Returning the Love

This navy blue hoodie is one the pieces of clothing I’ve had the longest. My grandfather, coming over from Ireland on a visit, brought one for both my sister and I. About six or seven at the time, it was huge, but over the years I have grown into it and it has grown on me, aging into one of my most loved garments.

Years of wear and wash have taken its toll, however, and I noticed recently that almost all of the lettering on the back had disappeared. Wanting to return some of the love and care the sweater has treated me over the years, I set about retracing the letters with some embroidery thread. It proved to be a very healing process, and has made wearing it that much more meaningful. Other than choosing some slightly different shades of blue for each line, it was a fairly straightforward job, requiring little skill and continuous attention as I simply had to fill in the existing remnants of the graphic that was once there–and not worry too much about making sure it was perfect. As is the case with any type of handcraft, I tend to gravitate towards the wonky and slightly inconsistent anyways; embracing that throughout the process felt liberating, rebellious and wholesome. 10/10 would recommend.

– Naomi

Threadbare by Anne Elizabeth Moore & The Ladydrawers

“Anne Elizabeth Moore and the Ladydrawers Comics Collective pull at the threads of gender, labor, and cultural production to paint a concerning picture of human rights in a globalized world.”

It’s The Money, Honey – Illustrated by Ellen Linder

Chapter three of this collection of comics focuses on life in Cambodia and the tough decisions many women in ‘developing’ nations have to face between working a low-paying, high risk job as a garment worker, or a low-paying, high risk job as a sex worker. Nowadays, there are not many natural resources to be found in the locations where production takes place; materials are shipped in to where the world’s largest garment manufacturers have access to mass poverty and, therefore, cheap labour.

Many women do enter into sex work by choice, opting for a way to make slightly more money and enjoy comparative control and freedom over their working situation. Unfortunately, many NGOs and government bodies treat participants in the sex industry as unwilling victims of sex trafficking, which often leads to “consistent confusion about what exactly constitutes sex trafficking, as well as the regular misgendering of clients” (Moore, 84). The report presents stories directly from individuals who have experienced varying positions within these industries and the striking ways in which they overlap and influence each other.

Let’s Go Shopping – Illustrated by Julia Gfrörer

From the first chapter of Threadbare, which focuses the United States and the retail end of the Fast Fashion industry, Let’s Go Shopping speaks to the experience of women working in large fashion chains, providing insight into the culture that exists within stores worldwide. Often not considered a major issue when compared with working conditions confronted by workers on the production side of the market, Moore and Gfrörer highlight some important points and add another valuable perspective to the complicated and broader conversation explored within this ‘comics report.’

The Broken Zippers Club

I found these pants at a thrift store; sturdy cotton, tags still on them, zipper broken. Honestly, and this may sound a little sad, but I was thrilled. These are the thrifting moments I live for. As you can tell, I ended up getting them and taking them home, where they sat at the bottom of my closet for months waiting to be tended to. 

I got around to scheduling a mending date and finally went about tearing out the zipper with my trusty seam ripper. Resewing the pieces back to each other was simple enough, and then I was able to approach the replacement closure. Buttons seemed like a good way to go, mismatched of course. Using a box cutter, slits were made on the top side and then finished simply by hand with some embroidery thread and needle. Overlaying the finished holes over the underside, a pen was used to mark their centers, which made it easy to sew on the buttons in place with the same thread. 

These pants are fantastic. Wearing them in almost any weather is great, and they have incredible pockets. The front pockets are incredibly deep, able to fit phone, mask, or hands easily. The back features one with a button closure (perfect for wallet), and one open slit; love the variety.

– Naomi

Make Mending Visible Again

One of the biggest fears people have about mending their own clothes is related to visibility. It is inevitably difficult, especially for those without much experience, to fix the smallest of tears or holes without it appearing visible to others. We’ve found this to be one of the most common deterrents to people looking to fix garments, and it shouldn’t be! Here at Pocket Change, we are hoping to develop a dialogue surrounding garments and investigate ways to make interventions seem more accessible to individuals. We see visible mending as an incredible display of agency and expression when it comes to taking charge of what and how you wear; and are hoping that more people embrace their own skill level when it comes to managing their wardrobe e and the possibilities that arise when facing wear and tear.

I got (had) a hole in my pocket!

Mending can be organized and methodical, or it can be sporadic and messy; each instance can be seen as a display of affection and commitment to any garment. Hopefully as a society we can continue to be more open to these sorts of interventions and collaborations with our own clothing and the people who had a hand in making them in the first place. In the long term, ensuring people are more comfortable and practiced doing so will allow us to wear our clothing for longer and develop more meaningful relationships with the fashion industry.

Introducing Pocket Change

Clothing is a constant companion to our everyday experience, and one of the most influential aspects of clothing as mediators between us and our surroundings is pockets. The presence, absence, size, placement, and materiality of pockets can have a profound effect on our mannerisms, ways of moving through the world, interacting with objects, and expressing/forming ideas of identity. 

Gender inequality, wealth inequality, environmental degradation: All large and nebulous systemic issues that can be difficult to untangle and find how our experience and those of our community fit into these worldwide narratives. The universality of pockets gives us a way to analyze the differences in our experiences navigating the world; as a concrete and tangible way to address inequalities in identity, access, and ecology.

Pocket Change is an opportunity to engage others in dialogues related to experience of gender, class, place and the environment through accessible and shareable design activities centering around pocket equity. These activities will explore the repair/reuse/redesign of pre-existing artifacts and materials as a sustainable practice, rather than relying on the consumption of new products. They will be celebrations of identity sharing, storytelling and world making through textiles. We see this moment as an excellent occasion for individuals and communities to interrogate their role in global material and cultural economies, to create and enact meaningful and significant paradigm shifts within our relationship to textile design, production, consumption, and equity.