It’s not the first time I mentioned the book Overdressed: the shockingly high cost of fast fashion, by Elisabeth Cline, but it really was a turning point for me as my wardrobe choices are concern. I slowly but surely started making more ethical choices with the clothes I did buy, and also started to build a more thoughtful and functional wardrobe by refashioning clothes I didn’t wear anymore and also by sewing my own clothes. Then, when I saw that Fashion Revolution was organising an online course along with the University of Exeter to learn about Who Made My Clothes, it just seamed like the perfect next step on this way.
So the aim of the course is to become aware of the conditions that garment workers usually are, to learn how to investigate and ask brands about the origin of your clothes, and finally to do something about it. I have to say I am thoroughly enjoying this course and as heartbreaking as some of the research I’ve done is, it has also filled me with hope for a better and more sustainable future.
So, since my wedding anniversary happened during the course, I thought it’d be a great idea to research who made my wedding dress. I have to say that the sole idea of finding out nasty stories that could potentially be related to it did terrify but I still took the plunge and went for it.
My dress is from Pronovias, a well know brand all over the world. For the Tier One research, I Goggled the brand’s name along with all the key words (sweatshop, child labour, strikes,…) as suggested on on of the course’s articles and I didn’t find anything, not even a mention, which I guess put my heart at ease if only a little bit. I couldn’t really find any “high fashion” or “luxury brands” garment workers sotries, which makes me think that their working conditions must be above de average, and hopefully a bit better than that.
My dress was made out of silk for the outside layer and polyester lining.The Tier Two research brought some nasty stories about silk worms farming and production, and I couldn’t help but hope that the silk of my dress hadn’t damaged anyone’s health along the way, although I’ve come to terms that it may well have done. Both materials probably come from China too, maybe even from the very same region, Zhejiang, where most the silk and polyester is made.
So with the bits and pieces that I’ve collected along the way, I’ve dreamt of the person that made my dress:
I haven’t learnt where and by who my dress was actually made, but what I have learnt to look with respect to every single bit of clothing that I see in a shop. Now I imagine stories about them and the people behind them. Next time I see a t-shirt with a coverstitch thread hanging out of the seam I’ll think of a last minute order coming in and that person seeing a massive increase in the garments per hour that she/he must fulfil. Yes, that PERSON, that person that is alive and breathing but with no much room for dreams and hopes. That person could be you or me, and in the same way I wouldn’t want that life for myself, I don’t want it for them either, and it’s on our hands to do our bit.
Apart from being more conscious about my purchases and also sewing my own clothes, I hosted a worldwide refashioning event along with an Instafriend. You can read all about it here. It’s been a great experince so we are already thinking about next year’s exchange!
I want to end with this beautiful interpretation of the pyramid of Maslow for makers, it’s always on the board above my desk as a reminder!
Thank you everyone that have made this course possible, it’s been an absolute joy to be part of it! Hope there are many more!
Thanks for reading!