Face Behind the Clothes

I never would consider myself the blogging type, but here goes nothing. This story really begins a few years ago when for the first time I put a face behind someone who makes the things I buy in the store. An old man sat atop a pile of tires in Nairobi, Kenya, while HAND sewing shoes made out of the old tires. I tried to make shoes once. Well lets just say it didn't end well! After braking about five needles on my machine I resorted to hand sewing them and that was a bad idea. This man's hands reflected this... they looked more like leather. This began my almost infatuation with reading the made by tags sewn into clothes. I could no longer look at something in the store with out trying to picture the person who made the oh so cute whatever it happened to be.

Nairobi, Kenya

I do not want to paint an entirely grim picture of the processes that go behind the production of our clothes. The truth is that most of the people who sew or tag or iron our clothes are gratefull to have their mundane job were they normally work 10-12 hour days 6 days a week and earn less in a week (or a month) than the product costs in the store (more info about fair trade). To have a job in a garment factory in places like Bangladesh has actually become a kind of liberation for women who come from rural rice patty fields, because they can now earn a living for themselves. But to say that these long hours for little pay are right or even that we shouldn't give a second thought to the person who actually sewed our jeans is just not true.

After having a hightened sensitivity to all things fair trade, organic, and ethically produced, I became frustrated as the fashion design student I was, that there was just nothing that was fair trade AND fashionable. Bringing me to the founding of Liz Alig almost two years ago. The whole process has become an adventure and every new thing is exciting. I hope you will enjoy hearing more about this adventure and my soapbox of fair trade.