I watched the documentary, The True Cost, about the cost of mass-produced clothing including the cost to labourers, the environment, and farmers who produce raw goods. It made me want a handmade wardrobe even more. I don't want my money perpetuating that.
I recommend the movie, which is on Netflix streaming in the U.S. right now, or available to buy on iTunes and Amazon. I know some people won't like the content politically because it talks about unions, worker's rights, pollution, and government regulation.
I wish the documentary had touched on the issue of synthetic dyes, as well as non-commercial alternatives to the conventional system. And given more commercial alternatives.
I don't think I learned anything new, except that one expert who was interviewed said she believes that the socially responsible sourcing guidelines of major clothing companies are worthless. As in, the companies don't stick to what they say they do. That shook me up.
Mostly the value I got out of the movie was the human face it put on the issues, on the balance of power. It is really hard to see people tear up or express anger over what has happened to them.
I have been reading the blogs of a couple of fibre artists, Katrina Rodabaugh and Victoria Pemberton, who have found artistic expression by putting limits on their work, such as no new clothes or no synthetic dye. It has made me think about the criteria I want and what I want to do. I'm still thinking.
Some friends and I were talking about slow clothes, handmade clothes, and locally-sourced and locally-made clothes. Things like the deaths at Rana plaza, how a move to slow clothes would change how people look, the difficulty of getting everything local in an outfit even down to the shoes, and how weight fluctuations would be accommodated in a wardrobe that takes a lot of effort and time to make.