The book Overdressed talks about the fast fashion movement and what it is doing in terms of economics, the environment, and human costs. It’s worth reading for that information. It’s worth changing your ways if you have been drawn into the fast fashion vortex, too.
I haven’t gotten to that point. I was surprised to find that the clothes I buy from Coldwater Creek are pretty much all made in China, but I wear mostly natural fibers and I make a lot of my own clothes. I also take care of my clothes and wear them for a long time.
Granted, I have been getting smaller and have had to get rid of clothes that are too big for me long before they wear out. But I don’t buy cheap and treat my clothes as disposable. I don’t count the life of my clothing in washes.
As I’ve been working on this season’s DYW — not very hard, with my illness — I have been thinking about the value of hand made clothing.
Overdressed points out that most women used to be able to make their own clothes, and now very few do that. I’m a member of sewing and knitting groups online, so I could get the impression that most of us still make our own gear, but that is not the case.
Most Americans have never had a homemade cake and therefore think of a boxed mix as what a cake should taste like. Just so, most American now know too little about clothing materials and construction to be able to tell whether clothing is well made or not. They don’t know whether their clothing is made of good materials or not. So they can’t make good decisions about their clothing purchases.
The buttons at the top of this post, bought from my favorite Paris yarn shop, are little works of art. Most Americans, at this point, can’t sew on a button correctly. If they lose a button from a garment, they throw the garment away.
This is not right. The economic, environmental, and human costs are enormous. So I’m seeing this year’s DYW not as an indulgence because I don’t need new clothes this year, but as an opportunity to hone my skills and maybe pass them along to someone else. Making our own clothes — or at least having the ability to do so and thus the knowledge to make wiser purchases — turns out to be important.