Genius. Stylish. DIY. Let’s hope this is what the future looks like.
Sweat Shop is a sewing café that opened last month in the trendy l’Entrepôt neighborhood of Paris, sitting quietly just next to Canal Saint Martin. It’s fashion’s answer to an internet cafe, but instead of food-stained keyboards and curious body odours, you’ll find ten Singer sewing machines that can be rented by the hour (and for only €6, a bargain!). Don’t worry there’s coffee, cakes and wifi too.
The café, whose motto is ‘Less buying… more trying’, is the brainchild of Martena Duss, a makeup artist for Céline, YSL and Margiela, and an Austrian fashion designer called Sissi Holleis. The friends sensed a growing interest in handicrafts among their peers who have been looking to make clothes last longer during the recession. “The idea is to encourage people to buy less, make things for themselves and recycle what they already own,” explains Holleis.
“We want to stimulate people to have a personal relationship again with their clothes,” Duss tells the Guardian. “In the last 100 years we have become estranged from the product. We live in such a consumer society. But if you make your own sweater you have a different relationship with it. You get closer to the product.”
This relates directly to the core values of a more ethical and sustainable fashion industry. If people develop more intimate relationships with their belongings, more thought will be put into how they are produced and who may be producing them. This encourages us to think about consumption on different terms, one that’s more connected to people and the planet.
Not only that but this concept encourages creativity, innovation and personal style amongst the seas of the usual high street fashion robots.
Sweat Shop also offers a range of courses and demonstrations on different sewing techniques and sells several kits, priced from €30 to €100, to get any aspiring designer or seamstress started. You can even rent vintage patterns, such as the classic 70s YSL jumpsuit. How quintessentially french and sartorially fabulous!
Launderette is making its field trip to Sweat Shop next month. Must sign up for the Atelier Custom course before the waiting list gets unbearably long!