Who Made Your Pants?

Gorgeous Pants. By women, for women.

What do you want your pants to be?

Who Made Your pants? is about two things – amazing pants and amazing women. We’ve been delivering training and making jobs for women who need them since 2008 and making pants for women who want to know who made them since 2009. Right now there are just ten of us employed – eight women who are refugees and two of us who are British born and raised, and our volunteer Gill too. But with a waiting list of 75 more women who want jobs, and more women knocking on the door regularly, we’re keen to keep doing both for a while longer.

We’ve a problem though. We get asked for images of women in our pants – women want to know where they sit on their body. And we’ve never felt that we have found a way that we can do this without sexualising or objectifying the women involved. Since we started way back in 2008, we’ve accrued just three publicity images of women, made for us, pro bono, back in 2010, and aside from those, we’ve just got pictures of our pants.

As a democratic organisation, we as team have talked a lot at Who Made Your Pants? about what sort of images we’d like and that we feel comfortable with and that we think sum up what we think our pants are about. And for us that’s about strength, and fun. Our pants create jobs – that’s pretty strong. And our factory is a fun place to be. We’ve looked together at magazines, trade press, websites and catalogues. And what we’ve found is that the images seem to be either highly sexualised, utterly passive, or of slices of woman. None of us think that they show what we think our pants are about. And so we want to find a new way.

We think that there is more to women than their sexuality. We all agree that women can be (if and when they want to be) sexy and sexual – but we just don’t think women should have to be – or have only that choice of how to be perceived, or to perceive themselves. We all want pants for the days we’re just *being*. So, we’ve talked and got nowhere. But recently, I was speaking to Lucy from No More Page 3 and she suggested that instead of trying to answer this question ourselves, we could ask YOU. Get many brains onto the problem. And we all thought that was a great idea. We’d ask for YOUR ideas on how we can do this and then we, as a team, will pick the idea we think best represents our work and we’ll do a photoshoot using that idea.

We’ve had one idea that we loved – superheroes! And so on Monday we took some pants to London and met our our longtime friend and supporter Ros, and her friend and longtime collaborator Flo. Ros is a student, writer, model and spinal surgery survivor. Flo is a photographer and bookbinder who loves working with people in an unobtrusive and natural way. They’ve been friends since they were small and you can just see how well they get on in the pictures they’ve taken before.   We had a great day – Ros was diving in and out of phone boxes and leaping about training her cape. Two little girls asked if she was a superhero and wanted their picture taken with her which was wonderful.

We’ll share these pictures in a few weeks when we’re going to be kicking off the appeal for ideas formally too and then we’ll make the decision with the team in September. But in the meantime – tell us. What do you want your pants to be? How do you want that to be represented?   We’re so looking forward to finding new ways of making great images with YOU!

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3 Responses

  1. Rachael says:

    Following the theme of your pants being a bit special but also for any situation, why not have pictures of women going about their jobs/hobbies wearing your pants (on the outside)? For example I am a science PhD student and I love wearing your pants in the lab! I also enjoy bouldering and your pants make that super comfy. We don’t need to wear a cape to be a superhero after all!

    • beckypants says:

      That’s a great idea Rachael! We’re a bit wary of asking women to be seen in the pants – even if on the outside as we know for a lot of people that’s a bit EEK inducing! Would you be happy to? They would be great shots! Thanks!

      • Rachael says:

        I would be happy to, although there could be some logistics to sort. Do you want to email me and we can try and work out if it’s feasible?

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