Thursday 11 June 2015
REMAKE The Connection Between The Maker And The Clothes.
That dissociation is part of the reason that fast fashion has become so prelavent in our world. We don't see clothing as a crafted item, more as a product spat out of a machine. If that were to change, then perhaps we would be a little less blasé about buying an item, wearing it once, then chucking it away.
REMAKE is a recently-formed consultancy aiming to reconnect us with the people who make our clothes. Working with major brands like Levi's, they're trying some innovative new ideas to make the business of apparel production more focussed on the well-being of the artisan at the heart of the process.
For example, by organising trips for brand executives and headquarter employees to the factories and communities who make their products, they're helping to find tangible ways to enhance the well-being of workers and their families. The idea is to put a face to the person that stitches the clothing, packs it, cleans it. When that happens, we can't help but empathise. With that empathy comes the willingness to make their lives better, entwined with the understanding that there are real business benefits to having a happy workforce. Simply put, a reasonably modest investment in worker well-being ensures workforce loyalty, less disruption and and a bounce in production.
In a recent piece for their website, REMAKE spoke to four garment workers in Haiti, who make clothes for some of the biggest names in American fashion. The stories that Guerrier, Maud, Bruce and Celestin tell are typical of the people that work in the big clothing factories. They work hard. Perhaps their families depend on the tiny income they bring in to keep going. They live in conditions that are close to poverty, in shacks and tiny rooms. They have very little. But they have hope for the future, and make the very best of what they have.
Of course they have wishes. But they ask only for simple things. Access to medical care and education for their loved ones, the chance for their children to do better in life than they have. It's almost heartbreaking. But it's also important that we see and hear these people, so that maybe we can use our influence and power to do a little better by them.
Please read the interviews with Guerrier, Maud, Bruce and Celestin on the REMAKE website. It might help you to rethink the people behind your clothes.