Who Made Your Pants?

Gorgeous Pants. By women, for women.

What colour is skin tone?

Way back in the day, even before I’d met any of the women who would become my colleagues here at Who Made Your Pants? people were putting in requests for the sorts of pants they wanted us to make.

One of the requests we got a lot – and still get, is for ‘nude’ or ‘skin tone’.

My answer is always ‘whose skin?’. If you look at the way those words are used, it so often means ‘that orangey pink yellowy colour that means flesh tone for white people’. And I’m clear that nude is not just a word for white people. There are ten of us in the Who Made Your Pants? premises on a regular basis, from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Britain, Somalia and the Sudan. Plus we have our Board of another four women, including American, British and Jamaican women, and not one of us has the same skin tone as another. The idea that ‘nude’ or ‘skin tone’ means one thing only genuinely seems a bit daft to me. And I’ve stubbornly resisted making anything in *that* colour until we were able to offer something at the same time that would hopefully work for darker skins, too.

So. We can’t make ten shades as we haven’t found ten fabrics, but today we’re launching two colours in our classic Aimee shape. They are lovely in themselves and I also hope that they will work for some people as ‘skin tones’ or ‘nudes’.

We have a lovely rich brown, Marvellous Marron, and a soft ivory, Beautiful Blanc. Both are priced at £12.50, the same price as our Aimee black and white basics, and like them they are available as Working Week packs. There is special launch pricing this weekend – £2.50 off the individual pants, making them £10, and £5 off the Working Week packs meaning that for this weekend only they are £48.50

I really hope that these pants make you as happy as they have made all of us here. For me at least they are about so much more than just pants

Shop the offer here until 23.59 on midnight on Sunday and we’ll post your pants out on Monday the 17th

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WOW! It’s almost time for the WOW festival (and you could get some free pants)

The WOW – Women of the World – Festival at the Southbank Centre has been a firm fixture in our calendar for a few years now. It’s a great weekend event of talks, debates, liveliness and exploration covering everything from politics, science and sex to fashion, war and power – even vajazzling – and we just love it. It’s not uncommon to see fabulous women like Sue Perkins. Jenni Eclair Bidisha Shami Chakrabati and the Vagenda team around the place and it just feels brilliant, positive and fun.

I genuinely love going and feel proud that we get asked back every year. It’s a fabulous place to meet women who are trying to make positive changes and opportunities, and to learn about new things that are going on.

This year we will be taking our massive blue suitcase of travelling pants back to the marketplace there – and we’d love it if you came and said hello.

And here’s where the free pants come in!

If you buy one of our lovely lovely logo T shirts from us on the 24th, 25th or 26th of February, and wear it to meet us at the WOW Festival, we will bring you some free pants!

All you have to do is write FREE PANTS and your pants size/style/colour in the text box that asks for a gift card message/alternate address as you checkout with your T shirt – we will bring those pants in your size to the WOW festival, and when you turn up in your T shirt, we will hand them over!

Here’s hoping to see you there!

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Welcome back Samia!

Hey hey pants fans!

I totally failed to get a newsletter written last week – I came straight back from my holiday and into a couple of days work in London so item just ran away with me. So I have lots to tell you today!

I had a lovely time away but it is always great to come back. News that happens during absence seems to feel more momentous, and two bits of it were. In utterly, utterly joyous news, our gorgeous Samia is back from Afghanistan. She brought us all (all!) presents, including beautiful hand embroidered tops in perfectly chosen colours for me, Della and Zuhra. She also *drools* made a lovely coriander filled potato and cauliflower dish for us, which lasted all of about ten seconds.

As is often the way, though, as one door opens, another closes – or something – and our cheery chatty Rhama has had to leave us. We’ll miss her and hope that we can find a way to work with her again.

In the workshop, we’ve been both making up our gorgeous new black lace into our Aimee shorts, and training has been going well on the new Rosalind pants. Our volunteer Amy has told us that she thinks the quality of the pants made in training is higher than the high street. Who are we to disagree 🙂

In other parts of the building, we’re now partnering with a local college and have English lessons here one morning a week. These aren’t for our team, but are part of our softly softly strategy to get local women to know who we are – they learn fast, two have already asked for a job! Sacdiyo has joined the class, as well. The classes are noisy and fun, which is A Good Thing for learning to be.

Speaking of learning, we’ve had a number of discussions about upcoming exam changes and the difficulties with writing in English. Imagine doing a maths exam in a language that’s not your first language. You might get the maths wrong because of your English, which – though clearly unavoidable – must be really frustrating.

Anyhow. It’s good to be back – and not just because I love the hugs and kisses I get after I’ve been away 🙂 Thanks for your support of us and what we do – every pair of pants YOU buy helps build a better world for our team. We couldn’t do it without you.

Big love

Becky and the Who Made Your Pants? Team

News in brief…
Becky is brown but happy to be home, Della has a new gadget (iphone5), Amy has joined the gym and is going regularly, Zuhra and Sacdiyo have been teaching Samia to make our new pants, Batol is missing Yasmein, Nisha has some more theatre sewing work, and Jackie is enjoying working on her brother’s boat.

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Our new collection, Prince Charles’ garden and fixing brakes.

Well helloooo everyobody!

It’s been ages since I wrote and so much has happened – again! My last post was.. blimey, the 4th of August! Right, let’s try and address this in a sensible order

After the Guardian article we had a flurry of orders and activity and contacts, all kinds of things were being suggested and talked about – film people, interviews.. it’s died down a bit now, which is a mixed thing. Good that I can get on with other stuff but less good in that we’re -Ta dah!- launched our Aimee collection and now want to start ramping up the publicity stuff .

Fortunately, the ever wonderful Chris Smith of Swarm Communications and another brilliant fashion PR person called Nicola are on the case. I met both of these great people through the Media Trust Media Matchign event, hosted by UnLtd Between them, they are preparing releases for various publications and we’re hoping to get into some of the Seasonal issues of magazines ( I am not using the C word yet, even though I saw mince pies in the co-op the other day)

Our brilliant designer Emma Kidd has been back and a lovely little twist on our Aimee short has been created. It’s sweet and pretty and we’ll be making a limited Seasonal (dammit, nearly used the C word again) range. Same price as ever, just a bit pretty pretty. More on that soon…

My role in whomadeyourpants? is changing as we dvelop and that’s a good but sometimes hard thing. A year ago, I was managing EVERYTHING and doing bits of almost everything. Now the supercalifragilistic expealidocious Della is managing all the stuff that goes on inside the business, and I’m getting more involved in the public face stuff, which is as it should be. We’re absolutely delighted to have been asked to host a workshop in Prince Charles’ Garden as part of an upcyling fashion thingummy curated by Vivienne Westwood. And we are starting to work with the lovely Lush team in Southampton more. I’m off to a meeting tomorrow to discuss being part of an Alternative Freshers Fair, and we’ll be having a pants party with them on the 27th and 28th of November in the Southampton store – come along! Plus I’ve been asked to speak at their Croydon HQ on the 22nd September and am chuffed to bits to be able to meet their head honcho and talk about how they grew and how it has happened for the. I’m really looking forward to it.

Supporting all this change in my role is tricky – I’m used to having to be the sorting our person and now I’m having to learn to not do that and to point people to other people. I am no longer Ms Fix It. SO I’m hoping to get some mentoring from a woman called Tara who did ace work on our business plan wit me, for nothing, all as a volunteer. There is a fund available to support this so I’m hoping to be successful.

How can I not talk about the photo shoot! I was 34 on the 12th August and did not celebrate by shooting grouse but by getting all gussied up in a corset and having a house full of knickers, pop tunes, cake and lovely kind models, stylists, assistants, designers and photographers. Mikey Palmer really took one for the team by coming and taking the photos, the fab fab fab Heidi from http://www.cherryonthecake.org.uk made us some gorgeous cupcakes as props and the sun even shone for a bit. It was a really great day, we did some inside my house and some in the garden, with a nice little tea party theme emerging. Some of the pics are up online at http://www.whomadeyourpants.co.uk now, the one on the front page of Leanne is so gorgeous. Other pics will be used for press and still others will go onto the site in the near future. We had great fun getting made up and posing and with comments like, ‘it’s the most fun you can have with your trousers off and your pants on’ from the models, I was very reassured that they’d had a good day. The cakes were delicious and the whole day – though knackering – was a brilliant way for me to spend my birthday.

After the 12th, I was shattered, Della was shattered and with it being Ramadan and the women not wanting to come to training, we decided to have a proper shut down. We were closed from the 19th to the 31st August for a much needed break. I ended up having to work for parts of about half the days I was off, and Della did two full days as well, but it was all about stuff we felt couldn’t be ignored. I think we both feel we had a reasonably good break, and I’m enormously grateful to my lovely PA Madalina who fielded phone calls and emails for me while writing her dissertation!

I’ve had a chance to do a few more ‘me’ things recently, which has been lovely. I went on a bike maintenance course provided by Sustrans http://www.sustrans.org.uk so I can change my own brakes (even though it would be easier with three hands, I can do it) and things now, and went to the lovely Beautiful Days Festival. Last Saturday I also went to the local Pulse Festival. I know Olly who is the bass player in subgiant, the band who headlined – he’d offered us a stall there but we weren’t in a position to accept it this year so I went along to support anyway. I caught up with the Southampton Lush team and Olly and sincerely hope that Sunnyfields host it again next year so there can be another one. It was brilliant. It wasn’t exactly and entirely a non work day – I took pants to show people and spent some time with a colleague from Community Action Hampshire – but pants are my life now and so it was still happy lovely fun times.

Our volunteering team has been shifting and changing a bit recently. A number of our volunteers are students and do the academic year affects availability. We’ve still got Aga, Debs, Madalina and Maryam coming on site regularly, but are about to start advertising for new roles. We’ve worked out that in addition to the above we need…

PA (5 x half days per week)
Office Manager (we need this full time but it can be shared between two people)
Admin/HR/Dispatch/Housekeeping (we need the equivalent of two people full time but this can be made up of lots of people doing various shifts. Minimum commitment 2 x half days per week per volunteer)
Fund-raising prospecting (6-8 hours per week)
Sales/Supplier prospecting(6-8 hours per week)
Web test and content upload (7 hours per week)
Systems Administration (3 hours per week)

there may be more but these are what we know for sure now. If you’ve some time you’d like to offer, we’d love to hear from you! All positions are onsite at our accessible Southampton premises, and there is nearly always cake. Email us at time@whomadeyourpants.co.uk

I think that’s about it for now. We’re building stock levels of our lovely Aimee pants as even through Ramadan, some of the women have come in. The pants really are pretty just look here

I’ll try to write before another month is out but next week I’ll be at Clarence House and the week after at the Lush event. It will be soon, promise!

Hope you are all well and staying dry!

Becky

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(oh my god – I have made clicky links! Yay me!)

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