Thursday, May 03, 2012

Patagonia's Common Thread Initiative

I've been shopping on ebay lately for good, used, clothes for my job.  I like all the preppie, quasi-athletic brands like Columbia and Patagonia but don't like the buying from sweatshops aspect.  It seems like someone at Patagonia has been thinking along the same lines.  Patagonia, actually, has been one of the more aware clothing makers for social, labor, and environmental issues involved in clothing manufacture, and now they've come out with The Common Threads Initiative in cooperation with ebay. You sign a pledge that asks you to do three seemingly simple things:
"Reduce. Don't buy what we don't need. Repair: Fix stuff that still has life in it. Reuse: Share."
They have about half of the 50,000 pledges they want folks to take for this year.   All three of those things may sound easy to do, but in practice can be very difficult.  Most people can't or don't buy less, and most won't repair clothes if they rip or lose a button.  I'm halfway between fixing and not-fixing so I can definitely sympathize with people who don't want to go to all the trouble to find a needle and thread or drag their sewing machine from the closet, or take their shoes to the cobbler.  Too many things to think about and do! In my perfect world we'd have a trade system for old clothes but the capitalistic functions of our society work in this instance, too, I suppose.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Homemade Shirt

Wore my homemade shirt the other day - this is the one of the articles of clothing that inspired the post I did the other day about how the clothes I make don't have to be couture-quality.  This is definitely not boutique-ready, but I don't feel ashamed to wear it - I feel great, actually, because I'm wearing something I made myself.  The button holes are a little messy and some of the seams might not be the straightest, but people are not going to be inspecting the workmanship - it covers my body and looks relatively nice.

May Day: Buy Union!

If you choose to buy nothing tomorrow on May Day to show solidarity with fellow workers of the world, more power to you!  If, however, you do choose to buy something, try this list of American-made products published on the United Food and Communication Workers International Union's (UFCW's) website.  It was interesting to browse through and see what's available, but it would be even more helpful if they linked to the website of the business so you could go straight there and see where the product was being offered in your area.

Note: While I was doing labels for this post I realized that today is the beginning of National Bike Month, so I'll have to do a post on that, soon!

Got the neat graphic from here.