This website started out with a real indie feel. It contained mostly free patterns. Now, patterns are almost entirely for sale. I understand a company exists to make money. I understand employees need to be paid. I get that there are overhead costs like server space, phone bills and what have you. Even the ads at the top of the webpage did not offend me. What I do find offensive, though, is the most recent Gap ad disguised as a newsletter. I receive enough spam/advertising email as things stand. I do not need Burda Style to begin disguising advertising email as a helpful sewing hint newsletter.

Why I found this newsletter offensive:

1) The email states: “members were given the opportunity to create some fantastic looks using GAP denim.”

Being that this is a do-it-yourself sewing website, and not just a website about style, my first assumption was that Gap had started selling bolts of jean fabric for home seamstresses to finally have a quality jean fabric to work with.

Although I agree that these ladies have a great sense of style, I do not consider the act of putting on a pair of Gap jeans and a shirt of their choice “creating”. When a website such as Burda Style uses the word “create” I expect to see something actually made by the hands of its staff or members.

2) There is never any clarification that the denim seen in the slideshow is actually most likely manufactured in third world countries and not by the members who are modeling them.

Many people who subscribe to Burda Style and make their own garments do so as part of a lifestyle choice to reduce waste, unnecessary retail purchases, to avoid supporting large companies that exploit poor workers in foreign countries or merely to have their own personal style. That is why I was surprised that Burda Style would risk damaging the image of a website whose motto is “for people who sew” and not “for people who purchase mass-produced clothing” by sending what I consider to be spam from a multinational retail clothing company.

I would urge Burda Style to reexamine their advertising policies to evaluate whether they are in line with the values of the users of this site. If they are not, as would appear to be the case, perhaps some changes need to be made in order to avoid the gradual deterioration of what has been a supportive, encouraging community for people of all walks of life who choose to sew their own clothing instead of purchasing the same garments the rest of the world will be seen in.

Missing

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  • Rose90_large

    Aug 19, 2010, 07.25 AMby weewillison

    I totally agree. That was definitely crossing the line into spam territory. I also don’t want to buy that type of product; if I did I wouldn’t be at Burda Style!

  • 2461d3ff22a640375f9b713e9af06831ec452057_large

    Aug 19, 2010, 01.06 PMby junespoon

    i wholeheartedly agree. I was disappointed and quite irritated when i discovered that we were talking about buying GAP pieces…i am NOT a fan of GAP clothing, i find it to be one of the most “generic” clothing brands available…strange therefore to be trying to appeal to home-sewers, many of whom have become so because they are attracted by making/wearing something unique.

  • Missing

    Aug 19, 2010, 05.55 PMby wackyblonde

    I also agree that it was extremely tacky and sneaky.

  • Picture_2_large

    Aug 19, 2010, 08.13 PMby alden

    Hey all,

    Sorry that you feel that way! We thought it was such a cool opportunity for some of our members to get to show their creativity to a much broader audience via the style stream. We completely understand that for some people creating clothes is a lifestyle choice, meaning that they are choosing to reduce waste and impact on the environment and we 100% agree with those sentiments and never meant to offend you.

    We have a policy of being as transparent as possible, we feel that if we weren’t, it wouldn’t be treating the community with the respect it deserves. In the newsletter, if there is a sponsor, we always say, “this newsletter was brought to you by…” to make it clear that they are making the newsletter possible.

    Thank you for voicing your opinion, we will be sure to take this into consideration in future partnerships.

  • Photoge01_large

    Sep 3, 2010, 01.20 AMby gedwoods

    I agree with Alden. I think this site is about lots of different things – including life style choices, but not exclusively so. I found the article interesting, if only to point out that there is a creativity to styling as well as making clothes. As a novice fashion designer, styling is not something I’ve paid much attention to so far, but it should definitely be on my radar screen. I also think that clothes are fundamentally about identity, and identity expression. The comment about lifestyle choice actually reinforces this view – clothes as an expression of a certain kind of lifestyle is one way clothes express identity. But styling is another way, and I don’t think it’s a “trivial” expression, or somehow less important, than other forms of expression. There’s both joy and beauty in the photos shown of the styling choices, and those emotions are as important as are political statements, in a very different way.

    As for the partnership with Gap, as long as this is stated clearly (and it was), this also seems legitimate to me. Fashion is a business and sewing is a metier. Just because many of us are amateurs does not mean we have no interest in what companies are up to. I think this kind of partnership benefits the community overall.

    Actually, I also think the discussion about this issue benefits the community, too! I think the point raised is a valid one, from a certain perspective, but I think the BurdaStyle site addresses many different perspectives – that’s part of its interest, and part of why I enjoy it so much.

  • Vatten_large

    Sep 3, 2010, 08.29 AMby ichigogirl

    Hm. I agree that the GAP-post was a bit Sewing-website non-appropriate. I don’t have an opinion about GAP, but personally I would have reacted the same way as those above if it was sponsored by H&M (who swear off all responsibility for the workers who make their clothes by not owning factories but rather buying form the cheapest source, such a spineless, greedy way of doing things), so I understand the reaction. However, all that apart, no matter what company is/was involved, I think it would have been a much more interesting happening if the members had been asked to restyle the garments, to convert them into something more personal, rather than to just style them. Look at outsapop http://www.outsapop.com/ for inspiration, loads of it there…

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