I stumbled into the Fashion Revolution while shopping for fair-trade bridesmaids’ dresses for my wedding last summer. As I narrowed my choices to one dress from Novica and two from Mata Traders, I learned that there is a movement concerned with the lives and well-being of the people who make clothes. I asked my groom to make the final decision (Mata Traders), and I joined the mailing lists of companies I believe in.
One email update described the lingering safety deficiencies three years after the deaths of more than 1100 workers at a garment factory in Bangladesh. I had already read Kelsey Timmerman’s Where Am I Wearing, and one newsletter led to a forum that recommended the documentary True Cost. Another notice inspired me to participate in Dressember 2016. When I decided to stop wearing t-shirts to my gigs, I chose tonle as the brand for every performance I have in 2017.
This spring, Fashion Revolution has been sharing research on the weekly lives and financial challenges of 540 garment workers in Bangladesh, Cambodia, and India. The highlight of the year for this awareness-raising organization is April 24-30 when people are asked to share the following on blogs, vlogs, and social media:
- #haulternative – what you do instead of buying fast fashion, such as mending or a clothing swap
- #whomademyclothes – photos and messages that ask for and point to transparency in clothing sourcing and manufacturing
- #lovedclotheslast – love stories about clothes that you will wear for years because they have durability, flexibility, and/or sentimental value
Next week, I will be posting #whomademyclothes on my Facebook Page.
This fashion love story is about my favorite sweater. It was a spontaneous gift from composer-performer, filmmaker, and teacher KPage Stuart Valdes. She has been like a big sister to me for the seven years since we met during a residency at Atlantic Center for the Arts. I was at her apartment about five years ago, having one of several conversations about life, relationships and vocation, when she suggested I stop wearing unflattering turtlenecks and gave me a sweater that meant I never needed to again.
When I wait until the last minute to decide what to wear, glimpsing this sweater in my closet instantly allows me to look good and feel comfortable. Putting it in a suitcase in spring or fall makes me smile because I know it will be airy in the sunshine and cozy in the occasional breeze. I have worn it to the office over a sleeveless dress or with a skirt, and it works well with knee-length and ankle-length items. For a weekend movie date or dinner party, I have paired it with corduroys or capris or jeans. Its bumpy texture in a marled neutral color combines well with my jewel-tone solids and geometric or floral prints. My recent habit of wearing statement jewelry and layered necklaces–thanks to fashion tips from my Noonday Ambassador–also looks great with this sweater. Its style and fit also age well, and I could happily wear it into my 40s, 50s, 60s, and beyond.