have you read this book yet? Overdressed by Elizabeth L. Cline. i've seen a lot of sewing bloggers have read it. actually that's how i found out about it and decided to read it. thank you to my local library. in my opinion it's not a book you'd need to buy. unless you buy it and pass it on to others to read. anyway, i'm a slow reader. i used to read more, but it's a time commitment. and during those hours i'm reading i could be sewing! but i do want to squeeze in some more reading time. hey, i do manage to read all of your blogs somehow ;) which i enjoy, by the way :) i don't always comment, but i am reading. (and argh, i have the most annoying time with disqus, it takes forever to load, if at all, and then it says that i'm not remembering my password correctly, grrr. and don't get me started on recaptchas…)
where in the world was i? oh yeah, so reading takes away from my sewing time. (my full time job also cuts into my valuable sewing time. by a lot.) so last week i was out of town for a few days, away from my sewing machine, so i had time to finish the book.
first off, i think it was a worthwhile read. so if you haven't read it and you have the time, do. i have many thoughts on this book and i'm trying to decide what to share, and how to not get too long winded. i do think this book could be improved. it's not a masterpiece by any means. there are parts where it gets a bit bogged down by numbers and stats and then it switches back to a narrative. it could flow better. i also would have liked the book to include more info at the end about solutions to the problems that are brought up. but is there really any way to completely solve this issue of fast fashion?
she brings up forever 21 a lot. i've been there twice. never bought anything. it felt cheap and "junior" to me and the checkout line was ridiculously long. the forever 21 in my city was opened in my city a year or two ago, after the saks 5th avenue closed. also i had only been in that saks once and didn't buy anything either because it was above my paycheck. isn't that a huge shift? -the place where saks was, becoming a forever 21. and we don't have an h&m. that gets mentioned a lot as well. there are actually very few stores i shop at now. and a while back i made myself change my view of shopping, so that i wouldn't just buy something if it was "a good deal" or if it "looked alright." my qualification to buy something is only if i try it on and can say that "i love love love it." so you can see that i haven't bought much recently, because that's pretty strict. and it also has to be something i can afford. i still have clothes in my closet that i bought earlier, that i bought before the "love love love" qualification, and i'm trying to slowly weed those out. hopefully replace most with handmades.
i've also become more comfortable spending a little more since i'm buying less. but i'm still not spending a ton. my paycheck just doesn't afford me the luxury of buying high fashion. i'm also much more critical of cheap clothes. and while i liked jcpenney's refreshed marketing campaign (and i did buy one top from them last year. i love love loved the bold watercolor print of the fabric.) their most recent campaign has me wondering. they compare two garments side by side, one by a competitor and one by jcpenney and it says something about "same style," "same details," "same stitching," "lower price." lower price how? how did they reduce the costs? what was sacrificed? something had to give. it's just too bad that most people won't consider this. they'll just think, "oh wow, a magical great deal!" now if someone knows that jcpenney is only reducing their profits, please let me know. i haven't done the research. but i'll probably look into it soon.
anyway the author does include a chapter on sewing. yay sewing! bring on the me-mades! but then there's still the question of where do i buy my fabric? i'd like to buy fabrics that are made ethically and more eco-friendly. any suggestions readers?
and then there's this huge disparity between me sewing for fun and workers who sewing in a factory and barely scrape by. think about it too much and you'll feel sick.
and the other nagging thought is that people who work in the factories that produce the cheap garments or the fabric, who are making minimum wage or below, still need those jobs. if there were better jobs available, they would be doing those jobs. if i don't buy their clothes or their fabric, they will still keep making it because others will be buying it. and ok, if everyone stops buying their clothes or their fabric, then yay, we've closed a factory that underpays their workers. but what about those workers? that means those workers are out of a job. how do we help them create better jobs?
now that's the tough part. and there are a lot of unemployed people out there. i don't have the answers. but it is better to try be informed than to be oblivious.
i apologize if i rambled on for too long, but then again you probably didn't read this far down if it didn't interest you. next post will be more light hearted
UPDATE: Check out Colette's new blog post on the book and interview with the author here.