Wednesday, May 18, 2011

make do and.. spend?


So I was in a shopping centre yesterday, and I walked past a Sportsgirl store with a giant poster in the window. As they do. This proclaimed in big letters MAKE DO AND MEND, with some suitably young model types holding wool and looking, well, young and crafty and model-ly, surrounded by crochet blankets and other suitably handmadenessy stuff.

Which made me stop in my tracks, and stand there, a little confused. Isn't it the antithesis to use that phrase as a marketing campaign? It's like punk being fashionable; it's the polar opposite of what the whole thing was about.

'Make do and mend' came about during war rationing and having a whole lotta less. It’s about using what you have, learning skills to make things, going without, mending where you can. Not about consumerist spending on fashion clothing and accessories. Not at all, actually. This is not even handmade or ethical clothing, but mass-produced pieces made in large quantities in overseas factories with dubious labour practices.

After I was confused, I felt a bit affronted. Sportsgirl have no interest in making do or mending, they want to sell more stuff, and think they can target a new market with crochet hooks and buttons. How dare they offer up with a price tag the very thing that generations of students and artists have pieced together with their own hands, wits, skills; and generations of householders and struggling mothers before them. Making the best of what you have, using traditional skills to provide for your family, using your own ingenuity; now on sale.

It makes me cranky.

(ps. some peeps in the interwebs seem to think it's a good thing, and others think it not-so-good. If it is making more people learn to knit, is it ok then? What do you think?)


Cassie said...

it is a bit bizzare. maybe it's saying something about the clothing quality? or does this mean it's now fashionable to be crafty? yesssssss.

Elishia and Belinda said...

Hmm. I see your point.
All you really have to do is go inside read a price tag, and then I'm sure you WILL be motivated to MAKE DO AND MEND!


Lola said...

I saw this too and I agree, I have a problem with it. I love Sportsgirl and I understand that it's just marketing but it's not promoting in any way the original concept of Make Do And Mend. It's just using the tagline to sell knits and paisley fabrics (and obviously confusing the origins of the saying in the first place).

Not to mention Sportsgirl clothes are not cheap, I couldn't even afford to buy an outfit from them.

I think it's good to be promoting learning to knit and sew your own clothes, but it's an affront that a mass-produced fashion label are using the saying to sell their clothes (and as you said, dubious labour practices).

I would love to see an Op Shop with marketing like this instead!

Maxabella said...

Me too! I'm in marketing and I hate the shite that comes out of large corporate's mouths. Annoying!! Especially seeing that the punters lap it up and buy, buy, buy. Groan. x

Anonymous said...

Hi Shaz,

It made me think a minute too. I saw paper-tissue pom-poms and crochet decorations in the city store. To me, it's a trend - and a trend Sportsgirl came very late to. It doesn't make sense to me either, nothing they sell seems to be handmade or ethically sourced. It always seems cheaply made yet expensive.

I didn't get the inmpression they were saying mix our pieces in with the things you make do with and mend either.

I haven't bought anything there in years, and am not likely to. Unless they start selling some true-blue handmade items made by lovely people such as yourself perhaps!

Fourth Daughter said...

I had much the same thoughts - they are basically buying into the craft trend (very belatedly!) by holding knitting groups and using it in their marketing. Meanwhile they continue to churn out collection after collection and urge consumers to buy, buy, buy. However I also happen to know that Sportsgirl donate a lot of their unsold items to projects such as The Social Studio (I know this because I instigated it!)and they have made efforts to be a bit greener in the past (small organic collections). For companies this big and this attached to the fast fashion mentality, any positive change will unfortunately only happen in very small steps.

SconnieAndJam said...

I too walked past the Chermside shop a few times trying to understand it. I peered inside trying to see, other than the decorations, what they had that might have been crocheted or knitted as their decorations suggested. I saw some piddly, bland looking scarves that are made out of some sort of yarn and that was it.
I do think they are trying to break into the indie/handmade buyer market but I honestly think that no indie/handmade buyer is going to buy into that.
The window display was fantastic and I think I might crochet a lampshade cover now.

Banana Smoothies for Strawberry Sundays said...

Pepper....I also saw this, and I was RED with rage!!! idiots...silly silly people