Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Fire in a New York Garment Factory

It was 1911 and the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory situated in the upper floors of a Manhattan industrial building went up in flames.  The doors were locked, some people so desperate jumped out of the windows. In all 145 people perished, many of them poor immigrants.

Sound familiar?

Until 1819 children as young as 6 worked in the cotton mills of Manchester, England. After 1819 it was illegal to employ children under 9 or make children aged 9-16 work more than 12 hours a day.  It was a long time before the minimum age in the UK for employing a young person full time rose to 16


I think we all know about the conditions in factories in the UK and USA a hundred years or so ago from our history books and from novels.  The shocking fact is that these conditions persist today in countries like Cambodia and Bangladesh and we are shopping for the clothes they make on our high streets.

my brightest top

For these reasons this Lent (18 February to 4 April) I am giving up most of my clothes, they are staying in the wardrobe, all except six items and I am asking friends and family and readers of my blog to sponsor me by donating money to Labour Behind the Label.  You can read more about the charity's work HERE and DONATE HERE (please)

I am not doing this alone, Scrapiana an amazing blogger and crafter who teaches the art (yes I mean art) of mending is doing it with me.  In fact it was she who introduced me to the challenge (via instagram).  We intend to support each other by using all the usual social network wiles

Hoping this jumble of greys with black red and blue will see me through

I have been talking about my decision for a few days now and posting on Facebook and the question every one asks is 'how on earth are you going to manage?'  Well I don't know yet but I have tried to choose my six items very carefully, I am also allowed  accessories, underwear, sports wear and one coat.  To be honest given how the weather can be warm in March my greatest worry is I shall be too hot. 

From the left, grey jersey dress, silk blouse, black jeans, grey tee and red boiled wool skirt

That leaves one more item, it had to be my Leadlight cardigan because I have just finished knitting it and because I love it!

Leadlight knitted in Fyberspates scrumptious, a wool and silk mix

I intend to post a photograph of how I get on and how I alleviate the boredom of grey every day on here and on Instagram

A little note about Labour Behind the Label- it doesn't advocate boycotts but part of its work supports garment workers in countries such as Cambodia and part campaigns to raise awareness.  After all if it were not for campaigners in the UK parliament like Robert Peel nothing would have changed in this country (would readers from the USA please educate me and tell me who were the campaigners in their country in the comments below)

I actually need to raise £50 before I am officially on the team, I need another £3.00 so please donate.  In return I pledge to donate £10 in advance of every £100 raised (i.e. when the total reaches £101 I will donate another £10 and so on)

I should say the donations so far have come from knitters - YAY FOR KNITTERS!!




kristieinbc said...

What a wonderful idea! I'm going to click on the link you've provided and read up about that charity. It's not one I've heard of before. I think about the horrible conditions garment workers endure every time I buy an article of clothing, but am never sure what the alternative is. There are so few things made in North America, Europe and the UK these days. Good luck with your challenge!

Little Miss Know-it-all said...

Go you!!!
I did the challenge last year and it was fine, I got through without any trouble, even a funeral… Looking back, I think I made good choices so am curious to see how my (different) choices this year will pan out! Love your selection :)
Also that silk-wool cardigan is beautiful - as a knitter, I think it's brilliant that you included something you made; I am running with the many shawls/shawlettes as accessories - a bit of a cheat in comparison lol.

Sarah said...

Just catching up on this! As a confirmed atheist I don't go in for the religious reasons behind Lent but I often observe it anyway, as it makes us think about what we can do without. This year I'm trying to give up buying my lunches - not fasting, just taking a packed lunch every day.

I wear a uniform for work these days. I don't have many clothes anyway. I've gone down from a size 10-12 to a size 6-8 over the past three years, put some weight on over Christmas, then lost it all again once normal life resumed, so I'm fairly confident I'm going to stay this size now. I'm sorting through and giving stuff to charity shops now, while wearing the same jeans and tops over and over again.

I love your cardigan by the way!