Me Made May ’12 – Jumping in at last orders!

I left this one to the very last minute, didn’t I?

Well, it’s that time of year again folks! Time to ditch the mass-made wardrobe and join Zoe for Me Made May 2012. Without further ado, here is my pledge for this year:

I,  Elena, from Seamless sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’12. I endeavour to wear at least one item of me-made clothing for the duration of May. I will attempt to avoid repeating any outfits, but as it’s exam time, I won’t stress out too much! I will also blog daily for the duration of the month.”

I know what you’re thinking… only one garment! Seems like a bit of a cop out, I agree, but to avoid unnecessary panic-sewing, I decided this would be the best route to go for to ensure I see the challenge through this time!

Also, as mentioned in the pledge, May is more or less EXAM HELL, as the pressure ramps up towards the end of my journalism course. By middle-ish June, we’ll no longer be trainee journalists, how surreal is that?

The blogging challenge seems contrary to this, but I’m hoping blogging daily will keep Seamless updated even while I’m neck-deep in revision. They’re likely to be short and succinct posts, mind you!

My plan is to focus on one garment each day, whether it’s me-made or not.

Zoe said it best when she explained how this challenge is all about achieving a better relationship with your handmade creations. For many people, clothes nowadays go beyond just a necessity – they make a statement about you, they have history.

Whether you’ve made something or not, most of you favourite items in your wardrobe have some sort of story behind them.  My only pair of jeans have been to Germany and back, I still treasure the very first scarf I bought as an employee at Lush and I’m still refusing to get rid of the jacket I bought especially for my Cardiff interview, despite having mended it about five times by now.

These clothes don’t exactly make my memories, but they play a fairly big part in some of them. Even before the pledge, I was the kind of person who would wear clothes to death and keep them for as long as possible, holes or no holes. If part of Me Made May is reevaluating your relationship with your wardrobe, I can’t think of a better compromise without panic-sewing!

Starting May 1 (gah! Tomorrow!), I’ll get going on my wardrobe’s story. I already know where most of it came from, maybe it’s time I let you know what they’ve done since arriving in the U.K.

So, who’s taking part this year? Do let me know, I want to make sure I keep track of the pledgers taking part. If you’re on Twitter, I’ll be tweeting from @elenacresci using the hashtag #MMMay12 (seems concise enough!) so do join in!

Where do your clothes come from?

Do you know where your clothes come from?

Click on the image to see the interactive version

As sewers, generally the answer is a resounding yes. You’re not likely to forget after hours of stitching now are you? But if you’re anything like me, your wardrobe is probably mostly made up of mass-made and high-street clothing – and this is where the answer becomes less clear.

I tuned into new documentary Mary’s Bottom Line the other day, featuring high-street guru Mary Portas’s attempts to bring clothing manufacturing back to Britain. As you know, this isn’t the first time Portas has featured on this blog – this time, I wanted to see how my own wardrobe measured up to the issues she faces in her programme.

It was simple really, I just checked the labels to see where my clothes were made, jotting up the totals. I left out underwear, but counted garments I’d bought in charity shops. Obviously self-made garments came under their own category.

To be honest, the first thing which struck me was the sheer amount of clothing I own! I counted about 70 garments – who really needs 70 items of clothing?

As for where they came from – in terms of where I bought them, the vast majority come from high-street names like New Look, H&M and Topshop. With the exception of clothing I bought while living in Germany, the majority of it was bought here in the U.K.

But my clothes come from parts of the globe I’ve never even been to. Truth be told, I wasn’t overly surprised. After all, in the UK, 90% of our clothing is manufactured abroad. There just aren’t a great deal of British companies making clothing at home anymore.

When you actually break down the contents of my wardrobe, no less than 18 countries are represented. One blouse bought from New Look came from Bangladesh while another garment hailed from Turkey. The only British garments in my wardrobe came from small clothing labels Rare, Love Label and Quiz. Ironically, a dress I own from Lipsy London was made in China.

As I said, it’s not particularly surprising, yet it wasn’t anything I’d really considered before. Generally I don’t have a problem with buying something made abroad if it was made by people being paid a fair wage (and that’s a topic which deserves its own blog), but I didn’t quite realise how little I own is actually made in the U.K.

On the plus side, the self-made portion of my wardrobe is growing, slowly but surely. Progress!

What do you think? Does it matter if most of my clothes weren’t made in the U.K? Where do your clothes come from?