Cashmerette Patterns was founded to increase representation in the sewing community and create products for previously marginalized sewists, and these remain the core, guiding values of everything we do. It’s the heart and soul of Cashmerette.
That’s why, since our inception, we’ve had a conscious and consistent commitment to including and showcasing Black sewists. In the past, BIPOC sewists have been woefully under-represented in the sewing world, and plus size BIPOC sewists doubly so. Not only is that wrong, but it also an unforgiveable waste of the wealth of amazing sewing and fashion talent in our community.
Our commitment may be long-standing, but that doesn’t mean we’re satisfied to remain as “business as usual” or that we’ve done everything perfectly far from it. The fact remains that our full-time team of 3 women is 100% white, and there’s no doubt we could do much more.
The best way to make a sustainable, ongoing difference is to weave actions into the very fabric of the business, as opposed to bolting on ad-hoc initiatives, so that’s what we’re going to do.
Here’s how we are going to reinforce and grow our work to promote and support our Black/BIPOC community, especially “behind the scenes”.
- Increase our number of BIPOC models. To date, 29% of our models have been BIPOC and 36% of our patterns feature at least one BIPOC model on the cover. Our goal moving forward is that every pattern features at least once BIPOC model, and we’re also continuing to actively create more size diversity on our covers, too. Want to model for us and live in the New England area? Email us your details and photos to email@example.com!
- Highlight and showcase more garments from BIPOC makers on our social media platforms and newsletters–help us find you by tagging us (@cashmerette, and our pattern hashtags), and email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’ve got a blog post you’d like us to feature.
- Include more BIPOC makers in our fabric store partnerships, which we use to celebrate our new patterns and showcase them on a variety of bodies.
- Our blog will feature more interviews and contents from BIPOC makers.
Allocating our spending
- Marketing: More deliberately allocate our marketing budget to support BIPOC makers and businesses.
- Suppliers: Seek out opportunities to use BIPOC-owned suppliers.
- Fabric partnerships: Seek out opportunities to partner with BIPOC-owned fabric stores.
- If you’re interested in working with us, drop us an email at email@example.com and let us know!
- Testers: We’ve never asked about identity when recruiting testers before, but we’re going to start, in order to diversify the makeup of our tester pool.
- Feedback group: We’re working on a plan to create a diverse group of people to provide feedback on design & initiatives–more on this to come.
- Recruitment. We’re committed to building a more diverse team through recruitment of future team members and contractors.
- Education. We’re going to allocate time and resources to educate the team on racism, creating inclusive workplaces, and also on the overlooked history of black women in pioneering the body activism movement.
- Assessment and reflection. We’re setting up regular check ins to evaluate our progress against this action plan and identify ways to improve.
Finally, we’re working on a longer-term, bigger community building project – more on that to come in the future!
In the meantime, you have further ideas for how we can champion the Black sewing community, please do let us know – we recognize our limitations, and know that our best efforts may fall short. We’re with you. Black Lives Matter.