Bought, Binned, and Buried Clothing

This week brings interesting news articles about “fast fashion” clothing and its impact on the environment.

The first explores the relationship between fast fashion, higher consumption of clothing, use of synthetics and chemicals, and the reliance of manufacturers on charitable organizations for recycling clothing: Alden Wicker, “No one wants your old clothes,” MSN Money, September 23, 2016.

The second article examines Prince Charles’s endorsement and support of wool over the use of chemically treated synthetic fibers in the apparel industry. The Prince of Wales even buried and later exhumed a wool sweater and a synthetic sweater to compare the effects on the environment of each type. The Prince has been supporting organic wool over chemically treated fiber for some time: Patrick Sawyer, “How Prince Charles set fire to a pile of jumpers and buried others in a flowerbed to show why we should wear more woollen clothes,” The Telegraph, September 2, 2016.

How the use of chemicals in textile production affects the long-term storage of historic clothing is a question collections managers and curators necessarily engage. More and more, however, consumers are concerned about just what they are putting on their bodies when they pull on clothing. What if your clothes could alert you if you haven’t worn them for a while?  The “Internet of Clothes” is explored by Elizabeth Cline in “What If the Unworn Clothes in Your Closet Could Tweet at You to Wear Them?”, Brooklyn Fashion & Design Accelerator, September 1, 2016.

Last, what happens when you re-conceptualize shopping as resource management rather than as the pursuit of satisfying desire?  Illustrator Sarah Lazarovic spent a year drawing images of the objects she desired but did not purchase, and has published  A Bunch of Pretty Things I Did Not Buy recounting what she did and learned in that time. Writer Tracy Loeffelholz Dunn interviews Lazarovic in “A Fun Way to Stop Buying Things You Don’t Really Need,” Yes! Magazine, September 8, 2016.


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