I can’t even begin to imagine what a lingerie collection inspired by the Beastie Boys might look like and, thankfully, this isn’t it.
The boutique label She & Reverie simply borrowed the title of the Beasties’ biggest hit for their latest photo lookbook, No Sleep ‘Til, which showcases pieces from its two most recent collections.
But there’s another reason for the reference: S&R designer Quinne Myers wears her love of Brooklyn proudly, a fact that’s apparent in every stitch of her very girly range of loungewear, lingerie, skirts, sun dresses and more.
She & Reverie is one of many indie lingerie labels that has sprung up in Brooklyn over the past few years and whose designers prowl the flea markets, thrift shops and midtown garment district for materials and inspiration.
S&R’s logo reads “Delicately Crafted in New York City” — it’s embroidered on their labels — and it’s as much of a sales pitch as a slogan. Quinne is passionate about the Made-in-NYC apparel manufacturing movement, and eager to explain its far-reaching benefits.
“Manufacturing in NYC has so many benefits,” she wrote in a blog post this week. “I can go in person and make sure a garment is being sewn to our quality specifications; many factories can work with our small minimums; and generally, there’s a two-week turnaround from the time the factory gets all the materials and patterns to the time we can pick up finished garments.
“We can afford to take fast chances and be a little more experimental in what we sell, because we don’t have to make 1,000 pieces of one dress at a time. We can make the small, carefully-curated capsule collections that we release every season because we manufacture in New York City.”
But that’s just the start of her argument.
She goes on to compare the actual cost of materials and manufacturing in NYC garments with those made in China or Bangladesh, illuminating the appalling mistreatment of garment workers in those countries.
“Apparel is not a widget like electronics or automobiles,” she adds. “It doesn’t go into an automated machine and come out ready-to-wear; everything is still made by the hands of workers at sewing machines.
“That’s why buying ethically-manufactured goods is so important: regardless of how much you paid for it, every single piece of clothing you’re wearing right now was made by the hands of other human beings.”
To illustrate, her blog post includes graphics showing the difference between foreign and domestic pricing (and referencing some real brands).
Those $10 panties you bought from a mall chain, she says, cost 10 cents OR LESS to produce, with workers earning barely 2% of your purchase price. By comparison, similar panties made in the USA and selling for an average $33 return 11% of their cost to workers.
Understanding the global economic and human impacts of Western consumption is fast becoming an important duty of citizenship for those of us privileged enough to live here. And Quinne’s article is a must-read for anyone who was moved by the horrific events at the Rana Plaza garment factory — and who feel powerless or too ill-informed to make better shopping choices in the future.
Now that I think about it, maybe the title of She & Reverie‘s new lookbook means something else. Maybe it means: No Sleep ‘Til Your Conscience is Clear.