I've been pondering this first official entry for a long time. In fact, I happen to be one of those people that truly believes blogging is dead and Instagram is king. But, I here I am.
One of my 2018 goals is to blog weekly so you all can get a to know Swatch and myself - Stefanie - a bit better.
I scrapped my original blog post as soon as I received a Facebook message from a friend asking me to make her a hat...
"I saw this hat for $20 on ((insert major retailer)), I figured I would ask you if you could make it before buying it."
For a few moments, I was engulfed in a wave of emotions. More on as to why that is later. And I knew two things that I had to do: explain why I wouldn't make this hat for her and why it is so cheap compared to having me make it for her.
About a year and a half ago, while finishing my undergrad, it was required that I took a journalism class to finish my English degree. During that time, and non-class related, I was researching the art of slow making. I just got a serger and wanted to explore sewing my own clothes.
But it wasn't all the cute sewing patterns and bolts of designer fabrics I could get that made me excited to make, it was discovering the ethical choice of making my own garments or buying ethically.
As my midterm project deadline approached, I knew what to write my paper on. I investigated the mass production of clothing and the lives of factory workers that make the very clothes we wear, including the "knitted" hat my friend asked me to make her.
My research left me bereft and changed how I viewed my making life forever. This documentary was the tipping point for me:
Let me reiterate the fact that my life hasn't changed too much from this paper until now, I still buy clothing from stores. But I research brands before I buy and buy less.
Going back to my friend. I explained to her the following:
That I would charge way more than $20 to make her a hat because of materials and my personal time to make a hat and that the reason the hat she wants probably cost $20 because someone in a factory overseas is being paid less than $1/day to make her hat with a machine.
Her response was clipped, "I had no idea what went into knitting."
I would argue that most people don't.
Recently, I just finished a sweater and my consultant (aka the husband) asked how much the raw materials cost.
"Around $110!" I responded.
Indeed, his eyes bulged as he calculated the math and the time I took to knit the sweater. He saw me knitting it nightly, row by row, after all.
"Wow, you must really love to knit," he replied.
I rolled my eyes, nevermind the fact that I own a needle art subscription box company and researching on how to open a brick and mortar weekly ;)
This blog post is not about making people feel guilty about their choices of wearing store-bought clothes (I'm wearing something from Nordstrom Rack right now. PJs, to be exact), it is about spreading awareness of the reality that things we can make are being massed produced at a cost to people around the world.