But forsake fashion? Toss my trend-addiction? Lighten my carbon footprint by giving up shoes? I’d sooner give up exhaling.
The bare truth is that I fancy fashion. I pore over glossy magazines. I salivate at sales. I cut my teeth on Seventeen and Glamour, graduating to Bazaar and Vogue. And it has remained my dirty little secret for years.
Because I know — I really know — how filthy fashion is. I know that it takes approximately a third of a pound of chemicals to grow enough cotton to make just one T-shirt. That chemicals from clothing dyes release toxins into our water systems. About sweatshops and the poorly paid garment workers.
I’m aware, too, that the relative cheap cost of clothing has given rise to essentially disposable clothing — items we wear a few times then toss. And speaking of disposal, only a small fraction of clothes ever get recycled. Those sent to charity often wind up in third-world countries where their availability sometimes undermines the local textile and garment industries.
Greening up my wardrobe
So I’ve been trying to green up my act. Really.
I look for eco-friendly fabrics, such as soy, organic cotton and bamboo. I conscientiously seek out companies that boast sweatshop-free facilities — or are at the least working to develop transparency in their garment manufacturing. I resist fabrics that require dry-cleaning. I buy quality clothes —and fewer of them. (Another aspect of my eco-thread makeover is laundering. Cold-water wash and hang dry has led to a wardrobe that doesn’t fade, doesn’t shrink and doesn’t need ironing!)
The result is a considerably emptier closet, a much healthier bank account, and a conscience that’s far more in style.