face behind the clothes we buy
This story really begins a few years ago when for the first time I put a face behind someone who makes the things I buy in the store. An old man sat atop a pile of tires in Nairobi, Kenya, while HAND sewing shoes made out of the old tires.
It wasn't really the compete in-human way he was working, it was rather, this random moment when I put the two together - the clothes I buy in the store and the faces of the people who make them.
This began my almost infatuation with reading the made by tags sewn into clothes. I could no longer look at something in the store with out trying to picture the person who made the oh-so-cute whatever it happened to be.
I do not want to paint an entirely grim picture of the processes that go behind the production of our clothes. The truth is that most of the people who sew or tag or iron our clothes are grateful to have their mundane job were they normally work 10-12 hour days 6 days a week and earn less in a week (or a month) than the product costs in the store. To have a job in a garment factory in places like Bangladesh has actually become a kind of liberation for women who come from rural rice patty fields, because they can now earn a living for themselves. But to say that these long hours for little pay are right or even that we shouldn't give a second thought to the person who actually sewed our jeans is not true.
After having a heightened sensitivity to all things fair trade and ethically produced, I became frustrated as the fashion design student I was, that there were not many fair trade AND fashionable clothing options. Bringing me to the founding of Liz Alig almost two years ago. The whole process has become an adventure and every new thing is exciting. I hope you will enjoy hearing more about this adventure and my soapbox.