Reflecting on International Women’s Day, what a fabulous opportunity to honour the women before us, who’ve sacrificially laid the truly sustainable foundations for where we are today. They are the encouragement for us to keep moving forward, together with the men who see what many of us around the globe still face.
”The young women of today, free to study, to speak, to write, to choose their occupation, should remember that every inch of this freedom was bought for them at a great price. It is for them to show their gratitude by helping onward the reforms of their own times, by spreading the light of freedom and of truth still wider. The debt that each generation owes to the past it must pay to the future.”
Abigail Scott Duniway, Suffragist 1834-1915
Abigail knew a lot about freedom, and how we as women ensure that for each other – no matter who or where we are. And that’s exciting! Why? Because we can all pay it forward. It’s as simple as the clothes we choose to wear – check out Fashion Revolution for more on that. And core to this choice, is the fabrics these clothes are made of.
Women & Handloom
Last year a research paper* I took part in was published. North South University in Bangladesh unpacked some key differences between handloom and industrial loom production of fabric. Many fascinating results emerged. These few are pertinent for today:
- Women employed in handloom production have up to 5X more opportunities, security & respect than in power loom industries.
- The risk of trafficking is reduced because handloom communities provide 5X more local work than industrial mills. Family stability improves and girl children are less vulnerable.
- Fair Trade certification ensures the many women weavers and workers are paid well, have rights and work in safe, healthy spaces.
That’s why I get excited when designers ‘get it’ about designing and working with handloom fabrics – like Emily of Mrs Emily. Here’s a peek into the start of our process for some fab fabrics. She’ll bring these to you this Autumn – follow her on IG to keep posted!
This is how women supporting women looks in my world – how about yours? Let’s keep following Abigail’s lead and with gratitude for those before us, let’s pay it forward … even with what we choose to wear!
Here’s to making things, all things, better together.
* Modeling the environmental and social impacts of the handloom industry in Bangladesh through life cycle assessment. Do let me know if the full paper is of interest to you – it’ll be great to chat!