11 comments on “6 Things You Should Know About Your Clothes

  1. Andreas on -

    I just want to thank you, for this great and eye opening article. I look forward to the follow up and your solutions. Carry on! I’m sure you are moving something.

  2. David Tiong on -

    It is very sad that we are such a wasteful society, it’s true also here in Australia. I did not even consider that the donating of clothes could undermine existing industries in the countries overseas (#4), thanks for making me aware of this.

  3. RuthG on -

    Hi, Shannon, interesting article. One correction to point five: rayon is a man-made fabric, yes, but it is composed of cellulose (i.e. woody plant cells) not plastics (or petroleum). It has been found to decompose as fast as, if not faster than, cotton.

  4. Clémence on -

    I live in Tunisia (North Africa) and the “fripes” markets (second hand clothes) are huge here. And from I could guess from the labels, most of it comes (if not all) comes from the US. It’s crazy to think that the tons of clothes I can see at our weekly “fripes” market, which covers acres of a large unbuild area in the middle of our suburb of Tunis, are only a fraction of the clothes donated!
    Textile is part of the tunisian economy, but I guess it is dwindling in proportion of other sectors, as (in addition to the super cheap “fripes”) we are flooded with jeans and other clothing items from Asia where wages are still lower than here (about 200 dollars a month for the lower wages in Tunisia).

    (please pardon my probably not so correct English)

  5. evilincarKnit on -

    Thanks for a great article! For many of your reasons, since 2009 I have only purchased clothing that is second-hand. I support local non-Goodwill type businesses, keep stuff out of the landfills, the toxic finishing chemicals have (mostly) washed away, and best of all – big box companies miss out on my purchasing dollars. I splurge on shoes with the money I save on clothing, and buy handmade in the USA brands like Cydwoq and Bed Stu. There are many free patterns online to make your own undergarments out of thrifted tshirts. It’s not that hard to turn your back on the clothing industry!

  6. This article was a great read, in that it both re-affirmed some things I already knew about the garment industry and opened my eyes to some I did not. I was wondering whether you have any similar information regarding the conditions under which actual textiles and fabrics are manufactured? I’ve been sewing and knitting my own clothes for a few years now, and while I generally feel that this is a good thing (way less consumption of material goods, less focus on trends and trend-driven consumption, no underpaid middlemen, etc), I’ve always wondered whether the same awful work conditions found in garment production factories are also found in fabric/wool mills. Any info you have would be much appreciated by us sewing/knitting folk!

  7. ladykatza on -

    This is a very good article, I found it through Colette Patterns. Most of this I knew already but I have a nit-picky thing to add. Rayon is a cellulose fiber and decomposes like paper. The chemical process to make it is harsh, however.

  8. Sandy on -

    How is it possible to throw away 68 lbs. of clothing in a year? Does nobody wear ANYthing out any more?
    Re: #4 – I hadn’t realized that, either. H’mmm.

  9. There’s another option that helps keep clothing out of the landfills and unethically donated. If you’re in New York City area there are textile recycling programs: http://www.grownyc.org/clothing

    I’m sure there are other programs around the country if you do a search online. :-)

  10. It is misleading to preface these facts with the intimation that it is the $5 shirt that is responsible for the unfair practices in textile and clothing manufacture. It is greed in all areas of this industry that contributes to slavery and unfair wages. You are just as likely to pay $70 in a high end designer shop as $5 in a “supercenter” for a T shirt made by sweat shop labor. Also consider that a living wage in many of these countries would not preclude a well made T shirt that could sell for $5 in the USA.