Who Made Your Pants?

Gorgeous Pants. By women, for women.

This is the Last Post on this blog (we have a new home)

Hello pants Fans

After writing this blog here since *checks* my WORD a long time ago, we’re now moving this blog into our shop. It’s new home will be here

This wordpress blog will not be updated any longer after today. We’ll try to respond to comments if they appear but we’re trying to get everything under one roof to make it all easier to manage.

All the old posts are making their way over to our new home but there is a bit of tidying up and rearranging to do just like when you move into any new place.

See you at the new place – wish we could throw a housewarming party!

 

 

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All change, all change! Rosalind Pants Price Reduction.

I am delighted to tell you that the two new (to us, They’re reconditioned and we love them for it) machines we took delivery of a few weeks ago, Fred and Ginger

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have done exactly what they were supposed to do. We can now apply our beautiful edge laces to our Pants in a FRACTION of the time it used to take

Rosalind was  previously priced at £21.50 as it took literally 15 minutes to attach that lace all around the waist and both legs.

From today, all Rosalind COLOURS are £18, Rosalind Kohl Black is £15 and the Rosalind Working Week Pack is now £65

Hooray for Fred and Ginger!

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What does Magna Carta mean to you?

Yesterday, I went to meet a friend who also has a background as a chemist (as in someone who understands chemistry not a pharmacist) to talk a bit more about fabric sourcing and impact – blog post coming on that soon. I try to make every train ticket to London work hard so had booked another meeting later on and took the opportunity to fill a bit of the time in between by going to see the Magna Carta exhibition at the British Library.

I learned about the Magna Carta when I was about nine. I *think* I went to an exhibition about it or something as part of a school trip. I’m not sure. But I know that I’ve had a copy of it hanging up in my house for years. Before saying anything else…. I know it didn’t do much for women, and I know it mostly got repealed and and and. But at nine years old, I fell in love with it. I loved that some men stood up to a figure of authority that was behaving unfairly and that they got organised and challenged that unfairness. I loved that they took the king, bodily, so that he had to listen. I’m no vigilante but I do sometimes think, ‘don’t ask permission, ask for forgiveness’, and I’ve always thought they must have got to the end of their tether to do that.

The exhibition was brilliant – do go if it’s your kind of thing – and my heart swelled to see how many people, in how many countries, have tried to curtail unfair power, to claim and assert the rights of regular people, through history. I knew that the Capitol Building had a gold engraved copy of the Magna Carta but I didn’t know there were similar charters, pre the Runnymede sealing of the first version, in 1215, in other counties. None seems to have quite the mythology that Magna Carta does but there are documents from France and other countries which show similar statements and intents. And then later, the are other documents which either directly reference if or which are clearly influenced by it.

The governing rules of the first English colonies in America – Virginia, and later Pennsylvania – are, in places, almost direct copies. Compare ‘justice shall neither be sold, denyed nor delayed’ with ‘to no-one will we we sell, deny or delay rights of justice’. Later still, the English Bill of Rights of 1689, echoes Magna Carta and it was of real political significance during the English Civil war (I was taught about this by a fantastic teacher, Mr D Thomas, who had us use pencil cases and files to show how the battles played out. In hindsight, he was clearly a republican and socialist and I was and am still deeply influenced by his teachings) the U.S. declaration of Independence, and the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights share the feel, the aims and some of the words. I joined Amnesty at the age of 15 on the power of those words. I have them hanging up in my house too, next to a translation of the Magna Carta. I think they’re beautiful.

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I’m aware that this isn’t about Pants. But it is about rights, and WMYP is emphatically about rights, too. It’s about saying workers have the right to earn a fair wage. It’s about saying it’s not right for workers to be forced to work in factories with what turn out to be fatal cracks in the walls. It’s about saying that we have equal rights with the people sand blasting jeans in China and that they and the 170 million children (11% of all children) globally involved in the garment trade have equal rights to us. Those children should be getting the education children here are. It’s an accident of birth that we are where we are and they are where they are. It’s about saying that as moral, decent, regular humans, with heads on our shoulders, brains in those heads and absolute shared humanity in our hearts, just – be decent. Don’t be evil. Don’t exploit, or bully, or shame. Don’t support people who do. Don’t incarcerate people without trial, or, as most of us aren’t heads of state, don’t support countries who do. Don’t steal. Don’t close your eyes to the wages that aren’t being paid when you buy a bargain you don’t need but it’s cheap.

I know our modern life is full of compromises and competing pressures and I know that money is tight for a lot of people. But I genuinely think we all want to make good choices and support others and it’s unfair to say that people who haven’t much money don’t or can’t care. The future is a big place and maybe a necessary decision taken in one set or circumstances today will be different tomorrow. Information is key. Knowing your rights is key. Stand up for your rights, and the rights of others. They’ve been hard won by people who actually fought. We – you, me – can vote, every time we go shopping, for the rights of others. And we don’t need to kidnap a king to do it.

 

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What do *we* have a position on?

Recently, at the WOW Festival, I met tons of amazing women doing amazing things. I had fantastic conversations about all kinds of projects. Lots of people asked us to work with them.

I wasn’t really sure how to respond.

When I write this blog, I’m really aware that *I* am writing it, but Who Made Your Pants? is very definitely about *we*. And *we* have lots of different views. We are Muslim and athiest, vegetarian and meat eating, feminist and not. So WMYP is neither religious nor athiest, it takes no stance on meat eating and while we’ve been called a feminist business, we don’t call ourselves that.

When *we* came out in support of No More Page 3, it was because we all agreed. And so *we* supported it. But when we’re approached about other projects, I often don’t have an answer. *I* need to check with everyone to find out what *we* think and if *we* don’t have an agreed position, then *we* don’t have a position.

I know that a lot of you out there supporting us would identify as feminist and I personally absolutely do. You’ll appreciate that there have been expectations placed on us that *we* would naturally support certain campaigns. What I personally might support is one thing but I hope you can see that *we* have a huge variety of views as women, and so we’re not going to have a view as an organisation if it doesn’t chime for us all. At the risk of sounding very cagey, there are security concerns to bear in mind. The last thing I want to do is talk on behalf of *us* about something that is going to put a colleague of mine at risk.

Over the next while, *we* are going to be talk about a number of projects we’ve been approached about. If you’re waiting for a response from me, please bear with me. We’re working this out as we go.

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Why don’t you make…..?

We often get asked for products that we don’t make. These often include cotton pants, bras, leggings, socks and Tshirts. One one memorable occasion there was an approach about fence panels.

What we get asked about most often, though, is *this* particular sort of Pant. We get sent Pants in the post, we get sent photos of Pants, and at events like the WOW Festival in London, a wonderful woman came back on the second day to show us her favourite (washed and clean) Pants. Thank you Purple Lady, for that.

I’ll be honest. I love this. I love Pants so what’s not to like. And, frankly, from a business perspective, if you tell us what you like, and we can make it – well, then you’ll buy it! That’s the sort of intelligence that we need so we can make the money to pay the wages.

However, the short and simple answer the ‘Why Don’t You Make…’ is almost always ‘we can’t’ (at the moment, at least)

We operate within various limits. We *only* buy reclaimed fabric. So, we can only make Pants out of what fabrics we can find. We have one supplier. If he hasn’t got it, we can’t get it. So, if he can’t get cotton – so we can’t get cotton. Man Pants, for example, do tend to be made of cotton – not lace (stretch or rigid, double galloon or ‘all over’) or printed lycras, or net. So we can’t make Man Pants. Or printed jersey Pants for women. Or leggings, or Tshirts. (HOWEVER. If you know of someone that has access to reclaimed jersey, in minimums of about 50m I WANT TO KNOW.)

We’ve been asked to make Very Very Wide Aimee shorts. Aimee shorts are made from fabric that comes to us in either 16, 18, 21 or 23cm depths. The curved edge at the top of the waist and the bottom of the leg is the edge of the fabric – we don;t cut that, it;s how it comes. We can’t make them bigger unless we get bigger fabric. It’s not won’t. It’s can’t.

Another limit is the skill set of our team. For *reasons*, most of our team don’t want to work full time. None of our team knew how to sew underwear when they started here, so they’ve learned here. If you do something every single day you get really good at it really fast. Our team are good – very good – at what they do. But we are, right now, at the stage where they don’t do this every day and so it just takes time to get excellent. And it takes time to learn how to apply skills learned in one situation or product to another.

Right now, when we make a new style, we takes weeks – months even – to train our team. That eats into Live Production time. And we need to make Pants to sell Pants to make money to pay wages. There’s a fine balance to strike between wanting to make MORE MORE MORE PRETTY THINGS and needing to keep those wages being paid. And we’re ok with that. We just need to get it right.

There’s another limit. Our slice of the Pants market is *tiny*. It’s a big risk for us to introduce anything new when there are – relatively – few people out there waiting to snap up our stuff. Using bras as an example, we just don’t have enough people out there (yet!) to make that viable. Even just to provide a small size range – let’s say 28-36, A – E cup – that’s 30 different size variations. Making one of anything is expensive so we’d need to make – let’s say – an average of 25 in each size. A minimum run therefore would be 750.

We make, at most, about 450 pairs of any one Pant and even then we end up with some going into the sale. 750 bras (let alone thinking about the technical skill we don’t yet have and the pattern making and testing and and and and…) gives me the vapours.

This same thing applies to our size range. We get occasional requests for size 6, 20 and other sizes. These requests are very very occasional though and to add extra sizes to our size range would incur costs we’d not recoup. That’s wages money we’d be risking. As things stand today, we are selling around about 7-10 pairs of size 18 per month. We make size 18 in every colour and style – and there are more than 10 styles, so you can see that we’ve a lot of Pants (which represent fabric bought and wages paid to make them) sitting in the stock room. Most of our size 18s sell in our sale – lovely for bargain hunters, but not so great for us!

We need to get bigger – much bigger – before we can think seriously about introducing new products. We do want to and have an idea about crowd funding which we’re working out before we talk about it next month. But we’re not there yet.

I have never minded operating within narrow parameters. I am a huge believer in Do One Thing Well and I think that limits can teach us to be really creative. It’s exciting going to pour supplier and looking at all the reclaimed treasure. It’s exciting seeing a colleague put Skill A and Skill B together and suddenly we’re a step closer to being able to drop in a new style.

So. That’s the story. For now, at least.

And no, we didn’t make the fence panels.

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Wedding planning? Pin to WIN a Brand New Knicker Drawer

We’ve weddings on our mind at the moment. Not just because I’m as proud as PUNCH that I’m going to be Groomswoman for my wonderful brother and his fabulous fiancee at their wedding this summer (I LOVE THIS SO MUCH), but because for the first time EVER we have found some fabric that we love that is suitable for Bride Pants.

On the 17th April, a tiny Bride collection will go on sale.

We’ve 160 pairs of Ding Dong Belle in our Aimee style

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60 pairs of Mari Belle in our Cecilia style

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and a tiny 40 pairs of Blue Belle in our Rosalind style

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They will all be £18 – no launch pricing as they are just so limited. There will be gift wrap options and keepsake boxes too. All three Pants have old and new covered – Old as in reclaimed fabrics, and New Pants. And Mari Belle and Blue Belle also get your Blue!

We’re also going to be launching a New Knicker Drawer product on April 17th – and that’s what you could WIN!

Lots (really, lots) of women have told us that when they got married, for hen presents, each woman going to the hen do (all of these women were keen to stress there were no L plates or veils involved) bought them a new pair of knickers. We thought this was a lovely idea and so we’ve found some beautiful Blue keepsake boxes, and a hen party or group of friends can come together and build a Knicker Drawer of your choice for the Bride, something that she will really treasure. The gift of a good pants day is hard to beat!

So, how to win?

Simple!

  1. Before 23.59 on the 16th April, Follow us on Pinterest, set up a Board called WMYP New Knicker Drawer competition.
  2. Pin this Original Pin to it from our board here and pin your favourite seven Pants from our website, including your favourite Bride Pair. 
  3. Put the link to your Board and the date of your wedding into a comment under our Original Pin
  4. Cross everything for luck!

The winner will be announced on April 17th when our Bride Collection goes on sale. Whether you win or not we wish you a wonderful wedding and a very happy married future!

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