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The Mantra is - Wear it Longer

"Wear it longer" is an intuitive idea to help curb the environmental impacts of clothing. A new study shows that less is more when it comes to clothing. (Psst - you can't purchase new items at the same time but you can always shop your closet!)

Wear it Longer! Shop Your Closet - There are likely new outfits and upcyclable items just waiting to be discovered

Learning While Knitting

It's been a wet summer in New England and I've just completed my first knitted fall/winter sweater (more on that next post)! I've also been keeping up on Ecocult's newsletters. Run by a local Vermonter, Alden Wicker, this excellent mailing demystifies so many questions sustainable fashionistas ask.

Her latest newsletter provided a link to a new study, which cites that the most beneficial climate & environmental impact for individual action is simply wearing a garment longer WITHOUT purchasing new ones. It seems a simple yet powerful idea and one that alas our decoupled global clothing marketplace isn't abiding by.

Did you know that global clothing production of synthetic clothing has outpaced population growth by over three-fold?

The study concentrates its research on purchasing natural fibers vs. keeping synthetic fiber garments longer. The result when examining the impacts of climate change and environmental degradation shows keeping a piece of even fast fashion longer, without purchasing a new garment, is the most impactful thing an individual can do.

Keeping clothing only makes an impact IF you wear them rather than purchase new pieces!

What's Missing Here?

The elephant in the room is that getting everyone to do this is impossible. Many people care about global environments and their degradation, but when they are in the store, they can't resist purchasing a new item. And, even if we all changed our purchasing habits tomorrow - what would happen to the clothing industry?

The industry must change while we change our habits. For decades, the clothing industry has talked about sustainable fashion initiatives while still increasing the production of garments. It is clear that changing individual habits or voluntary industry changes are insufficient to the task at hand.

We need to advocate for changes nationally and internationally. This is why I ask everyone to advocate on both an individual and industry level. If we don't use our voices and educate others and raise our voices together, we can't make change.

Legislation to Continue to Watch

The Fabric Act is legislation introduced last year both in the US House and Senate. Its goal is to incentivize new workers into the aging US garment industry and uncover US garment makers' supply chains. This isn't an easy task and there will be resistance and industry disruption while changes are being made if enacted. But today's garment industry isn't sustainable if we don't want our planet to be buried by discarded clothing.

The Act hopes to increase US workers, keep jobs from migrating offshore, and enable consumers to know more about the supply chain of their purchased garments. This all sounds good even if only 50% of the supply chain needs to be shared. Think about that - the goal of this Act would mandate the NY garment industry be able to trace only half of its supply chain from creation to end product. And it is causing consternation from this industry.

Remember that a t-shirt can travel over 30-40,000 miles before it hits a store rack in the US traced from where it was grown.

Simplified Supply Chains - Buy Local

The simplified supply chain is just another reason why I love local fiber. We must wear clothing we already own longer. But if we do need an item, we can purchase locally using local materials. This supports local makers and our community, putting dollars back into the local economy. We can't purchase every garment or fiber locally, but when we can - it makes a difference!

Book it Out!

FYI that Aiden Wicker's book To Die For is out! Called "[t]he Silent Spring" for your wardrobe. (Penguin Books) The book shares information about fabrics and toxic chemicals we are being exposed to through individual stories. One story discusses uniforms for an airliner and its impact on workers. The book also provides information and some tips, but the bottom line is that there aren't quick fixes to the issues we face today when purchasing clothing.

My advice for purchasing local and Fibershed items you can rely upon will soon be a post + provide a list of sellers at various price points that provide traceable supply chains of US organic, local wool, and vintage materials.

Love New England and East Coast Fiber?

Fall brings some great regional festivals providing fiber education and purchasing opportunities from raw fleece, roving and yarn to finished garments! Thinking of a new project but don't have the skill or the fiber? Attend a festival and support our local fiber educators and suppliers!

Vermont Sheep & Wool Festival - September 30th - October 1st

NH Wool Arts Festival - October 7th - 8th

Fiber Festival of New England - November 4th - 5th


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