shop crochet ethically: how and why

Shop Crochet Ethically: How and Why

If you’ve been following Medusa Metric or have visited me at a market recently, you know that crochet is one of my favourite hobbies! It’s super versatile, which is perfect for my ADHD brain! It’s also seen a rise in popularity over the last few years, with more people learning the timeless skill, and celebs rocking full crochet ‘fits. But you know what goes along with a rise in popularity of, well, anything? Some people try to cut corners, exploit artists, and make a quick buck. That’s why it’s important to shop crochet ethically!

Shop Crochet Ethically: How and Why

How do people get exploited with mass-produced crochet items?

You cannot mass produce crochet items. Unlike knitting, there is no machine that can imitate the work of hands at a speedier pace. Each and every crochet item, no matter the price, has been hand-stitched by someone.

Crochet takes time and skill. If you find something crochet that’s “cheap,” the person who made that item is not being fairly compensated. They are being paid pennies! Not only so, but many of these “cheap” crochet items are knock-offs of other artists’ hard work, too! Shein, for example, regularly copies fashion from small businesses and artists, with no credit or compensation for the designer.

How does this effect your local artists?

It might seem like it’s harmless to buy crochet items from sellers like Shein, Temu, or big box chain stores. It’s very hard, and often not accessible, to shop ethically in a capitalist culture! Maybe you just really want that cute little crochet top from Temu for $15 to fit in with fashion trends. I get it.

However, artists want to be able to make a living wage with their work and can’t compete. If they charged the same kind of prices, they would barely break even. Yarn isn’t cheap, and time is money! The more people shop from “fast fashion” alternatives, the less people are willing to pay for your local artists’ beautiful hard work.

Depending on how cheap these items are, some people may even buy large quantities of them and try to resell them, claiming to have made them themselves! By doing so, they are able to sell at a lower price while still making a profit. Not only is this dishonest, but it makes it hard for other artists to charge fair prices and still make sales.

That “harmless” and “affordable” crochet purchase you made? It’s hurting artists, including the ones who made it!

What can you do?

If you want to support artists and shop ethically, don’t go for “cheap” or “affordable” or “fast.” Remember that what you are buying is a handmade piece of art. When you shop from small, local, and handmade businesses, you’re making sure that someone is able to eat, pay their bills, and keep making the beautiful things you love. You’re supporting a person and their dreams—not just lining the pockets of big corporations.

If you’re looking for cute crochet fashion, accessories, décor, toys, and more, check out art, craft, and maker’s markets in your area! Start following small businesses on social media and have a peek at similar accounts. Seek out artists who truly hand-make their art. Everything they make has a piece of them in it (and it will likely be way better quality!). If you don’t want to find artists yourself, check out Etsy and see if you can find what you’re looking for (my recommendation of using Etsy comes with serious caveats, but that’s for another day!)!

Some of my favourite crochet artists in my area

Redhead hooks

Instagram | Facebook

Karenina Crochet

Instagram | Etsy | Ribblr

Crochet with Lo

Instagram

Knotted Me

Instagram | Etsy | TikTok

Who are your favourite local-to-you crochet artists? What are your best tips to shop crochet ethically? Drop them in the comments!

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