sewing market

I had my concerns over Dizzy, but I’ve grown to REALLY like her character

She’s a rather effective, entertaining, and adorable means of showing off a different side of the Isle, an unabashedly sweet, AK-like kid stuck with the label of VK, and for showing off Evie’s sisterly side, with someone she legitimately cared for and obviously loves very much, without (or most likely, not as obviously) using Dizzy for personal gain first and foremost.

There’s also tons of potential for fanfics, and exploration of Auradon’s faults when she meets up with her half-aunt, Cinderella, and more so, when she meets her half-cousin, Chad Charming. Dizzy doesn’t strike me as the kind of person to have just accepted Lady Tremaine’s explanations about how much of a “horrible, ungrateful, backstabber” Cinderella was, allegedly “leaving us behind to rot while she lived in that lavish castle,” and she will likely be incredibly determined to get the other side of the story.

(It probably helps that she’s known from a young age that a lot of what her grandmother, aunt, and mother says is exaggerated to outright lies, and there’s more to everything they said.)

She might also be an opportunity for Chad to redeem himself somewhat by trying to educate this estranged relative he had no idea existed, or to show off more of his jerk side, by showing an INCREDIBLY biased view of the villains and the people on the Isle. I doubt that Cinderella sees her step-family as disdainfully as the audience does, but Auradon strikes me as the kind of place that will do as much exaggerating, demonizing, and outright lying to paint a horrific picture of “The Other,” only this time, it’s the Islanders.

It’d be interesting from a story standpoint to show just how far Auradon is from a paradise, and who else has suffered from this union.

There’s also a huge potential for growth and positive female representation; I’d love to see Dizzy taken off the Isle (though that’s standard with all VKs), and become Evie’s first employee in her new fashion business, designing, sewing, and marketing her products not because she’s being forced to, but because she wants to.

It’s a really great way to reconcile Evie’s being the “stereotypical princess” character with a much less sexist portrayal of it, similar to how Rarity from My Little Pony is treated: she’s a proper lady, and fashion is her life, but don’t think that means she’s weak, or that she can’t run a successful business and have an amazing life outside of her career, too.

All I ever wanted was for the world to be free of your kind, whether you were here in Parliament on in senate or junta or Hell or Heaven. Maybe that’s pointless, then. Maybe the people are too small and scared to be free. Maybe they want you there, shitting all over them. But like a salesman who’s only too eager to sew up his market and stitch up his customers, you’re happy enough to exploit that. Aw, sod it. Sod you. For whatever it’s worth, you were always the enemy.
—  John Constantine
My business is worth more than an hourly wage + materials

I am often told “that’s so expensive!” or “that only cost you $10 to make!”  I think this is due to a lack of information on what it actually takes to manufacture clothing and sell it.  Running a fashion business requires much more than the funds to pay the designer a wage and cover the cost of direct materials for the garment sewn.  

Some of the invisible costs of running a fashion business: studio rental and monthly bills, capital purchases like machinery and tables and computers, business and trademark registration fees, banking fees, creating catalogs and lookbooks, shipping of materials or transport to pick them up, building up and maintaining inventory in advance of sales, losing money on garments that didn’t sell or sold on sale, payment processing fees, designing new collections and creating new samples, legal fees, researching trends, art supplies, web design, website domain and hosting fees, SEO services and consulting, packaging materials, marketing materials like postcards and business cards, office supplies, workers’ comp and unemployment insurance and other taxes, sending free samples for review, hosting events like pop up shops or trunk shows, garment labels and hang tags, logo or artwork design, inventory storage, stock supplies like hangers and garment racks, phone and internet bills, software purchases like Photoshop or Quickbooks, training new interns or assistants, meetings with editors and stylists and photographers, hiring photographers / models / hair stylists / makeup artists / wardrobe stylists / assistants for photo shoots, photo shoot venue rentals, producing fashion shows or presentation shows, the cost of creating and mailing catalogs and marketing materials to boutiques and retailers, business classes… The list goes on.

These invisible expenses add up to tens of thousands of dollars a year, even for a small business owner who is prudent and does most operations like sewing, marketing, and selling for herself or himself.  For small businesses who outsource sewing or who hire sales agents or who have a team of employees, these costs quickly add up into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.  This means that it requires an enormous amount of revenue (and lots of sales) for a business to even break even before the designer can consider paying themselves a salary at all.

Also bear in mind that many of these things also require time to complete, even if most of the labor (such as accounting) is outsourced to another professional.  Someone still has to collect receipts, input data, write the social media posts, keep count of inventory, plan photoshoots, etc.  An hourly wage that only covers sewing time, for example, would ignore the countless other hours that it takes for a designer to stay in business.  For my business, Angela Friedman Inc, I do most everything myself in my studio.  For every 1 hour that I spend sewing, I spent approximately another 5-6 hours doing all of these other things like social media, writing emails to customers and retailers, planning events, designing new styles, and paperwork paperwork paperwork.  If I counted say $15 an hour for my sewing time in each price, but didn’t increase the prices to reflect these other expenses, I would in effect be earning $3-$4 an hour.  In the US, at least, $15 is barely a living wage. $3 means that either you burn out or your business goes bankrupt.

Consider the example of one of my silk and French lace robes, the Iris Robe priced at $325.  If you think that is expensive, sure, maybe it is.  But I’m not putting $325 in my pocket.  After the cost of materials directly associated with the garment and packaging and payment fees, I’m left with about $253.  It takes me about 3 hours to cut and sew one start to finish (there are a lot of details like lace applique that take longer than a standard robe might). Remember how I mentioned that I spend 6 hours doing “other business stuff” for every 1 hour I spend sewing?  Take that into account, and now this robe takes me 21 hours to make.  Divide the $253 left, and I’m now earning $12 an hour to sew the robe.  (In reality, I earn less than this due to other unexpected expenses that I simply can’t count on.)  But I think we can all at least agree that an artist earning $12 an hour is not “too expensive.”

Of course I realize that there are many who can’t afford a $325 robe anyway.  I’m in no way implying that you don’t exist or your needs aren’t important. If you can’t afford clothes that are ethically manufactured, it’s also because our economic system is broken.  If you can only afford clothes manufactured in sweatshops by oppressed peoples of the world, then you too are oppressed. Your wages are probably also unfairly low and your expenses are probably also unfairly high.  And of course, our trade quotas being screwed up in the 90s didn’t help, but that’s another discussion for another day.  (For the record, I also can’t afford to buy my own work, which is another indicator that our economic system is broken.)

My point is, please be kind before accusing small businesses of price gouging.  We’re trying to earn a living the same way as you, and most of us are just barely scraping by regardless of how high our prices may seem at first glance.  There are so many unseen expenses that go into running a fashion business.  My business is worth more than an hourly wage + materials.

anonymous asked:

hey if you have time could u point out good sources for the feminism/crafting thing again? sorry to bother u but u said to remind u? im sorry if you dint want to ! ill stop bothering u in that case

yes! okay! this is what you asked about. let me see if I can address it in a way that makes sense!

when I have talked about feminist crafting a lot over the past few months I’ve mainly been talking about “craftivist” revivalists since the late nineties/early 2000s. the big names here are cat mazza, liz collins, sabrina gschwandtner, olek, jenny hart, just a few. this isn’t a cohesive scene, of course, but it’s helpful to think of a few kinda spots a lot of these people showed up: there’s big name shit like yarnbombing or debbie stoller’s stitch n bitch and the stuff in handmade nation; there’s the emergence of noted internet spaces of feminist craft in the nineties, craftster, craftgrrl, early etsy, and so on; then there are the places, especially, where these became Art World moments, see MAD’s radical lace & subversive knitting, MCC’s gestures of resistance, and a number of exhibitions about the legacy of judy chicago and feminist art of the sixties and seventies like the textile museum’s she will always be younger than us.

I’ve said this before, but I’m interested in the long genealogy of “craft” as it partners gender & production. Some historical topics in this field include: male artisans’ organization against the mechanization of production in the second industrial revolution, women as factory laborers in the American northeast–read about Lowell, MA, the feminization of textile labor globally, the late construction of fancywork as a middle-class women’s hobby, depression-era thrifty mothers mythos, the invention of all kinds of appliances for sewing and the marketing of those appliances to housewives, twentieth century art/political movements that oriented themselves in relationship to the machine vs. the hand (most of all bauhaus), etc.

All of these things foregrounded the emergence in the 1960s of handicraft revivalism, which has been talked about a lot as a counterculture movement (this is probably familiar) (citation needed, bear with me, idc about hippies that much). This was also very famously a time when feminists artists–newly a category, Feminist Artists–were trying to define and negotiate a history of “feminine labor.” When you talk about this era you are talking mainly about Judy Chicago and Womanhouse. For anybody reading who isn’t familiar with those things, here is a really rundown rundown: Judy Chicago and some of her contemporaries were concerned with questions like, what is a feminine visual language? where are women in art history? how can we create a woman’s art movement that isn’t ultimately productive for Art, the masculinist regime? Chicago notably started a series of women-teaching-women art programs to pursue these questions, like the feminist art programs in California. This kinda culminated in a thing called Womanhouse (click that link it will really help you see what this was like), where they bought a house and turned it into a women’s artmaking space/collective/venue/school/installation. This is basically the foundation of “popular conceptions of feminist relationships to domestic labor and craft” as I talk about it. There’s a lot of essentialist stuff, like the menstruation bathroom. The other things happening there I think it’s important to know are Sandra Orgel’s Linen Closet and her Ironing performance (both of which are really Over The Head but I kinda like em) and Faith Wilding’s Crocheted Environment/Womb Room.Then, of course, Judy Chicago made this thing called the Dinner Party, which is probably like…the most famous and “important” piece of feminist art (or, Feminist Art) ever. The Sackler Museum–ie, the ambassador of this ideology–has a pretty good piece about all of this. I don’t mean to suggest you read it uncritically, but it gives you a narrative of this stuff and shows you the kind of historical arguments this feminism wants to make.

Sooo, there is no shortage of criticism of these people, mainly Judy Chicago. I kinda don’t think there’s anything good about Judy Chicago? That’s just me though. The main issues with her work are that she is essentialist, classist, and very very racist. She also has a reputation for being something of a…manipulative public figure, obsessed with legitimizing herself, controlling other feminists’ aesthetics and so on. Amelia Jones edited a book about The Dinner Party that has a piece in it, I think it’s Laura Cottingham’s piece but I can’t remember, that does a pretty good job of tracing criticisms of Chicago and grounding them in Greenbergian kinda sexist ideas about high art and craft and kitsch and stuff. In sum: contemporary criticism of Chicago was misogynistic but also she is pretty…you know, problematic. (This is not to say there weren’t also feminist criticisms of her work.) I have posted about this before. Mainly, I think she exploited a lot of labor. (Joyce Weiland, who is Canadian, is another really, really good example of a feminist artist from around this time who was trying to make kinda ahistorical arguments about Women’s Labor by paying/asking women who were more skilled than she was to craft things for her installations, she also appropriated a lot of indigenous women’s labor and was really, really, really racist.)

Um…so, there’s some background. What was the question? uh

Okay, now you know a bit about the contemporary feminist craft revivalists and the history of feminist craft they situate themselves within. (Cat Mazza said in an interview once that Faith Wilding herself was her mentor.) My particular criticisms with these contemporary artists is that they are often simply reproducing the methods of Judy Chicago et al without any sort of recontextualization or recognition of any criticisms. (A good example: vagina knitting.) What I am MOST interested in criticizing about these artists, though, is not just their relationship to feminist activism but to labor activism and anti-war activism. Mazza and Gschwandtner very very often use nostalgic white nationalist memory to make a soft anti-war message that is so not interested in talking about imperialism that it’s pretty imperialistic. Exhibit A: Gschwandtner’s Wartime Knitting Circle, an installation where people (a feminized audience tbh) were invited to come learn to knit in a museum, in reenactment of/homage to revolutionary war-era women’s Knitting For War Causes. Exhibit B: Cat Mazza’s Stitch for Senate, where she had people knit replicas of the balaclavas that British women allegedly knitted to send to soldiers in the Crimean War, to send them to senators (not necessarily even actual soldiers) as a statement about…well, allegedly about the wrongness of war, but more directly about the American soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan who, I guess, we needed to give more money to. They weren’t really anti-war arguments, they were pro-soldier sentimental projects about the role of women in imperialist statebuilding.

There’s also Mazza’s Nike Quilt, which I have talked about a lot, where she made a petition that involved submissions of granny squares that she wanted to show to the ceo of nike to ask him to please stop using sweatshop labor. (The thing I always find so appalling about all of these arguments of labor–from the very beginning!–are the way that use the hand in “the handmade” to contrast the machine/inhuman of actual laborers in actual factories, lol.)

I think a lot of critics and theorists and historians are talking about this stuff, Mazza and Gschwandtner especially, but are not willing to raise any sorts of questions about white feminist nationalism in activist art. Julia Bryan Wilson is a very very very important art historian who I do love but I think could stand to be a bit meaner, she writes about this stuff generally and you might wanna take a look. Pretty much every complaint is pretty well illustrated in this roundtable.

Tags of note: #craft, #fiber, and I used to use #potholder feminism, you should look at that one! I can’t believe I forgot about it

does this…answer your question…?