Having been involved in the setting up of Keighley College’s Textile Academy, which launches on Friday 20th January, my mind was drawn to the workers of the past and how much the industry has developed in terms of working conditions, speed of working and quality.
Seams now be stitched in under a minute on an industrial machine were originally made by hand by extremely skilled professional tailors or seamstresses. All clothing was specially made for the person who would finally wear them, and while this might sound quite luxurious, most people would only own three or four sets of clothing.
The technological developments in both in the production of textiles and in manufacture, means that it is now possible to buy clothing at ridiculously cheap prices in stores. Whether this is a good or bad development depends on your view I think.
For me, the ethical sourcing of fabrics and finished textile products has become an important issue and there has been more coverage of the issue in the last few years as the Fairtrade movement in food is slowly moving into the textiles sector and people are taking more care over the products they buy, their sources and how and by whom they are made, particularly with the Fashion Revolution “Who Made Your Clothes” campaign.
Having been involved in textiles nearly all my life, for me there is no doubt that one quality T-shirt which will last 2 years, worn once a week, is worth paying for instead of a cheap T-shirt which will shrink and twist out of shape with the first wash.
Over Christmas I read the marvellous book “Spark Joy” by Marie Kondo who urges the reader to hold something in your hands and see if it “sparks joy” to see if you should keep something or before you buy. Truly beautiful textiles and garments that spark joy in you are worth paying a little extra for, which is why at The Stitch Society, you will pay a little more for one of our aprons but you will have a beautiful garment that we hope will spark joy and will love you as much as you love it.
Personally, I am making this a year of buying carefully, with joy, taking care to choose pieces of quality and beauty so I can enjoy the few garments and pieces of home furnishings that I buy, and will try to ensure that this continues to be part of The Stitch Society ethos.
Spark Joy in everything and see how good it feels!