In 1909 Nancy Meyer and Clementina Black wrote The Makers of our Clothes, documenting abuses in what was described as a ‘parasite industry’. Today, gross exploitation thrives in clothing manufacture. Nevertheless, workers are not hapless victims – they fight back. This talk shines a light on workers’ struggles against the odds. Jenkins is Reader in Employment Relations at Cardiff University and is currently working on a UK government-funded Global Challenges Research Fund research project investigating the availability of access to remedy for garment workers in today’s garment supply chain.
St Clair is the author of The Golden Thread: How Fabric Changed History. All textiles begin with a twist. From colourful 30,000-year-old threads found on the floor of a Georgian cave to what the linen wrappings of Tutankhamun’s mummy actually meant; from the Silk Roads to the woollen sails that helped the Vikings reach America 700 years before Columbus; from the lace ruffs that infuriated the Puritans to the Indian calicoes and chintzes that powered the Industrial Revolution, our continuing reinvention of cloth tells fascinating stories of human ingenuity. Clare Hunter’s Threads of Life: A History of the World Through the Eye of a Needle stretches from medieval France to contemporary Mexico, from a POW camp in Singapore to a family attic in Scotland. It is a chronicle of identity, protest, memory, power and politics told through the stories of the men and women, over centuries and across continents, who have used the language of sewing to make their voices heard, even in the most desperate of circumstances.
We are all dressed. But how often do we pause to think about the place of our clothes in our lives? What unconscious thoughts do we express when we dress every day? Can memories, meaning and ideas be wrapped up in a winter coat? A conversation about fashion. Bari is author of Dressed: The Secret Life of Clothes. Murphy is Fashion Director of The Times and author of How Not to Wear Black: Find your Style, Create your Forever Wardrobe.