Who made my clothes
When I was younger I didn't care where my clothes were made. I think nobody did, it wasn't a topic that was discussed much in the 90s. I didn't even consider that others may have been exploited in order to make the clothes I was wearing.
I remember mum saying "Clothes used to be more expensive when we were young." She told me how you wouldn't buy more than two sweaters, then wear them all winter and if they came apart at the elbows, you would fix them and cover the holes with leather patches. Then wear them for another 2 or 3 winters. That was when clothes were still made in my home country.
Still, I didn't question a T-Shirt only costing $5. The argument was always "it's cheaper over there" - in China or Bangladesh or India. Until I saw the documentary "The true cost" a few years ago. That changed everything because now I knew and once you know, you can't "un-know" and pretend nothing happened.
After seeing the documentary I started looking at clothing tags, checking where the clothes were made. I started looking at the websites of clothing labels I liked to find out more about where their clothes were made. I even wrote to a label once, asking a few questions. I didn't get an answer.
I also came across the exact same garment, sold by two different labels. The only difference was the clothing tag with their brand name on it and the price. I realised that if I bought something expensive it didn't necessarily mean that it was ethically made or that it was of superior quality.
I was already thinking about starting my own clothing label then and after a bit of back and forth between making the clothes in Bali or Australia, I decided - or did it just happen? - to get everything made here in Australia, just an hour and a half drive away from me.
It feels good to know that my pattern maker, seamstress and cutter all live in nice houses. They're all their own boss, they're the ones who decide the price for their services. I've met their kids or dogs, had a cuppa with them and chats about their hobbies and holiday destinations. Yes, I know who made my clothes and that gives me a very good feeling.
This is only the beginning though, I don't know if the cotton pickers that harvest my cotton are being paid well and treated with respect. I'm aiming for maximum transparency, one of my goals over the next couple of years. Stay tuned!