Who Made Your Pants?

Gorgeous Pants. By women, for women.

Interfiliere and the ongoing sourcing conversation

Last weekend, Catherine and I went to Paris to a trade fair called Interfiliere.

It’s broadly, half and half split between buying the bits to make underwear – Sourcing – and buying actual underwear – Brands. We were there to look for fabrics so we were in the Sourcing section

You may have read about this, and you may be aware that we’re considering our sourcing policy hard. 

We are 100% committed to using reclaimed fabrics. We love them. You tell us you love them. But we had to go looking for new stuff as we’re at risk of not being able to get enough reclaimed stuff to make enough pants to pay the wages and the bills. We’re about creating jobs and we want to create more and more of them – so this is about risk assessing, managing that risk and trying to mitigate it.

I have to tell you that in my heart I don’t want to go this way, I want to just use reclaimed fabrics very very much, But there’s what I want and what the business needs and it’s right and fair that we explore options. We’re about making jobs, That’s the key. I have to make myself remember that.

It was interesting – and eye popping, in a lot of the finished garments section. We wanted to give some of the models a hug and a jumper. Imagine it. Young women, in their undies, in Paris, in January. Brrrr. Anyway…

We met some great people and were really reassured to find that we could buy NICE SOFT NOT SCRATCHY lace made in France and Germany, and jersey – made from a variety of fibres – made in Germany and Austria. We also spoke to a company that has a huge amount of lace – 9000 different lace designs – in Turkey. And every one of those people said I could go and visit their factories. It sounds like a lot of the production is done by massive machines rather than people – but there will still be people involved. Part of my motivation to start WMYP came out of years of involvement at a local level with Amnesty International. A lot of ‘ethical fashion’ is about the fibres. I’ve always been about the people. I’d want to see, with my own eyes, what went on before I’d even contemplate trusting anyone. We walked away from exhibitors who didn’t deign to greet us or approach us – if they didn’t care about us, humans standing in front of them, I can’t imagine they’d care much about humans along the supply chain.

We drank tiny espresso and ate traditional French, um, pizza. We got there by train and felt very glamorous and then stayed in a flat belonging to a friend of a friend which was a lovely thing to be able to do – we want to spend our money on making jobs not fancy jaunts. Gloriously, it had a view of the Eiffel Tower and I could see it glitter, on the hour, from my sofa bed.

We’ve got samples coming now, from a bunch of places. I’m still sure, in my heart of hearts, that I don’t want to make this call but its right to look at it. THANKYOU all for your fabulous comments on this story so far – it really is helpful to know what you think, what you want. How else can we give it to you? 🙂

We’ll keep you posted….

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4 Responses

  1. Jen says:

    I think it is really brave of you to be looking at this. I am very excited by this prospect. By sourcing fabric in this manner, my pants will help more people, across the globe. I am a “waste not, want not” person and being able to use “waste” fabrics is a wonderful thing and I assume you will still use these fabrics, and “top up” with the new, but it’s also largely about people. People should be payed a fair wage for what they do – even if that is control a machine rather than hand make fabric. It is important to me that people who work hard should be able to afford bread and roses. And the more people I can help give that too, the better. Good luck 😊

    • beckypants says:

      Jen what a wonderful reply – so glad you think that way! Love the bread and roses reference – we had a pack called that launched on international Workers Day a few years ago 🙂 Thank you so much – we’ll keep you posted. Becky x

      • Jen says:

        Bread and Roses is my favourite ever pack (I nearly never wear the pants cause I love looking at them so much.)

  2. beckypants says:

    Jen – that’s lovely 🙂

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