Overdressed

Oh man.  I haven’t posted in forever.  I had some posts planned, but wasn’t able to get stuff done because I had life stuff get in the way.  I got sick, had to move, and then started class again.  So the dust in finally settling and I need to update!

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I’ve been wanting to share the book that started my current mindset about making.  I read Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth L. Cline after a discussion in my Maker Spaces class about where our clothing comes from.  Ever since I started knitting, I’ve loved the personal satisfaction of wearing things I’ve made.  But after that discussion and reading this book, I’m much more aware of the social and environmental issues surrounding the current state of fashion and apparel.  Have you ever thought about why your $5 t-shirt is only $5?  I think that once you start making your own clothes, you really start realizing the value of labor and how much of a skill sewing really is.

I don’t want to guilt anybody about the clothes that they wear.  I am in the awkward place where I’m aware of the issues, but I still am participating in the problem.  I know for a fact that I own clothes that were made in the Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh that collapsed.  I am still wearing those clothes.  And after listening to the Planet Money t-shirt series, it’s a much more complicated issue than this is bad and only certain kinds of clothes are good.  AND I still haven’t even touched on the environmental issues.

What I appreciate about this book is that the social and environmental issues a pretty much treated as equal.  I often see discussions of this issue that only take on one or the other.  Besides the sheer amount of chemicals that are dumped when making our clothing, there’s also the waste in all the clothes we throw away.  I know that I’ve had items where I’ve never taken off the tag, and then I make the decision to get rid of it.  This is what I found the most eye opening, and also the most approachable issue.  I can control what I buy and I can control what I get rid of.  I can make the choice to mend and repair clothes so I don’t have to get rid of it.

THIS BOOK.  Just read this book.  There’s other resources like this book that I’ve been wanting to check out.  I mentioned the Planet Money T-shirt series, which I think is a really interesting look at the industry.  Another book I want to read, which inspired the Planet Money T-shirt, is The Travels of a T-shirt in the Global Economy by Pietra Rivoli.  Also there’s the documentary True Cost, which is available on Netflix.

What I also want to mention here, since it relates to the book, is Slow Fashion October,  put on by Fringe Association.  I think slow fashion is something that relates to pretty much everyone who makes clothes.  I’m hoping to participate, I’m gonna do my best to make time for blogging.  I’m so excited to see what comes out of this!

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One thought on “Overdressed

  1. Thanks for sharing your views on this sometimes controversial topic! We too are big fans of Overdressed and the way it illuminates so much about the fashion industry that has remained hidden for so long. It’s not about feeling guilty, it’s about taking a stand to do something good for the environment and those who have no choice but to work in sub-standard factories.

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