This morning, my ears pricked up when I heard the final news item on the Today programme. There is a project in Blackburn, where flax and woad have been sown with a view to showing the world that we can return to a world where clothing and textiles for other purposes can be produced here in the UK.
Now, I’m not intending to grow my own jeans just yet but I do know people who are growing both flax (makes linen) and woad (produces an indigo dye). I also know that if the environment and working conditions are to be respected, British-made clothes will have a more elevated price tag.
The sharpness of the elevation will depend on a number of factors. One of these is who exactly is making and selling.
A friend and I started discussing making money out our own endeavours during the first lockdown. The common denominator is our mutual love of knitting socks, though after this our interests diverge and ultimately we are looking at different markets from each other.
I do have one pair of socks, currently languishing in a box, which I have been meaning to sell for some time now. For over six months, in fact. However, I am edging towards a decision concerning the look and feel of my ‘business’.
Overall, I would like to source materials from the UK as far as possible. Avoiding air-miles matters to me a great deal, as does supporting a healthy economy around me.
Materials which are natural, preferably organic, is another cornerstone. Man-made fabrics shedding non-biodegradable fibres into the environment is a no-no as far as I’m concerned. Medical grade face masks is one thing, plastic in your pants is quite another. We don’t need to be drilling for oil to kill sea creatures when there are better alternatives.
I think that I may fail at the first hurdle with some of the wares which are almost ready for sale. For example, I have several cotton flannels and towels but the yarn comes from Turkey and goodness knows how much water and pesticides were used in growing it. However, at least they will biodegrade at the end of their working life.
Anyway, I hope to be launching the ‘Growing out of chaos’ brand soon.