Thank you, Peggy

By John-Paul Flintoff

Today is Fashion Revolution Day – and we’re asking you to think / post pictures asking #whomademyclothes – in hope that a stronger connection between makers and consumers might prevent abuses of the kind that led to the deaths at Rana Plaza two years ago.

That’s why I’m reposting this picture of Stella McCartney – but also posting a picture of Peggy Parker, Harriet’s great aunt, who taught me how to make a fitted shirt when she was only 97 years old. That was just the start of my own personal Fashion Revolution and I feel grateful to Peggy whenever I think of it. It makes me smile to remember Peggy getting a little bit comedy-bossy when I made a terrible hash of things.

Peggy had a terrific sense of humour, and always had a glint in her eye. (If I may, I would like to mention, irrelevant though it may be, that’s she was one of the last people I know of who used to say orf, instead of off, and I loved that.)

Last year, Peggy helped us to develop one of the exercises in The Family Project, when I sat beside her to draw, together, a map of her childhood home in Barbados. We covered every room, on both floors, and added considerable detail even in the gardens and beyond. (The trees nearby were mahogany.) It was incredible how detailed her memory was. She could picture exactly where she kept her hair brush, and how it was different from the hair brush owned by her big sister Nancy.

At the end, I asked Peggy what dates she had lived at that house, and she said that regrettably they had to leave it in 1917. (Nineteen seventeen!)

Peggy died earlier this month. We are all terribly sad. I only hope that Stella McCartney, and all other wholesome makers of your clothes, might live to be 104, and to keep a sparkle in their eyes.

Posted: April 24, 2015