This past year I have been very blessed. My business is growing and I was able to meet some wonderful new people via The Op Shop in Rochester. The Op Shop is a vintage clothing co-op but also sells unique up-cycled items. The owner, Joanna, is very passionate about sustainable fashion and she has helped to create an awesome space to not only find new (well, new to you!) items but also a place to learn. She has set up clothing swaps and allowed me to come in and teach a mending class.
I have always tried to live a sustainable, or as close to sustainable, lifestyle as I can however, after reading some more on the subject I learned some new things that really changed my perspective on sustainability. We always donate our clothes or pass them on but I learned that the majority of the clothing that is donated is actually sent over-seas. Since this clothing may not be of a useful size or is too damaged to use the clothing has to be discarded and this is costly! Our family is very good at wearing the majority of our clothing until it is too worn to wear or it is outgrown but now I wonder is donating the clothing that can still be used the most appropriate thing to do or can I alter or repurpose the clothing into something else other than rags?
The"fast fashion" trend contributes to a HUGE amount of clothing waste. Clothing created from sub-par fabrics that do not last as well as trendy clothing that will not be in style from year to year are filling landfills. In addition to this is that some larger clothing manufacturers actually trash their clothing at the end of the year to reduce their tax time inventory.
The environmental impact of creating clothing also has to be considered. Textiles take quite a bit of energy and water to be created and nearly all of them create some sort of pollution during this process.
The individuals that create these fabrics as well as the ones that sew the clothing are often under-paid and working in terrible, unsafe conditions.
I often wonder how it got this way. I really can't pin-point a year or a generation. In fact, when I was younger I was one of the few that had clothing that was made from other clothing. My mother would save worn or older clothing and re-make it into other items. I think that this began as a thrifty sort of thing however I still notice that my mother has the same sheets that I used 40 years ago. The sheets are heavily patched with scraps of fabrics. I know my mom can afford new sheets but is it necessary and does it really matter in the grand scheme of things?
So, although I try to choose environmentally friendly and sustainable options I can't help to feel that I am falling short. I can do more and I hope to share my ideas with you so that you can also do more. I hope to post easy tutorials on how to use scraps, mend items and how to make sustainable alternatives to items that you may already use at home. I have also began sourcing sustainable, eco-friendly fabrics and supplies.
If you have any thoughts/suggestions on this subject or about things you would like to learn about please feel free to contact me.