Tinker, Tailor!

Did you know that most garment and textile workers – around 98% – don’t earn a living wage?

It’s not a pleasant thought that the fabric touching your skin right now might have harmed the planet and been part of an exploitative system. I’d certainly rather not have that idea in my head while treating myself to a new top.

Do you know who made the clothes you’re wearing right now? For most of us, the answer is probably no.

Late in August, as NZ Fashion Week kicked off, I visited my trusty tailor with a bag full of clothes. Six pieces that I was never wearing, because the hems had unravelled or the wrap fronts were too revealing.

I left one bag of clothes and $120 lighter.

‘This no-clothes-challenge was supposed to save me money!’ I thought to myself, quite annoyed.

At $20 per item, I wondered to myself how long it would realistically take an experienced tailor to add a couple of quick holding stitches to a wrap top.

I wore one of those newly-repaired items for the first time today and was surprised how much joy it gave me. Initially I pulled it out of the drawer because I’d run out of other things to wear. Putting it on I had this almost imperceptible feeling of annoyance, knowing that I was going to have to keep pulling it up. As soon as I remembered that wouldn’t happen today, it felt like I’d treated myself to a brand new top.

At least by talking to the person repairing my clothes face to face, I reflected, I know they are getting a fair deal for their skills and work.

And is $20 really so much, when it means I can keep wearing that garment for months to come, and get that ‘just bought it!’ happy feeling? I’d say it’s totally worth it.

Wearing an old top with new confidence – and modesty!

One thought on “Tinker, Tailor!

  1. The top looks great and what you’re doing is admirable. The fact is that doing the right thing will always cost more money unless we find other ways. Like seamstresses setting up as their own clothing range. I buy hand made refillable fountain pens. They’re made from reclaimed wood & recycled materials. They are beautiful, write really well and the craftsmen and craftswomen who make them make a good earning from these pens. They cost a fortune; many many times the cost of a biro or a cheap plastic fountain pen. But the quality shows and the pleasure I get from using these pens is far more than their cost would suggest. We as a species really need to look at the cost of things and stuff in its entirety, not just the financial and perhaps work a bit harder to reconnect with our more sentimental nature’s.


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