Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Triangle Shirtwaist Company

 Remembering the Triangle Shirtwaist Company   March 25, 1911

The fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company in New York City, which claimed the lives of 146 young immigrant workers, is one of the worst disasters since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. This incident has had great significance to this day because it highlights the inhumane working conditions to which industrial workers can be subjected. To many, its horrors epitomize the extremes of industrialism. The tragedy still dwells in the collective memory of the nation and of the international labor movement. The victims of the tragedy are still celebrated as martyrs at the hands of industrial greed.

The Triangle Shirtwaist Company was a typical factory in the heart of Manhattan.  Low wages, excessively long hours, and unsanitary and dangerous working conditions were the hallmarks of sweatshops. Many of the Triangle factory workers were women, some as young as 14 years old. They were, for the most part, recent Italian and European Jewish immigrants
                                                                                                                           Near closing time on Saturday afternoon, March 25, 1911, a fire broke out on the top floors of the Asch Building in the Triangle Shirtwaist Company. By the time the fire was over, 146 of the 500 employees had died.
Workers recounted their helpless efforts to open the ninth floor doors to the Washington Place stairs .They and many others afterwards believed they were deliberately locked—the owners had frequently locked the exit doors in the past, claiming that workers stole materials. For all practical purposes, the ninth floor fire escape led nowhere, certainly not to safety, and it bent under the weight of the factory workers trying to escape the inferno. Others waited at the windows for the rescue workers only to discover that the firefighters' ladders were several stories too short and the water from the hoses could not reach the top floors. Many chose to jump to their deaths rather than to burn alive.

A grand jury acquitted the owners of any wrong doing.
1938 mural by Enest Feeney                                                          History of the Needlecraft Industry
I'm trying to get through the piles of red, pink and orange clothing segments. Black and white is calling to me but I think cool colors take precedent right now. Anything with long sleeves will have to wait 'til late summer to get done. Think sundresses, think sundresses, think sundresses. If today were only 30 degrees warmer.

new multi pattern tunic

Wednesday, March 23, 2011
con•sum•er•ismnoun                                                                                                                                                                      the fact or practice of an increasing consumption of goods
the concept that an ever-expanding consumption of goods is advantageous to the economy.
The whole point of  fashion is to find what suits us. In size, color, and style: we want well-made and comfortable clothes that we can afford. We want to feel good because we're wearing something we truly love and not just what's in style at the moment. 

 Australia seems to have an engaged consumer base when it comes to shopping. Thrifting and Upcycling are all the rage. This business sounds like heaven to me

Melbourne Op Shop Tours offers you the most stylish and sustainable of adventures through Melbourne’s second-hand wonderlands. We recognise that everyone wants to look chic in stylish outfits, deck out their place in unique and period homewares, shop sustainably, support charities and guard their hip pocket from the unrelenting mark-ups in retail stores. Our tour guides – all expert op shoppers – will show you the best op shops, second-hand boutiques and vintage stores around and help you style your finds.
Tour groups are kept nice and small to make sure everyone has a chance to pick up some fabulous bargains without having to resort to fighting their fellow op shoppers.
Trust us when we say that there is nothing quite like the thrill of finding something incredible after rifling through racks and racks of clothes or spotting that classic you have been meaning to read jammed between a microwave cookbook circa the 1980s and ‘The Joy of Grilling’.
If this all sounds foreign to you, we are more than happy to teach you the art of rifling through racks and spotting hidden treasures.

Monday, March 21, 2011

sorting and finding things is part of the job

ribbon bag


I'm finally getting my blog going about upcycled and sustainable clothing. Here in Maine the movement is growing in size and interest. Many other parts of the U.S. have embraced upcycling /refashioning as the way to have individually made and designed clothing while reducing waste and our carbon footprints. Beautiful and unique garments are being produced all over the world .Tons of usable textiles are finding new life instead of going into our landfills

RickRackUpcycled is designed to give you up to date information on upcycling, recycling and repurposing clothing in general, and specifically on the island in Maine where I live and design and make clothing .