Thursday, April 23, 2009

Exclusivity redefined

Did anyone else get the Pottery Barn catalog last week? I totally laughed out loud when I saw this:
"Designed exclusively for Pottery Barn by Denyse Schmidt, whose iconic quilts have been long renowned for their fresh, unique designs and eclectic color combinations, our hand-quilted bedding makes a bold and artful statement. "
Do any of you other quilters out there recognize either the pattern or the fabric? I don't know about the rest of you, but I have those exact fabrics, designed by Denyse Schmidt in my stash as I type! And the pattern, well, that's the readily available "Single Girl" pattern.
I found the video in the quilts section on the Pottery Barn website fascinating as well. Not to mention really offensive on several levels. Watch it and let me know what you think. It seemed to me that they are trying to sugar coat the fact that every single one of their quilts are imported. Not to mention that they miss the fact that quilts have historically been made in many countries around the world, not just the US.

Don't get me wrong, I really like Pottery Barn, but I think their marketing people need a little reality check if they are going to start spouting off that their mass produced, imported quilts are a historic American art form and try to appeal to those who know and love quilts.
The part where they call it a "democratic art" was especially rich, seeing as how the quilts are most likely made in truly un-democratic countries, under conditions that we would never accept for workers in the "developed" countries. One country of origin may be a democracy, but their labor, health and environment standards for those that make these quilts typically are not. The quilts may indeed be "handmade" but at what cost to the maker?
Should we all buy hand made if we can? Absolutely. Just know that there is a huge difference between individual and mass produced handmade.
That's my soapbox for the month.


Terriaw said...

I saw that catalog, but I didn't notice they were claiming that quilt was designed exclusively for them! I guess their marketing people didn't realize how many people in the world have that pattern and Denyse's fabrics. Makes you wonder if Denyse knows what they are claiming.

I agree with you about that video - how ridiculous! I like Pottery Barn too, but really, let's be honest about their products. I'm sure they are handmade but mass produced by women working in factory conditions.

Ashley Everett said...

I saw these quilts and I almost ordered one until I found out where they're made. I think it's really sad that they try to pass them off as heirlooms when as the person above said they are probably made by women in factories overseas where they barely make enough money to feed their families. Shame on Pottery Barn!