Today is Earth Day. I am tying this into my lessons by teaching the Kyoto Protocol (but not the stuff since Kyoto) and the Millennium Development Goals, which include environmental sustainability. I am by no means a very green fashion consumer/producer. I probably would not even call myself green in general. Not because I dislike being environmentally friendly, but rather I am often too lazy/busy/silly to be bothered to take the extra step. I engage in a lot of green sins, and I have guilt. But here are some ways that I try to include environmental concerns into my daily life and style.
The most important goal that I have is to use what I can afford to buy most effectively and for the longest possible time, and to minimize what I contribute to landfills. (I actually think that some "fast fashion" can be worn for many years. I have Old Navy pants that are [almost] a decade old, and H&M tops that are still strong after 8 years! Maybe cheaper retailer often put out trendy pieces that look dated very quickly, and thus get disposed of months later). Other goals and actions include:
1) Second hand consumption: I can't know exactly how everything I buy is produced (whether it was environmental friendly or labor friendly) but it's good to know that waste and costs associated with initial production aren't reproduced for me to acquire a second time. This includes swapping items with friends. I also donate and swap any clothes/shoes that I no longer wear.
2) Minimizing the purchase of new goods made of certain synthetic fibers (polyester, PVC, and other polymers are made from petroleum. Certain rayon, lycras and viscose are not, however), which tend to break down slowly.
3) Repairing the things I do have (sewing on buttons, patching, fixing seams, and becoming uber friendly with the local cobbler. I am very hard on my shoes)
4) Refashioning "out of style" goods into more contemporary silhouettes
5) Borrowing from the Blokey (if he's not wearing it, I can)
6) Don't use the dryer, but instead air dry your clothes. I don't wash things after one wear.
7) Being conscious about the political economy (and ecology) of textile and clothing production, including both educating my students about this and having it inform my decisions about consumption.
8) This may seem silly, but I ride my bike or take the train/walk to go shopping. I don't have a car, but this means I can only buy what I can carry (often in a crowded subway car). I also try to use my own canvas bags.
This outfit was strongly influenced by a pattern that Gertie showed on her blog (as I read through her archives) that was so 1970s Annie Hall. It seems I am embracing menswear in an exuberant way lately. I have to travel and be professional again this weekend, so who knows what I'll pack.
Sorry so professory. I hope that you have/had an excellent Earth Day.
Vest: From fella's wedding suit (supposedly vintage 1970s, made in Poland, no tag)
White button down: Loft
Pants: Old Navy, 2001
Boots: Born, via Ebay