What our cheap clothes really mean

greenpeace video on toxic textiles and pollution

The Greenpeace video below contains some pretty disturbing images, including villagers subsistence fishing near the toxic outflow of the factories making our clothes.

Because I work in textiles but on the vintage/green side, I’m painfully aware of the problem of the industry’s toxicity. The effort to find textiles that are not toxic to the environment and are not made with child or proto-slave labour often seems almost futile. Textiles are one of the oldest, most venerable of human crafts, but their takeover by corporations and the exportation of their manufacture to countries without environmental regulation has turned the textile industry into one of the most unjust, wasteful, polluting, carbon-spewing industries on the planet, an industry that does not receive nearly enough scrutiny.

We should check where our clothes are made and what they’re made from. Many items continue to pollute the environment every time you wash them, and that’s not to mention what they might be doing to you when you wear them. Fleece is simply out of the question. It sheds masses of plastic particles every time you wash it, and these have now been identified in high concentrations in the ocean. That’s quite apart from the off-gassing in its manufacture during the melting of the plastics used to spin it.

Why do artists wear black so much? Maybe because they can’t afford to buy clothes all the time, and their black items are perhaps the only ones without visible stains? Or not covered in dated patterns? Questioning the textile industry perhaps means questioning fashion itself.

The number of hotel sheets thrown out worldwide in one year would apparently stretch to the moon. So I’m told.

Lastly, has anyone noticed that in the world of fast disposable fashion, natural fibres have all but disappeared? It seems to have happened in the last few years. I noticed it at H&M recently, real difficulty in finding anything that wasn’t a petrochemical/plastic fibre.

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2 Responses to “What our cheap clothes really mean”

  1. karin Says:

    So we need to start Detox. The key is also to share how, along with the message that we need to Detox. Looking forward.

  2. Vandaland Says:

    Hotel sheets can be recycled into great clothes,they are usually 100percent cotton and can be Eco dyed with a little extra effort .

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