About this project
Invisible Acts is a slow fashion selvedge cotton workwear jacket of exceptional strength and quality. By using this platform we have a unique opportunity to address some of the issues in our industry regarding the environment, manufacturing conditions and quality while challenging and educating ourselves in the process.
French skaters Lelex1000, Walter Megot and Marca Barbier testing Invisible Acts jackets in the Paris night with Music by Pete Drungle.
One evening in April 2013 while putting the finishing touches on an opinion piece about provenance integrity (Made in France, Made in Italy, Made in USA etc) for The Business of Fashion we were watching TV at home. Unfolding on the screen before us was the worst industrial disaster in the history of garment manufacture taking place in Bangladesh.
Like everyone we were stunned and disturbed by the events but since we don't actually operate in a 'fast fashion' environment we eventually moved on and went about our business.
Then last year we watched Andrew Morgan's film The True Cost. Again, as it concerned the manufacture, consumption and disposal of fast fashion products it didn't hold direct professional relevance for us, but it did bring forth awareness and responsibility.
As human beings, there was no escape. We couldn't get the film out of our heads. It was all just becoming too big. We were left with a feeling that with our experience in fashion comes responsibility and we had to do something however small to keep these topics in the discussion.
'FABRICCA LENTA'/SLOW FASHION
Later that year we had the fortune to visit one of the world's leading pioneers in organic fibres and 'fabricca lenta' (slow making or slow weaving) and Invisible Acts started to take shape.
Bonotto is a 4th generation Italian textile manufacturer with a room dedicated to 1956 President shuttle loom machines.
Using non-GM cotton the machines produce what's called a 'drill' (the basis for denim) of incredible strength and quality. We subsequently found out the slow weave allows for the yarn to properly settle and compress which high speed modern projectile looms do not. Most of these machines were destroyed after WWII in the rush to modernisation.
Shuttle looms produce a more narrow roll of 'self-edged' (or selvedge) drill which has become the signature benchmark for high quality workwear cotton and premium denim.
You can read more about the history and significance of selvedge in this great article by Brett & Kate McKay.
When we first decided to go against the ‘off-shoring’ boom and seek out French manufacturing we encountered two inspiring people and their stimulating story.
In 2002 Bocage Avenir Couture one of France’s leading high end manufacturers was facing bankruptcy. Sadly, there was nothing unusual about this; there had been thousands of factory closures in France since the 80’s.
What was unusual was how they saved it.
The local politician at the time was a strong supporter of cooperative businesses, worker-owned enterprise. He was determined to keep Bocage active due not only to its financial contribution to the region but the symbolic one.
He asked Jean Normand and Brigitte Legay, director and administrator, respectively, if they could work with the banks and the seamstresses to negotiate a co-op conversion and pull the business from the precipice.
And they did.
Bocage not only survived this first wave of economic threat, the flexibility of the co-op structure allowed them to navigate the 2008 crisis as well, preserving all the ‘savoir faire’ of its 68 ‘couturières’.
The region known as the Deux Sèvres has become one of the highest density co-op regions in France.
As this is only the first step in what we hope will be a long and enriching journey and given the complexity of the issues we are trying to address we deliberately chose to begin with a simple garment to which we can all relate.
At one time or another we have all bought a cotton jacket whether it's a Chinese Mao, an American denim or a French 'bleu de travail'. Being based in Paris we settled on the bleu de travail shape, a classic, sturdy, square cut 3 outer and 1 inner pocket vest.
The jackets come in both Mens and Womens in three colours: SLATE/grey, COAL/black and SNOW/white.
We chose to work with a heavy gauge drill (520 grams per linear metre) to make a rugged, tough and protective garment that will only improve with age.
The COAL/black and SLATE/grey options are 520g.
But for those who would prefer a lighter option the SNOW/white styles in both Mens and Womens are 250g per linear metre, making for a more fluid 'straight off the hanger' garment.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT SIZE
The Invisible Acts jacket is based on the cut of the original French bleu de travail. This was designed to be worn close to the body as surplus fabric could be caught in machinery.
Our sizing is based on this idea. So a small will be a fitted small, a medium will be a fitted medium. If you prefer a more loose fit than you should choose one size up from your actual size.
We've made slight allowances in the pattern for the difference in the male and female shape.
Please refer to the measurement guide and chart for greater precision.
All the Invisible Acts jackets have been hot-washed and pre-shrunk to size.
WHEN DO YOU RECEIVE YOUR JACKET?
Bear in mind that, as it says in the intro, we're 'embracing slow fashion'. The slow-woven cotton drill is a specialist fabric and takes 3 months to produce.
It then needs to be transported from Italy to our French manufacturer who needs two months to complete the order.
We will begin deliveries to you on the 1st of November 2017 worldwide.
Risks and challenges
In the middle of impending nuclear war, melting glaciers, rising sea levels and mass extinctions one thing you can count on is this is something we know how to do.
Our two manufacturing partners have generations of experience and years of experience with us.
Our shipping partners are Amazon for Europe and La Poste for the rest of the world.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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