The Hidden Cost of Clothes

A friend recently sent me 6 Things You Should Know About Your Clothes by Shannon Whitehead.  Have you ever stopped to think about what happens before that cute skirt lands on the shelf at J. Crew?

I am a staunch consumer of organic foods, despite the higher price.  I’m willing to pay more for organics because I know that the hidden cost of conventional foods is much greater than the cheap price up front.  Not surprisingly, the same is true for clothes.

Shannon Whitehead’s list gave me pause and provoked me to think more deeply about my clothes:

  1. There are chemicals on your clothes just as there are chemicals in and on conventional foods.  See the video below. 
  2. There are up to 30 million slaves in the world today which explains how shirts and jackets can be sold at such low prices.
  3. Big retailers are a big problem for reasons stated above.
  4. Our old clothes and disposable behavior are ruining Africa’s economy because of the volume at which we buy and then donate our (cheap) clothes.  Clothes that aren’t deemed worthy of resale are shipped overseas and negatively impact local textile and clothing economies.
  5. It takes decades for your clothing to decompose in a landfill.  I take what I don’t donate to textile recycling at the dump.  I don’t know where it goes next, but I hope it’s better than a landfill.  There are also companies that take old denim and recycle it into insulation.
  6. It’s not helpless.

There are things to do!

  • Buy less.  The fewer things to bring into your wardrobe, the more you will value and care for them.
  • Buy used.  There are second-hand buy-and-sell places like Buffalo Exchange.  There are local consignment stores and thrift stores.  Shop them.  It can take patience, but it’s that or the list above.
  • Buy organic.  If you can’t find it used after diligent effort, buy organic.  Buy recycled or up-cycled.  More on these options soon.

See Shannon’s follow-up suggestions here.

About Eva

Digital marketing entrepreneur. Niche: women-owned businesses. Polka dot enthusiast, space nerd, feminist.
This entry was posted in Consuming, Environmentalism, Products, Videos and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Hidden Cost of Clothes

  1. Pingback: New bra methodology | Style Me Minimal

  2. Pingback: I bought 2 new things | Style Me Minimal

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