MONDAY CHALLENGE: Handmade Discussion
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Posted at 9:21 am Aug 6, 2012 EDT
I think that our attitude towards disposable cheaply made goods is something we've been taught. The first time I saw a pair of jeans with
the disclaimer that the flaws in color and weaving were intentional I was shopping with my mother. She was a 7th Avenue clothing designer and
she instinctively knew that this was RUBISH. The manufacture's attempt to sell shoddy merchandise didn't fool her. My mom checked to make sure that seam allowances were the right width and that each was properly overcast to prevent unraveling.
To this day I still check for proper construction in everything I buy. She taught me, I taught my children. I've come to understand and am almost at peace with the concept that mechanical devices have an expiration date. The more complicated they've become the greater the chances are that they will not survive as long as I'd like them too. I am not so sure that our global economy is the real culprit. It is has become far too easy to meet a buyer's low expectations.
Etsy is slowly re-teaching the buyer that there is quality and uniqueness in handmade.
Posted at 10:09 am Aug 6, 2012 EDT
The article in your last link was great! And a lot of good comments following it.
I want to buy handmade when I especially like something, know who the artist is, have a pretty good idea of 'where they are coming from," and know this is the only place I can get this thing and there isn't another exactly like it.
Someone handed me their wallet the other day and asked what it would cost for me to make them one just like it. I looked at the cash in there, and there was plenty, and handed the wallet back saying, "You don't have near enough money for me to make one just like that, that's not what I do."
Posted at 12:02 pm Aug 6, 2012 EDT
Case in point - my girlfriends and I were out shopping right before Mother's day. I found a shirt that I liked - hid the fat belly. So they bought it for me for Mother's Day, and I have followed the wash and care instructions. Starting in July, the collar started coming apart. Shoddy, shoddy, shoddy. I have another shirt that I love that I bought at Target (because I'm poor) and I started having holes in the bottom of it after 4 months. WTH???? Pisses me off because I don't have a lot of money for nice things. It just irkes me.
Now, granted, I don't know the shelf-life of my Flip-Furs yet. I just started making them. But I try my best to make them somewhat sturdy, and I recommend they not be worn outside because you have to hand-wash them.
Posted at 1:17 pm Aug 6, 2012 EDT
Jen what do you think would happen if you took your Mother's Day gift back to the store and complained about the shoddy construction? Just like you said, nobody can afford to be replacing their clothing every couple of months.
Posted at 1:47 pm Aug 6, 2012 EDT
Many years ago, if you purchased a brand name item, it meant you were getting a superior product. This is, in general, not necessarily true any more. Plastic parts have replaced metal ones in sewing machines, seams are often unfinished or shoddily sewn in some name brand clothing, etc.
I take great pride in what I create. Factory-made items remove that element from the consumer. There should be pride in ownership, too. If someone were to say, "Oh, I like your shirt!" I'd feel almost embarrassed to say I bought it at Walmart and just politely tell them, "thanks". But if it were a handmade shirt, then I'd proudly tell them that I bought it from an artist who screen prints their own artwork onto shirts they made and even share a little something about the artist that I learned.
The value of an item to me isn't just about how much it costs. It's the pride, the quality, the story behind the item, the story of the artist who created it, it's usefulness to me. I've had people tell me that art isn't useful and serves no practical purpose. To them I ask, "Does it make you happy looking at it?" If so, then yes, it does.
We have become more and more conditioned to believe that value is strictly associated with money...how much an item costs.
Posted at 2:36 pm Aug 6, 2012 EDT
It bugs me to death.
Case in point. Victoria's secret. Their bras and underwear will last until you get sick of looking at them.
Their clothing,you wash it once and it's over.
Purses another weakness. I finally invested in a coach bag. Quality. I got tIred of carrying purses and having them fall apart.
My dryer was three years old and burned up. That's ridiculous..
Posted at 4:33 pm Aug 6, 2012 EDT
I agree about what has become a disposable society. I think it has it's beginning in the erosion of personal responsibility. It's not your fault you went to the bar and had 20 drinks and while attempting to drive home, you hit and killed and/or injured several people! it's the bartenders fault for serving you 20 drinks. It's the maker of the drinks you were drinking for making them so high in alcoholic content. It's the maker of your vehicle for not putting something gaget on the car that prevented you from driving drunk. It's the city/county/state who put in the roadway you were driving on....
When we lost the ability to accept personal responsibility, we lost the ability to take pride in what we do. When we lost the ability to take pride in what we do, quality went down because it just didn't matter anymore.
It became about making money and nothing else.
I look at my parents and what they had to go through growing up - they were born in the early 1920's, so they saw The Depression. They saw the rationing in WWII. Could the society of today go through even one of those, much less both? How many people would be on the ground pitching a royal hissy fit when told they couldn't have the latest version of the newest phone because the phone they bought yesterday is now "old"? And I don't mean kids having the hissy fits - I mean adults.
My husband works with a woman who will forgo buying food and paying bills so she can get the latest phone. She has a working phone, it's only a few months old, but she just heard about the newest, biggest, baddest, fastest whatsiewhosie and she's gotta have it!
Posted at 4:39 pm Aug 6, 2012 EDT