This tailoring shop breaks a gender barrier you might not have even known about.

What do you think of when you think of sewing?

Probably something like this, right?


Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images.

What about sewing at the professional level? You know, like a seamstress.

Probably something like this?

Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

But what about a step above that? A true master craftsman. Like a professional tailor...

Maybe that brings to mind something like this?


Photo by Harry Kerr/BIPs/Getty Images.

Or this?

Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

Notice anything?

Something strange happens when a job generally associated with women is done by men: Women are left behind, while men are considered the masters of the trade.

Think about it. Nurses can do many of the things doctors do, but it's often assumed that women will be nurses and men will be doctors. It wasn't that long ago that all women were expected to know how to cook, and still today there are those who insist a woman's place is in the kitchen. And yet ... many of the most famous chefs are men. Though things are changing slowly, there is a clear gender divide that's pervasive across many industries.

Women are notoriously underrepresented as business CEOs, pilots, high-level software developers, master sushi chefs, you name it.

There are numerous social and societal factors causing this in every trade, but among them is the socially constructed idea that a "master," someone who's dedicated a huge portion of their lives to perfecting a single trade, is a man.

Which is why it was pretty big news when master tailor Kathryn Sargent opened a shop on London's historic Savile Row.

As the first-ever woman to do so, Sargent has made some very significant history.

"It feels wonderful to be on Savile Row, and like a real sense of achievement," she told The Guardian.

Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images.

Savile Row is a street that, for 213 years, has been known for its traditional tailoring for men.

Shops there have dressed everyone from Winston Churchill to Fred Astaire to Elton John.

A shop on Savile Row in 1957. Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

Historically, the tailoring industry has been largely male-dominated, with young boys entering the trade at a very young age. In the early 1800s, when women first started to enter the industry, they were met with great hostility.

Men at the time thought that having women present would undercut the great skill and dedication necessary to become a tailor.

In "Well Suited: A History of the Leeds Clothing Industry," Katrina Honeyman writes:

"Many men, but not all, dreaded women entering the trade and viewed them as instruments of capitalist deskilling. The economic problems facing the tailors in the 1830's resembled those of radical artisans in other trades, as subcontracting systems undercut the craft strength of the skilled man and intensified gender hostility."

Times are changing for the better, though. According to Sargent, a majority of the newly qualified tailors last year were women, and the industry is becoming more diverse.

Sargent's shop, which dresses both men and women, has helped tear a hole straight through the fabric ceiling.

Photo by Jack Taylor/AFP/Getty Images.

"I am thrilled to be making history," Sargent told The Guardian. "Although for me being a woman is incidental, I am a tailor first and foremost. There’s more and more women coming through now and doing the training."

Every time there's a "first" like this, it changes our perceptions.

Achievements in diversity and representation are important not just for the individuals who earn them, but for how our society views the world.

Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images.

Tailoring might be a niche trade that most of us never even think about, but for an entire generation of people, it just went from looking like this...

Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images.

...to looking like this.

Photo by Jack Taylor/AFP/Getty Images.

And that's pretty cool.

True

Anne Hebert, a marketing writer living in Austin, TX, jokes that her closest friends think that her hobby is "low-key harassment for social good". She authors a website devoted entirely to People Doing Good Things. She's hosted a yearly canned food drive with up to 150 people stopping by to donate, resulting in hundreds of pounds of donations to take to the food bank for the past decade.

"I try to share info in a positive way that gives people hope and makes them aware of solutions or things they can do to try to make the world a little better," she said.

For now, she's encouraging people through a barrage of persistent, informative, and entertaining emails with one goal in mind: getting people to VOTE. The thing about emailing people and talking about politics, according to Hebert, is to catch their attention—which is how lice got involved.

"When my kids were in elementary school, I was class parent for a year, which meant I had to send the emails to the other parents. As I've learned over the years, a good intro will trick your audience into reading the rest of the email. In fact, another parent told me that my emails always stood out, especially the one that started: 'We need volunteers for the Valentine's Party...oh, and LICE.'"

Hebert isn't working with a specific organization. She is simply trying to motivate others to find ways to plug in to help get out the vote.

Photo by Phillip Goldsberry on Unsplash

Keep Reading Show less
via Kim Kardashian West / Twitter

It's not hard for most people to make fun of the Kardashians. But this week it got even easier after Kim tweeted she took a birthday getaway to Tahiti with her friends and family — during a deadly pandemic.

"After 2 weeks of multiple health screens and asking everyone to quarantine, I surprised my closest inner circle with a trip to a private island where we could pretend things were normal just for a brief moment in time," she tweeted.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
True

Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

Keep Reading Show less

Ah, the awkward joy of school picture day. Most of us had to endure the unnatural positioning, the bright light shining in our face, and the oddly ethereal backgrounds that mark the annual ritual. Some of us even have painfully humorous memories to go along with our photos.

While entertaining school picture day stories are common, one mom's tale of her daughter's not-picture-perfect school photo is winning people's hearts for a funny—but also inspiring—reason.

Jenny Albers of A Beautifully Burdened Life shared a photo of her daughter on her Facebook page, which shows her looking just off camera with a very serious look on her face. No smile. Not even a twinkle in her eye. Her teacher was apologetic and reassured Albers that she could retake the photo, but Albers took one look and said no way.

Keep Reading Show less
via Ted-Ed / YouTube

Trees are one of the most effective ways to fight back against climate change. Like all plants, trees consume atmospheric carbon through photosynthesis then store it in their wood tissue and in the surrounding soil.

They work as an organic vacuum to remove the billions of pounds of carbon dioxide that humans have dumped into the atmosphere over the past century.

So, if trees are going to be part of the war on climate change, what strategies should we use to make the best use of their amazing ability to repair the Earth? How can we be sure that after planting these trees they are protected and don't become another ecological victim of human greed?

Keep Reading Show less