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Makers & 3AM Shoppers Unite

Welcome, sewists

Allegra Raff

Oct 11, 2023

If you've been here a while, you know Wednesday Look is the “think-y” side of my shop (Raff Co. Clothing).

If you're relatively new (or found me through The Crooked Hem blog-hi!!!), let me confirm that this is not a “sewing” newsletter in the usual sense. No sharing tips or documenting my construction process.

That's because when I'm not clutching my head murmuring: why are there so many bad clothes out there, AND why do so many brands do miserable things to get them made??, I'm focused on my simple and sumptuous directive: provide delightful clothing in an exceptionally sustainable way to customers who really care about that.

RESULT: Ease fashion anxiety.

In other words, I sell ready-to-wear pieces and made-to-measure clothing from my original designs, which I craft in my Illinois workshop.

And I prioritize sustainability at Raff Co. Clothing because it matters to me as a person. A shopper, a parent, a pie eater, etc.

But when I sit down to "do sustainability," I'm focused on the steps that happen before a customer admires themselves in my finished product (which of course they'll cherish for years to come).

Wednesday Look is for sewists too.

Material sourcing. How I and use resources. The composition of whatever substances I apply to the fabric while I’m working. What I do with excess.

These concerns could apply to anyone who makes anything at all. Maybe you.

Zoe Edwards of Me Made May fame points out that sewing (for example, to make all your own clothes) CAN be the most sustainable option. But not necessarily.

The same afflictions that make fast fashion so bad (forced labor, high plastic/toxin content, cheap & easy to over-consume…) show up in textiles and supplies marketed to us makers. Too much stuff. Too low quality. Environments that make it harder to pass than to buy. It takes a conscious effort to resist, and making a conscious effort is exhausting after a while. No matter how committed or savvy you are.

So Wednesday Look doesn't have pocket tutorials, but it does go into the process of pushing toward a less consumption/capitalist exploitation-shaped life through better clothes.

You don't need any more uphill battles in that department, love!

The big questions I take shots at in Wednesday Look (+ my perspectives at a glance, parenthetically) are:

“Is the fashion industry really that harmful?” (Yes.)

“How did it get that way?” (I like to understand what went wrong to figure out what to do right.)

“Is it EVEN POSSIBLE to pry commercial clothing production back from the monstrous industry it has become?” (I think so.)

“Is it possible to prioritize clothing and style and not succumb to/perpetuate the misogynistic and discriminatory norms of beauty culture?” (Totally. Let’s talk.)

And,“Do I have anything fantastic in my shop for you, if you care about all these things and ALSO need/want to invest in some nice new clothes that will serve you for a long time?" (YES! Because that’s my job.)

Maybe you have some insights or knowledge on these topics I haven't thought of. Feel free to share.

Wherever you fall on the I-make-all-my-own-clothes VS. I-only-have-time-to-wear-what-I-buy-on-my-phone-at-3AM sewing spectrum, I'm glad you're here.

See you,


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