Where my clothes come from – No. 2

Anna Baulch-Jones

“I have been a fashion addict for longer than I can remember. My Mum says I used to demand to wear my party dress every day as a toddler. In the end she had to hide it. I found my blouse at a music festival and loved it. Even though it cost more than I would usually spend I thought it would be in my wardrobe for ever.

I have worked in garment production myself and know what a soul destroying job it is sitting at a machine all day, even in a first world country. That’s why I like the idea of skilled women, like the women who embroidered my blouse, being paid a fair wage for what they make.

But really I just like pretty things.”

Anna wearing an embroidered top
Photographer: Sue Phillips

Anna bought her blouse from Still Ethical who sell ethical, eco-friendly and vintage clothing at festivals, exhibitions and via individual client appointments.

The ethical range is designed by Sophie Mason, and is inspired by her passion for vintage Indian textiles. India has a rich textile culture dating back to the third century, and Sophie works with skilled craftspeople in India and Nepal to create her designs using traditional techniques. The price paid to specialist spinners, weavers, knitters, tailors and embroiderers reflects the creative skills and time required to create particular pieces of clothing.

Many other Indian and Nepalese garment makers do not benefit from supportive trading relationships. Western demand for cheap, fast fashion makes it challenging for many workers in the global garment industry to earn a living wage. Campaigning organisation Labour Behind the Label suggest that garment workers typically earn between 1-3% of the retail price of an item of clothing, and state that: “In factories in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Cambodia and more, the people who make our clothes live in poverty, usually earning just half of what they need to meet their basic needs and care for their families.”

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Sue Written by:

I'm a finance professional who's interested in whether we're accounting for the right things in the right ways.

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