“When we think about global warming, growing cancer rates, deepening poverty in some of the world’s poorest countries, and even increasing chemical sensitivities, our clothes closets are probably not the first villain that comes to mind, but our clothes can be a significant, quiet co-conspirator.” – organicconsumers.org
We should all be mindful that purchasing new clothing negatively affects the environment. But being aware and responsible doesn’t mean sacrificing style or sophistication. Buying and wearing vintage clothing is a simple way to reduce, reuse, recycle and look stylish and save money while doing what’s best for the planet. Substituting one pound of reused clothing (one pair of jeans) for something new saves 10,000 pounds of water, 1/2 pound of fertilizers, 4 ounces of pesticides and 6 pounds of carbon emissions. Unfortunately, only 15% of clothing in the United States is recycled.
Manufacturing new clothing puts an alarming strain on the environment. The process of milling fabric involves using a huge quantity of energy and water, and gallons of dyes and chemicals are dumped into the water supply. Crops require enormous amounts of pesticides; cotton, for example, is considered the “dirtiest” crop due to its heavy use of pesticides (cotton crops cover 2.5% of the world’s cultivated land, yet are responsible for 16% of pesticide use.) Animals are (often inhumanely) killed to produce leather and fur. Mountains of discarded clothes are dumped into land fills. All this, in addition to the numerous ethical dilemmas involved in buying new clothing, most of which is manufactured overseas, is a convincing argument that we should all buy vintage when we can.
I’ll be blogging here about vintage clothing, posting news stories about manufacturing new clothing and its effect on the environment and discussing anything else that supports the “Vintage Is Green™” movement.