Is buying “green” clothing and accessories really that green? What are your tips for making better use of the resources we already have?
Great question. My time in the nudist colony was far out. But mainstream society prefers the human body clothed—however scantily. So does the law. And one too many hairy hippies later, I secretly do, too. So let’s focus this discussion on how to get dressed sustainably. My advice? Buy new clothing as a last resort. Assess your closet: Are there items you never wear? Before you donate those items, think about how you can reinvent their basic elements—fabric, buttons, zippers—into something you might wear. The more you make from your own available resources, the less you have to buy. Think before you pull out a pair of scissors, because if you can’t refashion it, you should donate it, effectively “recycling” the item for someone who might think the interactive sweater is back. (It’s not.) That’s the cycle of the DIY green fashion movement. You can see handmade (re)fashion for yourself at Wind Youth Center (see link on the right) and at Bows and Arrows (see d’Art link on the right) this Saturday.
When it’s reasonable, wear your clothing more than once before you wash it. Washing your underwear after every use is, of course, the exception to this rule, because protecting your personal hygiene and health is more than green; it’s common sense. Hang dry your clothing to save energy wasted from the machine tumble dryer.
If you have to consume, think about where your money is actually going. Many thrift stores donate part or all of their income to charity. Salvation Army funds adult rehabilitation centers (www.satruck.com). The SSPCA Thrift Store supports abandoned animals housed at the shelter (www.sspca.org/ThriftStore.html). And Goodwill (www.goodwill.org) provides education, training, and career services for people with socio-economic disadvantages and physical disabilities.