Muses wishes you a happy and peaceful year 2017!

Thank you to all our supporters, volunteers, partners and donors who helped us increase our training capacity. In 2016, we perfected our apparel production training program by welcoming a growing number of technical experts and experienced teachers in our team. We trained more than 30 motivated adults and non native English learners coming from all over the world: Afghanistan, Mexico, Burma, Vietnam, Somalia etc.

Muses Conscious Apparel Factory LAB:

  • Thanks to our partnership with Seattle Housing Authority and the support of the Kresge Foundation, we launched a new experimental training program that aims at teaching customization sewing techniques (basic alterations) to local artisans coming from various ethnic backgrounds.
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  • In collaboration with Seattle Made, Muses joined the Seattle Sewn Initiative to set up an experimental freelance sewing studio.
  • In January 2017, we will be launching our first paid internship in partnership with Outdoor Research!

Muses Advocacy Work:

  • In 2016, we pursued our advocacy work to help our students know their rights, by partnering with legal adviser such as Fair Work Center, a fantastic local non-profit that offers pro-Bono legal services to workers.
  • We integrated leadership classes in our curriculum.
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In 2017, will work hard to achieve the following goals:

  1. Offer up-cycling workshops for local artisans and any conscious local makers interested in re-purposing their garments or belongings
  2. Certify our training program
  3. Secure funding to recruit a full-time Executive Director, and Lead Instructors. These past 3 years, our passionate volunteers have been working very hard to get Muses off the ground, it is now time to welcome new staff members in our team.

Please, spread the word, we need you!

If you want to volunteer, here are currents opening:

  • Social Media experts in charge of managing Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter...
  • Product Development and sale representatives: We want to produce little "goodies" to promote our cause. We would like to sell Muses made items, in local gift shops and boutiques, we need help is designing a meaningful, up-cycled products, made by local makers
  • Program certification consultant with expertise in sustainable and responsible manufacturing practices and worker training.
  • Teachers with experience in industrial sewing
  • ESL experts or teachers with experience teaching adults learners and non-native English learners

Donations are also welcome! Click on the following link to support our work! DONATE

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2016, was a tumultuous year, but our hopes are stronger than ever.

"We have the ability to achieve, if we master the necessary goodwill, a common global society blessed with a shared culture of peace that is nourished by the ethnic, national and local diversities that enrich our lives" 

Mahnaz Afkhami, Iranian-American Human Rights Activist

Wishing you peace, love and laughter to you, your friends and families.

Muses Team

Welcome Casey, Muses new instructor!

We are thrilled to announce a new addition to Muses team! Casey Sagisi will be in charge of  leading our new professional sewing classes! We are now offering day classes for beginners interested in learning basic professional and industrial sewing techniques. We are honored to have Casey share his professional experience with our new students.  Discover his bio!

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I was born and raised in Seattle. I started working in the corporate sector directly out of high school, eventually becoming a project manager in the tech industry. In 2009 I decided to turn my lifelong sewing hobby into a profession and enrolled in the New York Fashion Academy's certificate program. I juggled work, school, and a variety of odd sewing jobs for a few years and decided to open my own work room after graduating from NYFA in 2013. My business has largely focused on creating editorial fashion, producing my own line of clothing, providing pattern- and sample-making to other independent designers, and teaching sewing/tailoring. I'm excited to work with Muses because I believe in the mission. I find the garment and textile industries to be very exploitative in many parts of the world and it's inspiring to be part of a group of people doing something about it.

My Muses

I don't think I could list them all! My family is a tremendous inspiration. They impressed upon me the importance of hard work and dedication. Teaching is another one. Seeing a student's face light up when they gel with new content is indescribable. I also love the technical aspects of sewing and synthesizing solutions to design problems.

Muses Instructor Feature: Rosie Casey by Angelica Sta. Teresa

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At the Muses studio, you can feel the energy of the intimate group of students crowding around a sewing machine. Their concentration is palpable as they direct their full attention to the demonstrations by their skillful instructors. There’s no doubt that the spirit of each class is fueled by the diverse students, who come from a vast array of backgrounds and experience levels, but the core of the Muses curriculum is their amazing team of instructors.

Rosie Casey is one of the first instructors for the Muses training program. As an instructor for Muses, Rosie faces typical challenges and rewards that come with leading any class, such as keeping track of how well students understand the concepts, and the joy of seeing students making extraordinary work. However, the Muses studio is not an ordinary classroom, and with that, instructors must find ways to face the unique challenges that come with it. Luckily, Rosie’s creative background has given her a range of skills to tackle anything that comes her way.

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Rosie has had a lifelong love for fabric and sewing, learning how to make garments from commercial patterns since the age of 11. After receiving a BFA at the University of Michigan in an interdisciplinary program where she focused on surface design and textiles, she spent a year and a half teaching ESL in Japan and traveling to Montreal and Nepal. After spending time traveling and honing in on her interests, she found herself in Seattle in 2010, where she joined the Apparel Design and Development program at Seattle Central College. Upon completion of her program, she landed a position at Tommy Bahama as Assistant Apparel Designer, where she was eventually promoted to Associate Designer.

Seeing the economic disparities in the world during her travels motivated her to use what she knew to make a difference through ethical and Fair Trade apparel. After a serendipitous online search in 2014, she found Muses, and joined their team in time to help with their first fundraising event just a year ago. With her teaching experience, technical skill, and desire to be involved with ethical fashion, it was a perfect fit.

The Muses classroom has an average of 7 students each term, making it a focused learning environment where student and teacher communicate directly each class. As many of the students have immigrated to the US from other countries, language barriers are a challenge that Rosie faces regularly. Though, having lived abroad while teaching ESL, this is familiar territory for her. She finds that exploring new ways to teach concepts that don’t rely on language alone is a very human and natural experience of communication.

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After 3 sessions of students, Rosie says that one of the best feelings as an instructor comes from when students achieve their goal of finding employment in the industry. Since Muses courses began, students have been employed by various companies such as Filson, Northwest Safety Clean, or Nordstrom; but one of the most rewarding moments was working with a student who didn’t have any previous sewing experience in her third round of students.

Muses typically seeks to find individuals who have some sewing experience, and after conducting interviews, instructors get a sense of prospective students’ skill levels with a sewing test. One student came to the interview with a friend and didn’t have experience, but Rosie saw from the beginning that she had the right attitude to learn, so she invited her to join the class. Rosie recalls that the “energy in that class was warm and positive,” and was able to help that student gain the skills she needed to complete the program and successfully learn the skills necessary for a job in the industry.

Fueled by a desire to continue working with her hands and on a machine, Rosie has now found a new career path at Swift Industries, a bicycle bag company based in Ballard. Her passion for ethical business practices and excellence in handmade goods is the common thread in all aspects of her career, making her an integral part of the Muses team.

Muses Is Hiring A Part Time Industrial Sewing Instructor!

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JOB DESCRIPTION

Muses is looking for a Sewing Instructor to teach apparel production sewing techniques to beginners and more advanced students. Classes will be offered to groups of adult refugees  interested in building their skills and in obtaining sewing jobs in the local apparel industry. This is a part-time position approximately six to eight hours per week, 2 days a week. Please apply by Friday December 18th! sandrine@seattlemuses.com

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RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Help develop sewing curriculum
  • Offer an introduction class on production cost estimation and contract negotiation for independent sewers
  • Prepare course material and create handouts to participants as needed
  • Provide instruction and demonstration of industrial sewing skills
  • Report and track students progress on teacher handbook
  • Administrate sewing evaluation

SKILLS, EXPERIENCE

  • Experience and skills in industrial sewing, standards and techniques.
  • Experience in apparel production
  • Must be comfortable using industrial sewing machines
  • Ability to adapt industrial sewing skills teaching methods to allow for individual abilities and experiences.
  • Experience in teaching a class of approximately 10 participants is desired.
  • Excellent verbal and interpersonal skills, including cultural competency, with the ability to teach participants with varying English language ability.
  • Reliability and flexibility
  • Respect confidentiality of participants at all times.
  • Maintain a positive, optimistic and nonjudgmental attitude
  • Respects the beliefs, religion and culture of all participants’ communities.
  • Maintain a strong commitment and work ethic.

LOCATION

111 south Lander Street

Seattle WA 98134

HOW TO APPLY

To apply for this position, email your résumé to Sandrine Espie by Friday December 18th sandrine@seattlemuses.com

Muses True Cost event galvanized Seattleites to change the way they consume and think about clothing

More than 80 participants filled Youngstown Cultural Arts Center on October 1st. The theater was packed with change-makers from different professions, backgrounds, and communities, from green manufacturing and eco-fashion to sustainable design and refugee rights. After viewing Andrew Morgan's poignant, moving documentary, a panel of experts discussed the implications of the True Costs of fashion. Co-founders of Prairie Underground, Camilla Eckersley and Davora Lindner joined Cheryl Campbell, leader of the Women's Enterpreneurial Grant program for the Eileen Fisher Social Consciousness team. Each shared their thoughts on how to address environmental and social issues that stem from fast fashion. The thoughtful conversation, moderated by Leslie Hayes, raised several questions:
  • How can we influence human behavior? Educating designers and consumers about the complexity of the supply chain remains a challenge.
  • What policy shifts need to happen to support humane, sustainable design and apparel production?  Implementing new policies that will help regulate sustainable manufacturing practices worldwide is critical.
  • How can women and front-line workers be brought into solution generation? A majority of apparel workers are women. Apparel workers need further opportunities to talk safely about their condition of work. Women apparel workers have limited access to leadership positions and decisions that affect their job and work environment.
  • How do we attract people to what is a gritty industry? There is a growing demand for U.S made clothing. Accessing skilled machine operators, sample makers and pattern makers is difficult. Local solutions, such as the apparel production training offered by Muses, are needed to help make industrial sewing professions more attractive by guaranteeing fairly paid jobs and opportunities to grow.
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Despite these challenges, panelists mentioned local solutions that could help foster a more sustainable local apparel industry:
  • "No more stuff!" A growing number of local designers are creating innovative designs using up-clycled and recycled fabric or by re-purposing fashion items. Aware of the finite resources of our earth's ecosystems, small business owners are willing to limit exponential growth of their businesses to help create a more sustainable industry.
  • Developing a local network and increasing more intentional linkages between conscious consumers, makers, designers, researchers, policy makers and investors will help strengthen the local industry.
  • Addressing cross-cultural challenges of today's workforce is critical. A majority of apparel makers are non native English speakers which can limit business negotiations and challenge day-to-day operations. Helping employees access industry focus English classes and offering cultural diversity training to employers could help improve cross-cultural communication in the work place.
  • Consumers must demand more transparency from products. Consumers can drive positive change. Growing consumers' awareness about the unethical faces of Fast Fashion will increase demand for consciously made products.
  • Educating people on how to care for their clothing. Fast fashion doesn't always mean that garments won't last. Learning how to care for what we wear will make us treat our clothes as valuables and not disposable commodity.
That night, individuals from the public had a chance to share their thoughts on what they, as individuals, can do to drive positive change. Some of their thoughts were captured on pieces of paper:

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Seeing the positive reactions and engagement among the audience and the panelists, shows that a tipping point is imminent. The industry is already moving towards more sustainable manufacturing practices.

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