Friday, 2 August 2019

So many chinamen to kill

Last night I got a kindly rejection email from the Slow Fashion Market organisers for their upcoming Sydney market at Petersham Town Hall on Sept 14th. I have also been declined for their Melbourne and Canberra events earlier this year. The same form letter always arrives referring to "unprecedented amounts of applications, far in excess of the stall spots we have" and I get the thumbs down. Perhaps one day there will less applications than spots and I'll get in?

Strangely enough, though I've been turned down for 100% of all applications I've made in 11 years for markets in Sydney, Newcastle, Melbourne and Canberra I just get madder and madder rather than blase. All these are curated artisan markets boasting of their committment to sustainability and ethical making but I'm always baffled when making the applications to be asked stuff like this...
  • Having an emphasis on quality, durability and robustness of garments and accessories.
  • Keeping the number of new styles and collections being introduce each year low and slow.
  • The label is a small-medium business, not a corporation.
  • Incorporating sustainable or locally sourced materials that are low/no toxins and pesticides.
  • The people making your clothing are paid fair wages for their labour.
  • Your workers are in safe work environments (no sweatshops, child labour, slavery and mistreatment of workers).
  • Having an ethical mission statement for your fashion business.

Questions like the 2nd and 3rd ones always make me roll my eyes and laugh out loud  - new styles? collections!!! Small - medium business!! fair wages...??!! 

Duhhhh....what a lot of shit this is. How can I be any more sustainable when I use second hand clothes and fabrics sourced from charity shops. Every individual garment is designed, cut by hand and sewed by me. I don't have any "people or children" working for me, I am the solitary sweat shop slave doing the whole shebang. Regrettably this slave doesn't get paid at all, let alone a "fair wage".

Then I go to these markets and insult is added to injury that they are full of stuff manufactured by outworkers from imported new textiles.

You know that old saying about "must have killed a lot of Chinamen in my last life" when people laughingly refer to their bad luck? Well....hahahahaa!!... I have a lot of Chinamen I would like to kill right now, in this life. 

How did I come to be living in this parallel universe where apparently some clothing manufacturers in China think 5 of my original garments are wonderful enough that they appropriated the photographic images (pictures taken by me - as if I could afford a professional photographer) from my blog to put them in their internet and instagram shops pretending that this is the product they're selling? Perhaps hundreds or thousands of women in Europe and America are buying these garments and sending money to those Chinamen. Perhaps the Chinamen are making 10s or 100s of thousands of dollars from my creative works? 

Back here on the farm in Australia I apply to markets 4-10 times a year and in 11 years no one thinks that same creative production is good enough? 

I don't whether to laugh, cry or hang myself. I sure as hell don't feel like going to my studio and make more stuff that isn't good enough for Australian markets but good enough for Chinamen to steal.

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Last week I showed this picture on Instagram of a pile of stuff I planned to make into something.



yes, a bit of wool is sticking out of the hole in my Ugg boots. I hope to have enough money to buy a new pair next Winter.

Some of the fabrics were printed




Sorry, the picture is sideways and the one above that hasn't been cropped. I usually take time to prepare my blog pictures to present nicely but I'm feeling so despondent today I really can't be bothered.

Then I spent 22 hours cutting and making this garment.

front

back

front neck detail



back neck detail

this section was stenciled then reverse appliqued

The detailed section in the picture above is reverse applique. I am asking Aus$230 plus postage if you would like to buy this fantastic original piece of wearable art. However in a months time Tusancat and the various other Chinamen will be faking a copy of this for $78.00$38.00!!! so why bother...?

I also hope the Chinamen will be grateful for my kindness in showing both the front and back of the garment to help them out with their next fakery. In their webshops they never show the back of the garments because unless a picture of it was shown on my blog they don't know what that looks like. I am almost intrigued enough to want to buy one of my own fakes just to find out what they do for the back. 



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If you are interested in buying an artwork or booking a commission, please email me at pearl@upstairs-art.com.au