Why We Need to Reinvent Our Clothes
It’s anything but a circle of life. “Denim Is Filthy Business” proclaims an ad from Patagonia. Yes, it is! The pair of jeans I’m wearing today comes with a legacy of toxic chemicals used to grow the cotton, entire rivers poisoned by the dyeing and finishing process, and human misery in the sweatshops where they were sewn.
We thought we ended these environmental and social malpractices decades ago. It turns out that all we did was export them to countries too desperate for the business to worry about the consequences. The apparel industry is the second most polluting industry in the world today after oil. From cotton farmers to garment factory workers, the industry also employs 1/6 of the world’s population, most of whom live in developing countries and work in unsafe and unfair conditions.
We can change this, one purchase at a time. As Paul Hawken, one of my favorite writers on the new economy, says, “The cash register is the daily voting booth in democratic capitalism. We don’t have to purchase products that destroy or buy from companies that harm.”
We’re here to introduce you to the alternatives. A growing number of brands offer clothes made from organic and recycled fabrics, use production methods that reduce or eliminate pollution and waste, and abide by ethical and fair trade labor practices that empower their workers rather than impoverishing them.
You and I are the key to reinventing the fashion industry – consumers who demand sustainably, ethically produced clothing. Every day we vote with our wallets for the kind of world we want to live in. When we buy from ethical and sustainable companies, we fund their work to make continually better and safer products, better working conditions, and an economy we can count on for the long run. In the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, “One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes.”
This website will introduce you to some of the choices that are open to you if you want to dress both stylishly and sustainably – for your health and for the health of the planet. Here are a few useful posts on our blog that explore sustainable fashion issues in more detail:
- Sustainable Dressing 101
- Getting to Know Sustainable Fabrics
- The Blue Jeans I Really Want
- Veja’s Game-changing Shoes
- A Green Look at Vegan Leather
And here are a few useful resources from others:
- From Patagonia: “Denim Is Filthy Business”
- “The True Cost,” a 2015 documentary available on Netflix, iTunes, Amazon, and at TrueCostMovie.com.
- An amazing short video on “The 2-euro T-shirt”.
- Free downloadable e-books from Fashion Revolution (fashionrevolution.org):
You and I can be the solution. Let’s start today.