We believe it's time to change the way we dress. We're tired of searching through miles of aisles of clothes and not finding one garment that fits properly.
We're sick of the waste of mass-production -- the noxious chemicals, the exhausted cropland, the human potential lost when workers are treated like manufacturing machines.
And we're totally over an industry that creates more confusion, anxiety, and stuff than anyone wants or needs. How many millions of square feet in our homes are used storing clothes that don't make us look or feel good?
We think there's a better way. It's about marrying tradition and technology to create something quite new.
A Very Brief History of Clothes
As recently as 90 years ago, most women’s clothes were made for the specific person when she needed them. This process produced beautifully-fitting, durable garments without producing much waste.
The downsides: It took a long time, was expensive, and your choices were limited. Most folks had just a few bespoke outfits that they wore all the time.
With the onset of industrialization, custom garments were replaced by ready-made ones and a couple of significant shifts occurred:
• Clothing began to appear in sizes. This meant that the huge range of human body shapes was narrowed down to a single linear scale.
• A great deal more waste appeared in the process -- in fact, waste is intrinsic to mass production. Companies produce clothes based on what they think people will buy, but a guess is still a guess. More clothes are always made than what's bought. And it’s not just extra yoga pants released into the wild: extra fabric ends up in landfills, dyes pollute waterways...there are a lot of not-so-nice byproducts of mass-produced fashion.
• Sewing is one of those things that's hard to fully automate -- lots of labor is typically involved. And industrial production hates nothing more than high labor costs. Consequently, the garment industry has had more than its share of problems with workers' rights.
Mass production has brought the price of ready-made clothing way down, which is kind of awesome. We have waaay more choices than, say, Laura Ingalls Wilder. It's a huge luxury to be able to buy a garment that required the work of hundreds of people around the world for less than an hour's wages.
Because of mass-production, most of us now have more than enough in our wardrobes. The problem is, none of it is quite right. Even with all of the choices available, it's still almost impossible to find something that fits well. Or that doesn't fall apart after two washings. Or that doesn't smell vaguely, terribly chemical.
There Is A Better Way
At Wear the Shift, we believe we can use technology to solve these problems and produce beautiful garments in a vastly superior way. How?
• By producing each garment when it is ordered, to fit a specific person.
• By building a technological platform and a manufacturing process that makes it easy to create custom sewing patterns and bespoke garments.
• By using gorgeous vintage fabric remnants and lovely new eco-friendly textiles.
• By working with artisans who construct garments to the highest level of quality, and paying them fairly.
Right now, we are officially in the humble beginnings phase. But we're proud of the fact that we can already put a beautifully-fitting, ethically-made, supercute dress in your hands for the same price you'd pay at, say, Anthropologie or ModCloth. And that's in year one! We can't wait to see what unfolds in years 2, 3, and beyond.
We're really glad you're interested, too, and would love to hear your thoughts ...