Nina Murden - The Lewes Seamstress

Fast Fashion Radio 4 phone in

I’ve just taken part this morning in an interesting debate about ‘fast fashion, affordable or exploitative?’ on Radio 4’s You and Yours programme.

I highlighted how my customers seem to be really uncomfortable with this throwaway culture, and this is why I get many customers who want to take care of what they have already bought, (sometimes because it’s of much better quality than that generally available today). I was also asked and why is it that seamstress work is so poorly paid? My obvious thought is that firstly it’s because it’s been traditionally women’s work. Women will work for low wages, they undervalue their skills, often selling themselves short, and for some understandable reasons, perhaps. Secondly it is because of course clothes are sourced now so very cheaply from second/third world countries – again though it is often women and children working in these factories.

I also said that I think of myself as on a par with carpenters /furniture makers. They work with wood, screws, saws, tape measure, I work with fabric, scissors, sewing machine and tape measures. However the discrepancy in wage earning capacity is substantial and real, and there are certain attitudes that go with that.