Who Made Your Pants?

Gorgeous Pants. By women, for women.

Pants! whomadeyours?

Hello! This is my first foray into the world of blogging so I hope I can work out what I’m doing.

I’m Becky and I’m in the process of setting up whomadeyourpants? a worker co-op empowering marginalised women here in Southampton. We’re going to make fabulous pants, for women, men and children (we hope) and all the while, provide some opportunities for women who have had them taken away.

The idea is to try and get a few people (or a lot of people) asking questions about where their clothes come from. Who made them, where, how far have they travelled? How much did they cost to produce? How much did the workers get paid? How many hours do they have to work? Are the conditions good? Are the fire doors locked or unlocked? How old are the workers – under ten? Do the workers have to take contraceptives to keep their jobs? Do they have contracts of employment? These things all happen in various parts of the world – they won’t happen in this business.

For more information we have a website here http://www.whomadeyourpants.co.uk and there will be a mailing list soon too. Things are coming on well, and there should be plenty to write about soon. For now though, I shall leave a few bits of information and come back another day.

whomadeyourpants? a new workers’ co-operative, based in Southampton, will empower marginalised women by providing flexible work, education, and a social and community space. It will, in time, provide childcare, space for meals to be eaten, access to community advisors, and (eventually) access to computers and a small garden space.

What is a co-operative business?

It is owned and run by it’s members, working together to achieve their common aims;
It is based on values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity (fairness) and solidarity;
It is a sustainable solution for businesses and community groups

Worker Co-operatives

are businesses owned and controlled by the people who work in them. The workers share the responsibilities and rewards, and a co-operative often provides a safer environment than self-employment.

What is whomadeyourpants? all about?

whomadeyourpants? aims to tackle two problems.

One is that there are a lot of women in Southampton who are ’marginalised’ through no fault of their own, and who would like to be able to be involved in work. The project understands that many of these women may not speak much English, and so may find it hard to get into ‘normal’ jobs. English language training, and sewing training, will be provided for free. It also understands that many women cannot, or do not want to, commit to many hours of work. For this reason, there will be lots of flexibility in how many hours, and at what times, workers can work. The project will be located within a safe walking distance of St Mary’s, Newtown, Northam – premises are being looked at at the moment.

The second problem is that of ‘unfair trade’. Lots of clothes are made in very bad conditions in poor or developing areas of the world. The workers are treated badly, they might be forced to take the contraceptive pill, or subjected to internal examinations and sacked if they are pregnant. They are made to work very long shifts for very little money, and are sometimes made to take narcotics so they can work longer.

whomadeyourpants? wants to show that trade does not have to be unfair, that workers can be in good, safe conditions, and good products can come out of it.

The project will be democratically controlled by all workers who choose to become members of the co-op. All workers will be able to be members of the co-op if they meet certain ‘entry criteria’ which are not yet set but will be agreed by the founding members in consultation with the groups whomadeyourpants? engage with and the Co-operatives Assistance Network


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