We spoke to Launching Lady Abigail Gardiner of A Finer Thread and Wendy Wason, comedian, writer and actress about their reactions to the Dr Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanugh hearing and their collaboration with The Survivors Trust.
What was the inspiration for the name A Finer Thread?
I wanted a name that reflected the product I was producing. The fact that all our embroidery is made to order, makes it that bit more special, a bit finer. The name also stems from my choice to step away from fast-fashion and offering a product that’s made with a little more consideration, something that you wouldn’t want to throw away from one season to the next...A Finer Thread as it were.
What is your inspiration for each new collection?
We work slightly differently, in the sense that we don’t change our collections from season to season. Based on my experience in the fashion industry, I made the decision that I didn’t want to be led by trends and constantly producing new pieces before I have caught my breath from the last. I aim to produce pieces that are timeless and not season specific. A knit or a sweatshirt should last every season no matter what the latest trends are.
What does this collaboration mean to you?Wendy: This charity collaboration is so relevant. I think most of us believed Dr Ford and so many women knew it wouldn’t make any difference to Brett Kavanaugh’s career or nomination. I watched the whole thing and wanted to something - however small to say I believe her and I believe you. We don’t report sexual assault and that is why. I really felt the need to do SOMETHING.
Abi: I couldn’t agree more with Wendy. We have taken inspiration from Dr Blasey Ford’s testimony and released these tees in support of her and other people who can relate to her experience. Fashion through time has been used as a tool for self-expression and often a reflection of social change or unrest. We both found Dr Blasey Ford so incredibly brave and inspiring and felt that we wanted to do something, anything that could say ‘we support you, we believe you.’ Bravery is contagious, and I would love, in any way possible to help others build the courage to speak up and through the work of The Survivors Trust. I want victims to feel supported and safe to do so.
Why did you choose this charity in particular?
Wendy: The charity supports women who are the victims of sexual assault and I know it’s so difficult to discuss because even in assault we protect the men we love. Our fathers, our partners who would be devastated they hadn’t managed to keep us safe means that often we don’t talk about it. Dr Ford didn’t tell her parents and I totally understand why.
Abi: We felt this charity appropriately reflected the message we wanted to communicate. It is about allowing victims of such traumatic experiences a safe environment to start to deal with the experience they have gone through. As Wendy said, we find reasons to stay silent, whether that is protecting others or protecting ourselves.
Where do the proceeds of this collection go to?
Abi: A Finer Thread will donate £10 from every T Shirt sale to The Survivors Trust. The money we donate will go towards funding the direct services to survivors including counselling, support, helplines and advocacy services for women, men and children.
What impact do you hope to have from this collaboration?
Wendy: I hope woman will wear the shirt and know it is an act of support. It is act of solidarity. The language is taken from the trial itself.I hope the victims of assault feel stronger and less hopeless and I hope the charity will receive a financial boost.
Abi: I hope that we will be able to raise some money for The Survivors Trust and also raise awareness. The more people that hear our message and understand what we are trying to do, the better. I feel that I don’t want the bravery of individuals like Dr Blasey Ford to be forgotten after the papers and the media stop talking about it. It needs to be talked about all the time and it needs to be dealt with head on.
What do the words "Bravery is Contagious" mean to you?
Wendy: Senator Patrick Leahy told Dr Ford that Bravery is contagious. One person being brave shows us it can be done. Even if the outcome is not changed, those actions are brave and inspiring. Thousands of assault victims will be inspired by her and the more we continue this conversation, the more our fathers, our brothers, our husbands and our friends will know that it happens more frequently than they could ever know and we want to be heard and listened to.
Bravery is contagious. Indeed, that’s a driving force behind the #MeToo movement. And you sharing your story is going to have a lasting, positive impact on so many survivors in our country. We owe you a debt of gratitude for that, Doctor. - Senator Patrick Leahy
Do you see yourself supporting more charitable organisations in the future?
I love supporting charitable organisations and it is definitely something I am keen to do more of in the future. The Government has cut so much funding and I feel it is paramount to do whatever you can within your own means to help.
What impact do you hope A Finer thread will have?
I hope that we will be able to raise some money for The Survivors Trust and also raise awareness. The more people that hear our message and understand what we are trying to do, the better. I feel that I don’t want the bravery of individuals like Dr Blasey Ford to be forgotten after the papers and the media stop talking about it. It needs to be talked about all the time and it needs to be dealt with head on