This year I took a quieter approach to marking Fashion Revolution Day. For one thing, it's no longer a day, but a whole week to challenge brands and fashion producers about where our clothes come from. Earlier in the week I asked a few brands who made my clothes, and I didn't hear back. I wasn't really surprised by this, but a little disappointed at not hearing back from one New Zealand designer label that had until fairly recently made most of its garments here.
Yesterday, on the third anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster where over 1000 garment workers died, I finished knitting a Boyfriend Hat. This is a great pattern for doing a bit of thinking. It's 1x1 ribbing until you get to the crown shaping, so it doesn't require a crazy amount of concentration.
While finishing this off yesterday, I was thinking about the items in my wardrobe that I've made, or have been diverted from the landfill by buying secondhand, or supported ethical producers and local makers. While I think it is really important to be challenging what clothing manufacturers are doing and how they are treating their workers, I also think that part of the revolution can start even closer to home - by making.
A lot of consideration went into making this hat. For one, I had to find a pattern that was pretty versatile and could be worn by a guy who tends to shop on the high street, so it couldn't look too "homemade" if you know what I mean. There are so many ribbed style beanies in the shops at the moment, and Purl Soho have a great eye for classics that are also on-trend. And free patterns are always good for my stash busting.
Winter is coming, so it needed to be warm. And I really wanted it to be made of a local yarn, that's been well looked after. He's fussy with colours, so I figured I'd knit it with undyed wool and we can dye it later if he decides the nice creamy colour isn't for him (and he'll be a bit of a weirdo if he does decide that - I mean, how awesome is this cream!). So I picked Naked Skeinz Organic Merino 4ply out of my stash. New Zealand Merino, organically grown, milled and spun in Napier - a mill that I've actually been inside and met the owners, and treated so gently that it retains so many of it's great natural properties.
What I'd love for more and more people to discover is that they can learn to make their own cool clothes at home. I'm definitely still a bit of a knitting novice, and even more of a sewing novice, but I have enough basic skills to make jumpers and hats and scarves and skirts. Not all of them are perfect, but they are made to fit me, with my style in mind. Learning to make helps you to appreciate the amazing skills that garment workers have, which should be treated with so much more respect than the fashion industry currently does. Keep challenging the designers and the big chain stores, but give making a go too, it's so rewarding and the basics aren't too hard to master.