23 Jan Manchester Craftivism in action: changing the world one stitch at a time
This time the theme was LOVE FASHION HATE SWEATSHOPS. The event provided Duncan’s coloured recycled card craft packs to create mini protest banners. (We love the protest banner shown above with its creator, talented craftivist Rebecca).
There was a comfortable turn out with Manchester’s nimble-fingered craftsters putting their needle skills to political play. The the group were cross-stitching messages of gentle protest against sweatshop exploitation in light of the January sales mayhem. These cross-stitched banners will soon be assertively claiming their space: hanging on lamp-posts, patchwork leafing urban trees and fabric lettering post-boxes. The group really liked the fact that this type of cross-stitch craftivism provides a refreshing take on indie craft as unlike ‘yarn bombing’ we are able to visually represent our political message through the form of stitched text.
A lively discussion was held at the end of the session about buying ethically and fairly and where people could purchase fairly traded clothes. The truth of the matter is to buy less, hunt and magpie eye through second-hand and charity shops, or to make yourself (- attending their workshops if you live in Manchester will hopefully give you those sewing skills!). High street chain-stores often use fair-trade labels as a front to tempt quasi ecologically-minded shoppers with their ‘green’ logos, yet behind their fair-trade front is child labour and sweat-shop abuse which is still taking place today, even in Manchester. Rebecca one of the attendees writes: “It is now time to take up our sewing armaments and arm ourselves against consumerist exploitation.”
‘Craftivism Manchester’ will take place every 3rd Tuesday of the month sometimes working on Craftivist Collective projects like the Mini Protest Banners, other times working on their own craftivism projects at Nexus. Next month they shall be delightfully embroidering and making tote bags similar to what our Bangor group did here. Political theme still to be confirmed. Send any ideas for slogans or themes you may have to the Facebook group or post them in a comment below, and we’ll make sure they get through to Duncan in time for next month
Finally, here are some suggestions Craftivism Manchester suggest for slogans on the topic of sweatshops to inspire you to create your own craftivism masterpieces-
There’s no place like fair-trade. Fair-Trade not Slave-Trade!
Sweatshop workers – the real fashion victims.
Pay sweatshop workers a living wage!
Shop fair-trade, make a difference.
Shop locally & think ethically!
Sweatshop labour- is it worth the price.
Cheaper clothes cause sweatshop woes.
You look prettier in a fair-trade dress xx
You can’t wash the sweatshop out of your clothes.
Only companies who treat their workers well deserve your £
Think: whose hands made your clothes?
What price fashion?
Think of the labour behind the label.
Trust me, you look terrible in sweatshop shirts.
Ethical clothing, fashionable, moral, sexy xx
The clothes are cheap because the worker got nothing.
How many suffered to bring you those cheap shoes?
Globalisation: hurting those who made the shirt on your back.
Unethical clothes – make you look cheap.
£3 per t-shirt – but how much goes to the worker?
Manchester, built on sweatshop labour, let’s break the chain
How much was the dressmaker paid for that?
Manchester 1800’s – oppressed clothing workers – 2000’s Bangladesh
Manchester home of exploited clothing workers since 1800