Friday, March 25, 2011
Triangle Shirt Waist Factory
Today marks the 100 year anniversary of the Triangle Shirt Waist Factory fire in New York City. As I listened to Democracy Now this morning (you can listen/watch here) - an episode they dedicated to the tragedy, labor history and labor rights - I was reminded of the very things that led me to begin Moop. When I was a young single mother and my daughter was a toddler, I started researching the textile industry, labor practices globally and the egregious disregard for individual human rights that were taking place rampantly in the world of textile production. At the time, I was a full time student, worked several part time jobs and was raising a daughter by myself. It was then that I started experimenting with a sewing machine. I began to stitch up little a-line skirts for my daughter and then as I got better, for myself. I do not know how to make clothing, but I learned a lot about construction by playing around with things that I then used on a daily basis and as part of my artistic practice/education. My impetuous to sew came from a desire to not support industries that used sweatshop labor…I could not afford a lot at that time, but I could make the choice to change how I interacted as a consumer (I chose a few ways I felt I could act on this tiny personal protest, one way was through food and clothing when possible). This led me down the path of more research. All of my years working on my BFA & MFA were focused on labor histories, labor uprisings and how I, as a consumer and an individual, could be more responsible. Eight years later it led to Moop, which began as an extension of my studio practice and was solely the labor of one (me!). As Moop continues to grow I am continually committed to keeping our production in house. This means I am on the road to small manufacturing (really, that's what we are already, the 4 of us working at Moop every day). As I continue to receive your support, design new bags, create more jobs and grow into a larger company, the work environment I get to create is very exciting to me. We're still very tiny but, I work hard to ensure that everyone who works with me feels like they get to work in a comfortable, safe, healthy, flexible and fun environment. And I will continue to maintain this as we grow.
I'm feeling particularly grateful to the people in my life over the last few years who have helped to educate, support and encourage me to do what I feel so lucky to be doing…I only hope I can pass that on to those I encounter. And feeling thankful to all of the powerful men and women who throughout history have taken a stance against labor injustices and fought for workers rights...such bravery and legacy! And, most especially, thanks to all of you who have supported us through your orders, your kind words, your encouraging messages and the wonderful work that you all do! Such wonderful people you all are and such an example you are to me!