The Quote That I Live By


I’m going to tell you a story about this page from one of those daily calendars.

Fashion Revolution Week happening at the moment and this post I wrote are what got me thinking about it.

Tuesday 27th February 2001 was quite a momentous time for me; it was the week I would leave my job as the sole boyswear designer for Matalan (a big corporate business which provided a career with a pension and career progression routes, etc), where I produced designs like this


at a rate of 80+ pieces per year with no idea where my designs were actually made. To work for Gossypium (a brand new business that would consist of just me and the two founders)

where I had time to research, test and develop my designs (both in the UK and in India working with our manufacturers) with the result being our first yoga wear collection being stocked in Harrods and Gossypium still selling clothes I designed 15 years later.

I’ve kept this page in subsequent diaries for the last 15 years as a reminder of what I did and it’s become a guide for how I try to live my life.

To give up without even trying is the thing that is almost guaranteed to frustrate me about people; I can put up with and try to make excuses for a lot of behaviours but not being willing to try, no, I just can’t stand it.

I have no idea who this quote is attributable to (if anyone), but I think it’s very relevant on Fashion Revolution day, as an argument that I regularly hear along the lines of “What difference can I make?” is the “But if we stop buying from there then they won’t have any jobs at all and that will be much worse”. I find that a profoundly lazy argument. We can make a difference, companies like Gossypium and People Tree among many others have proved that and how did they manage it? Because they TRY and often need to try some more and then try again.

It saddens me that lots of people have their priorities all wrong; that they consider the most important things to spend money on are houses, cars, holidays, electrical gadgets and cheap processed food (mostly in that order in the UK). If someone can pay £000’s per month on that stuff you’re not telling me they can’t spend a bit more on better produced clothing. If you went to a restaurant and were given a piece of meat on your plate and the waiter wasn’t able to tell you what animal it had come from, how it had been cooked and when, I’ll bet you wouldn’t dream of eating it.

Make a difference, just try it and see.

12 responses to “The Quote That I Live By

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  7. Very well said!! I completely agree that lots of people seem to have their priorities all wrong. I once read a quote “How vain are many thing we have been striving for and how important the things we have neglected'”. Since I have been making my own clothes, I cannot believe the sense of pride and satisfaction. I haven’t been clothes shopping for 5 months! Fabric shopping however…..


    • Thanks, I’m glad it resonates with you. But yes, the way we dressmakers proudly show off our fabric stashes is the elephant in the room, I fear very few of us know where it came from originally and under what conditions it was made and I think as makers we have even more power and responsibility than we do as consumers of ready-to-wear….food for thought.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Good point! It’s especially hard when you mainly buy online as there is rarely any info!!


      • I think some more forward thinking fabric retailers realise its importance and are trying to add more information about the source of their fabrics. Hopefully it will become a snowball effect and eventually it will be the norm. I actually think that the making community could bring about much more change much more quickly in the textile industry. Let’s see….

        Liked by 1 person

  8. A great post Wendy. You are doing a great job of sharing the message of sustainable fashion and taking responsibility of ones actions with regards to the slow fashion movement and home-sewing.


    • Thanks Caroline, it’s been a brilliant week for raising awareness and refreshing to see how many people are getting the message. Let’s hope it lasts beyond just this week.


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