Archive for the 'Fast Fashion' Category

10
May
15

The price is low. The quality is high. So why doesn’t anyone want one of these T-shirts?

The price is low. The quality is high. So why doesn’t anyone want one of these T-shirts?.

The following article was posted on Upworthy. It is an article about the price of Fast Fashion. The above link has the video of the experience.

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When it comes to fashion, most of us are on the lookout for something stylish that doesn’t necessarily break the bank.

And we’re in luck because it seems like fashion just happens to get less expensive by the day.

A $5 T-shirt? Great! A $10 dress? Wonderful! These are the things smart shoppers and bargain-hunters stay on the lookout for.

But have you ever wondered how stores are able to sell clothes so cheap? Like, really thought about it?

To be completely honest, I hadn’t given it much thought. A shirt is a shirt, and the only trip I thought about was from the rack to my closet and not about the journey it took to make its way to the rack.

If I knew what went into making my clothes, I just know I’d be upset.

And it makes me even more upset to think that companies aren’t giving me an affordable option other than to feel guilty about the clothes I buy.

Because sometimes that path involves sweatshops or child labor. Workers sometimes make just pennies an hour and are forced to work long hours in unsafe conditions.

Well, one group is putting the stories of the workers who make the clothes we see on the racks in our favorite department stories front and center, hoping that companies will choose to become more transparent about where their clothes come from.

Fashion Revolution, a nonprofit dedicated to increasing transparency in the fashion industry, recently conducted a social experiment involving a vending machine and some cheap T-shirts.

T-shirts in the vending machine were being sold for just 2€ (roughly $2.25). It was a quality product at an amazing price, so why wasn’t anyone actually buying them?

When picking a size, shoppers were given a digital introduction to the people who made the shirt they were about to buy, along with some details about their working conditions.

A look of shock covered the shoppers’ faces as they learned about the long hours and low pay these people made.

Shoppers were then asked whether they still wanted the shirt. They all decided to donate the money instead.

Suddenly, the shirt that looked like such a great deal had been tainted by the truth behind it. For most of us, we simply don’t know the backstory.

Fashion Revolution’s goal isn’t to shame consumers but to nudge businesses in the right direction.

By making themselves transparent, businesses hold themselves accountable and are more likely to make sure that the working conditions in factories and with suppliers meets the same standards they hold themselves to in public.

 

The group points to an April 2013 incident in which more than 1,100 people died in a Bangladesh garment factory as the driving force behind their push to improve working conditions.

Here’s how they describe the incident (and their goals) on their website.

“On 24 April 2013, 1133 people died in the Rana Plaza catastrophe in Dhaka, Bangladesh. A further 2500 were injured. They were killed while working for familiar fashion brands in one of the many ‘accidents’ that plague the garment industry.

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We want to use the power of fashion to inspire a permanent change in the fashion industry and reconnect the broken links in the supply chain. At the moment of purchase, most of us are unaware of the processes and impacts involved in the creation of a garment. We need to reconnect through a positive narrative, to understand that we aren’t just purchasing a garment or accessory, but a whole chain of value and relationships.

By asking consumers, designers, brands, and all those who care to ask a simple question ‘Who Made My Clothes?’ we envisage a change in perspective that will lead to a deeper understanding.”

You (yes, you) can make a difference, and it’s easier than you might think.

Start by asking brands one very simple question: “Who made my clothes?”

Fashion Revolution breaks it down into a quick, four-step process.

  1. Take a selfie while wearing a brand’s clothes.
  2. Follow the brand on social media.
  3. Post your photo along with the message, “I want to thank the people who made my clothes, (brand). #whomademyclothes?”
  4. Ask others to do the same.

By doing this, we can play a role in holding the industry accountable. Consumers aren’t the cause of the problem, but we can be a big part of the solution.

This isn’t about boycotting brands but helping them become better global citizens. As Carry Somers, the founder of Fashion Revolution Day, told Marie Claire, she’s not asking people to boycott stores. Instead, she believes the industry needs to change from the inside.

And while brands might not be especially interested in hearing criticism from the people within the supply chain, they’re more than willing to listen to consumers. That’s how we can help.

29
Apr
15

▶ Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Fashion (HBO) – YouTube

▶ Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Fashion (HBO) – YouTube.

This funny 17 minute Video by John Oliver on “Last Week Tonight” is really a like a culmination of all of my blog entries over the past three years : Fast Fashion, How companies avoid blame, child labor, slave labor, and the Bangladesh clothing factory tragedies.

06
Dec
14

We Buy An Obscene Amount Of Clothes. Here’s What It’s Doing To Secondhand Stores.

We Buy An Obscene Amount Of Clothes. Here’s What It’s Doing To Secondhand Stores..

Many of us can’t get enough of “fast fashion” — hyper-trendy clothing that moves from catwalk to retail floor at breakneck speed. While this is great for you rarely having to wear the same outfit, there are some serious implications of consuming clothes in ever-increasing volumes. What happens when you’re sick of your bedazzled loafers or upset that your $10 jeans are starting to wear out?

You likely turn to thrift shops. But are all of our discarded novelty tees and color-block cardigans really doing our favorite secondhand shops any favors? We set out to answer that question.
Thrift shops receive more clothes than they know what to do with.

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We love getting new stuff. According to the Council for Textile Recycling, the U.S. generates around 25 billion pounds of brand-new textiles per year (around 85 percent of that eventually heads for landfills). Goodwill, Salvation Army and other secondhand stores get the remaining 15 percent, which certainly adds up.

One New York City Salvation Army store received about five tons per day in 2012. Last year, Salvation Army locations across the country took in 80 million pounds of clothing overall, according to Tim Raines, marketing manager for the organization. While stores aren’t exactly complaining — there are other avenues for excess textiles than resale stores, after all — the sheer volume of discarded, yet still wearable, fashions illustrates the way we view clothing these days: totally disposable.
Many of those clothes are items that were on-trend as recently as last season.

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“You get a clear sense of the overconsumption prevalent in most of the United States by frequenting thrift stores,” Susan Choi, who operates an Etsy shop for vintage clothing, told The Huffington Post. “It’s common to find items that were in trend only a year or two ago,” she wrote, “and a vast quantity of them.”

Maybe we just can’t help ourselves because clothing has gotten so insanely cheap. Back in 1901, the average household might spend 14 percent of its annual income on clothing, and now it’s just over three percent. It makes more sense for us to buy new instead of repairing or altering our old stuff — indeed, between 1900 and 2013, tailors in the U.S. declined from nearly 230,000 to just 21,400.

Erick Martinez of ARC Thrift Stores says that from the operations side, that’s both a blessing and a curse. “Today’s fast fashion does tend to show its wear sooner,” he said.
When there are too many clothing donations, items are turned into rags or end up in landfills.

secondhand clothing

As much as 80 percent of all donations to charity thrift stores are reclaimed by textile recyclers, a portion of which becomes wiping rags or polishing cloths, the executive director of Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles (SMART), a trade organization, told NPR. Unsurprisingly, the rag industry is a booming — and cutthroat — business that doesn’t totally behoove the secondhand industry. Certain street-side bins and for-profit used clothing recycling ventures take donations that may otherwise have gone to thrift stores, so some items might head to the shredder instead of the racks.

To be fair, the rag industry also helps thrift shops. Even if donations can’t be sold in their stores, at least the organization may profit slightly by selling them for other uses and, in the case of charities, pass on that revenue to people in need. In 2013, the U.S. exported about 860,000 tons of secondhand apparel to other countries, according to Department of Commerce stats. It typically gets packed into large bales, sorted by the condition it’s in and sold at markets — sometimes for more than the U.S. thrift store asking price.
Fast fashion is even competing with thrift stores.

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Some stores say an influx of recent trends helps them remain relevant in the eyes of consumers. But when customers can buy new and even more current styles for around the same price as used, why go thrift shopping at all?

“Forever 21 is not great news for us,” Bill Gover, vice president of merchandising and production at the NYC-based Housing Works, told HuffPost. In fact, such stores are competition. Many fast fashions end up at the organization’s warehouse where, for $25, customers pack whatever they can into a bag. (Goodwill has a similar operation in Texas, where excess clothing is sent to Goodwill’s Blue Hangar store where customers sort through massive bins.) To compete, Gover explained, he’s trying to teach employees to look out for “on-trend” vintage — older items that line up with current fashion trends and can fetch a slightly higher price because they’re better made.

Elizabeth Cline, author of “Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost Of Cheap Fashion,” lamented that, no matter the manufacturer, our view of clothing needs to change. “No matter where consumers shop, even if it’s an H&M,” Cline told The Huffington Post, “I think the key is not thinking of clothing as disposable. Clothing has a life cycle and we have to take responsibility for it.”

Correction: The title of Elizabeth Cline’s book has been amended from “Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost Of Fast Fashion” to “Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost Of Cheap Fashion.” Language was also amended so as not to suggest all excess secondhand clothing is shredded. We apologize for the oversight.

Editor’s Note: Remember to buy quality – that usually means American-made as well (well, Italian is pretty good as far as clothing goes).  If you keep buying cheap stuff, you will always have to replace it over and over again.

 

21
Apr
14

Why men’s shirts today fall apart after 30 washes | Mail Online

Why men’s shirts today fall apart after 30 washes | Mail Online. Story from Mail Online, an English magazine, written by Guy Walter

Why Men’s Shirts Today Fall Apart After 3o Washes

By Guy Walters

 Last Saturday marked the annual spring cleaning of the Walters household. This is a process accompanied by much childish wailing and gnashing of teeth, some of which comes from the children, but mostly from me.

I am a compulsive hoarder. Redundant pieces of electronic equipment, old magazines, handleless mugs — all are kept on the grounds that ‘they might be useful one day’.

But what infuriates Mrs Walters most is my insistence on keeping all of my clothes, no matter how dreadfully unfashionable or old. On Saturday, much to my annoyance, she proceeded to fillet my collection of sartorial disasters. Out went a pair of lurid tartan trousers. Straight to the bin went about nine odd socks.

Fair enough.

Rip off: Guy Walters believes that the quality of shirts is now so poor they only last for 30 washes

 

And then she started on the shirts, of which I have sackfuls.

‘How about this one?’ she asked, holding up a navy-blue number from a gentleman’s outfitters in Essex. ‘But I only bought that last year,’ I bleated.

‘You can’t have done,’ she replied. ‘Just look at it.’

I took the shirt and studied it. She had a point. It was knackered. There were holes at the elbows, the collar was frayed, the stitching around the pocket was working loose.

 

It looked as though it was ten years old, but I could have sworn it was bought last summer.

Reluctantly, I tossed it onto the growing pile that was destined for destruction. By now, Mrs Walters was shortlisting yet another of my favourite shirts.

This was a purple-and-white striped affair from Thomas Pink, that I distinctly remembered buying at Heathrow Airport in the autumn.

‘Now there’s nothing wrong with that,’ I protested.

Again, an inspection revealed otherwise. The panel that held all the buttons had come away from the front, and the stitching around the cuffs was loose.

James Sherwood, author of Savile Row: The Master Tailors of British Bespoke, says our desire for cheap fashion is responsible for the decline in quality. Pictured, Savile Row in London

 

Over the next 20 minutes, we went through my entire collection, and earmarked no fewer than eight shirts for disposal. When I looked at the pile, it became apparent that most of them were relatively new — less than two years old.

This perplexed me because I, like many men, am under the impression that a shirt should last more than a few years, and certainly more than a few months.

At first, I suspected that it was because they were cheap, and this was partly true. Some had cost no more than £30 each, and they looked decidedly shabby.

The labels showed that some of them had been made in the Far East. Was that the explanation?

That all these cheap clothes were made by overworked children in vast sweatshops where every corner had been cut on stocks?

But the more expensive shirts weren’t much better off. The ones I own from Thomas Pink and other upmarket brands looked just as distressed as those that had cost a third of the price.

I was beginning to see a trend — new shirts, no matter how posh, don’t seem to last as long as the ones I used to buy. Once, buttons were sewn on more securely, shirt panels were held together with tighter stitches, and the fabric was thicker. I can remember some of my grandfather’s shirts — they were built like the Queen Mary.

Today, according to an organisation called the ‘International Fabricare Institute’, shirts are designed to last no longer than two years, or some 30 to 40 washes. That doesn’t seem very long to me.

James Sherwood, author of Savile Row: The Master Tailors of British Bespoke, says our desire for cheap fashion is responsible for the decline in quality.

Many shirts are manufactured in the Far East. File picture

Many shirts are manufactured in the Far East. File picture

 

‘The men who bemoan the declining quality and longevity of their shirts only have themselves to blame,’ he says. ‘Can they seriously expect to buy three to five discounted shirts from T. M. Lewin for £100 and think these mass-produced, Chinese ready-mades will last a lifetime?’

Men like my grandfather, with his stiffly, starched shirts, knew how to keep their wardrobes smart for years. ‘Our elders and betters, who had less money and choice but more savvy, would buy shirts with detachable collars and cuffs — always the first to fray and stain. These can be laundered more regularly and discarded when too far gone,’ says Sherwood.

Only the most old-fashioned retailer’s sell separate collars and cuffs these days.

Sherwood believes that there are still good-quality, affordable shirts to be had on the High Street at M&S and John Lewis, but has reservations about the cheaper end of the market.  Uniqlo, H&M and Zara are, he says, terrific for T-shirts and jeans, but these pile-’em-high retailers can’t do justice to a shirt.

Shirts are yet another victim of our disposable society, in which obsolescence is built-in, and the idea of make-do-and-mend is considered quaint.

Professor Tim Cooper of Nottingham Trent University, whose field of research is ‘sustainable consumption’, observes that  ‘relentless novelty is the order of the day’. As a result, he says: ‘Today’s fashion is tomorrow’s junk.’

Tailor Gresham Blake, who has been making bespoke suits and shirts for 15 years, would agree. ‘It’s very sad — we’ve become so used to the cheap price of the High Street that everyone expects everything to get cheaper and cheaper. But it’s not sustainable.’

Even the smart shops in London’s Mayfair have sacrificed quality to keep their prices low, says Blake.  ‘They cut costs, buying material from China or India, use cheaper thread and use single stitching instead of double stitching.

‘For the smaller, bespoke producers cost-cutting like that doesn’t makes sense because you only save a small amount per shirt. But for the large producers the overall savings can be thousands.’

All I want are some decent ordinary shirts that will last me around five years, and won’t fall apart after a few spins in the washing-machine. I do, of course, know that tumble-dryers are the enemy of clothes, but sometimes they’re unavoidable.

Is my only option to get shirts made from the finest fabrics at vast expense by diligent old men with half-moon spectacles in Jermyn Street? There must be a retailer out there who can make shirts to last, with firmly sewn buttons, stiff collars and sturdy cuffs.

There is something profoundly depressing about the pile of shirts, so many of them made in Far Eastern factories, about be to banished from my wardrobe after only a year or two of wear. A sad sign of our throwaway society.

Editor’s Comment
 In our search for the cheapest price, we have given up all hope of quality. This is the dilemma that we have caused. This extreme lack of quality translates into clothes that falls apart, because they are made with such poor material and shoddy workmanship. This means today’s clothing has become almost semi-disposable. A good term has been coined for this phenomenon: it is called “Fast Fashion”. In our race to the bottom (looking for the cheapest at any cost), not only do we have to live with the new burden of disposable clothing, and the ever-increasing need for more landfills, but we now must live in a country with an eroded manufacturing base and a permanently injured economy.  Most of our country’s workers have been directly replaced by Asian children working overtime in factories for $17 per month in God-awful working conditions. That has been our pact with the Devil. It all happened when somebody asked God for two dollar T-shirts. Buy quality. Buy less fast fashion. Buy American. -Jack A.
17
Aug
13

Admit it. You love cheap clothes. And you don’t care about child slave labour – The Observer

Admit it. You love cheap clothes. And you don’t care about child slave labour | World news | The Observer. This is an excerpt from the article published by the Observer on July 27, 2013 written by Gethin Chamberlain: ” …(Western/American) consumers want to feel that they are being ethical. But they don’t want to pay more. They are prepared to believe in the brands they love. Companies know this. They know if they make the right noises about behaving ethically, their customers will turn a blind eye.

Children rescued from Bangladesh factories

Rescued children from trafficking, waiting for parents, in Bihar, India

So they come down on suppliers highlighted by the media. They sign up to the certification scheme… Look, they say, we are good guys now. We audit our factories. We have rules, codes of conduct, mission statements. We are ethical. BUT THEY ARE NOT. What they have done is purchase an ethical fig leaf.

In the last few years, companies have gotten smarter. It is rare now to find children in the top level of the supply chain, because brands know this is PR suicide. But the children are still there, stitching away in the backstreets of the slums.”

Editorial Conclusion

Companies could act truly ethical if it really had to. But, at this time, it is much easier to say false reassurances and blow smoke over the media after each disaster in Bangladesh or elsewhere than make real reforms. The companies realize that their is a lot of child labor going on, it is a very well-known and well-documented fact, yet they don’t want you to know that they know all this – they believe that the American public is so gullible. Until the consumer actually stops buying their products will companies change their behavior.

In July, Walmart, the GAP, Kohl’s and other US retailers signed an agreement as an alternative to the European agreement (according to the New York Times) to make Bangladesh factories safer. It is much less comprehensive, and doesn’t promise any definitive monetary commitments to Bangladesh. Plus, the onus is on Bangladeshi factory owners to improve their workplaces. Look, this American plan is pure smoke and mirrors. The American companies are again trying to say it is not their problem, even though they are directly employing these factories and factory workers.

Maybe we are seeing inroads with ethical spending. It could be that Walmart, one of the worst offenders of ethical behavior, which has recently posted disappointing sales, may be the victim of boycotts of consumers that feel ethically compromised by shopping there. It is just possible. Maybe, or it could just be wishful thinking. I, also, like to think that China’s disappointing export numbers are due to more people buying American.

Buy ethically made products, avoid products that are made unethically and the stores that promote them. Buy American.

26
Jul
13

Disposable Clothing – Filling Up The Landfills

Mainpoint: Much of today’s clothing which is made overseas is designed to last only a couple of wearings – like disposable clothes which were originally designed for doctor’s offices or factories that work with chemicals.

Fashion has always been about being  trendy. If it were up to Fashion magazines, nobody would ever wear the same piece of clothing twice. Since the beginning of time when Fashion houses came into vogue (no pun intended), the 1800s and early 1900’s, they have created clothing for the seasons. At first, there were really only two seasons, Winter and Spring/Summer. But as time passed, Fashion houses have further divided the fashion seasons into Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. They have since divided them even further, early Summer, Late Fall, etc. In fact, you would think that it was the Fashion Industry that created the concept of disposable clothing (Nope, it was the mega-chain stores).

The Early Years of Manufacturing – the 1800’s to the mid 1900’s

However, most of the United States, in the 1800’s – mid 1900’s, was agrarian, rural and had no need for fashionable clothing. The people in the cities, for the most part, also did not fall prey to the fashion advertising as they had more common sense when it comes to money than today’s consumer. The saying: “A penny saved is a penny earned” was taken seriously, perhaps because any money earned was often back-breaking and labor intensive. And, of course, the Great Depression further reinforced the sentiment that every penny was valuable. So, our great-grandparents and grandparents were far more stingy with their hard earned cash. They looked for clothing that was durable, well-constructed, and would last for years. (They were made in the United States, of course.) There were the occasional “fashionable” flings, but often their choices were fashion with garments well-constructed, that could still last for years. For the most part, the message from the Fashion houses fell on deaf ears.

1980s

Fast forward to 1980. The Fashion houses spend millions of dollars on television, radio and magazines to convince consumers to buy their products. And for the most part, the 1980s consumers are starting to spend more on fashionable clothing due to money that is easier to earn, (not as much hard labor). The United States continues to become more urbanized, less of people’s time is spend in “work” uniforms. With regards to the clothing industry, although most of the clothing was still made in the United States, but there was a big push to move the garment factories from the centuries-old traditional manufacturing plants in the Northeast United States to cheaper-labor and non-union Southern States and, then, to countries with even cheaper labor and no history of manufacturing. Simultaneously, it was the beginning of the rapid expansion of chains, franchises, and Mega-stores. “Consumerism” soon becomes the way to track the economy. And finally, people start to shop, just to chase away the blues-“Retail Therapy.” The 1980’s start us on a pathway that slowly suffocates the U.S. economy and the middle class as many of our traditional American jobs are siphoned off to other countries.

H & M "Disposable Clothes"

H & M “Disposable Clothes”

The Present

Now, 98% of clothing found in the United States is manufactured elsewhere. A majority of people in the United States have never even owned a well-made quality garment. For many people, wearing a garment just once or twice is sufficient, because the current line of clothing will always look worn and faded after one run through the washing machine. The reason for the quick decay is poor quality materials, poor workmanship and use of cheap chemicals that give the materials a temporary softer feel and brightens colors which wash off quickly.

Dry Cleaning services are, also, on the decline because people don’t want to pay for a service that costs as much as the original price of their cheap clothes. Disposable clothes is the order of the day. The Fashion houses could never even had anticipated this, they were happy when people would buy clothes for every new season.

The New Solution

Disposable clothing isn’t good for you, it’s not good for the landfills, it’s not good for the environment, it’s not good for American manufacturing. And, at this very moment, giant ships with tons of disposable clothing from overseas are landing on our shores every hour. The new solution is to buy good quality garments and goods. By paying a little more now, you will get years of service, saving yourself a quite a bit of money in the process. To spot a quality garment, check the label, if it says “Made in USA”, you greatly increase your chances of buying quality, compared to Made in: China, Bangladesh, Vietnam, India, etc. Buy American, buy quality.

Article from Grist: H & M wants the clothes you throw out to be more sustainable.

06
Jan
12

Durability vs Fashion – Which one would you chose?

There has always been a dichotomy in regards to shoes. On the one side you have the practical, foot protecting and durable footwear for which it was traditionally designed for and, on the other side, you have the fashionable, bon vivant, and frivolous shoes that fill our numerous shopping centers and malls. It has been that way, for centuries, ever since shoes were transformed from simple leather foot coverings to became status symbols in the Royal European courts in the 1400’s,  with their pointed, curled up toes and added appendages. The same could be said of clothing as well.

Dress Before The Loss of Formality Era

Shoes have stayed that way – practical versus fashionable- up until the late 1960’s and early 1970’s in the United States, a period that I refer to as the Loss of Formality Era. Prior to this time, people had certain types of dress: 1) dressed up – good shoes, nice dress pants and oxford shirts or dresses for the ladies; 2) casual dress – hush puppy type shoes, fabric pants, buttoned shirt and dresses or nice blouse and fabric pants; and 3) work clothes – at that time, many people wore uniforms and work shoes, for hospitals it meant white hospital shoes, for construction, it meant steel toed construction boots, for farmers, it meant boots. Jeans were worn by farmers or when families were together in an informal setting – out of public view. Tennis shoes were only worn for physical education.

The shoes manufactured at that time were 90% American made. They were made for durability. They were made of fine leather, stitched together and/or nailed together on a wooden sole. They were expected to last for years. If they got scuffed, you polished them. If the laces frayed, you replaced the laces. If the stitching unraveled or the shoe started to come apart, you would take the shoe to a cobbler who could repair them.

There were fashionable shoes at that time as well. They were usually made in Italy or France. They also made of fine leather, fine stitched and could be repaired as well. But they were more delicate. They were not practical for environments full of rain or snow, unless you wore boots to work and changed into them once you were at work. They were designed to last for years, but only if great care was taken.

Dress After The Loss of Formality Era

With the cultural shift of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, clothing standards were relaxed and have continued to become more relaxed as time passes. Jeans, T-shirts and tennis shoes were not only okay for wear in public settings but, also, in schools. People find less and less reason to dress up, whether it is a concert, fine restaurant, church or a work setting. The loss of formality has changed our thinking about many things. Among them (non-clothing-wise), the things we have lost were: the respect of authority, the respect towards elders; the respect working one’s way up the ladder/seniority; traditional values regarding family; and loyalty towards anything. Clothing-wise, we no longer value the clothes that we wear. We abuse our clothes by constantly washing and drying them after briefly wearing them, since they are not made to last. Especially in today’s time, where 98% in slave labored produced. The clothes are made to fall apart, but who cares because they are so cheap. And you no longer have to iron these clothes because they have been impregnated with some possibly toxic chemical that makes them ‘permanent press’. Permanent Press used to be treated using Formaldehyde (a known carcinogen), but now, more often, the manufacturers use a derivative of Formaldehyde called Dimethylol dihroxyethylenurea, (DMDHEU), (unknown health effects). Clothes have become disposable which I suppose is the height of fashion. Get rid of all of “last season’s” clothes, so you can buy the newest “In” clothes. Fashion would like it if you wore a new wardrobe every time you went out. Fashion would like you to wear something only once, so you could buy something new more often. The clothing designers must change things every season, so that you will spend more money. The same thing applies to shoes. Shoes have become disposable. They are made with fabric, plastic and glue. If they do use leather it is so thin that it wouldn’t hold a stitch or a nail. There is no sense in taking these shoes to a cobbler. Now, there are three types of shoes: Durable, Fashionable and Disposable.

Fashion vs Durability

So, what is it going to be? Fashion or durability. It is your choice. Don’t let me influence your decision. But, as for me, I have chosen durability. I want durability in all that I wear, and it should be (sort of) in style. it doesn’t have to be direct from the model runways in Paris, but it can’t be a white collared, blue Oxford dress shirt either. As for men’s shoes, I have bought some very durable shoes and boots made by Wolverine, and made in the U.S.A. They are both from the 1000 mile collection. Another great American made shoe company is Allen Edmonds. Shoes made in Wisconsin since 1922. The are both fashionable and durable. They also make golf shoes. I purchased a pair of ‘1 up’ golf shoes in black. Allen Edmonds has hired an additional 120 employees since January, 2011, thanks to people supporting “Made in USA’. Another U.S. shoe company is Alden. I went to the Alden shoe store in San Francisco, CA last month. I was prepared to spend $300 on a pair of shoes,  however, that was not even enough. But, that wasn’t the disappointing thing. The selection wasn’t great for me personally. First, I don’t like slip on shoes, so that narrowed it down a bit. The one pair of shoes I did like, looked exactly like a pair of black Italian shoes I already have. So, maybe, sometime in the future, I may own some Aldens. At this time, if I can’t find American, I will buy Italian.

Taking Care of Clothes

In regards to clothing, American made clothing is very rarely Permanent Press, which means more care needs to be given. I have had to drastically alter the way I wear dress shirts. Now, I wear V neck T-shirts underneath the dress shirt. The reason for this, as in olden days, the T shirt protects the shirt for wear and tear and from underarm stains and smells. The reason for the V neck, is so you don’t see the tell tale T shirt collar underneath your dress shirt (for me growing up, exposed T shirt collars underneath your shirt meant Nerd).  I do not wash the shirt every time I wear it. But I do iron them after each wear. So, I have learned how to iron. I have had to take more clothes to the dry cleaners as well, especially dress pants usually after a couple of wears. If the accumulation of clothes that needs ironing is too much, I will take those to the dry cleaners just to be ironed. For jeans, I will wear them for months, unless very dirty before dry cleaning them (I have the original denim, no wash jeans, that still need breaking in.) What I have noticed with this change of practice away from washing and drying after each use is these clothes still look new, unlike the permanent press clothes that fade and gets pill balls and looks terrible after a couple of washings.

In conclusion, you may have to pay more initially for U.S. made clothes and you will have to take more care of your clothes, but they will look much better for a longer period of time. These clothes should last for years. For shopaholics, switching to buying American made clothes could cause extreme withdrawal, because you do not have to shop as often. So, beware. Happy shopping.

“Fashion is something barbarous, for it produces innovation without reason and imitation without benefit.” – George Santayana




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