Travel Theme: The Fashion Industry

Beading Art Deco (471x640)

Good morning from a warm and sunny Hastings day.

I was wondering what to use for Ailsa’s challenge this week:

Travel theme: Industry

I still don’t have access to all my photos where I have loads of photos of industrial machines.  But then there are many different kinds of industry.

As everyone knows I am a huge Art Deco fan.  Next month we have our Art Deco festival.  I have decided to make myself a new dress.  I searched through Pinterest and found a design by Chanel around 1925.  So I have redesigned my own dress with so-called petals.  Each petal will be hand beaded.  What I did was sewed the design on with a decorative stitch to give me the pattern to follow with the beading.  There should be about 3 kgs of beads on it in the end.  It isn’t that hard to do.  All I need is patience.  I started before we moved but obviously had to stop.  Now I am settled in, it is time to finish it.

So why a hand beaded dress for this challenge.  It got me thinking about the fashion industry around the Art Deco era. The majority of the high fashion beaded dresses of that era were made in Paris, France. Many of the dresses were hand beaded by mostly Russian Emigres who had fallen on hard times after the Russian Revolution.  If I am wrong please correct me.  They would have only received a pittance of the actual cost of the dress.

That is still continuing today.  In countries such as Bangladesh there are the sweatshops where workers, mostly women, work long hours for very little money, and are sometimes locked in poorly ventilated rooms with no fire escapes.  There have been some really tragic fires and building collapses with many deaths.  Do we really know the full story of where our clothes come from?

I think that is why I like to make my own clothes.  Firstly, I don’t like the thought of a poor person in a third world country literally dying in the sweatshops earning a pittance making clothes for me to wear.  Secondly,  selfishly, no-one else would have the same clothes as me.

I search for my fabric online – vintage fabrics and then the other day in  a second hand store (consignment) I found a couple of pieces of fabric for $3.  I also find some inspiration from Project Runway and the Great British Sewing Bee.   I learnt to sew with a sewing machine when I was 11 and have made most of  my own clothes ever since.  Even before then I used to hand sew dolls clothes from scraps of fabric left over from my mother’s sewing.

I do realise that these people need these jobs in order to survive.  But the fashion industry needs to wake up and pay them a proper wage and provide better working conditions.   As consumers we can make them start moving in the right direction by being more selective about the clothes we buy and know where they came from.  These people are highly skilled workers and need the recognition for the service they provide.

I didn’t mean for this post to be a rant against this totally inhuman industry but I feel very strongly about it.

Thanks for visiting.


8 thoughts on “Travel Theme: The Fashion Industry”

  1. It’s definitely something that people should know about. Many still don’t. Sweatshops and lack of proper salaries are inhumane and wrong. I can’t sew…at all. Never gonna happen. But I want my clothes made by people who are earning a good wage and happy at their work. We can’t support cruelty and greed. I try to but things made in this country but it’s getting more and more impossible.


    1. What these sweatshops are doing is killing local industries. When I was growing up most mothers sewed for their families and we had a strong local fashion industries where the clothes were well made. But many businesses ended up closing local factories and went off shore as they couldn’t compete with the sweatshops. Those that stayed are getting too expensive for the majority of consumers. Locally made clothes are generally better quality as well, so last longer. Food for thought.


  2. I don’t think it’s a rant at all. It is terrible what is happening to workers in those countries.
    Your dress is going to be beautiful and you will have fun doing it.


  3. I totally agree Raewyn. I don’t sew much any more, but neither do I buy many new clothes. I hate the throwaway culture that leads to people endlessly buying new things — often of poor quality — and tossing away the old. It’s terrible for the environment and drives the economic machinery that exploits the poorest. I remember when clothing was well made, repaired, re-purposed and cherished. I still have a coat I bought in an op shop on Karangahape Road in 1984 for $10. It’s red velvet and was made in Christchurch. I’m fairly sure it is older than me (my guess is mid-late 1950s). It’s travelled the world on my back and is still in wonderful condition. I’ve had to repair the lining in a couple of places, but that’s all. I wonder how much of the clothing that’s made now will still be wearable after 70 years?

    Oh, and I’m am sooooo keen to see a photo of your dress. I love Deco too, and always intend to come down for the Festival. Not this year now, but maybe 2016. 🙂


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