Why is it important to know who made your clothes?
On April 24th we are featuring two films to showcase the need to know `Who Made My Clothes`. We start off with the Canadian film Traceable followed by a panel discussion moderated by Jane Cox of FUEL Vancouver. The second film is Handmade with Love in France, an artful look into the world of haute couture and the handful of ateliers who produce incredible clothing, accessories, and embellishment in France.
Both films highlight the need to reconsider how we interact with and consume fashion. The environmental, social, cultural, and economic impacts that the current course of the fashion industry has on precious natural resources, the livelihoods of the workers who are paid marginal wages to produce clothing at record speeds, and growing social inequality. These films draw our attention to the lack of sustainability and transparency in the fashion industry, and the need to slow down and appreciate craft—to buy less to get more.
Photo Credits: Huffington Post, Photo-Travel Diary
The April 24, 2013 collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory in Bangladesh put a very different price on the jeans we buy. Over 1100 garment workers died; many more were injured. This tragedy has provided a powerful impetus for change. Traceable looks at the impoverished communities behind the clothing industry that have retained distinctive crafts for generations. ‘Traceability’ is the aim to have a proper trail for every single step in the supply chain. As well as where, it wants consumers to be concerned with how garments are made.
The film follows the young designer Laura Siegel as she embarks on a journey to India to produce her first clothing line for New York Fashion Week. Her production model is a little bit different than the conventional fashion industry`s model: she seeks sustainability, transparency, and slow artful craft. Laura works with an array of artisans throughout India to create beautifully handcrafted pieces that have unique detailing such as embroidery, dye-work, and embellishment, all which have been passed down through generations in remote villages throughout India. Her perception of design isn`t focused on a fast turn-around and profit; she focuses on creating pieces that are imbued with longevity, compassion, and transparency. Friday, April 24 at 6pm. Tickets
Handmade with Love in France is a rare look inside the world of haute couture design and production. The French title—time suspended—perfectly captures this affectionate celebration of the artisans who create fabulous haute-couture outfits for Dior, Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent: M. Gérard Lognon, a third-generation specialist in pleat-making; M. Bruno Legeron, a designer of perfect artificial flowers whose atelier opened in 1880; and M. Lorenzo Ré, one of three remaining sculptors of wooden forms for hat-making.
More than just a vibrant and poignant documentary, Julie Georgia Bernard’s film is also a significant historical document that arrives at a key moment, as these ateliers face a triple challenge. Firstly, the pressures of time and productivity as the number of collections produced by designers increases exponentially threaten to overwhelm these small craft firms. Secondly, the problem of succession is a constant: just who will take over these businesses after the aging proprietors step away? Thirdly, the very fashion houses they serve seem eager to take over the ateliers for themselves.
With a sense of humour inflected with a touch of French irony, these craftsmen discuss current trends, commenting wryly, for example, on mass-produced garments supposedly “made in France” which are, in fact, manufactured far outside its borders. Bernard allows us to practically inhale their enthusiasm. We luxuriate in their skills and the beautiful shapes, textures and colours they create. This is a delightful look at a vanishing breed. Friday April 24th, 9pm. Tickets
HANDMADE WITH LOVE IN FRANCE: interview with director Julie Georgia Bernard