eighty four pounds of cloth per year?

The social and health costs of fashion is a growing field of curatorial interest, also evident in the 2009 exhibit Eco Fashion: Going Green, at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology, examining “fast fashion.” It revealed the United States consumes some 84 lb. of textiles per person per year, that the average garment purchased in the U.S. is worn only six times before being discarded, and that textile making uses more than 8,000 chemicals, many of them irreversibly damaging to people and the planet.”

Deadly Victorian fashions

Eighty four pounds of textiles per person? It boggles the mind. I sometimes bring myself to task for my own excesses of replacing three or four pieces of clothing each year. I pride myself that my respectable winter coat is over 15 years old, and is still looking quite respectable.  I haven’t even needed to replace the pockets yet.

I did buy a linen tunic this week, from Flax. Their clothing is durable and should last for years. I am tempted to draft a similar pattern and use up some of the linen in my sewing supply. It replaces a white linen shirt that is a bit too shabby after sixteen years of use. I’ll find a use for the old shirt, maybe as the foundation for a boro garment, or the patches for another. Much of the linen is still good.

As someone who makes cloth, I am drawn to buying things made from good cloth, things that will last for a decade or more. Why should the clothes I buy be any lesser than those I make?

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