Saturday, April 28, 2018

Who made my dress? (Fashion Revolution Week)

This is a long black cotton t-shirt dress, made in Hong Kong. The label is a brand name used by a company in Toronto that imports clothing from Asia. If you're hoping for organic, fair-trade, and sustainable, this dress unfortunately isn't going to be it.
So why am I featuring it as a way to wrap up Fashion Revolution Week?

Because it illustrates the tensions we face in trying to act and dress with justice. What's the best way to use our resources?

I was looking with some envy at very nice organic cotton t-shirt dresses made by an ethical company in New Zealand, and sold through an online shop in western Canada. They run about US$100, or Canadian$130, and come in black, grey, and a gorgeous plum colour. You would probably not be sorry if you put your money into one of those dresses.

But that's still a lot of money. So I bought two t-shirt dresses at the thrift store, for six dollars apiece. One is sort of alligator green, and I was planning to re-dye it in plum, except that I didn't know its cotton-polyester blend ruled out home-dyeing-in-a-pail. (It might be possible to use a special synthetic-friendly dye and cook it on the stove, but that's not really practical for us.) I'll try to pass it on to someone who does look good in alligator green.

The other dress is black, which is generally not my favourite colour, but I kind of like it in this dress; it's practical and even a bit elegant. The long length can be belted up, and the style goes with just about everything. Just like a $130 dress from New Zealand.

I made a choice this time around, between buying something new and ethical, or something used and ethical. I don't know who made my dress. But I know who benefits from it.

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