02 May Fashion Revolution Week 2017
„I thought clothes were made by machines?”
– said the 14 year old teenage girl with a puzzled look on her face and it really got us thinking again. For us it is pretty clear that all the clothes we design, buy and wear have been carefully made – not by machines – but by human hands (making use of machines or tools). Walking into our atelier, the girl saw our sewing machines, the knitting tools, pattern cutting table and ironing board and said how great it was that we still made our clothes by hand. “Not like at the H&M”. That’s interesting. First of all the average (teenage) consumer is not aware of where and under what circumstances the clothes they buy for a couple of Euros were made. Secondly they also apparently haven’t got the slightest clue about how clothes are made in a technical sense.
Probably in some minds fabric just gets sucked into a machine – some noise and a bit of steam – and out comes a finished shirt. Like magic! No – a garment is the result of a series of steps. From design, to pattern, to grading, to cutting, to stitching, to pressing, to folding – to name but a few. With knitwear it is different in a way, but also not different at all. Even though there are now more and more new technologies that make it possible to actually knit complete garments, this is still not (yet) suitable for the mass market. ANNNAMARIAANGELIKA knitwear is entirely handmade with a lot of skill, patience and heart by a great small knitting team in Peru. This is why we would like to share with you “Who made our clothes – and how”.
Situated in and around Lima, our skilled knitters are making every piece one by one, we on the other hand ensure that they get the time they need and are paid fair wages to produce high-quality products. Most of our designs are made using a flatbed hand-knitting machine, but smaller parts like for example the sleeves of our “Little Men” Sweater are knitted by hand. In Peru knitting is still a traditional and high-regarded full time job, which is interestingly enough mainly done by men. They mostly work the flatbed machines whereas the women specialize in the more delicate handknitting. For both techniques we use Alpaca wool, a fibre with great qualities and a material with a lot of cultural significance in Peru. But we will tell you more about that later!
Luckily over the last years the number of concerned and well-informed customers has been growing. Sadly this was only after the fatal collapse of the Rana Plaza clothing factory in Bangladesh on 24th April 2013 killing over 1100 and leaving more than 2000 severely injured. At that point people became clear of the fact that cheap clothes can only be made under poor circumstances. The following years this date kicked off Fashion Revolution Week, a week dedicated to the individuals behind our clothes: the cotton farmers, the yarn spinners, the pattern cutters, the dyers, the steamers, the seamstresses and many more. Last week Fashion Revolution took place all over the world, “to help raise awareness of the true cost of fashion and bring everyone in the fashion value chain closer together” (http://fashionrevolution.org). For us it was a week of critical reflection and raising questions to challenge today’s fashion industry, but it was also a week full of inspiring new ideas and initiatives. It makes us hopeful and even more eager to continue the revolution.
Every week is Fashion Revolution Week.
Here are the incredible knitters that made our clothes. We are happy and proud to be working together with our great team in Peru!