Friday 21 August 2020

Manifesto for the true Fashion Radical

 This is a great newsletter to sign up to for educating yourself about current issues in sustainable and ethical fashion.

The Wardrobe Crisis

It is written by Clare Press who is Australia Vogue Magazine’ “Sustainability Editor”. 

This morning I listened to her interview with Simone Cipriani who works for the UN promoting and educating about the “Ethical Fashion Initiative”. It caused me to roll my eyes up and bang my head on the wall. Press acknowledges only “getting it” about sustainable and ethical fashion since 2014. 

Its mind boggling to realise a whole bunch of Gen XYZ are just getting WOKE. They think sustainable and ethical fashion is a new social justice and environmental issue discovered by them.

Sigh….duuhhhh-ohhh….see this elderly crone waving from over here! Been doing it for 40 years!

One of the British designers Cipriani has connections with is Vivienne Westwood. He facilitates her getting some product made through workers of the Initiative. Westwood is my generation, in fact she’s nearly 20 years older than me.

Vivienne Westwood

My ears pricked up to hear Westwood being mentioned. The great British icon is now 79 years old and was putting her first collections down the runway in the 1980s when I was launching my own micro clothing business. After the contemporary Japanese designers of that era she was a huge influence on me. Not so much her style but for being a radical deconstructer of the bullshit fashion likes to dissimulate about itself. Throughout her career a great deal of what she creates is outright satire, poking fun at the pompous notions of style and taste that the fashion arbiters pretend is their self ascribed genius.

Westwoods "penis shoes" are hilarious. From the 1990s she has continued every season to design a line of penis referenced clothes and goods. This is my kind of deeply vulgar feminism. 

Hearing her referred to in the podcast got me doing a bit of research on what she is up to today I was thrilled to find she is not one iota less the radical she was 50 years ago.

I am in love with her all over again. Still attracted more to the politics and activism rather than the clothes.

Go to her home page and listen to these podcasts!!! There are links for each of them, descending from the current #23, published only a few days ago, if you scroll downward. They are only short, 2-3 minutes generally. 

And I'm still in lockstep with her about capitalism, patriarchy and climate change....

Vivienne Westwoods Climate Revolution Manifesto

I’m glad to say, like Westwood, my inner radical punk hasn't mellowed either. In fact, the passing of decades and witnessing whats happening in our world today only confirms that the awful things which were predicted in the 80s and 90s are unfolding.

If I could get enough time away from needing to make things to sell this is a few broad points of what would be in Pearls Manifesto:


1     *  Its obscure to young people that the globalised fast fashion model of production has only entrenched itself in the last 50 years. It wasn’t always so. The world worked fine for 1000s of years with local industry, dressmaker artisans/tailors or family women making clothes. Everybody had something to wear, just a lot less items that they valued more and wore for longer.

C   *  Clothes produced by the fast fashion model aren’t true “fashion”. Successful marketing propaganda of the producers sells the idea that individuals gain status and respect by dressing in certain clothes that signal on trend and cool. Of course, those right clothes change 3 times a year and every year. This is an unsustainable illusion preying on the anxiety of consumers that has normalised a generation to be addicted to constant change and accumulation.

 Don’t buy jewellery with precious metals or gems. This is a status symbol for the elites to display their imagined superiority. Wearing these objects indicates hoarding excess wealth invested in decorative objects while ignoring humans suffering from exploitation and lack of resources. Having items of personal adornment is fun and pleasure but only buy things handmade by artisans made from unpretentious materials that are sustainable and recyclable – wood, shell, clay, cloth, glass, brass, fibre, etc

*  Smash the global fast fashion production model. Return clothes making to primarily a local industry. Encourage and celebrate artisan makers. For people who don’t sew, knit or have other skills to make their own clothes there should be local networks putting them in contact with dressmakers and tailors. Educate consumers about the beauty and artistry of handmade clothes and to appreciate the skills/time it takes to do. Don’t put unwanted clothes into the waste stream - create a market for keeping handmade clothes passed on to wearers who will wear, maintain and value them.



*  World govt is inevitable or we'll become extinct as a species. It’s the only way humans will be able to work together in unison to sustain a healthy liveable environment for everybody, everywhere. Clinging to nationalism and its false stories that humans are divided and separated by constructs about patriotism, race and ethnicity will destroy us all. We have to work out how to work together, for the good of all.

 *  Nationalism is a harmful ideology that enables unscrupulous politicians/dictators to create scary propaganda that the citizens already living there “own” the land and that if others were allowed inside the borders they would take “our” land and rights away. The people "outside" are no less our brothers and sisters, just begging our help to have dignity and safety to live their lives to the fullest.

*  The idea borders are necessary to keep bad people out is more propaganda. Borders function to do 2 things. Keep the citizens inside that are needed to provide production and labour. They keep out the people political systems want to define as “others” and “not us”. Getting people to believe there are “good” (inside the country) and “bad” humans is a false and divisive narrative.

*  Universal Basic Income (UBI) will free us from the yoke of the oppressors, whether its capitalists, dictators, communists, fascists or whatever they like to style themselves.


Above is my PDF sewing pattern "The Two Pegs". Link to Shopify shop on the right side bar.

Wednesday 19 August 2020

The nags name is context and intersectionality

This is a picture of me in 1987, taken a year after moving to Australia from New Zealand. Sitting in front of my industrial sewing machine I’m working in the garage of the house I rented in Sydney. I still own and use that same industrial sewing machine and the lamp over it. I made and designed that black and white polka dot dress I’m wearing.

I taught myself how to sew in the early 1980s because I wanted to make clothes that appealed to me. Clothes that were outside of mainstream “fashion” that couldn’t easily be found in conventional clothing shops. In 1984 I went to Auckland Technical Institute and attained a certification as a qualified Patternmaker and Sample Machinist. I still use my skill as a patternmaker today to earn income selling PDF sewing patterns in my Etsy shop.

Pearl Red Moon Etsy Shop

Before getting qualified as a patternmaker I had a small business selling my handmade clothes. Many older New Zealanders will remember the fabulous Cook Street Markets in Auckland. I was a stallholder there for 3 years selling clothes I designed, stenciled, dyed and sewed. I also put some of the high art clothes I made in exhibitions – nearly 40 years ago! – and was a finalist in the Benson and Hedges Fashion Awards 1985, in the leisure/casual wear section with a garment called "Aviator". Well known NZ fashion designer Susan Holmes was my mentor and I worked in her studio as a sewist.

Contextualising myself and the horse I've ridden in on

A year ago, in the brief minutes that I was signed on to follow her IG, Aja Barber wrote this to me “nobody knows you, nobody listens, nobody cares”. Then she deleted comments I’d made and has blocked me ever since.

Her words are true. I am an international nobody and quite comfortable with it. I’m just a textile artist with 9 sewing machines who tries to make a living selling the clothes I make with my hands. She is a hugely successful social media influencer whose business is to grow her following and keep producing content to feed the consumers.

coat made 2019. Upcycled fabrics, stenciled, free painting, patchwork. The design is my "Zambeesi" PDF sewing pattern

The picture is a jacket made 2019. 100% upcycled fabrics. Patched, stenciled, free painted. The garment is my "Zambeesi" PDF sewing pattern.

I started this blog 11 years ago to talk about my life and art. It’s a public diary I share with others. The most important function it serves for me is to document my art making contextualising myself as an artist in contemporary society and how I interact with current social mores, politics and trends. Its an archive I hope will survive my physical existence that might be interesting to artisans of the future.

Many blog posts discuss my anxiety over climate change and environmental degradation and how I’ve consequently adapted my art practise trying be an ethical and sustainable textile worker. I wrote about my distress for the Rana Plaza disaster when it happened. Various posts over the years outline my awareness of the exploitation of the fast fashion industry related to globalization. Recorded here are my radical leftie anti-capitalist political views. I talk about how being a person on the autistic spectrum affects my life and art. Lots of discussion how other issues in society impact my day to day art practise, such as the cultural appropriation of technique, imagery and costume from other races and cultures.

When I entered the discourse regarding how non-Japanese use the word “kimono” some people automatically assumed I must be an angry white supremacist old Karen blowing fart wind at BIPOC peeps because I hate non-white skin. (I am one of the few “whiteys” in my family. More of my relatives are Maori than Pakeha). I totally reject being “white” invalidates having integrity to comment and to outline a view. Some people will still think that is a racist view too…..

A lot of people who’ve criticized my input to the “kimono” debate are actively striving to reduce me to this….

Simply a racist Karen. Just that. End of story. Shut up and go away.

Above is a fairly typical message regularly received from people who think I’m stalking Aja. 

There is an “ugly racist attack” narrative she is actively trying to construct about me to make sure nobody listens to the more complex and nuanced discourse I want to make about fast fashion, capitalism, appropriation and exploitation of clothing workers in the globalized manufacturing system.

Her business is producing content to grow her platform followers and gain income from that. From the amount of IG platforms that have sprung into existence lately monetising outrage against racist white supremacy and simultaneously capitalizing on white shame it is apparently a top earner to be spruiking.

My daily occupation is making clothes to sell. I’ll keep on doing it today and tomorrow and won’t be shutting up putting my commentary out there. I can be and are getting censored on IG. But no matter how many furious people run after me with gaffer tape I'll keep on writing whateverthefuck I want on this blog.

My views aren’t simplistic slogans or reductionist critique that clothing industry exploitation is all just a racist issue. The true story is incredibly complicated, and racism does comprise a part of it, but the meta narrative encompasses way more complexity. In modernism followers prefer their advocates to serve up easily digestible bite sized chunks of meme. Life is busy and hard, I can understand that.

Monday 17 August 2020

How to crush somebody that just pisses you off

 I am a clothing worker.

This is the workroom of my studio/shop where I work most days.

This is one of my stashes of thrift sourced fabrics that are the resource I use for making the upcycled clothes I sell.


This is the retail area of my studio. It is adjacent to the workroom so when I'm sewing the front door can be open for people to come in and see what I do. Sometimes they find something they like so much they buy it. 

Above the rack of clothes there are some cloth figures. This was an art form I was doing about 20 years ago.

This coat is last item of clothing I made about a week ago. It is for sale for Aus$180, including postage to wherever the buyer lives. Paypal only accepted.

How to crush somebody that just pisses you off

So after yesterdays blog some people might be thinking….oooohhhaaahhhh, that Pearl Moon really is an obsessive stalker, there she is going on about Aja Barber again. Batshit crazy....ooohhh aahhh

I hope some of you checked out the half hour of character assassination delivered up by the aforementioned. That is the problem, barely a word of that tirade actually mentioned the issue of cultural appropriation that I sought to discuss over a year ago. That video is a deeply, pointedly personal attack on my character. Not saying my name, something she’ll be careful never to do, gives plausible deniability that its personal. But her bagging me for being aspergers and mentioning the dreaded kimono signals to those who know.

It is a demonstration of power intended to intimidate me into shamed silence, not a constructive engagement about ideas. A capsule of dismissive contempt for my wrong thinking. She justifies this blatant bullying because she is an oppressed black woman and I’m a privileged racist white supremacist. Is there something familiar about this “us and them” polarisation? This seems the twisted justification of a self righteous bully nominating me a sub human who deserves to be trashed. Being a bully isn't something connected to the DNA of melanin.

I think she is an awful advocate. In the brief time before I was purged from polluting her platform I was amazed at how she rudely talks down to her followers. Herding and directing them like an unruly bunch of meerkats. So ungracious. The especially thick white people get served double excoriations becos they seldom have appropriate gratitude for her enormous beneficence in tolerating them.

Where are the groups where women come together feeling solidarity and sisterhood advocating against the fast fashion model? Together BIPOC and white women love clothes and style. As consumers our money is all the same. BIPOC and white women both work in the fast fashion industry. Why are some social media groups/people striving to divide us by saying we should only care about the 80% BIPOC? Why is there indifference and dismissal towards the 20% of melanin lackers?

Being anti-fashion isn’t just a racist issue. It is a womans, a feminist and a human rights issue.

We will get the work done of smashing patriarchy>capitalism more efficiently by chopping off the head of the beast instead of hacking at a limb.

Being a racist anti-racist or the new anti-racism is being anti-white

There are anti-fast fashion advocates who are mixing their message by saying it’s all just a racist issue. By that logic, lets “fix” racism first then maybe later on we can refocus on patriarchy>capitalism. My view is that this is to put the cart before the horse. Patriarchy is the root of all oppressive systems, including racism.

Being aggrieved can be a profitable business model on social media. Some advocates see a business opportunity in selling the equivalent of Catholic “favours” to white people who feel guilt stricken to be told they’re racist.

Join up <here>!!! to expiate your racist sins and those of your fathers and possibly be dispensed forgiveness. Buy yourself a cleansing ritual whipping as a penitent ex white supremacist!!!

White people love these platforms. They flock there to enjoy safety in numbers and to learn the correct anti-racist incantations to recite when required. The Church of Saintly Performative Allyship.

Meantime I need to get to my sewing machine and make things I hope I can sell. Sitting at my Janome stitching or leaning over the garment cutting table I feel sisterhood with all the women doing clothing industry work today and every day. I don't feel more sympathy for the 80% who are BIPOC and doing the same work and less for the 20% whitey.

Sunday 16 August 2020

Resist dehumanising

In further acknowledgement of VP Day (Victory in the Pacific) and the 75th anniversary of the end of WW2 this morning I listened to this great podcast on Australias Radio National. I'm an avid fan of host James Carleton and his weekly program God Forbid. 


After WW2 - grief, loss and change

The price of love is grief, and the price of grief in war is especially high. For those who lost loved ones in the WWII conflict, how did they come to terms with the loss and grief that ensued?


Below is a link from another Radio National podcast from the Religion and Philosophy show. This dovetails neatly into why and how our species can hate on each other to the extent of justifying all out war. The violence and aggression we do to each other is a spectrum starting from low level bullying to murder on an industrial scale. David Livingstone Smith addresses climate change, the international rise of authoritarian politics, reflects on the current president of the USA and how "dehumanisation" is a weapon of propaganda that disinhibits groups of people and gives permission to identify others as less than human.



Radio National podcast. Host David Rutledge interviews philosopher and writer Professor David Livingstone Smith discussing his new book.


On Humanity: on dehumanisation and how to resist it.

I had to buy the book of course!

Something old, something new

This is a coat I upcyled a few years ago. It was a plain black polyester $6 jacket from Vinnies. As ever, I had to open the side seams to be able to work on the surface flat and this was tricky because the jacket was lined and had a drawstring cord at the waist. Direct painted and stenciled onto the surface. Stenciled and stitched on on offcut fragment of yellow teeshirt knit. That fabric was cut into various size patches there were sewed on. 

The jacket is displayed over one of my PDF sewing patterns - The Rings of Saturn

I made the bead necklace too.


How not to do intersectional feminism

I shared in a blog a couple of weeks ago how I'd signed up to be a Patreon for fashion influencer/advocate Aja Barber. In that closed group I made a comment on a discussion thread she started and when she saw my name appear she was angry to find I'd joined and asked me to go away. So I did. First, she demanded an apology from me because of how I've offended her and I did so in writing immediately. 

Being excluded is very hurtful to me as she is one of the highest profile anti-fast fashion advocates internationally and that is a community I feel I have a place in.

She was so outraged at my attempt to be involved and to add my voice to the conversation that she made a video condemnation describing my unacceptable behaviour and attitudes publicly available for her nearly 200,000 followers to see. So far its been seen by 42,000+ people. Many 100s of comments were made agreeing that I'm a terrible person. A racist. A stalker who intends to harm Ms Barber. I read them all and the one that really still stabs me in the gut is that I'm "vile". I've only watched the video once. Its been on her Instagram page for 6 weeks.

At some time in the future I might be able to watch it again and make some dispassionate analysis why she thought it was necessary. About 5 minutes into watching it my brain kind of fogged up, body went jelly and I was shaking all over and nearly vomiting. The only sensible response I had that I can recall before fuzzing out was being confounded by her saying that my behaviour was exactly as if I'd come into the lounge room of her home and rudely insulted her. I really don't get the parallel how an advocate with 100s of 1000s of followers, who asks for people to support their work on Patreon, whose daily work is devoted to advocating for rights for clothing workers - feels that her audience must be strictly controlled to only people who listen, not question. Don't ask anything nuanced or too hard for a cookie cutter answer....or maybe you'll get subjected to a similar hatchet job?

Last night I was removed from IG @rememberwhomadethem as a Patreon and removed/blocked from the Instagram group. I joined the group 5 days ago and had posted one comment in the Patreon thread congratulating them on doing a great job investigating Loststock. 

What distressed me the most was getting this notice that my removal was due to BULLYING and HARASSMENT.

@rememberwhomadethem  is a great advocacy platform and they are entitled to keep out people they don't want to speak to. During the 5 days I was part of the group I listened to their 3 published podcasts and all were excellent. Their second podcast featured Aja Barber being interviewed and I wonder if she recommended they should eject me?

I recently became a Remake ambassador and now that it seems Aja has declared war on me I hope she doesn't use her influence to get me thrown out of there too. Remake has invited me to submit an article describing how my art to wear garments have been appropriated and mass manufactured by a China based company. I've already spent many hours researching and writing it up so it will be a blow if I lose the opportunity to use that platform to alert fashion consumers about another unethical fast fashion practise. 
This post is getting too long. Hardly anybody will have had the patience to get this far. 

I want to remind the women who are trying to silence me on social media of the words of Sojourner Truth. Think about why she said this. I think she was agonised by women dividing women into imagined categories of the more and less privileged and dismissing the integrity of a persons voice based on skin colour? 

Ain't I a woman?