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Who Made My Clothes?

In this picture I'm wearing my Stasis pullover inside out to show you there are no labels on it. I made it. 3 years ago. But I didn't make my t-shirt or my jeans nor do I have any idea who made them.

Before I started knitting my own clothes I rarely stopped to think the question in the topic line. Who made my clothes? And where? And in what conditions? How much did they get paid for it? I knew about child labor, I knew about the appalling conditions of many textile fabrics in the third world countries, I knew about the possibly cancerous and poisonous dyes. But I didn't really stop and think about it. Not until I started to knit and see all the work it took to make a single piece of garment for myself. How much would I ask for a me-made sweater, if I really took in account all the time it took for me to knit it? Especially if I would need to get a decent salary to live on by making clothes? Not sure if anyone had the money to buy my me-made clothes... It makes me wonder about the value of my work, and why I should pay anyone else less than their fair share.

During the past few years I've become more and more conscious about the ethical issues in fashion industry. My quest for the capsule wardrobe is a result of all this. I'm trying to reduce waste by buying less, as well as wearing my clothes longer by buying better quality. I'm also trying to be less ignorant about origins of what I wear, by choosing organic materials when possible. However I think there are very little ethically produced clothes available, at least in this little town I live in or in my price range. But I think things are getting better all the time.

Movements such as Slow Fashion October hosted by Frige Association blog and the Fashion Revolution( that has been very current during this past week) are bringing a lot of awareness about the problems we are facing in the modern culture of disposable fashion. Everytime a campaign such as "Who made my clothes?" comes along, I stop and think how far I've come and how much more I would like to do. I would love to learn how to make my own clothes, and I would love to be able to tell that I know the origins of every piece of clothing I own including my shoes. That is still far away. But I hope I will get there one day.

One of the dilemmas I face as a knitter and a maker when trying to minimize my wardrobe is what to do with all my knitwear? I have (probably) way too many sweaters, hats and scarf. A lot more than I really need or would have had I not knitted them myself. But you can't knit without finishing stuff, and I'm way too selfish a knitter to only knit for other people. So how do I solve this? As I wrote in my previous post, I've been trying to become more mindful of what I'm knitting and also choose the yarns I use more carefully. But still, this is something that bothers me.

Another aspect of making is waste. This is more about sewing than knitting as it's easier to use yarn scraps that all the little pieces of fabric. It's easier to find out the origins of a ready made garment than it is about cloth. And also I think the cloth would be more sparingly used in a factory than you would on your own. There's always so much waste cloth when you cut your fabric...

What do you think? Any thoughts?


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