Small on the Earth

It’s not just what I am, it’s what I want to be.

As a petite person, I find it hard to find small clothes. There are so few people who cater to petites. Some department stores might have petite sections, but it’s all grandma clothes. Some other places have clothes for smaller women, but they’re generally fast fashion outlets that make cheap clothing that will fall apart in a couple of washes.

It’s not just petites that have problems. I know plus size girls also complain about being able to find things that fit that are also stylish. I decided to do something about it, and create my own line.

I discovered some horrible things.

Consumers complain they can’t get certain clothing, but we’re party to blame. As people increasing demand cheaper clothing, faster fashion, and constant variety, people who make clothing are looking for cheaper ways to make this clothing. They’re designing clothes to be disposable. They’re only making certain sizes, because now that they’re outsourcing to places like China, they’re obliged to make 1000 minimum item runs. That doesn’t mean that they make 1000 of a certain item. It means they have to make 1000 of each size, and each color.

So I want to make a 7 piece capsule wardrobe. If I want to be conservative, and make a couple of different color options, say white and blue, I then also have to work out how many sizes I want to make. Do I go with S, M, L or do size 0, 2, 4, etc. If I was to have my clothes manufactured somewhere like China, even if I only do two colours, and S, M and L, I am now looking at 4200 pieces I have to manufacture. For a start up line. How on earth would I sell 4200 items to petites? It’s insane. So if one tiny line has to make 4200 items, imagine what places like Zara or H&M are producing?

I don’t want to make disposable clothing. I want to go back to the days where you had a few beautiful items that you could wear over and over. Things that were slightly more expensive, but that lasted forever. Things that were timeless, and didn’t go out of fashion a week after you bought them. People make fun of preppies, but you’ve got to hand it to them. They’re pretty environmentally friendly when it comes to their wardrobe. They own staple items, and wear them for 20+ years. They mend things. They hand them down. Their stuff doesn’t go out of style. (Well, to them anyway) When my dad was a designer, there was a couple of seasons. Now there are 52.

As I was looking into where I could get small production runs, with high quality fabrics and manufacturing, and devoid of any type of sweatshop labour, I started knowing more and more that I didn’t just want to make small clothes, I wanted to be small on the earth.

There’s an amazing documentary on Netflix called “The True Cost‘ and it can explain the true cost of fashion way better than I can. I already knew I wanted to go small, make lasting clothes, and hopefully, manufacture right here in the US, but this doco reaffirmed everything for me.

Please watch it before you buy your next $5 t shirt.