Well, here it is! Barefoot Fashion is once again up and running. Its been a crazy year full of ups and downs, but now my bare feet are solidly on the ground again and I am ready to run.
Those of you who followed this blog before will notice that it has a new look. It also has a new purpose, or rather an expanded purpose. Now instead of simply educating the about slow, sustainable fashion it will also feature my new line of handmade, recycled, one-of-a-kind garments. I still intend to blog about pertinent news in the fashion industry and even share easy dyi projects, but I will also show off what is happening in my sewing room.
Currently I am working on putting together an assortment of dresses and tops to present to a two local businesses: one that specializes in green products and another that carries anything hippie. I am also planning a booth at a local folk festival in October. All while holding a full time job and juggling a few other miscellaneous balls! Wish me luck and follow my progress. I’ll keep you all posted!
Every year in the United States, over 10 million tons of textiles are manufactured and account for 4% of all the waste entering landfills. The word textile is a board term and encompasses everything from the garments we wear and the sheets on our beds to the carpets in our living rooms and the cushions on our chairs. This wide class of manufactured goods can be broken down into two general categories, materials like carpets and mattresses that have a relatively long life span and those like garments and bedding which are often views as seasonal or disposable textiles.
The entire concept of a “disposable” item is itself deceitful. Even if an item (like a cotton t-shirt) is 100% bio-degradable, sending the item to a landfill is wasting all the resources that went into its production. No manufacturing plant is operated without large amounts of electricity, water, and human effort. This is not to mention the coal, oil, water, electricity, etc that was spent obtaining the raw materials for use in the plant’s production (never mind the raw materials themselves). Unfortunately, the modern fashion industry has built empires around an ever revolving door of so call “disposable fashion.” The “must have” item from last fall’s runway is suddenly hideous in the light of spring and in its place is another garment with an equally limited lifespan.
(AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
If the world of fashionstas and fashionistos can’t be persuaded to the side of slow fashion, we must at the very least preach and promote the accessibility of textile recycling. The world of textile recycling is a double sided coin that shines as brightly on one side as it does the other. Not only does it aid the environment, but it also aids our fellow man.
The simplest and most accessible way to recycle unused textiles is through donations to companies like Goodwill and The Salvation Army. Of the 2.5 billion pounds of textiles recycled each year in the United States, 50% are recycled through charitable organizations that sort, donate, and/or resell otherwise unwanted items. Besides providing clothing to needy individuals, these companies frequently sponsor programs that offer education and/or employment to otherwise unemployable segments of the population. Even garments and linens that are stained or torn can be donated to such charities because a portion of their income is obtained by selling unusable textile goods to recycling centers.
At the textile recycling center, otherwise unwanted textile goods are cut up and/or broken down to create new products for the consumer market. Cotton may be cut into rags for polishing and cleaning purposes or broken down into fiber to create high quality paper goods. Wool may be shredded to create insulation or upholstery stuffing. Findings such as buttons and zippers are removed and set aside for reuse in new garments. Unusable natural materials eventually find their way to a compost pile, leaving as little as 5% total waste product.
This image is property of The Council for Textile Recycling.
The three “R”‘s…reduce, reuse, recycle….by now, every school child in the nation had them ingrained in their mind. Yet, the fashion/textile industry remains one of the most wasteful in existence. At the consumer level, there are very few options for American fashionistas wishing to participate in the final “r.” For the most part, it would seem that textile items past the stage of reuse are destined for the landfill.
Although their outreach is not nearly as vast as the UK’s wide-spread and highly efficient Wilcox, Wearable Collections has made a great start. Hopefully, they are just a hint of what is to come.