Did they love their jobs? Or did they hate sewing machines (if they owned one)?
More than 600 factory workers of Bangladesh who sewed to make a meager living, lost their lives while working in dangerous working conditions in April 2013. Their work satisfied the most urgent need of modern folks to wear of-the-moment clothing which may or may not be outdated by next season. They also satisfied the urgent need for clothing retailers and manufacturers to boost profits. Purging closets to buy new clothes is a good thing. As well, this kind of purging allowed the Bangladeshi women to have a job. Seems like the equation should work. So what just happened?
While there’s ongoing finger pointing along the business side of global fashion, I’m feeling a connection with the Bangladeshi seamstresses. We both knew how to wield a sewing machine. We also knew how to turn a pile of fabric into a wearable item, albeit they used industrial sewing methods and worked on faster industrial machines.
The common thread between me and the unfortunate Bangladeshi seamstresses was the activity of sewing every day. I sew to satisfy my creative urges and love for nicely made, fashionable garments, and they to get a paycheck at the end of the day because someone else loves quickly available, fashionable garments of the current season. The end result of our efforts was a piece of clothing.
For a long time to come, I will be feeling the sewing connection with these sewers.
May they rest in peace.