We all know that women face various obstacles and hassles in many work environments so maybe this story should come as no surprise. A longtime customer at Fed By Threads wrote the other day because a hemp-organic cotton dress she purchased unexpectedly shrunk 1 inch in length but it was her boss' request that shocked me. It isn't unusual for some pieces to shrink and in the process of talking with her about her washing care, she told me that even though she had used cold-water and hung it to dry, it still had raised to a level that may no longer be work-appropriate.
But as we were brainstorming solutions, she happened to convey her employer's request at work: "Please don't stand up straight for the rest of the day because of how short that dress is."
Really, is she supposed to spend the rest of the day leaning forward or doing some other clumsy bodily heroics in order to not show too much mid-thigh? This piece happens to be one of our most professional pieces in the shop by National Picnic, made in a hemp-organic cotton blend that conveys the look of a grey linen with a cute empire-wasted cinch bow-tie. It's not like a dress that one might wear in a sensual dance video, not as if there is even something wrong with those either.
At first I laughed at the absurdity of the boss' request but that humor also toned down my sheer disgust that they couldn't allow this piece to be worn standing straight up for the remainder of the day and instead had to bully a woman in the workplace into standing and walking hunched over in order to drop the dress length an inch or two?
And what should my customer have done in that situation? Simply walk like a hunch-back for the rest of the day? Or say something to her boss?
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-Alok Appadurai is co-founder of Fed By Threads, a writer, proud father, advocate for change, a vegetarian, public speaker, social entrepreneur, and curious thinker.
***The Photo is NOT of my customer, but that is the dress in question. We wanted to keep her identity private***
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