Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Through Our Fingers, and Nothing Done (Charlotte Mason and Fashion Revolution Week)

 
"It is astonishing how much time there is in a day, and how many things we can get in if we have a mind. It is also astonishing how a day, a week, or a year may slip through our fingers, and nothing done. We say we have done no harm, that we have not meant to do wrong. We have simply let ourselves drift." ~~ Charlotte Mason, Ourselves, p. 173
I first posted about Fashion Revolution Week in 2016, so this is my fourth attempt at making sense of what has happened and what is still happening. Have the problems of fast fashion changed at all in three or in the six years since the Rana Plaza factory collapse? Are working conditions better or worse? Are the rivers in Asia any less polluted? Has this winter's tidying-up fad made people any more thoughtful about how or where they find their clothes?

My take on the ethical wardrobe has been attempted (to use a current Charlotte Mason thought) "however imperfectly." Mall trips and visits to new clothing stores are pretty rare for me. The majority of my clothes were bought used, mostly from the thrift store where I volunteer, occasionally from a consignment store. I have a couple of pieces from sustainable clothing brands, and some fair-trade jewelry.  But the discount food-clothing-everything store beside our building is also a source of temptation, especially when you look past the blingy stuff and see that they do have decent-quality shirts, sneakers, socks, and even purses (one of my most-used favourites came from there, and you probably couldn't tell which one). And as I've posted before, both my pairs of comfortable but inexpensive ankle boots came from Walmart. The clich√© of buying top quality keepers vs. low-cost junk has not always held true; sometimes discount-store sneakers and boots have been exactly what I needed and have held up surprisingly well.
I wish I had a satisfies-everything answer to all of this. As Charlotte Mason says, I don't mean to do wrong when I choose a shirt or a pair of shoes. She also said you should just figure out what you need, and then go and buy it (or have it made), as locally as possible and without undue fuss. Ruminating over where clothes come from should not become either narcissistic or masochistic.

But drift happens. Maybe I need to mean a little harder to do right. Especially when rivers still turn blue, and factories still fall down.

This series will continue tomorrow.

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