Wear Something Locally Made on Fridays

19 07 2011

I’m signed up to a number of newsletters, follow a lot of tweeters, and collect textile related blogs that I read intermittently. On any given day, I probably get plenty of inspiration for a blog post if I actually followed through on the possibilities, but I tend only to write a new post when the subjects of more than one of them intertwine in a way that really excites me. That happened today.

Ecoterre, a site devoted to  ecologically oriented clothing companies,

http://www.ecouterre.com/

offered a discussion of why ecological clothing is so expensive. Just like a lot of you, I’d love to commit to wearing only ecologically and ethically made clothing, but my budget is so tight I often have to compromise or even abandon these ideas in favor of not walking around the world naked. I do this, even though I know very well that my favorite pieces in my wardrobe are the o nes I have accumulated one by one from individual makers over the years. A good number of these pieces were bought 20 years or more ago, now. They still look good. There’s absolutely no doubt at this point, given what they cost and the amount of wearings and compliments they have had, that they were some of the best bargains I have ever bought.

Yet I still have considerable resistance to buying new items like these beloved ones.

Why? It’s the resistance to that initial comparatively high price, however well justified that price may be.

Well, let’s put that aside and talk about the other story of interest.

I am sorry to say that I seem to have misplaces or forgotten to bookmark the page referenced, I think on Twitter, for this one, but you can google it for yourself using “batiks Indonesia Fridays”.

This is the idea. Indonesia’s people are encouraged to wear batiks on Fridays.

It’s a simple idea, supporting the products of a country’s own textile makers. Imagine that! Imagine if every single Friday, Americans wore something made by American textile makers. (I generally do every day. My handbag and shopping bag are both handmade, and generally one of my scarves is tied the handbag strap.) We’d all have taken advantage of some of those bargains I mentioned above, and we’d all be very well dressed on Fridays. All those skills that are disappearing offshore because the US’s textile industry can’t match the prices offered elsewhere, especially if they endeavor to pay US living wages, would be kept alive. And what a flowering of those skills there would be.

If you like this idea, feel free to spread it. If you want to act on it, allow me to suggest an investment at my ArtFire shop, PockTTorian Textiles (Note the 2 t’s):

http://www.artfire.com/users/PockttorianTextiles

I do accept commissions.





Think REALLY locally, like just barely beyond the borders of your own body

10 07 2011

When I began Pocktorian Textiles in the UK, I had two objectives. One was to provide a way for local textile graduates and artisans to start their own businesses and find a sufficient market for their work by sharing equipment, ideas, and selling space. The other was to provide locals a place where they could come to find the work of local designers and makers and providers of things like locally produced yarns.

I imagined the possibility of Norwichers being able to say that a large proportion of what they were wearing was made locally, as it would have been not that long ago. Even in the 1800’s, Norwich was known for its weaving, and I’m sure that a large proportion of the cloth used locally would have come from local weavers. I could be wrong, of course.

Perhaps I was thinking on too large a scale. Perhaps I should have been thinking on a scale not much larger than my own body, as Rebecca Burgess, of Marin County, California did when she decided that for a whole year, she would wear only clothes spun, dyed, and knitted within 150 miles of her front door.

http://www.ecouterre.com/think-global-wear-local-with-fibersheds-150-mile-wardrobe/7

It’s an idea similar to the one I’ve toyed with every time I spent time with a Dharma Trading catalog, even more so since they began carrying yarn for you to dye or paint yourself.

http://www.dharmatrading.com/

I imagine using their blank clothing, fabric, and yarn to to create a wardrobe for myself. I’d keep the items I have in my wardrobe from other makers, and I’d be open to buying more such goods, perhaps even commission some since my hand-knitting is so blasted slow.

It’ll have to wait. So far, I’m too busy finding a way to earn my share of the household funds to do that, and it’s not happening by my selling the things I make.

I know that my Dharma idea isn’t nearly as ecological as Ms. Burgess’ one, but I tend to choose skills other than sewing at least at the moment. I also wouldn’t really like to give up all silk and most or all cotton. I doubt I could find either being grown or spun, other than handspun, within 150 miles of my home, though I think alpaca is a possibility.

What about you? If you thought just beyond the borders of your own body, and set yourself to construct a locally produced wardrobe, how would you go about it? What restrictions would you place on yourself? What dispensations? (I would not attempt to find a locally made bra that satisfied my requrements.)