Buying local clothing is NOT the same as buying local produce. There is a trend to buy locally, which on the whole is a good thing for the local economy, but most clothes, and raw materials to produce those clothes are not local. Far from it. Looking at my modest wardrobe and reading just a few tags I can see my sweaters, shirts and pants are far from their homeland of China, Peru, Hong Kong, and even Mauritius, an Indian Ocean island. Yikes.
What’s a girl to do? Thankfully, there is an easy answer. Whew. Buy used clothing. Did I hear an “eww”?
First of all there are some fun new businesses featuring upcycled clothes and products. One of my favorites is Pantaluna which features super stylish clothes made from recycled t-shirts. Super soft. They have an online store, but if you happen to be in Frenchtown, NJ, its so worth the visit. The business is owned by family friend (my parents know her parents) and uber talented artist, Illia Barger.
Secondly, the CO2 emissions in creating new clothing is a little shocking so if we can keep demand down (and more dollars in our pockets) it’ll go a long way to reduce CO2. For instance, one kilogram of cotton clothing (raw material and manufacturing) has a 30-40 kilogram footprint; wool is the worst offender at 80-90 kilogram footprint for one kilogram of wool. Why is this you might be wondering? Methane-burping sheep (made an animation to illustrate thanks to How-to-Draw-Funny-Cartoons). And, don’t think you’re off the hook if you buy cashmere – goats are burpers of methane too.
So, allow others to assume the carbon-footprint guilt and buy used clothing. Still hesitant? Watch this video: Thrift Shop by Macklemore.
Might as well note local stores in your area. There are four on Bainbridge Island, I’m going to try two out today. It’s been a while since I’ve been thrifting – hope it’s not scary!
Follow up: I went to Silver Star Trading Post – not scary at all. I was really surprised at all the fun stuff they had – the place was jam-packed. Not super inexpensive, but I never would have paid full-boat for something as frivolous, so it looks like thrift stores will allow me to take some fashion chances and get me out of boring-safe and into risky-fun. Can never have too much fun.
Second Follow up: You can shop for secondhand clothes on line. Good list from Do the Green Thing.