I have been aware of unfair wages and poor working conditions among factory workers overseas for a while. However, the most recent fire in Bangladesh really brings the point home. The average worker in Bangladesh makes $37 for about 400 hours of work per month. That works out to 9 1/4 cents per hour and working about 14 hours a day 6 days a week. So, the clothing that we see at all those big box stores are coming on the backs of these poor souls working in these horrid conditions. I am as guilty as the next person of wanting a good deal. And, I admit that mainly I started sewing because I couldn't find clothes that fit me well and the ones that I loved were outrageously expensive. I figured I could sew them to fit me and with better quality fabric than what I could buy. I also have to say, I am less likely to give something up that I have labored over and sewn myself. I am more likely to hold on to it and revamp it.
A friend mentioned the other day that it is funny that so many of us worry about where our food comes from and that we should buy local and organic, but many of these same people have never thought about where their clothing comes from. Another trend I heard about lately is Haul videos up on Youtube. These are videos made mostly by teenage girls that describe all the clothing that they have bought in their latest shopping hauls. There are now over 700,000 of these videos on Youtube now, and some of these girls are now getting paid to make videos as a job for retailers. When these girls should be out exploring all kinds of things in their high school years such as art, music, sports, and craft. They are out buying as a hobby. I do love to shop also, but I hope to instill the idea of how to make your own in my children and to have them think about where the item comes from and how it was made.
Here is a photo from our recent trip. In this photo, my daughter is wearing a skirt that I made from fabric that I bought a few years ago. (There must have been a bit of wind, because it fluffed out like a bell!) I am wearing my $4 goodwill jeans. I often purchase jeans from goodwill, looking for jeans that fit. I then bring them home and modify them. These pants had bell bottoms which I detest. I cut them down and installed jean zippers, and for $8 I had skinny leg jeans that I love.
Here is to ingenuity and a little elbow grease!