It’s no secret that the fashion industry is one of the most exploitative industries in the world, harming both garment workers and the environment. While an increasing number of brands are making moves to be more sustainable and ethical, many fall short. That’s why designer Barbara Dupret empowers women to adopt the most sustainable practice of all: making their clothes.
Barbara Dupret launched Le patron de mes rêves, an online coaching program that teaches pattern-making to ordinary women. She was inspired by the challenges she faced when learning how to sew and make her clothes. “Pattern-making is not taught in a way that everyone can understand and be autonomous with their creations,” she says.
According to Dupret, once you know how to create patterns, you won’t be limited in the kinds of designs you can bring to life – which is why she wanted to make it easier for women to learn this skill. Loosely translated, Le patron de mes rêves means “the boss of my dreams”, underscoring Duprets mission: to empower women to take ownership of their dreams. “My big vision for this company is to be able to help people be more autonomous in the creation of their handmade wardrobe and to change fashion by making it more sustainable and local,” she says.
Around 95 million tonnes of textile waste ending up in landfills each year. This is worsened by the increasing speed of the trend cycle, causing consumers to buy and discard clothes at a rapid rate to keep up with new trends. Barbara Dupret believes that the ability to make your clothes is the solution because it fosters a sense of pride and accomplishment.
“You’ll want to wear them season after season, year after year,” she says. Learning how to sew also enables women to repair clothes they already own or repurpose them into something new, giving a second life to clothes that would otherwise end up in landfills.
Dupret has been boycotting fast fashion since she was a teenager, disillusioned by the inhumane practices of many brands. “I have always loved clothes and creating outfits, but the more I learned about fashion, the more it was difficult to buy clothes,” she says. She hopes to encourage women to think carefully about their clothes: Who made your garments? What textiles were used? Are you going to wear this more than once?
Dupret understands that you cannot grasp the craftsmanship and technique that garment-making requires by simply watching a Youtube tutorial. That’s why her online coaching program takes users through the entire process from start to finish, covering design ideation, measurement-taking, pattern-making, fitting, and sewing.
Her target audience is women from all backgrounds. Whether you’re a waitress or a seamstress, you can learn how to custom make an ethical and sustainable wardrobe. “My target audience loves fashion but doesn’t want to participate in fast fashion and the pollution of the environment. They dream about a handmade wardrobe. They love garments that fit them well so they can feel more confident,” she says.
Overall, Barabra Dupret’s goal is to pass on her knowledge and expertise the right way. She believes the problem with being self-taught is that the process can be confusing, overwhelming, and take longer than it should. By trusting a qualified expert, you can learn the tools and techniques efficiently and constructively, saving yourself both time and headaches.
She emphasizes that perfection is not the goal. Making small changes where you can is better than doing nothing at all. “If one million people made little steps, it could change a lot,” she says. Dupret knows that if she can pass on her skills to as many people as possible, she may be able to change the fashion industry for good.