a few more things myself.
We live in a throwaway society, buying cheap disposable items that will only last for a certain amount of time, with the view that it doesn’t really matter, it was cheap, we can buy another one to replace it! I don’t think I’m alone in saying that I’m sometimes guilty of having this attitude but, I want to change. Yes, I like to keep up to date with fashion trends and no, I don’t have an endless supply of money but I don’t think that other people should have to be exploited so I can buy cheap clothes.
So, what can we do? I’m going to try (I’m using the word try because I may end up in Topshop once in awhile – shoot me) to make a more conscious effort to cut down on buying clothes and make sure that when I do, they are good quality and ethically produced. Also rather than buying new, I am going to try and buy things second-hand and mend or adapt my old clothes to give them a new lease of life.
If you’re thinking about doing the same an easy place to start is by taking a look at Ethical Consumer – they have put together an ethical rating list of high street shops, which is a useful tool to see where each store rates against others – and some of the results are quite surprising.
Who is up for making this change with me?