The Importance of Local

Today we are exploring locality, and why we as consumers should care about it. Many brands have used being local as a key part of their sustainability scheme. The ‘Made in’ tag has become a huge part of branding, or even the brand itself and represents a brand’s identity and values. ‘Made in Italy’ represents excellent craftsmanship and heritage, ‘Made in Germany’ means reliability and durability and ‘Made in Japan’ is connected to hi-tech and profound attention to detail. But what if the country of origin has been linked to some other, unfavourable characteristics? ‘Made in China’ comes to mind first; it is the one most closely linked to mass produced, poor quality, haphazardly made garments, as well as poor wages and slave labour. However as an artisan producing high quality items in China, how do you shake off the bad reputation and prove that your products are made with the highest standards? This is why the question of local becomes tough and we need to fight off preconceptions.

Locality has become synonymous with sustainability because of lower carbon emissions for transportation and packaging. Shopping local boosts the local economy, and makes sure factories and crafts don’t die out and get moved to lower cost countries. Local also means brands and designers are able to monitor the process more carefully, which is to say the production process is more likely to be ethical and fair trade. It means better quality and transparency. Therefore being local is not just a good sign in certain countries; it is good and crucial everywhere in the world. We as consumers should always be supporting our local industries and brands; whether that is a generational artisan in a small town, a heritage atelier or a startup brand. By supporting local, we can change the way some countries have a reputation of making poorly, or not to the same standard as others.

Back in the day, everyone knew how to make clothes. That has changed now of course, but it doesn’t mean there aren’t still people in our local areas who have preserved that skill. The skills of course vary from place to place, and the materials that are commonplace vary as well. It is up to us therefore, to find those skills and materials that are native to our local area. In Ireland, the linen industry has always been important, Japan has experts in indigo dye, and India has wonderful weavers. Through the maker profiles and narratives on The Maker Journal, the process of finding these things has become easier; you may search through our articles with process, material, country of production, design country and maker. If you are looking for what skills and makers originate from your country for example, you can discover that on The Maker Bazaar.

As a part of movements such as Fashion Revolution, customers are becoming curious and starting to ask brands who made my clothes. As customers become more aware and conscious of the clothing they purchase, brands that reveal their supply chains and increase their transparency will survive. We are hoping to help customers of today become more aware and knowledgeable about the fashion industry and all its facets, and are hoping The Maker Journal is allowing you to learn all you want about slow fashion. If there is anything that is still missing, send us mail and suggest how we can improve the site for you!

being local is not just a good sign in certain countries; it is good and crucial everywhere in the world