Non-profit organization Kamensko Opened was formed in 2010 by the factory workers when they lost their jobs at the former textile giant Kamensko, after working without pay for seven months.
Academic articles have been written about these textile workers, mostly women over 50, who showed strength and provided means of subsistence while facing many challenges— privatization and real-estate speculations, weak law protection and lack of political representation. The political struggle and work within the framework of a non-profit organization have empowered the workers and brought them the support of the wider community, which they are seeking once more – this time in the form of a crowdfunding campaign to buy new machines.
After having been in a state of bankruptcy for more than 5 years, the company was sold for 3.2 million euros in 2016, even though its estimated value was 9.8 million euros. Once a house of European fashion, producing suits for fashion companies such as Pierre Cardin, the company lost its way after the privatization process in the 1990s and its debt grew until it bankruptcy was finally declared in 2010.
The workers have been struggling ever since, organizing workshops and repairing clothes at the two spaces the city has given them in Knežija, they’ve been cooperating with Croatian fashion designers, and they are now looking for funding to buy machines so they can produce new clothes and go back to the life they’ve been fighting hard to keep.
Watch a video about these persistent women below and don’t forget to donate here.
Sources: Balkan Insight , Tailors Turned Activists: Surviving the Demise of the Croatian Textile Industry(Sonja Dragović).