NEW & GLOBAL Summer/Autumn Project: #MiniFashionProtest because….

04 Jul NEW & GLOBAL Summer/Autumn Project: #MiniFashionProtest because….

…we Love Fashion & Hate Sweatshops right? 

Etsy LFW 2012 banner up

Hung up during London Fashion Week September 2012 inside Somerset House

I haven’t spoken to a craftivist yet who doesn’t appreciate the beauty and creativity that comes from fashion. We love the fact that we can express ourselves through clothes and feel confident in what wear.

But as fashion-lovers many of us discussed how we felt deeply saddened, shocked and angry by the news that over 1,000 people, mostly female garment workers, have been killed in the collapse this summer of a building in Bangladesh which housed factories making clothes for Benetton, Primark, Matalan, Mango and other major brands.

Sadly, often the clothes we buy come at a terrible human cost. Millions of workers around the world suffer poverty wages and exploitation, producing cheap fashion for our shops as they push for a profit driven fast fashion industry. 

Our small, provocative Mini Protest Banners can help us reflect on this issue of sweatshops and what we can do as an individual (consumer, voter etc) to keep the spotlight on this ugly side of fashion we CAN change. Also by hanging your banner in public you can engage others in fighting for a world without sweatshops & supporting War on Want‘s campaign in a provocative but thoughtful way without people feeling threatened or preached at. 

Over 1,000 people, mostly female garment workers, have been killed in the collapse of a building in Bangladesh which housed factories making clothes for Benetton, Primark, Matalan, Mango and other major brands.

So please do join us, craft author Perri Lewis, TV craftSTARS such as Tilly & the Buttons & Mr X Stitch, lots of awesome fashion & craftivst bloggers & WI groups such as Manchester WIBorough Belles WI & Shoreditch Sisters WI to name a few, craft and craftivist groups around the world and many many other groups and individuals to support War on Want this summer in the lead up to London Fashion Week and create a patchwork of photographs where people have put up their banners somewhere in the world. The patchwork of photographs will be displayed at the Knitting and Stitching Show’s Upcycling Academy in London in Autumn 2013 but only if you help by taking part and sending in your photographs!

The DEADLINE for your images of your banner in situ is 1st October so they can be included in the display. 

It’s wrong to think that we don’t have any power to change this ugly side of fashion. Please join us in celebrating our love of fashion and fighting for an industry without any ugly side, with no sweatshops. Wouldn’t it be brilliant if LFW 2014 was a show of only sweatshop-free clothes? Let’s fight together for that reality one stitch at a time! 

paper dress boutique sept meeting 2010 012

Why not set up a craftivism session at a local vintage or ethical store or in a public place with a small group of craftivist. This was in Paper Dress Boutique, Shoreditch

Please do join us in this timely campaign, it’s has already helped pressure the world’s leading high street brands to sign the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh which is a great success. But we are not done. This is such an opportunity for the craft community to keep the media & customers’ eyes on this disaster and demand it never happens again. 


Craftivists in Liverpool reflecting on the issue whilst doing their meditative stitching session. 

Support we can offer: 

  • KIT: You can buy a bespoke #minifashionprotest kit at our Etsy shop to make a kit on your own or in a small group.
  • INSTRUCTIONS VIDEO: We have an instruction video on how to make a Mini Protest Banner.
  • EVENTS: Keep an eye out on our events page & Facebook Page for events happening in your area or set up your own & let us know so we can help promote & cover it. There are events across the UK and hopefully globally being plotted as I write this so look out for them!
  • CONTACT US: For any questions or help please don’t hesitate to contact craftivistDOTcollective [at] gmail DOT com 

Current groups who are planning their involvement do get in touch if they are in your area & you want to get involved:  Cardiff Craftivists CaerdyddManchester WINorthern Ireland Craftivist CollectiveBorough Belles WI, Little Stitches in ReadingShoreditch Sisters WI, and  more will be announced. But don’t forget you can do this project alone or with friends too in a closed ‘event’. 

Over the next few months we will be having guest blogs from, to name a few: 

  • War on Want Campaigner Nadia Idle on whether boycotting is the only answer (*spoiler* it’s not!), 
  • Momtaz Begum-Hossain from The Make Escape on her experience of hand-stitching an entire dress(!)
  • Zoe Robinson, Founder of ‘The Good Wardrobe 
  • and more to help keep us reflecting on all sides of the fashion industry whilst we stitch & discussing the issues.  

There is no point to a globalisation that reduces the price of a child’s shoes but costs the father his job…

  • Nina
    Posted at 09:29h, 05 July Reply

    I think ‘fashion’ as it exists today, though, is part of the problem. I prefer to say that I like clothes and design, rather than fashion. Fashion seems too much about some things being ‘in’ and others ‘out’, about newness for its own sake, trends, and all of that is simply about making us buy more. I’m not sure we can just challenge the HOW of modern mainstream fashion without challenging the WHY as well.

    • Craftivist Collective
      Posted at 11:30h, 05 July Reply

      Thanks for sharing Nina 🙂 I think the word ‘fashion’ can be ambiguous but I hope that it’s clear in this blog that we mean clothes & design. Fashion doesnt always have to be a short-term trend or about fast-fashion, often popular fashions are timeless too.

      Our hope with this project & all of our craftivism projects, is that the actual slow, repetitive hand-stitching alone or in groups creates the space to look at the HOW & WHY & all of the complexities of the world we live in today. As you know, there is no quick fix and one of the strengths I think craftivism can have is to create a safe space and quiet time to really try and grapple with all of the behaviours, beliefs and actions with the industry and within ourselves and how we can help rather than harm people & planet.

      Am I making any sense? I’m not very well at the moment so my brain is a bit foggy :s x

  • Love fashion, hate sweatshops, love craft? | Make and do with Perri
    Posted at 09:46h, 06 July Reply

    […] Get involved, then. […]

  • dalyactivist
    Posted at 20:55h, 11 July Reply

    Hi Sarah, Just wanted to offer up my help for this brilliant project. Not that I want to blow my own trumpet in any way but after volunteering with Labour Behind the Label I learnt a lot about worker’s rights in the fashion industry, and can happily chat away on the topic for hours 🙂 So if you need an extra pair of hands for any of the stitch-ins or any prep stuff, then please consider mine 🙂 Sxxx

    Date: Thu, 4 Jul 2013 23:10:26 +0000 To:

    • Craftivist Collective
      Posted at 11:13h, 16 July Reply

      Hey Sarah 🙂 We would love your help especially at our stitch-ins. Your knowledge and understanding would really help facilitate our conversations. Our next stitch-in is 31st July in London- can you come? 🙂 x

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    […] always challenge those unjust structures. We are honoured to say that Zoe is joining in our current #minifashionprotest project too. Zoe is one of those lovely humble people who practices what she preaches and attracts people to […]

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    […] banners to speak up against sweatshops in fashion. To read up on the project and/or to get involved, click here. The deadline for the banners is no later than October 5th, so mark your […]

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  • JemmaJ
    Posted at 17:52h, 11 August Reply

    Doing my banners now; bought some eyelets and wire ties! Cross stitching is something I can do on the train!

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    Posted at 23:21h, 21 August Reply

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    Posted at 16:34h, 04 October Reply

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  • Amanda
    Posted at 12:02h, 23 May Reply

    Nice post! I really liked this post so much. Thanks for sharing.

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