For the past couple of weeks I have been interviewing candidates for our apprenticeship program to train hobbyist sewers to manufacture high quality womenswear. After a couple of nerve-wracking weeks wondering if we would find people – if this sort of job was attractive, I was contacted by several candidates. Each one I met with brought a unique set of skills and a passion for sewing and creating. I asked each of them what they were looking for in a job and it was interesting to hear common themes- wanting to feel valued, wanting work that is worthy of their talents, wanting their life outside of work to be respected, wanting the work to be fulfilling, to really enjoy their work and have that joy reflected in what they make and, of course, benefits.
What struck me was that each candidate had so much to offer – talents that had been underutilized and undervalued to date. In speaking with these women a picture began to emerge of a workshop of very talented people who are working and growing together producing beautiful garments and breaking ground, innovating with fit and production practices. Working on all cylinders. And for this work, the Team is everything.
And yet I’ve never been to a workplace like the one I envision. Partly because very few people still make anything that you can hold in your hands and also because when they are making apparel they are not often also using technology – running experiments. Producing in both the three dimensional and digital realms. But I can see it. I can feel it. This light filled workshop where we wield sewing tools, industrial sewing machines and tape measures alongside pattern making software, measurement applications and social media. Where we gather data to become more efficient – to leave less of a mark on the environment and to pay people better. Yes it is incredibly idealistic and yet so entirely achievable. And the team is forming. Stay tuned.
Go, fight, win.