by Jamie on November 20, 2014

PSP drawings shot

My love affair with sewing and design began in my early teens. Spurred by a lack of money and the desire to wear something different to go out in that weekend, my enthusiasm for designing and creating my own clothes never tired. I was so passionate about creating clothing that I eventually ended up working in the fashion industry designing for RTW high street stores. Clothing was no longer an exciting pastime – it was a serious career.

Very quickly sewing was what someone else did – mostly in a factory and on a mass scale. The passion was still there but I was now designing for the mass market. My considerations became costs, timelines, quality, trends, markets to name a few – all fun stuff but quite different to sewing for one’s self.

A busy day job elbow deep in clothing meant that I did not have the time or inclination to sew. Ok, I made the occasional wedding dress, including mine, and whipped up a couple of party dresses – but that was it over the course of about 10 years… Personal sewing no longer factored heavily in my life.

Eventually I moved from full time career to looking after a family and freelancing for smaller fashion labels. During this time, especially in the RTW market sector, I saw clothing getting cheaper and cheaper, factories having to cut corners with construction methods, quality and workmanship suffering and fabrics of questionable quality being accepted due to price considerations. Throwaway fashion was here to stay, but I did not welcome it.

My personal philosophy when it came to working in fashion for the mass market was that mass market clothing had to represent value – but in a way that included durable and quality tested fabrics, a good fit and considered design. In my opinion time spent in the development stage paid dividends on the shop floor with purchase-worthy product that was of value to the customer and an asset to the store brand.

It became harder to reconcile what was happening in the clothing industry with my personal philosophy. My growing awareness of human rights, exploitation, environmental toxicity, sustainability and the gratuitous waste of throwaway clothing left me feeling cold. Quantity over quality seemed to be the fashion industry mantra… Turnaround times were getting faster and faster and the product development time required for a product of value was no longer justified in the throwaway fashion model. Eventually it became quite clear I could only work for businesses interested in developing good, well-considered clothing.

Of course there was much less interest in developing quality garments and I found myself with time to consider my own creative journey. I began to consider the possibility of getting back in touch with my truly creative side and wondered if I could start sewing again to create valued pieces able to be treasured for the care and attention involved in their conception and inspire others to do the same. After years of feeling so despondent about my own wardrobe and where the fashion industry was heading I really needed to turn things around so I could feel happier in my roll as a creative.

So finally, after a long sewing sabbatical – ironically spent in the RTW fashion industry, I’m beginning a journey to rediscover the virtues of hand-made. I hope to share this journey with those who are interested, pull out all the stops on my creative side and follow my heart. Who knows where my new creative hand-made journey will lead me.

Sew, Wear, Love







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