Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Cost Of Fashion

Large packages of unwanted used clothes are shipped into Haiti.
Did you know that less than ten percent of our donated clothes actually make it to the racks of Goodwill? So where does all the rest go? Besides polluting our environment by creating large landfills of clothing that do not biodegrade, giant bundles of it are shipped to Haiti. Do a search on Pepe Industry in Haiti, and you will learn about how these unwanted wears have singlehandedly destroyed the sewing trade in that country.

Our clothes
Did you know that learning how to sew our own clothes puts us in the category of "Slow Fashion" rather than "Fast Fashion?" I just learned the term "Fast Fashion" and the Pepe Industry in Haiti from a documentary called "The True Cost." It's been recently added to NetFlix, so hurry and watch it before it disappears. You can also learn more about the documentary HERE.

With fashion being very close to my heart...watching this documentary shattered it into little pieces. I was reminded that our American need for Fast Fashion from companies like H&M, WalMart and the like has wrecked havoc on Mother Earth, and continues to exploit people. Watch the video and see footage of people dying for a $20.00 blouse that many of us would not think twice about donating or tossing into the bin.

I have not been a fan of upcycling clothes, but watching this film has made me think twice, and perhaps more carefully about how else I can reuse my clothes rather than sending it to a landfill. I don't buy a lot of clothes these days, mostly because I don't need them. I've even questioned the amount of sewing I do, and how I'm contributing to the waste factor. The upside is, I couldn't make clothes as quickly as I can purchase them. What a relief.

One of the final points of the documentary that really got my goat was GMO cotton, and the amount of pesticides used on cotton fields. I've heard stories from my local organic farmers about how other farmers who acquired cotton land can't plant anything on soil due to contamination, and that it takes at least three or more years to turn the soil. We know all those pesticides are seeping into the ground water. case you're wondering about birth defects, illness, and premature death in heavily sprayed communities...they still exist.

Woman from the film suffering from pigment loss due to chemicals used for making inexpensive leather.
Buying organic fabric is a great way to put our money back into the environment and encourage farmers to stop using pesticides and GMO seeds. But not all organic is created equal. Best to avoid Soy, Bamboo, Tencel, and Modal.  Soy is almost completely ruined by GMO, so finding it uncontaminated is nearly impossible. This is why I went from regular consumption to close to zero. I recently learned that Bamboo, Tencel, and Modal fabric production use extremely harmful chemicals to turn the wood into pulp.

I have stopped using cosmetics, chemical hair dyes, nail polish, any synthetic soaps and lotions, as well as most of the harmful cleaning supplies at home. It only makes sense now that I start to become more aware of the kind of fabric that sits on my skin. I'm not throwing out what I have, but I will need to scrutinize my fabric acquisitions closely moving forward.

Hurry...and watch the film! You'll understand why I had to share it with you.