Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Saving the planet when you're over fifty (Fashion Revolution Week)

Much of the media produced for Fashion Revolution Week seems aimed at young consumers (or anti-consumers). People who wear distressed denim and have tattoos. People who look great in wildly ethnic, eclectic, funky clothes (and can afford them). People who are not me, and maybe not you.
Thrifted silk t-shirt. I hardly ever find silk clothes, so this made me very happy.

However, those of us over a certain age have strengths too, such as longer memories. We remember when clothes really lasted, or when they didn't but we kept wearing them anyway.  We remember having to take sewing in school, or having someone at home who sewed and mended. We remember when shoes and clothes took a bigger bite out of our babysitting money, or our parents' wallets, so we had to take extra care of them.

Some of us grew up with hand-me-down clothes. Some of us had patches ironed on our jeans, and not the decorative kind. Some of us found back-to-school shopping downright torturous. Those long memories aren't all good.

But just as we are old enough to know that card catalogues weren't always on computers, and dinner wasn't always drive-thrus, we know that clothes haven't always been all fall-apart fast fashion.
Canadian-made jacket and skirt (thrifted)

We are old enough to make choices. And we are not too old to make choices.

If you knew that a particular retailer or manufacturer was causing harm to people or the planet, would you stop buying from them? Where do you think a retail store's unsold clothes go? Have you ever asked?
Do you notice where things are made, or what they're made from? How easy is it to find clothes made in your own country, or from quality fabrics? How much of a price difference do you think is reasonable for natural-fabric, fair-trade, or sustainably-produced clothing?
Do you ever shop consignment or thrift? Swap clothes with friends? Up-cycle something unwearable or boring? Knit yourself a hat? Happily wear a favourite piece of clothing over and over?

At fifty-plus, we are old enough to wear clothes we couldn't have carried off in our younger days. My husband said that grey suit has "character," and I took that as a compliment.

We are old enough to remember when blue rivers meant clean water, not dye runoff from jeans. But we are not too old to want to help make things better..

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