One Colour

What Do Your Eyes See?

One Colour, In My Opinion, ReflectionOne ColourComment

What do your eyes see?

This is Purity. She works at the Kenana Knitters in Kenya. I love her hair, her head band, the way she wears the colourful wrap in the chilly weather. Her beauty is so evident. But I think she is rather amused at having her photo taken, yet again.

Many of the women at Kenana Knitters have their photos taken repeatedly. People come to visit and want their own memory of the ladies, and so the ladies very kindly smile as they work to earn the living that will change their lives and the lives of their families.

I wonder how we would go if random strangers wandered through our work places and took photos of us as we worked so that they could show them to others and so talk about their experiences of visiting our place of work. I have immense respect for the patient forbearance of these wonderful, wonderful women.

Challenge

In My Opinion, ReflectionOne ColourComment

A world wide wave, the Fashion Revolution, swept across the globe last week. Did you hear about it? Did you wonder who makes your clothes? Did you ask a brand you like to wear where you clothes come from? (see footnote)

I have a feeling this journal post will have more questions than answers, or at least more wonderings than advice or information, most likely due to the fact that I don't find huge amounts of clarity when it comes to understanding the impact of fashion, fast or otherwise.

On the one hand, fashion employs so many people from farmers to fabric suppliers, to garment workers to wholesalers, to retailers. It is just a massive movement of materials across the world, with people handling them at different stages. Who am I to demand these people stop how they are doing things so that I can feel better about it?

On the other hand, this same industry creates problems, too. Problems in unsafe work conditions, low wages, fantastic skills being wasted when a garment is made so quickly, so cheaply only to be worn and thrown away. So my one glaring problem is over production. Why do we produce so many garments? Why don't we value to skills of the garment workers to the extent that we want them to work for more money, make fewer garments - to truly be valued as amazing sewers of clothing and accessories? But getting back to over-production.

Tailor at Viva Africa 2014

I know the challenges minimum quantities pose to designers...my roof cavity is loaded with plastic tubs of past collections because, although I was producing as sustainably as possible, I didn't find a big enough market for my ranges. So, even though my quantities were tiny compared to most brands, I still over-produced for my market. To be honest, there is sadness for me when I know that what we created is well designed, well made and reasonably priced, yet this is not enough to make it viable and so to keep designing and producing. I guess we only need so many clothes (yet another conundrum of sustainability in fashion).

No wonder brands resort to land fill or second hand clothing bins to off load excess clothing. By using these methods of removal it immediately eliminates signs of over-production or failure to reach the market, or any number of other reasons why a style just does not work. And the window for the range or the style to work is getting smaller and smaller. Once upon a time we had at least 6 months to sell the range (spring/summer or autumn/winter). Now it's all mixed up with short runs, mini collections, trans-seasonal options and one-offs that are made to order. And then there is fast fashion on top of it all.

Which brings me to the conundrum of sustainability in fashion.

I know for sure, because I feel it in myself, that there is often a disconnect between what we believe (our values, principles, ideals) and how we live. Not for everyone, of course, as I know there are people who live with little compromise, however, I think they are the exception rather than the rule. Most of us will justify just about anything if we really want something badly enough.

Clothes aren’t going to change the world. The women who wear them will - Anne Klein

This is sounding a bit dark and angsty. But it does bother me. I have an uncomfortable feeling that things are not right yet there still isn't the will in most of us to make the necessary changes to begin to make it right. Even Fashion Revolution is a one-week-a-year focus (for which I am exceedingly grateful) but what happens when it's over? Do we continue forward looking for change or do we slip back into our comfy stance? I know which one I want to do and which one I am most likely to do, too.

My big questions are: how can fashion be sustainable if we keep producing vast amounts of it (even if it is sustainable in some way - organic fabric - fair wages - better working conditions - recycled fabrics)?

And: how can sustainable brands remain viable without going down the path of over-production to keep costs down? The hard reality is that the more you make the cheaper it is to produce.

Oh, dear, I think my journalling is starting to unravel. Time to pause, to bring to a close my ramble on this topic.

One thing is certain; there are no guarantees and no perfect fixes in this world. We will work to see our ideas come to life, hoping against hope sometimes, that we can live with less impact and clothe our bodies more sustainably.

And, thank goodness for Nelson Mandela.

Footnote: - a huge thank you to the many who shopped online with One Colour and the other brands who work towards sustainability in fashion, during Fashion Revolution Week.

Do you speak crow?

One Colour2 Comments

I have to work hard to enjoy crows. They are clever, noisy, wily. I have never seen a dead crow on the side of the road, yet. Over the years I have heard their distinctive cry in the Snowy Mountains high country and when I lived in country NSW and now, in Brisbane. So they are adaptable, too.  Maybe this characteristic is their brilliance.

A while back I had a chance meeting with a lady while walking in the morning. We both discovered our interest in local birds and compared notes on what birds we had observed, when and where. In the course of our chat she mentioned that she talked to the crows who visited her verandah. The mental image of someone speaking to a crow in crow speak...the sound...the shape of the mouth...perhaps the head movement...it started me thinking about my own attitude to crows and why I looked at them with disdain...too noisy....the sound grates...they move in a strange half hop/lope.

The truth dawned on me - I had decided that crows weren't worth speaking to. Kookaburras, magpies, lorikeets, coucal (cuckoo family but raise their own young), I found I was happy to speak to just about any other bird, but not the crow. And again, the wheels turned in my mind, who did I, in my own wisdom/view of the world, speak to and who didn't I speak to.

Crows aren't people but what this lady's comment did for me was to open me up to wondering - who is worth speaking to? Maybe I don't like how they say something, or what they sound like when they say it, rather than what they say? Does the sound get in the way of the content so I don't even bother to listen to, let alone speak to, the other.

I am still thinking on this.

Found this link on the Brisbane City Council Site, if you are interested to read further.

Image from google images

T-shirt Sell Off - carport - 9 Holdway St, Kenmore, QLD.

One ColourOne ColourComment

Our carport will host a T-shirt Sell Off on Saturday 4 March between 9am and 4pm. If you live in Brisbane and want to own a One Colour t-shirt made with African Cotton then visit us at 9 Holdway Street, Kenmore. We'd love to share our t-shirts with you.

A percentage of each sale will go towards funding an operation for our friend Milka in Kenya.

Blank or original artwork t-shirts are available.

Nice pics of Lote & Lukas by Jordy.

The Fig Tree Children & One Colour

One ColourComment

How wonderful to take steps to support change in the life of someone else, especially that of a child. My good friend, Jane Shakespeare has been working tirelessly to support change in the lives of orphaned and disadvantaged kids in Sierra Leone since 2015. Jane first visited Sierra Leone in 2006. The children have remained close to her heart and she is now in a position to offer support and help where it's most needed. So, in partnership with her, we can offer a $10 donation on the sale of each Kenana Knitter Jungle Fun Critter. But first, here is a little more on the charity she has founded.

The Fig Tree Children work for orphans and other underprivileged children in Sierra Leone. We help provide food, clothing, shoes, school materials, medicines and we pay school fees. We are focused on helping underprivileged children and their families who have no other ways of providing for themselves.

We find a sponsor for one of our benefactor children and help provide funds towards supplying basic materials including food (rice) that they need every month. We believe that it is very important for us to locate those orphans and underprivileged children who cannot access food, basic healthcare and education. Without an education we all know that these children will not have a future to look forward to.

Our program is a developmental one which provides food, clothing, shoes, medicine and school materials to orphaned and underprivileged children in Sierra Leone. We believe that every child deserves to feel safe, be loved and have access to basic healthcare and education. Education is key to bringing this country out of poverty.

- Jane Shakespeare, Founder

And the really great bit of news is that you can be part of this change by either buying a little jungle fun Kenana Knitter critter ($10 from the purchase goes to The Fig Tree Children) or, if you want to, even sponsor a fig tree child and see their lives transformed.

Or both!

It's up to you.

CHOOSE YOUR CRITTER - ELEPHANT, LEOPARD, LION, MONKEY OR ZEBRA

CHOOSE YOUR CRITTER - ELEPHANT, LEOPARD, LION, MONKEY OR ZEBRA

Elementary

One ColourComment
We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.

Jawaharlal Nehru

 

As printed in Simplicity Diary published by Sellers Publishing Inc, South Portland, Maine, 04106, USA.