Saturday, September 08, 2007

Waste Couture and Made in LA

Wardrobe Refashion posted a link to Waste Couture: Environmental Impact of the Clothing Industry. The Environmental Health Perspectives article pulls together a great deal of information about the social and environmental cost of fashion, especially fast fashion. It is really worth reading. One of the photos accompanying the article showed a 10 year old boy using a sewing machine with the factory owner threatening him with a club. The boy works every day, 10 hours a day, for about $1/day, in order to bring relatively rich people in the west cheaper t-shirts.

Tonight, PBS will air Made in L.A. Check your local TV listings for time.
Like Lupe, Maura and María, many immigrant women around America struggle to make a better life for themselves by working in garment factories with low pay and unsafe working conditions. P.O.V. asked activists and policymakers in the fields of immigration and labor to comment on the film and on the opportunities and setbacks that immigrants encounter in America.
The same subject has been popping up in the media lately. The NYT published Love It? Check the Label, an article describing how both nativists and liberals have been searching out clothing made in the U.S.A. While I applaud the movement, I think the rationale of some of the customers profiled is shaky. Buying locally produced clothing changes the carbon imprint of the clothing very little. As Waste Couture points out, 60% of the energy used in the life cycle of a t-shirt is from laundering and drying.

[I use a clothesline and treat myself to that long-staple cotton from South America or Africa. I also help women around the world help themselves. Iris and I are very fond of the Bolivian Co-op sewn clothes sold by Dharma Trading at Fair Trade prices. It is difficult to describe their irresistible softness. They come both undyed and colored now! The only downside is that Iris is on the tall side and the clothes are better suited for petite kids.]

How 'Green' is Your T-shirt?
Goodie Bages and the Wealth of Nations

1 comment:

  1. Wow. I am so glad I have unofficially not purchased new clothing for several months. How disturbing. Thank you for sharing this! And encouraging a twenty-something to consider life outside of herself. Peace!


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