Stories from AGENdA

The Mess and Beauty of Making Clothes

The Mess and Beauty of Making Clothes

Once someone who came into the fashion industry after working decades in a different profession shared how much she was surprised by the complexity and intricacies in making clothes. We joked and laughed about how everything could go wrong since everything was done by human hands.

Do you imagine fabrics being cut with a one-touch button and pieces of fabric and trims are transported on a moving conveyer belt to a line of sewers when you think of a garment factory? Then finished garment packaged by a machine with arms? The image is not entirely wrong - but not true, either.

Human hands are very important but overlooked in the garment production process. From growing and harvesting raw materials, weaving or spinning them, dyeing and treating them, testing and selling them.. to developing a product and to transporting them to in your hands, there are (I think at least) tens of thousands of people involved in the process.

Many parts of the process are automated for accuracy and consistency. Cutting is one of them for many places. But sewing? No. It is all done by the hands of people, 99% women. Like your grandmother sewing quilts behind the old sewing machine. If you look really close, you may notice the slight difference in the left and right side of the garment. It is because no one is exactly both-handed. The sewer will start with one side that is easier and goes towards the other. So it would never be the same. Fun, no?

Just like anything you put on your table, nature and people work together to create the clothes you wear. Distinguishable wine tastes are created from the lands, Sunlight, water, and how people cared for the grapes. So it makes sense that the quality and beauty of materials differ from one another.

Often we do not realize our standards are molded by the industrialization and mass production. Like our expectation for the perfectly same and even color of your dress - which is not possible with natural dye.

I am not saying that you should accept discrepancy or careless workmanship. No, that would be close to a crime. I am saying that it would be nice for you to imagine the nature and people behind your clothes. Creating a connection to them. Then, you may be steps closer in understanding and solving the issues we face.