Thursday, July 16, 2009

Cotton Couture on Etsy: Indie Design and Craftivism

Handpicked on Etsy
Cotton fashions from indie designers on Etsy and the issue of Craftivism are my subjects today.
These Etsy fashion designers use cotton knit fabric in creating beautifully crafted, comfortable clothing with style and imagination, and attractively priced from $34.00 to $90.00. Some of these pieces feature recycled knit fabric, a wonderful way to re-purpose discarded apparel and embrace the green ethic.....which brings me to another green issue: "Craftivism as activism."
In America and first world countries, Craftivism is a gentle form of consumer rebellion against the dictates and practices of corporate culture. In third world countries, it is a way of raising people and communities above poverty as they learn to create for and sell in the global marketplace. (Debate in the Etsy forums over Craftivism's political agenda have swirled around this issue, and are well-summarized at this blog Crafting a Green World.)
Does buying and selling directly from the maker challenge the corporate culture? If so, to some that means social evolution, while to others it implies a more threatening revolution, triggering fear and political debate. We're all familiar with rebellious or political messages on hand screened tshirts, which is certainly one obvious form of overtly political craftivism. A more subtle form of activism may occur as fashionistas combine their sense of style with their conscience, embracing recycled vintage apparel or eco-friendly fabrics. Those of us who dress to express our individuality may rebel against the trends and "must haves" dictated by industry titans, by buying one-of-a-kind or made-to-order garments from independent designers.
The bottom line for me is we should all be able to make our lifetsyle and ethical choices without being ridiculed with political labels by those who fear evolutionary change. What's your opinion?
From top left to bottom right, today's Indie Designers are: milocreativestudios, milocreativestudios, LaBronz, ModernEraDesign, iheratfink, joclothing, alterecoclothing, birdapparel, fofolle, CrowsCloth


Audrey said...

WOW!! Great blog and a great idea!!
You could make a button for your blog - I would add it on the sidebar of mine.

RiverBird said...

I LOVE finding unique items on etsy... especially clothing!! great finds!


Alice said...

Big questions. I think it's great that there are people who use the handmade lifestyle as a political tool. It doesn't hurt to educate. For me though, I am not and will never be one to force people into a more ethical lifestyle. Choice is important, education more so. Etsy is a great platform for such education, I just wouldn't want it to loose it's craft, and handmade roots within a corporate and political world.

Andria said...

That's generous and very welcome offer, Audrey!

And RiverBird -- I visited your store and saw some very cool stuff!

Thank you both for visiting and taking the time to comment.:)

Paula J said...

Andria you are SO generous to keep up this blog!

Here's my Etsy link~


Barry said...

Great site! I would love to be included if you ever do something on pottery!

Jamie and Dave said...

Your blog is absolutely beautiful and thank yo for sharing the amazing designers and items you've found.

Andria said...

Thank you all for visiting and I will visit your shops.

Barry - I love pottery and will continue to showcase it. Check out my keywords (scroll down the right sidebar) to see previous pottery features.

Alice: I so agree with your point of view. Imposing our personal beliefs on others through political edicts, etc., is both wrong ineffective. I believe it letting people reach their own conclusions in a gradual way, and embrace what is relevant to them without fear of reprisal from those who believe otherwise.

nutmeg click said...

so lovely! i rally did the aesthetic of your blog. i wonder if you'd be interested in a spot of vintage kitsch from across the seven seas....

i'd love to have you stop by! :D


fofolle said...

Well said! One of my all time fav designers is listed here as well, i heart fink

Alter-Eco said...

Awesome blog! Love all the eco-conscious clothing! Would love to see more of this ^_^
Thanks for including my top!

KCR Lehr Studio said...

I agree wholeheartedly! Remember that the merchants of the late 1800 were already worried about the workers rebelling. Odd that as the merchants themselves were part of the working class before they became merchants.
I think it is always better to be creative and earth friendly and artists who find a new way of using what may have been discarded or ignored have always amazed me. I really appreciate this collection and the cotton knits have a drape and feel of their own that these designers caught and used so well.

Great pieces! I'll visit some shops. Keep designing!

Andria said...

Great comment, Colleen. Interesting that as people step higher on the ladder of enterprise, they too often become fearful of cleverness from lower down the ladder.

Another issue of interest to me is the practice of established companies scrutinizing indie artisans for ideas to manufacture on a large scale, of course without crediting the originator of the idea! Ah is a cruel world, but thanks to the internet, independents now have a fighting chance.

Milo Creative Services said...

First of all I want to thank you for including MiloSreativeStudios in your blog!

Secondly, I want to commend you on taking the time to put together such a wonderful display of items made by Etsy artisans.

Personally, it has been YEARS since I bought anything from a chain retail store and I love the fact that there are people out there that also do the same. I refuse to buy mass produced products from store such as Wal-Mart, but have no problem buying hand made items from other countries here on Etsy. Buying from Etsy assures me that the artist/creator of the item is being paid fairly and is in control, unlike items that are purchased from a factory.

I constantly urge my friends and family to consider Etsy as a place to shop and to forget about purchasing mass produced items from chain retailers.

With Etsy you get the chance to learn about where your products came from, how they were made and you get to know the people who created them...

Thanks for the wonderful blog- I wish you the best! and keep up the good work!!!

Andria said...

I agree with your reasoning and I hope more people will come to see this point of view. We all need to think before we spend our money, because for consumers to support companies that exploit third-world workers is irresponsible.

Companies that truly contribute to building third-world economies are another story, and it isn't fair to lump "good" companies in with the unethical. However, the easiest way for consumers to know for certain where their money goes is to buy directly from the maker.