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During this COVID season, people have been trying new hobbies at home, such as knitting, sewing, crafting, etc. But, acquiring these skills is about more than just making something useful with our spare time. We are converting into a more sustainable lifestyle by preserving ancestral techniques. As we are in the Fashion Revolution Week, and part of the movement is about what we can make to improve the fashion industry, we think is important to talk about this, so let’s dive into it.
Over the years, sadly many traditions have been getting lost from generation to generation. This happens because people tend to relate sewing and knitting with women working in factories and being mistreated. Wistfully, this is not a lie. Big companies have been and are to this day, exploiting their garment workers. 80% are women, according to “Labor behind the label”. Several corporations still prefer to hire women for this kind of job, thinking they are easier to take advantage of than men.
As we mentioned before, this causes some rejection, which makes the new generations less interested in learning to sew o hand-knit, like maybe their ancestors did. They rather pursue other career paths and hobbies, and many techniques are lost.
But then, why the suggestion of maintaining such practices? Because, by doing so, you can help build a more sustainable environment. We’ve mentioned before that when purchasing an item, it is important to search for sustainable brands that offer good quality garments. But is just as important to know how to sew a button, mend a rip, or perhaps knit a scarf. When you give your clothing a second chance, you are contributing to a circular economy.
Also, by making your clothes or knitwear yourself you are reducing the environmental impact, being able to use most of the fabric or yarn. Which produce less waste, compared to the massive production in factories that make everything in bulk, generating a lot of waste.
The stereotype of sewing being only a woman’s job and the lack of value and recognition to their work could be reduced by involving more men in this world. By learning how to sew, knit, make patchwork, etc, they understand the process behind the pieces in their wardrobe and value them more. Creating this awareness of the abuses that women in this industry suffer. According to “Esquire UK”, during the lockdown, men have started to take some interest in learning these techniques, which is a positive sign of moving toward a future with fewer gender stereotypes.
Even if you don’t want to pursue a career related to garments, it’s still a great hobby and will be helpful. According to “The Guardian” and “Mood Sewcity”, when you learn these hand-craft techniques, you can feel calm a relaxed. It also helps optimize your brain function, by focusing on one activity and paying attention to details. Also, is a great way to have a unique piece personalized exactly how you want.
If you have the luck to have somebody in your family to teach you, that’s wonderful, but if not, there are plenty of resources online where you can take a course and start your journey in this world. Here you have a couple of them:
– Skillshare: Online knitting classes
– School of stitched textiles: Patchwork and quilting
– Domestika: Embroidery courses
We are not saying that you shouldn’t buy anything else, and just upcycle everything you own. But, we can suggest looking for independent sustainable brands that believe in slow fashion and empower the artisans. Also, is important to know if they have an eco-friendly approach.
Graciela Huam acknowledges the importance of preserving traditional knitting and weaving. They give opportunities to women, paying them a proper wage and providing them with all the help they need to do their work. Irma is their leader and constantly teaches other women to make a living and at the same time promoting these techniques.
But men are also involved, in fact, in the company we have more men artisans, such as Francisco, who is in charge of the first samples produced. He has been in the knitwear world for over 25 years old and shares his knowledge with his coworkers. Omar, and José, are also a big part of our production’s development. They are the artist behind the brand.
Grace Huam, the CEO knows how important is to stay up to date with the trends, innovation and sustainable developments. That is why she is constantly coaching them to be competent in this industry.
Now that you know a little bit more about these techniques and the impact they have. Will you be willing to try them? The invitation to learn is open. You can have fun, preserve the hand-crafting arts and be sustainable at the same time!
Until the next post,