Halloween Costume Manifesto

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Humanity has adopted fast fashion into its Halloween Celebration.  Purchasing billions of pounds of textiles per year for animal and human costume.

Halloween straddles the line between fall and winter, plenty and paucity, life and death.  Halloween is a time of celebration and superstition. It may have originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear handmade costumes from what they had on hand to ward off roaming ghosts. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints and martyrs, we know it as All Saints’ Day.  The evening before was known as All Hallows’ Eve and later Halloween.  Today, Halloween is a secular, consumer and capitalistic event where American’s spend 67 billion dollars on disposable clothing, which ends up in the bottoms of their closets, in the landfills and shipped to developing countries.

 

Frau Fiber wants to abolish:

  1. The production and consumption of fast fashion Halloween costumes.
  2. All of the chemicals used to make disposable Halloween costume flame retardant.
  3. All millions of yards of polyester used to make disposable Halloween costumes.
  4. All of the pounds of plastic used to make accessories for disposable Halloween costumes.
  5. All of the under paid labor used to make disposable Halloween costumes.
  6. All of the characters which promote gender norms and stereotypes worn at Halloween.

 

Frau Fiber wants to liberate Americans from every aspect of Halloween consumption, and reclaim it as a community event, shared with neighbors and friends wearing handmade costumes, and eating handmade goodies.

Halloween attire will therefore be:

  1. Made from old clothing found in your closet, thrift stores or swap.
  2. Over dyed with onion skins, beets, avocados, and other naturally sourced materials.
  3. Hand stitched, with yarn, thread or dental floss.
  4. Create self-proclaimed characters which have never been seen before.
  5. Express personal humor, satire, and fear.
  6. Made with friends and family members, taking the time to exchange their leisure time for personal and community production.

 

In the spirit of practicing the manifesto, Sewing Rebellions in Long Beach and Colorado will host events, encouraging the upcycling and making of Halloween hoodies.  Using old unwanted hoodies and fabric scraps to make wearables in celebration of the Halloween Season.

 

 

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It’s not CRAFTA it’s NAFTA on the Knoll

In an attempt to understand global trade agreements, Frau Fiber  brought together, fellow makers on the Penland campus for a reading and labor song-sing-along.

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Frau’s Formal statement was read as follows:

The process of barter brings a people together.

New ideas, along with precious goods have always travelled along trade routes. And the natural the shared rhythm of a community, has frequently been the space between market days.  When travel is slow and dangerous, the commodities must be imperishable; and they must have valuable in relation to their size.  Historically commodities such as spices, textiles and precious ornaments of iron, bronze, copper, silver and gold were the good of trade.

Trade has occurred over land, river and sea.

The silk road, linked Asia and Western Europe; Caravans traversed the middle east; the Mediterranean provided a ferry system shuttling goods between India and the Greek islands.  The Romans, Vikings, French, British and Americans, all participated in the trade of slaves, to provide their civilizations with a workforce.

Today the World Trade Organization (WTO) deals with the global rules of trade between nations. Its main function is to ensure that trade flows as smoothly, predictably and freely as possible.

Today’s trade agreements are contractual arrangements between states.  They consist of Bilateral or multilateral, between two states or more than two states.  Trade is regulated by unilateral barriers of several types; tariffs, nontariff, quotas and prohibitions.  Trade agreements reduce these barriers, there by opening all parties to the benefits of increased trade.

In 1974 The Multi-Fiber Agreement was instituted.  The Agreement was welcomed by many countries for setting targets for increased trade through slightly higher agreed minimum growth rates and more progressive liberalization of textile trade.

The MFA’s first years of existence saw the conclusion of a significant number of ‘bilaterals’, mainly between the US and Europe.  Over the ensuing years, the time-bound MFA was renewed on various occasions, notably in 1977, 1981 and 1986. MFA was terminated in 2004.

The Agreement on Textiles and Clothing (ATC) heralded the much-anticipated beginning of the formal process for the removal of global quotas on textiles and clothing. As a WTO Agreement, it was binding on all its member states, although it would soon become clear that the practical implementation of the Agreement sometimes lagged behind its theoretical prescriptions. The inherent flexibility of the Agreement, provided countries with substantial leeway in the actual implementation and interpretation of its clauses.

The TMB an 11-member quasi-judicial textile monitoring body appointed by WTO member countries, was established to supervise compliance with the provisions of the ATC. The TMB was system representation from various geographical regions: Europe, United States, Canada and Norway, Korea and Hong Kong, India, Egypt/Morocco/Tunisia, Japan, Turkey, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Latin American and Caribbean, Pakistan and China.

The North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA is a three-country accord negotiated by the governments of Canada, Mexico, and the United States that entered into force in January 1994. NAFTA’s terms, which were implemented gradually through January 2008, provided for the elimination of most tariffs on products traded among the three countries. Liberalization of trade in agriculture, textiles, and automobile manufacturing was a major focus. The deal sought to protect intellectual property, establish dispute-resolution mechanisms, and, through side agreements, implement labor and environmental safeguards.

NAFTA fundamentally reshaped North American economic relations, driving an unprecedented integration between Canada and the United States’ developed economies and Mexico, a developing country. NAFTA enjoyed bipartisan backing—it was negotiated by Republican President George H.W. Bush and passed through Congress and implemented under Democratic President Bill Clinton. It encouraged a more than tripling of regional trade, and Cross-border investment between the three countries also grew significantly. Yet NAFTA has remained a perennial target in the broader debate over free trade, largely because it is accused by some as leading to a shift in production, and jobs, to Mexico.

When negotiations for NAFTA began in 1991, the goal for all three countries was the integration of Mexico with the highly developed, high-wage economies of the United States and Canada. The hope was that freer trade would bring stronger and steadier economic growth to Mexico, providing new jobs and opportunities for its growing workforce and discouraging illegal migration from Mexico. For the United States and Canada, Mexico was seen both as a promising new market for exports and as a lower cost investment location that could enhance the competitiveness of U.S. and Canadian companies. NAFTA ushered in a new era of regional and bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs), which have proliferated as the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) global trade talks have stagnated. The United States now has FTAs with twenty countries.  NAFTA also pioneered the incorporation of labor and environmental provisions in U.S. trade agreements.

Economists largely agree that NAFTA has provided benefits to the North American economies. Regional trade increased sharply over the treaty’s first two decades, from roughly $290 billion in 1993 to more than $1.1 trillion in 2016. Debate persists regarding NAFTA’s legacy on employment and wages, with some workers and industries facing painful disruptions as they lose market share due to increased competition, and others gaining from the new market opportunities that were created.

Critics of the deal, however, argue that it is to blame for job losses and wage stagnation in the United States, and a widening trade deficit.  This surge of imports caused the loss of up to 600,000 U.S. jobs over two decades, though they admit that some of this import growth would likely have happened even without NAFTA.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) TPP is a deal between the U.S., Canada, and 10 countries in the Asia-Pacific region that’s been under negotiation for nearly a decade. It is a new, high-standard trade agreement that levels the playing field for American workers and American businesses, supporting more Made-in-America exports and higher-paying American jobs. By eliminating over 18,000 taxes—in the form of tariffs—that various countries put on Made-in-America products, TPP makes sure our farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, and small businesses can compete—and win! With more than 95 percent of the world’s consumers living outside our borders, TPP will significantly expand the export of Made-in-America goods and services and support American jobs.

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TPP is expected to:

  • TPP Eliminates over 18,000 Different Taxes on Made-in-America Exports
  • TPP Includes the Strongest Worker Protections of Any Trade Agreement in History
  • TPP Includes the Strongest Environmental Protections of Any Trade Agreement in History
  • TPP Helps Small Businesses Benefit from Global Trade
  • TPP Promotes E-Commerce, Protects Digital Freedom, and Preserves an Open Internet
  • TPP Levels the Playing Field for U.S. Workers by Disciplining State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs)
  • TPP Prioritizes Good Governance and Fighting Corruption
  • TPP Includes First Ever Development Chapter
  • TPP Capitalizes on America’s Position as the World Leader in Services Exports

Time will tell……

We have heard from the voice of economist and the US government, now  we will hear our voices and the voices of labor with a sing – a- long.

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Hard Times – Ryan Bingham

When I was young my daddy said, Son
Never be ashamed of where your from
There’s nothin wrong with your last name
Don’t be lookin for people to blame

Cause hard times they come and they go
Most of the time they’re in the middle of the road
It’s the same pain in different ways
Don’t your know, Son, when it pours it rains

Chorus

Hard times
In the middle of your road
Hard times
Creepin up on the good folks you know
Hard times
You daddy wakes up and you lit the stove
Hard times
From the California hills to the Coverdale Road

You got yours and I have mine
Mostly good folks have tried and tried
To make a livin on your minimum wage
Your coming up short nearly every day

And what’s enough and what’s the cost
You can’t stand up cause all is lost
You roll us up and your doors are locked
There’s a poor boy livin on every block

Chorus

When I was young my daddy said, Son
Never be ashamed of where your from
There’s nothin wrong with your last name
So don’t be lookin for people to blame

Cause hard times they come and they go
And most of the time they’re in the middle of your road
It’s the same pain, different way
Don’t your know when it pours it rains

And it’ll always be around
Followin you from town to town
But you can get up when it puts you down
Cause everybody’s got ’em if you look around

Chorus

 

Ain’t No More Cane

Ain’t no more cane on the brazos
Oh, oh, oh, oh…
Its all been ground down to molasses
Oh, oh- oh, oh- oh…

You shoulda been on the river in 1910
They were driving the women just like they drove the men.

Go down old hannah, don’cha rise no more
Don’t you rise up til judgment day’s for sure

Ain’t no more cane on the brazos
Its all been ground down to molasses

Captain, don’t you do me like you done poor old shine
Well ya drove that bully til he went stone blind

Wake up on a lifetime, hold up your own head
Well you may get a pardon and then you might drop dead

Ain’t no more cane on the brazos
Its all been ground down to molasses.

 

Joe Hill

A song by Alfred Hayes, Music by Earl Robinson©1938 by Bob Miller, Inc.

I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night
Alive as you or me
Says I, But Joe, you’re ten years dead
I never died, says he
I never died, says he

In Salt Lake, Joe, says I to him
Him standing by my bed
They framed you on a murder charge
Says Joe, But I ain’t dead
Says Joe, But I ain’t dead

The copper bosses killed you, Joe
They shot you, Joe, says I
Takes more than guns to kill a man
Says Joe, I didn’t die
Says Joe, I didn’t die

And standing there as big as life
And smiling with his eyes
Joe says, What they forgot to kill
Went on to organize
Went on to organize

Joe Hill ain’t dead, he says to me
Joe Hill ain’t never died
Where working men are out on strike
Joe Hill is at their side
Joe Hill is at their side

From San Diego up to Maine
In every mine and mill
Where workers strike and organize
Says he, You’ll find Joe Hill
Says he, You’ll find Joe Hill

I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night
Alive as you or me
Says I, But Joe, you’re ten years dead
I never died, says he
I never died, says he

 

Triangle Shirt Waist Proclamation

Triangle Shirt Waist Proclamation

25 March 2015

 

This land has been favored in many ways. Industries have thrived far beyond your domestic needs; the productions of your labor are daily providing you more and more leisure time, and paying for containers full of imports from abroad, allowing you to watch other countries suffer on a 54” Made in China large screen TV. Your model of consumption is strengthening the bonds of fellowship and good will that economically link you to other nations.

I ask the people of this to let today be one in which you cease from shopping and assemble for the purpose of giving praise to those factory workers who are the producers of the cloths, computers, phones, dishwashers and cars you have enjoyed.

Wherefore I, Frau Fiber, former East German garment worker, illegal immigrant, instigator of the Sewing Rebellion, Special Envoy to Haiti, and Free Trade Researcher to Ghana designate Wednesday March 25, 2015 as a national day to cease consumption of goods made under dishonorable labor conditions. I earnestly call upon United States citizens, to gather in their accustomed places of leisure activities, and to join me in offering a moment of silence to those fallen factory workers throughout your industrial history.

 

I ask you to join me, in a 12-hour shift, producing Triangle Shirt Waist Blouses, 9 am to 9 pm today at the ILGWU.

 

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the Institute 4 Labor Generosity Workers & Uniforms to be affixed.

 

Done at the Institute 4 Labor Generosity Workers & Uniforms, Long Beach CA 90802, on this the 25th Day of March 2015.

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Frau Fiber states:

A Faux Frau Shall:

  • Train to be a leader of the Sewing Rebellion and in their community
  • Emancipate their neighbors from the chains of disposable fashion
  • Have no fear
  • Maintain Sewing Rebellion Vocational Aptitude Skills
  • Take the Sewing Rebellion to the Streets
  • identify Communities to infiltrate
  • Live by the Faux Frau Oath of Solidarity
  • Wear the uniform with pride at all Sewing Rebellion Events and Faux Frau Trainings

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Textile Toursim: Sweat Shop

I was able to rent a tailor (sewing machine) to do some in house uniform production.  Outside of the factory the uniform is proving to be a bit complicated for the average tailor or seamstress in the time I have remaining on this tourist trip.

 

FF Tamale Sweat Shop

 

Hand crank sewing machine set up in the front room of my lodgings.

 

ff Sewing Batik Uniform

Frau Fiber Batik Uniform

Completed Batik uniform.

FF Ghana Uniforms Hanging

Completed uniforms hanging.

 

 

 

Textile Tourism: Lawra, Ghana

I made an official visit to Grace, at  the Praise Jesus Weaving Center, in Lawra.  Grace was taught by Kente weavers to make a 18″ wide brocade cloth.  She creates a unique fabric, which is delicate yet firm, using sewing thread.  Grace has 12 apprentices who work for her in exchange learning a trade, in the hopes that one day they can start a business of their own.

Grace and FF

praise jesus weave room

Weave Room

praise jesus aprentance

Praise Jesus warp

Praise Jesus purchase

 

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Grace, like many of the weavers, sewers and dyers, requested I create a market for their goods.  So I purchased fabrics, which will be for sale at the Institute for Labor Generosity Workers and Uniforms.

 

 

Textile Toursim Ghana: Official Visit with Fugu Weaver

On my textile tour of Ghana, took her to Tamale, to meet with 3rd Generation Master Fugu Weaver, Mr. Sadik.  Mr. Sadik provided me with an opportunity to weave on his loom.  I also commissioned yarded to produce a uniform inspired by the Fugu smocks.

 

FF greets Mr. Sadik

 

Meeting Mr. Sadik

Mr Sadik instructs FF in Fugu Weaving

Instruction from Mr. Sadik

FF weaving Fugu

 

Weaving

mr sadiks loom

 

Mr. Sadiks Loom Detail

FF Fugu Weaving Section

Frau Fiber’s Section

FF and Mr Sadik preparing the warp

 

Winding a warp

Textile Tourism – Accra, Ghana

I prepare to travel through out Ghana, learning about textile and sewing production.  To begin my travels I had a uniform made, so I can assimilate to local dress.  The fabric was purchased on a Sunday morning in Makoha Market, from Alime.  I purchased 6 yards for 80 CD.  28.18 Dollars, which is about 4.69 per yard.

FF uniform fabric vendor

 

The uniform was produced by Cadling Fashions, Ghana.  The cost for sewing was 50 CD, 17.06

LInda from Cadling Fashions

 

Here was the finished product.

FF Ghana Uniform

 

For more information on textile and apparel production in Ghana, check out CSULA Professor Carole Frances Lung’s blog https://freezoneregime.wordpress.com

Conflicting Reports

The Los Angeles Area Fashion Industry. A summary of data collected on Friday the 11th of April 2014.

 

The data was collected from:

  • CIT Commercial Services, one of the nations leading providers of factoring and financing to the apparel industry

 

  • California Fashion Association a non profit providing information for business expansion and growth to the apparel and textile industry in California

 

  • Sweat Shop Watch a coalition of over 30 labor, community, civil and immigrant rights, women’s and student organizations, and individuals, committed to eliminating the exploitation, which occurs in sweatshops; and factories in Southern California.

 

  • The Garment Workers Center, whose mission is to empower garment workers in the Greater Los Angeles area and to work in solidarity with other low wage immigrant workers and disenfranchised communities in the struggle for social, economic and environmental justice.

 

 

Los Angeles is strong

in the Fashion, Apparel and Textiles Sector,

consider the following:

 

  • 46 billion in apparel goods enters our ports annually.
  • This global industry has clear reasons for sustaining a permanent place in this region, which boasts a well- paid employment base.

 

“Yes, the conditions are better here, but the notion that we still don’t have sweatshops in the United States is simply not true,” says Marissa Nuncio, director of the Garment Worker Center. “It’s important that people are aware of the conditions that exist like poor ventilation and terrible safety violations.” One common, and hazardous, violation is locking workers into the factory during operating hours.

 

Didn’t we learn our lesson from the Triangle Shirt Waist Fire in 1911?

 

  • Given the enduring popularity of L.A.-based design, inspired by the sun and a vision of easy living, “L.A. Style” is constantly propagated by the national media’s obsession with Hollywood celebrities.
  • L.A. brands and the constant influx of new designer names command a premium in the capital markets.
  • Technology helps L.A.’s designers and manufacturers stay competitive, shortening product cycles and reducing costs.
  • L.A.’s textile industry’s advantage is design: the ability to diversify product lines and take on vertical operations. These processes involve many layers of expertise, speed, and a willingness to try new things.

 

Working Conditions in Los Angeles have Improved

 

  • May 2012, 3,770 independent fashion designers worked in Los Angeles, earning about 35 dollars an hour.

 

 

FITM – OTIS are listed as the best places to earn degrees in Fashion in Los Angeles: these schools cost well over 50,000 a year to attend. Students will graudate with 200,000 in student loans, one would have to work 6666 hours to pay off that educational debt.  

 

  • Wholesale apparel wages remain strong at $25 an hour, while basic manufacturing (cut-and-sew) apparel jobs offer $15 an hour, well above the California and federal minimum wages.

 

A problem for U.S. workers: Wage theft —a typical practice in an industry where workers often don’t speak English and may be in the country illegally. Wage theft occurs when employers violate minimum wage or overtime laws and keep those additional wages owed to employees. 90 percent of garment workers in Los Angeles do not receive overtime pay, even when they work more than 40 hours.

 

Unhealthy conditions persist because the laws on the books simply aren’t being enforced. California has some of the most progressive labor laws in the country, yet employers violate these laws all the time. Los Angeles has a handful of investigators to inspect the almost 4,000 factories, so for the employers, it’s a risk worth taking. If they get caught, the fine becomes a business cost.

 

The hurdles to overcome

  • New, young designers seek to enter this business, and more and more specialized women’s clothing buyers arrive from other states and countries. There is an important need to refresh the LAX airport terminal and the downtown Fashion District.

 

The structure of the Los Angeles garment industry encourages a “race to the bottom” for wages and working conditions.

Money spent locally by better paid garment workers means reinvestment in the communities where they reside. Census data shows that garment workers are concentrated in the poorer areas of Los Angeles and San Gabriel Valley. The influx of earnings and spending would bring needed economic stimulus to these communities.

 

  • Our own export capabilities need to be enhanced, and cooperation between government and business is necessary to overcome barriers to exporting. One possibility is to create retail channels that focus on the “L.A.” brand.

 

Multinational companies are the major winners. Walmart, Nike, and Adidas freely import from countries all over the world for the lowest costs. Unrestrained quotas, has allowed the consolidation of manufacturing, contributing to the downward spiral of wages and working conditions.

 

  • A hard look at how regulatory decisions are imposed on employers in the apparel and textile area is necessary. Reducing financial stress on small companies never falls out of fashion! Let us enhance entrepreneurial expansion—that’s the spirit of the West in a modern form!

 

Certain segments of apparel manufacturing are likely to remain in Los Angeles. Los Angels is a center of fashion design and marketing. Many industry officials speculate that local manufacturing will specialize in items requiring small production runs, rapid turnaround, or strict quality control. For example, the one occupation that is likely to stay is sample-making because it requires highly specialized skills. Unfortunately, these occupations constitute only a small fraction of the industry. The shops that do survive will encounter increasing downward pressure on wages, and the workers can expect conditions to deteriorate.

 

How to support the Industry

  • Reforming immigration and work permit rules tops the list to expand the industry.

 

Many garment workers are immigrants and they should not be discriminated against based on this status, whether documented or undocumented, workers deserve justice, dignity, and liberty, including the full protections, rights, and responsibilities afforded by law to all members of the society.

 

  • Costly hassles that emanate from a multi-tier regulatory structure are worth a second look. Water access for denim washing is critical. Reducing discouraging and complex regulatory snafus will mean less hassle and more excitement, which builds more industry.

 

The Levi’s plant outside El Paso, TX, uses 15% of the city’s water supply, to provide customers with cool looking distressed jeans.

 

How would Los Angeles in a draught year face this level of water use?

 

  • Efforts to navigate red tape and successfully display and sell products in Asia could be worthwhile, since the paltry $50 million in apparel exports that left L.A.’s ports for China in 2012 is laughable.

 

American Apparel has opened stores in Asia, however this is not the solution. I believe it is essential to consume less, and to continue to develop markets for goods and services existing under fair conditions, we must as individuals and governments commit to sweat-free purchasing.