Saturday, 4 April 2015

Six weeks and what have I learned?

Did you think when I began this clothes fast you might sponsor me?  If you have, thank you so very much, the total has reached £393.99 a fab amount. But it would be so wonderful to reach my target of £500. So if you thought you might sponsor but have just not got around to it yet IT"S NOT TOO LATE, just click on this link and it will take you to my donations page. I have promised to add another £10 for each £100 raised so only £4.01 to go and I will donate again.

Well, it's been a while. A while since I blogged and a while since I was somewhere on our travels around France (plus a little jaunt into Spain) with enough oomph in the so called free wifi to blog. 

I hope I'm forgiven and that if you were watching my progress on the Six Items Challenge you have been checking over on Instagram from time to time.  If you have been looking you will know that I have linked my photos to our travels. Today we woke up in Vézelay, a tiny hill town an hour or so's drive south of Paris where pilgrims in the 13th century gathered before setting off for Santiago de Compostello.

Day #44 I imagine the pilgrims began their journey in the stupendous basilica at the centre of the village on top of the hill

There were so many wonderful buildings but I could not resist (because this IS a knitting blog)  including this shop window full of hand-knitted mohair sweaters

So... It's day #45 and the last day of the challenge, I'm up and dressed in my black jeans and grey tee and I made it!!! But to be honest even if I had not many sponsors who had donated nearly £500 towards Labour Behind the Label I would have completed the whole six weeks. I've enjoyed it, in a reflective, Lentish sort of way. Not of giving up the thing you like entirely but living with less. 

On Thursday JTH took my photograph for the challenge outside a medieval building in the butchers' quarter of old Limoges (now a second hand book shop). 

Day #43

But later we visited the hauntingly sad village of Oradour where 642 men women and children were murdered on 10 June 1944 in one of the worst war crimes the people of France experienced during WW2. The village has remained untouched since the day after the murders when the SS troops set fire to all the houses. In the ruins of many houses there were twisted remains of metal items that survived the fires.  Bed frames, pram chassis, weighing scales and Singer sewing machines, a poignant reminder of all the women who sewed their own clothes. I lost count of the sewing machines, there were so many

Buy less, use less and waste less.  It's practically the mantra of the 21st century as we all consider ways in which the earth's resources can still be there for our descendants.  And then there's fairness, which of us, if we stopped to think would want other people, anywhere in the world to be exploited just so that we in the west can choose to consume so much? 

I have learned that I can more than survive with far fewer clothes, although I would need more than six items to cope with the seasons.  One concern I did have travelling was the changes in the weather.  Most of the time the weather has been cool and my winter clothes, including the thick cardigan were fine.  And then on the beach in Barcelona the silk shirt came into its own

Day #41 It was still quite windy

But the skies over the Sagrada Famiglia in Barcelona really were that blue on Tuesday

I'm not going to repeat the things I said about Labour Behind the Label in a much earlier post and in any case they explain their campaign much better themselves. So if you would like to know more you just have to visit their website by clicking one of the many links here and read about how they campaign for better worker safety and for a living wage for garment workers.  But I thought I would just highlight a couple of campaigns here to illustrate their work and the work of their associates around the world

Do you remember my reference to the Bangladeshi garment workers killed or injured when the factory where they were working in collapsed in April 2013?  Labour behind the Label is part of a coordinated campaign to raise $30m USD from the companies who had clothing made at Rana Plaza to compensate the victims, to date the fund is $9m short. The shortfall is mainly due to one or two companies who despite making all the right noises have not paid any money into the fund. Labour Behind the Label is planning a special day of action on 24 April.

Other campaigning organisations around the world are joining the fight. A brilliant campaign originated in Canada with the Fair-trade Network producing posters of clothing with labels that tell the true story behind a cheap sweater (or indeed pair of jeans)

I have also heard that people have actually sewn similar labels onto clothes on the rails in shops, although I can't find a link to this activity, it sounds like a great idea.

So what am I going to do in future?  Well I'm not going to stop buying clothes all together but I am going to make my clothes last longer. I will not salve my conscience by lobbing large bags of unwanted clothes in the direction of charity shops. Charities often have to sell on the clothes donated  they are bought by dealers who sell them back to third world countries which in turn depresses the internal clothing business and puts local workers out of a job.  I am going to wear out the clothes in my wardrobe and, perhaps more importantly for me, make clothes with the burgeoning stash I already have of both knitting yarn and dress fabric.  SO please keep on checking my blog to keep me in line - see if the things I am making (or making over) really live up to these principles I have learned over the last six weeks



PS - here are the rest of my daily photos

Day #42
Day  #40
Day #39 
Day #38
Day #37
Day #36
Day #35
Day #34
Day #33
Day #32

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