Tomorrow morning, I take off for a two week trip. I’ll be heading west with the cities of Portland, Seattle and Vancouver, BC as my main destinations. The plans for this trip all started when I began talking with Britt Howard of the Portland Garment Factory in Portland, OR. We quickly realized how much we had in common- not only in our desire to promote sustainable manufacturing for designers in an independent market, but also a background in fine art and a strong creative streak. I’ll be connecting with her and other like-minded folks along the way and post my adventures on this blog as I find the time.
All of this fits in nicely with the fact that I have been investigating a bit of the history of fashion in the Twin Cities. From attending the MNfashion Seminar featuring Linda McShannock of the Minnesota Historical Society, to connecting with past and present MSP designers and learning more about their stories, there is a rich history begging to be mapped out.
There was a recent article in the New York Times about a factory in the Dominican Republic that is working to create a new paradigm in manufacturing: actually paying their workers a living wage. Amazing. They are also doing quite a bit of marketing with the merchandise, which is smart. I don’t think too many people stop to think that when they purchase clothing or accessories that it was more than likely made by someone who is NOT making a living wage, when the work required to make it is actually skilled labor and should be treated as such.
I love this photo they used for the article. It shows a mutual appreciation that is woven throughout the article. With more visibility to models like this, it is more likely that people will begin to demand sustainably manufactured goods, just as they currently demand organic or local food. When the TRUE cost of a garment is understood, just as the true cost of food, the more balanced and informed decisions we can all make.
As Fashion Week in Minneapolis comes to its culmination, I can’t help but think about what is next. So many designers are getting to the level where they need sustainable manufacturing options. We are working to build a Cooperative here in Mpls- and things are really coming together bit by bit. This is not something you can just throw together or emulate what is already happening in the industry. We have the opportunity to take a look at what is right for our community- our resources and our needs- but what is also innovative in the world. Bringing me to the word glocalization. How do we build in ways that have a positive effect on our planet and also allow us to collaborate with other like-minded groups around the world?
I heard a new word today- or at least heard it used a new way. And it made sense to me.
Well, it obviously means “without form”. But in the context this evening, it was used to describe the space in time (whether seconds, days or more) that a change we desire to make, or project we plan to work on ceases to exist in true form. We know something is in the works, but we have no clue what it is. Something is happening- such as new ideas…but we don’t know exactly what will happen with them. I feel like I am in a constant state of *formlessness* as a creative person. Especially now.
I am using this blog to begin collecting ideas of what people are doing on a local and personal level to address the need for sustainable options for fashion and apparel. This begins with re-use*reduce*recycle, but it goes much deeper than that. My goal is to bring together these ideas and to tell the stories of the people that are redefining what it means to be fashionable in a consumer-driven society, as well as the stories of people who make a living making things to wear.
Also- I am a self-taught milliner and am interested in honing my skills as I figure out how to make a living making hats. I would like to learn traditional methods from different places around the globe and hope to intertwine these two goals through documentation on this site.