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  • Made in Italy

    Irish Innovation Made In Italy

     

    Vogue Italia tweeted just yesterday “Il Made in Italy ha un valore ed è giusto che costi di più. È bello risparmiare per scegliere, conquistare qualcosa”, loosely translated as “Made in Italy has a value, and it’s right that it costs more. It’s good to save for your choice, to achieve something.”

    Embrace Lingerie is an Irish Brand and we  have chosen to produce our designs in Italy. For us, this is the perfect alchemy. We present fresh innovations and work with artisans experienced in haute couture design to refine our styles. It’s ambitious for lingerie and expensive, but the point is to challenge design and move forward to new discoveries and of course to achieve the quality a “made in Italy” label commands.

    Embrace Lingerie was named not only for the comfort of feeling embraced by design rather than restricted by it, but also as a mission statement to embrace life and the people around us.

    We are all part of a larger Global community and have obligations to each other. One of these is to ensure that our actions don’t contribute to the hardship of others. We do this when we support unethical practices of Brands who exploit workers to increase their profits. Recently I have become more and more intolerant of media promotions of lingerie and clothing at impossibly low prices. There seems to be an acceptance to distract from the obvious, that garments and particularly bras cannot ethically be retailed at prices as low as €6.00 or €8.00. Bras have many components: closures, cups, wires, fabrics, elastics, straps etc, packaging, shipping costs and of course wages for production. Now add Company overheads, marketing and a healthy profit and please help me to understand how this is possible.

    To put this into perspective, wages for garments made in Cambodia account for 1.5% of the price we pay for the garment in the shops. That means that if the €8 bra in question was made there the machinist made just 12 cents. Workers who make these garments are being paid as little as $1 a day and this is not enough to feed themselves, despite differences in costs of living. The workers work overtime, sometimes through the night and are paid on a per garment basis, so the more they make, the more they make, which in turn means that product quality is not a priority.

    In comparison, the Italian factory producing Embrace Lingerie pays Italian industrial wages, factory workers are paid per minute, so the more time they spend on a garment the higher their pay. They make a Cambodian factory’s daily wage in less than two minutes work.

    Low cost Brands are making a killing during the recession, riding on the fear of spending and this in turn is keeping us in the recession, to their advantage. One of the positive ways to exit a recession is  to increase spending, which goes back into the economy, increases employment and the taxes created improve standards of education, health etc. (at least theoretically).

    On February 7th Franca Sozzani, editor of Vogue Italia and an ardent supporter of ‘Made in Italy’  called for questions to her blog, , and in a response to one of the questions posed she wrote “I always fully support Made in Italy production. If a label says Made in China or Turkey or Romania it is already a clarifying sign... the prices should be lower, though. In any case, not all brands carry out production this way. Made in Italy is still synonymous with quality in the world! Let’s support it.”

    On the high end some well known designers are also producing in low paying factories and I feel that it is a complete betrayal of consumers to charge designer prices when their costs and quality is no better than the high street labels. Brands using Asian dollar factories delude loyal customers into buying into the brand rather than the product. So I urge you to check the label of origin before you buy, if the price is high end, the origin should reflect this, as much as if you’re shopping for a bargain and it seems too good to be true, there’s a reason suffering somewhere as a consequence.

    When you invest in a cheap garment you have no guarantees, in fact in addition to workers low pay, you are contributing to higher landfill due to discarded garments from fast fashion, health and environmentally damaging processes  including jean sandblasting,   hazardous chemicals used in fabrics, and high carbon footprints.

    At Embrace we use European produced fabrics, eco fabrics, and breathable fabrics. We buy fabrics in Europe, print, label, dye and manufacture in Italy to reduce negative environmental effects and keep a low carbon footprint. All of these processes and suppliers are paid industrial wages and each worker in our chain can support their families. This in turn puts money back into the European economy and creates a positive chain reaction.

    During the housing boom, we were constantly told that house prices were driven by demand; we were making the prices rise. Now we are being told that fast fashion is being driven by demand, we are keeping the prices low. The truth is that we have to choose from what is offered, so when we only had the choice of high priced housing, many succumbed to this and bought beyond their means. Similarly, if we are only shown cheap clothing we believe that we should not pay more, but truthfully we are shopping below our means. We drive the economy, we can change perceptions.

    We need to take a stand and not be fooled by profit making machines that care little for their workers or their customers by selling products that are inferior, damage the environment and are made in unethical or dangerous conditions. We need to take a stand to drive ourselves out of recession, by not throwing our money away but spending when we can on quality products that have a positive impact.

    There is room in a market for low cost and high end but both should be ethical and clear on the value of their product and reasons for its cost.

    Embrace Lingerie is one small butterfly flapping its wings, but we hope to create a butterfly effect whereby a storm of change begins and we have transparency in what we buy.

     

     
    Irish Innovation Made In Italy
  • Why we should Embrace Christmas?

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    Why we should Embrace Christmas?

    For me Christmas is all about generosity; generosity of spirit, giving time, love and sharing thoughtful gifts.  Listening and knowing what a loved one really needs or desires, giving something that breaks a smile, expresses a shared secret, raises a laugh, raises an eyebrow and raises spirits.

    It’s a time for family to get together, to have no other obligation but to look each other in the face and drink in each squeal of laughter or seasoned line that maps the experience of a lifetime.

    Yes, there should be basted birds and crackling fires, trees with mementoes reminding us of Christmases past, choirs and angels overlooking family games and toes curled as a head rests on a familiar shoulder. Hot port, cinnamon, star anise and cloves slightly past their sell by date, gingerbread families and a carrot half eaten by a ravenous reindeer.

    Christmas is a time for memories and missing special people who made your Christmas past, but it’s also a time to create memories that will endure into Christmas future.

    I take a moment to think of my family, some here sharing my experience, some abroad with traditions of their own, some departed creating what I can only imagine.

    I like to imagine it this way (my universe, so I take full liberty to suspend disbelief): tables of inspiring, humorous salient minds sit chatting over dishes of ambrosia and angel hair pasta,Crosby croons, Wilde muses and Dickens walks in to groans of ‘not again’. Artists catch likenesses, but all have similar clouded backdrops, with the odd dead pheasant thrown in for good measure. St Nicholas sits at the head of the table, dressed in traditional white and refuses to drink coke to avoid confusion.  Among the furore, our loved ones sit mixing with the greats and pulling crackers with luminaries - and each time one snaps, a flicker of love is released into the hearts of those they left behind...

    I know this post should somehow relate to lingerie, so I suppose my tentative link is simply to say we are what cannot always be seen, support is never overrated and what truly matters is what lies beneath.

    Happy Christmas,

    Love, Embrace

  • Homage to my mother

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    There are times in our lives when we look to our moms, moments of sadness and disappointment, joy and achievement. When things go wrong we often blame them, but, when things go well, we want to share with the person who cares the most.

    We know that at these great moments they will understand our pride is not arrogance, our satisfaction is not conceit and our success is not begrudged. They know us for what we are and what we strive to be, because so much of this is owed to them.

    My mother, rita mccall taught me to have courage, to be tenatious, to look for solutions, to be positive, and to follow my dreams. My one prevailing image of her is with her arms wide open, waiting to embrace me, in achievement and failure, coming home and saying goodbye. She gave the best hugs. Her heart was in every atom of her being and when she held me i was safe and all was well. Continue reading

  • Through the window

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    What we see when we look through our windows has such an influence on our emotions. It can lift us or flatten us, give us hope or despair. Looking out today i can see a silver glisten of sunlight on the ocean, framed by green and dotted with dry stone walls. It’s beautiful. The sunlight hits the clouds and backlights them. Today would be a good day to choose colour, to see varients in black raised by blue, green and red. Today we could match colour in sunlight without the yellow burn of tungsten. Continue reading

  • Origins

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    We started embrace with a concept, answering the question to: why can’t we wait to get home and take our bra off?

    Why, when you’ve gone to the trouble of being fitted, can a perfectly well fitting garment move out of place during the day and end up digging in, slipping off and sliding down?

    What we found was that newton had it right all along, to have balance in a body, it must remain at rest. So we thought, how can an active woman have balance in her clothing?

    Continue reading

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