In February, when I wrote about our mission, I touched briefly on the working conditions for garment workers globally, with some suggestions for further reading. I have another resource to share with those of you who would like to learn more about this issue, and the state of the global garment/ fashion industry as a whole. The Clotheshorse Podcast began last year, and already has over 70 episodes that are full of very valuable information on this topic and more. Get over there and listen!
If you aren't sure where to start, you can begin by listening to episode 70, which features me. As someone who listens to podcasts every single day, I can't believe that my voice is now on one, but it is, and I hope that it can be of value to some people. Amanda and I talked about upcycling, gender neutrality in clothing, sewing patterns, and pricing sewn work fairly.
There is one part of the episode that I've been thinking about all week. You know when you keep replaying one part of a past conversation over and over in your mind, imagining all of the different ways that you could have responded? This was like that, except that I had the option of actually replaying the conversation, which I didn't do, because I have been practicing self control ; )
At one point, Amanda and I talked about the challenges of fitting garments that are gender neutral. I responded with an anecdote about my recent struggle with a Frock armhole (it was the Cirque Frock), and Amanda kindly commiserated with me over the difficulty of the task. When I listened to our conversation later, it struck me that I may have given the impression of being a perfectionist, and possibly of wanting to create a product that will be perfect for everyone. There isn't a podcast redo option, but in case anyone else gets that impression from our conversation, I at least want to clear it up here.
While the Cirque Frock story is completely accurate, I DID spend a ton of time trying several different arm hole shapes for that Frock, what I ultimately chose to do after all of those tests was to leave and re-use the original arm holes where the sleeves had been sewn on. My struggle with the Frock was that if I left the arm holes as-is, there would likely be some upper torso peeking through for some people, and possibly even some side-boob. But, if I made the armholes tighter, the Frock would fit fewer people, and could disproportionally exclude individuals with stronger upper bodies.
Choosing to leave the arm holes as-is means that some people may feel more comfortable wearing a tank, tee, or other garment under their Frock, but I decided that was better than excluding a large number of people from wearing the garment at all. or from being able to move freely in it.
Flux Bene garments are not for everyone, because not everyone is going to like them. And believe me, that is perfectly ok. I would rather make art that excites a small number of people than make pieces that a lot of people feel luke-warm about. But, I do want everyone who feels excited by the pieces to be able to take part in the party. This is why the garments tend toward looser fits, and why we offer belts to cinch the waist if you would like. The Cirque Frock was the first style to include a sewn-on method of adjusting fit, and we are working on some more concepts like that.
These fit challenges are the reason that we offer exchanges and shop credit for items that don't fit as hoped, and also one of the reasons that we are beginning to release sewing patterns for our designs. If you make your own upcycled piece, you can customize the fit perfectly to you! I can't wait to see all of the upcycled garments that you make!!
We are committed to trying our best to fit a wide variety of human bodies, but we won't ever attempt to fit any body in a tailored way. My heart is with the creativity of reuse and surface design. Honestly, if I let myself fret too much over fit, I never would have begun this adventure in the first place. I am a strong believer that done well enough is better than not done at all. If you feel that way too, you are in the right place.
Here are some photos of me wearing one of the larger Tender Frocks, showing how the armhole situation pans out for this particular human. I'm not intentionally showing off my armpit hair, but truthfully I am reasonably proud of it.
The final photos show before images of the shirt that this Frock was made from. This one was verrrry well worn, with stains and tears throughout. I love that we are able to revive garments like this, and give another person the opportunity to experience their softness from years and years through life cycles and wash cycles.
For this Frock, the collar & shirt bottom were removed, and the stains were covered with appliqué shapes, creating something brand-new from a bunch of things that were already old. The contrast fabrics were inherited from the Kelly Lane studio.
Thanks for reading and listening and for being you.