Diversity commitment

Besides creating beautiful high-end patterns, from the beginning I wanted to be as transparent as possible to the sewing community in how I run the pattern business. This means openly documenting what has worked and what hasn’t, recognizing mistakes, and discussing the necessary changes.

I recognize that BIPOC and in particular Black makers in our community are underrepresented. I also recognize that racism towards Asian people is real. It is in part perpetrated by decades of cultural appropriation and harmful exoticism of Asian cultures in fashion, and therefore home sewing. I have always paid attention to having BIPOC and Black makers in the testing group as well as sharing their creations on social media. To my current level of knowledge and understanding, I never released patterns or imagery hurtful to oppressed groups. However, I can do more, even as a small business not (yet) profitable or paying for the time in invest in it. It is also possible (and likely) that I make mistakes or that my understanding of harmful practices evolves over time.

It feels timely to make these commitments as I roll out plans for growth. Some of these things I will continue doing, some are starting immediately, while others are embedded in future planning.

On representation:

  • Continue to highlight the work of BIPOC and black customers on social media. 
  • Showcase BIPOC-owned indie pattern makers and fabric stores when recommending pairings with fabric and patterns from other designers.
  • Use more inspirational pictures that feature BIPOC.
  • Prioritize using BIPOC and Black models when I will be in a position to pay outside models. 

    On testing and marketing:

    • Continue to improve the representation of BIPOC makers in the Testing group, while starting to provide fabric and printing stipends to all testers.
    • Prioritize reaching out to BIPOC and Black makers to collaborate on marketing efforts.

      On cultural appropriation:

      • Remove existing blog and social media posts that feature garments inaccurately labeled or appropriating other cultures, in particular Asian cultures.
      • Correct myself and make reparations if I take decisions or publish content that hurt vulnerable and oppressed communities.

        On transparency:

        • Continue to make available the experiences and resources on owning an indie pattern business to our community. If you are considering launching your own endeavor and have additional questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. 
        • Review annually how I performed against those commitments, as part of the income report, and lessons learned posts.

        If you have concerns, questions, or suggestions, I urge you to be in touch with me. I will listen. I will do better.

        NB: This commitment was originally written in June 2020. It was updated in March 2021 to include elements on recognition of racism towards Asian people and cultural appropriation.