Rotational Manufacture


I’m about to present initial stages of an idea that I’d love any sort of feedback on.

It’s something that has been building for a while spurred from my desire to design, my frustrations with the industry system.

I’ve been trying to find a way that I would be happy to go into production.

I have my designs and my ideas, but I’ve stumble over the fabrics, the environmental costs and the manufacturing methods.

The manufacturing side has been the hardest hurdle.

I visit dusty warehouses in the outer suburbs of London and meet groups of eastern European women who say they’ll sew my garments together and I feel it is better than the unknown in Asia, but is it good enough?

I mull over the fact that I cannot sew all day or my body breaks down. How can I ask others to do what I can’t?

A friend’s aunt saying she worked for a day in a New Zealand shirt manufacture centre and quit after meeting a woman who had ironed the same shirt for 11 years.

The same shirt.

Day in, day out.

11 years.

tumblr_mhibxmCJaf1rc407qo1_400I think there MUST be a better way.

So what is it?

pot in france

Is it technology? Could we find a way to take out the human element of manufacturing clothes? Have everything completely machine made? From the fibres to the actual garment?

It is a possibility, but I haven’t quite made out a feasible scenario for that as yet.

Do we say that things can only be made traditionally? People are trying… The movement isn’t really defeating the mass market though. And I’ve already written my thoughts that “the olde ways” are not as romantic as they sometimes appear.

So my focus has returned to rehumanising manufacture.

(I have already admitted to that not being a word, but I often make up words. And if something is dehumanised then I feel it should be rehumanised, rather than just humanised)

I’m going to call it:


The idea behind ROTATIONAL MANUFACTURING is to build system of manufacturing that takes into account the workers’ physical and mental health.

For this scenario: It takes four of the most important aspects of our lives – our ability to grow our own food, feed and clothe ourselves and look after our offspring – and combining them into one workplace.
Acting as four businesses which interact with the public independently but allow employees to rotate through jobs on a regular basis to provide variety, mental stimulation and to ensure physical health is maintained.


So you are employed in each of the businesses and rotate through jobs depending on the week. One week you are sitting and sewing, one week you are running around with the children. Others you are cooking and running a shop/cafe. Another you are spending your time outdoors in the garden.

The constant change in workplace and environment should be both mentally and physically kinder to the employee and would hopefully lead to higher production for the businesses. Having a larger pool of employees should make it easier if someone is unable to work and the variations should lead to less people needing to take days off.

The businesses could also be seen as independent, but complimentary:


So each of the businesses benefits from the others, but they are also able to get additional income from outside business.

This, I feel, can be translated across the board. Stationary jobs – particularly those that involve trucking and driving as these tend to lead to terrible fast food dominant diets and obesity related problems –  could be coupled with an active manual labour job. This would give labourers a rest and drivers some time standing up.

It’s not a complicated idea.

It would take two employers to get together and sort out a few logistics.

But I feel it is terribly important.

Because we have allowed manufacture to become a miserable job. So miserable that we will outsource it to anyone else regardless of what the conditions are.

And with our loss of manufacture, goes a loss of independence.

So would this work? Why? Why not? What are our other options?


2 thoughts on “Rotational Manufacture

  1. Well done darling. I feel like the germ of this idea have been sitting with you for a long while and I love to see you developing them.
    I love this idea – and I think if you could make it financially viable for each pocket it could very well work. x

  2. Yes, good idea Kat. In some way, this concept borrows from Lean thinking and the kaizen ‘pull’ system of production. Human development and human capital management (terrible term, I know) are critical to sustainable production. I think mental wellbeing should be examined in the workplace. And yes, making room for play and creativity.

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