Review: Overdressed, The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion.
Most recently that thing we all do wrong is food. Eat all your vegetables?
Are they organic locally grown non genetically modified vegetables that sprout from soil from the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and watered with kitten tears?
You may as well give up.
Being somewhat of an outsider in the world of modern fashion I see its endless issues in much the same way. What's the point of trying? Not support companies who manufacture products in "sweatshops"? I guess.
We all know sweatshops are bad. Thank you college graduates of the 90s. We get it. But it's not as simple as that.
I didn't really expect this book to unleash any new information other than the basics of what we are all aware of, which is sweatshops are still bad, and if you don't buy anything made overseas, you're good.
In reality what we think of as a simple good/bad situation is a tangled and complicated web, one that seems so overwhelming that in the midst of the book you might just decide to go live out in the woods on leaves and berries and weave your own fabric from your dogs hair just to offset the results of the damage your consumerism has done.
It's ok. Breath. Finish the book.
I know many of you, like me, live a more vintage centered life than a modern one, and that part of me found some particular sections of the book especially interesting. Like accounts of what has become of labels of the vintage garments hanging in my closet. For instance Bobbie Brooks, a popular juniors line in the 1950s has morphed into a Dollar General brand.
One thing that really stood out to me is that merchandise in stores moves so fast, our only choice is to impulse buy. In previous 20th century eras stores rotated merchandise seasonally, four times a year. If you were building your wardrobe with a tight budget, you could scrimp and save for something you saw at the department store. It would still be there when you'd saved enough, and you would value it. You would have thought over your decision, made sacrifices, and made sure the garment was worth the money (quality not brand). Because of these factors you would care for that garment. Mend it. Properly clean it. Store it well. And in return you could pass that item onto your grandchild in much the same condition as when you wore it.
That won't happen with my generation.
You see something at a store such as Forever 21 and buy it right away. It's cheap, it's on trend, and chances are it won't be there next week.
Even if you have the attitude of only buying locally or domestically made products of quality, your choices are limited. It's hard to do. Especially if you're buying womens wear. Recently Sam and I were in a shoe store in Portland that's been known for carrying a selection of mid-level quality footwear. I went over to the mens section and turned over the shoes. Not to look at the price, but to look at the label. Some were made in the U.S. some were not. Most of them were heavy, made of nice leather and thick soles, with stitching and a classic look that would last through trends. Then I went over to the womens section.
Sam had to usher a scowling and ranting Solanah out of the store.
I picked up a trendy looking leopard print wedge and nearly flung it up in the air it was so light compared to the heavy, durable mens shoes. Then I looked at a womens oxford that would be fair to compare to the mens oxford. It was also light, and the sole seemed to be made of some sort of foam rubber hybrid. I love my vintage oxfords, but in no way treat them like glass slippers. I wear them without caution, and if I were to wear the oxfords in the store the same way I wear my vintage ones, they'd be dead in a month.
I could go on. And I might in the future, but when it comes right down to it, I really think you should read this book. It's good, it's eye opening, and while I won't say something cliche like "it will change your life", I will say it might change the way you look at shopping and your own wardrobe. There is a solution, as stuck as we may seem, and unsurprisingly that solution takes a nod from how our mothers and grandmothers viewed clothing.
So read the book.
I'm going to go attack my massive mending pile and teach my cousins to sew their own clothes.