Cosewing: Coworking for DIY fashion designers
One of the first steps leading to the creation of coworking spaces were internet cafes, which freelancers began to frequent in order to escape the solitude of working alone at home. Similarly, cosewing began with the so-called “café sewing” or “sewing cafes”. These spaces allowed one to order coffee, rent a sewing machine and start working on a creative project, whether is was arranging a skirt, or attending an Amigurumi workshop.
Little by little, sewing cafés and DIY workshops have been gaining popularity around the world, very probably aided by an increasing desire to escape from mass production, and (finally!) a restored taste for handmade products, and the rise of artisanal and custom-made production.
Without going any further, the U.S. platform e-commerce Etsy has more than 800,000 merchants and more than 12 million customers worldwide. The aim of Etsy was to change the way in which the global economy works, by empowering small businesses, designers and craftsmen, while simultaneously getting buyers value and the authorship and provenance of each of the things they buy, and achieving a more just, sustainable and fun way of doing so. And judging by the results, it seems that they are succeeding. The trend has become so popular that after Etsy came similar platforms like the German Dawanda or the French A Little Market.
Indeed, the cosewing movement is based on the same principles that influence coworking. Small-scale designers and talented people that manufacture their own products in the loneliness and isolation of their homes now finally have a place to work. They also have the chance to become part of a community and expand their network. Since cosewing, just like coworking, also revolves around the community. It is fueled by collaboration with a union and the creation of synergies.
It is essential to have access to basic office equipment in coworking spaces, but in the case of cosewing, having access to specialized machinery (with prices that a single developer most likely cannot afford) generates a unique value for the user. For this reason, a well-equipped space like cosewing has to face a greater initial investment in equipment, and this particular investment will be directly proportional to the number of users interested in the space.
Although there aren’t many spaces in the world (yet) that are following the coworking and cosewing model, there are very interesting projects underway. Some of them are considered to be more like a sewing cafe, while others are aimed directly at creative professionals. These spaces will allow them to rent a space on a monthly basis and will also provide an integrated community where they can access the resources in order to facilitate the marketing of their products.
While it is true that a coworking and cosewing space may not be the most profitable business, they all have one thing in common: the passion and enthusiasm for what they do. The managers of the cosewing spaces have already devoted their energy to creativity and sewing even before you started your project. While some taught workshops, others sold their products, or were linked in some way to the DIY community.
Many are already aware of the difficulties of implementing a project so different from the rest and know that it will take time for people to know the space and the concept, yet they are not frightened by the challenge. I am stating this as a female, since the cosewing business is mostly female, at least for now.
Although more sewing cafes exist as opposed to cosewing projects, we have included the most interesting spaces we have found in this short piece. These introductions also aim to integrate the principles of cosewing within the description.