|The NICE Consumer Part 3: Fashion Consumption - Wearing, Sharing, Caring|
|Written by Oceana Lott - Wednesday, 13 June 2012|
Individuals keep and wear garments for more seasons and occasions; they care for garments in a low-impact way; repair them whenever possible; and share them with friends and family members. – from the NICE Consumer Framework for Achieving Sustainable Fashion Consumption Through Collaboration
I’m very proud of the fact that I’m still wearing the Eileen Fisher cardigans I purchased 10 years ago. At the time these purchases put a lock on my clothing budget for a couple months, yet I haven’t had to buy a good sweater in years. These sweaters have been belted and unbelted, pinned, and draped in over a dozen different scarves. Every year I find a new way to wear them, including new color and textural combinations. Moreover, through the many slight changes in my body over the years, these garments still hang beautifully. When I think about it, it occurs to me that it might have something to do with the fact that I can count the number of times on one hand that either of those garments has been cleaned. Obviously, I can’t say that about all my clothes, however, the expense and beauty of these items and other similar pieces, seem to warrant special care. What if we treated more of our clothes in this manner?
Repairing and/or re-purposing clothing is also NICE. Most people wouldn’t toss an expensive sweater in the trash just because it had a tiny hole or was missing a button. Tailoring and repairing garments can be pricey, but with a bit of research it’s likely that affordable options will come to light. Getting creative is also encouraged. Start talking to your friends and family; someone may have an idea or a resource that may have not occurred to you. Finding a dry cleaner that uses non-toxic solvents and also has an affordable alteration service would be a big bonus! If you find one, feel free to spread the word.
It’s no secret that ethically produced and sustainably-made garments are typically a bit more expensive than the stuff you are going to find at the discount stores. Yet these garments by definition have been made with thought and care, and often styled to transcend seasonal fads. If you commit to have these beautiful and precious items for more than a season and then apply the same quality of attention to maintaining them, you will have taken a giant step toward cleaning up the planet and standing up for kindness to all who live here.
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