Thursday 25 June 2020

Delivering another boot

Despite many distractions of late – as in, the wheels falling off the world as we knew it – I’m still trying to do creative work. I was about to publish this pattern but decided to shelve it a while as I’m already getting flack that it resembles a kimono too much…wtf??!!

  Last time I looked this was a kimono.

I hope the same people who so readily monitor and criticise me also have the same vigour in pursuing, outing and shaming Gudrun Sjoden.

My pdf pattern sales have quite suddenly trended downward from a couple of weeks ago so I suspect I may be on a blacklist somewhere. As an aspergers person who takes medication for anxiety and suffers from degrees of paranoia due to decades of bullying in workplaces, the irony is just worrying that either might be the case (blacklist?/paranoia?) ramps up anxiety…

So I decided to step away from clothes patterns for a bit and have started work on a pattern for a cloth boot. In Australia we are in mid Winter so my feet are freezing all the time. I have poor circulation and chronically low blood pressure so frostbitten hands and feet are a constant until daily temps go up above 20C. My old Ugg boots have been worn to death so I mailordered 2 new pair – 2 months ago! 

Unfortunately the Australian factory that makes them in Melbourne (using local workers and Australian grown genuine sheepskin) is inundated with orders and their production line is slower than usual due to the pandemic social distancing protocols instigated in the workplace. I am making do with thick socks and various slippers and even if my toes drop off I refuse to go to nearby Kmart or Target shops and buy a pair of fake fur imitation Uggs made in China. That China based manufacturing companies flood the international market with cheap imitation Ugg boots cannot be a cultural appropriation, of course. God forbid, as PoC its inconceivable they might have some racist, cultural or unethical business practices.

I must publish the pattern quickly as possible too, now that I've shown these pictures on the blog, as China based mass manufacturing businesses constantly monitor my blog to steal pictures I show of  things I've designed and made (acknowledging I'm not the only small time artisan who gets their images stolen). They illegally appropriate the images to put in their online shops pretending its the article they're selling. Tens of thousands of innocent people internationally buy these items and are fleeced of their money when a cheap and shoddy fake imitation of the genuine item is received. The China based companies won't accept returns, Paypal won't refund despite the outright fraud, Facebook and Instagram won't stop these companies doing fraudulent advertising by stopping the illegally appropriated photographs being promoted on their platforms.

Whenever I've been on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest for the last 18 months I see photographs of my textile art scrolling by, advertised for sale at ridiculously low prices, like US$49. Often it'll be an item I worked on for 3-7 days and many times struggled to sell that same original item for $200.

There doesn't seem to be any outrage or public outing of this practice by the same advocates who get infuriated by my puny voice. One of the biggest China based companies who operate this business model, ChicV, based in Guangdong has made profits of millions of dollars. They also use Uighur slave labour and workers from North Korea whose wages are taken by the Kim Jong Il regime....however, none of that seems to compare with my monstrous sins. 

The skills of shoe making are quite familiar to me. Forty years ago as a single Mum I made a comfortable income for 4 years making crotcheted sandals to sell at markets. I’m greatly bemused to see that exactly the same sandals are still being made today. Though sadly the woman artisans live in Indonesia and their product is resold in Australia by middle people who take the larger share of the profits.

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