A barometer of culture and class, fashion has always reflected our values. The textiles in your life are, in essence, a reflection of your style and a statement of time and place. One of today’s guests on the WBUR On Point radio highlighted just how true this is.
Elizabeth Cline, author of “Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion” was today’s guest. Her travels in Asia, researching the factories and lifestyles of those who produce much of the world’s inexpensive clothing, resulted in a not surprisingly dismal report. It is all quite obvious…. how else can shirts sell for less than $20 or shoes at the same price? I haven’t read the book, but it appears that her analysis is on target, and it will be interesting to see how the larger manufacturers, retailers and fashion media respond to her journalism.
This isn’t the first time I’ve heard this come up in public discourse. Last month, at the Common Cod Fiber Guild, Clara Parkes of the Knitter’s Review spoke about a Texas company which has become the last remaining large fleece processing plant in the US. She spoke of disappearing small lot dye houses. She reminded us that many of our favorite US yarn brands are simply distributors of products milled increasingly in China (although South America, Italy and Turkey still have a big stake in the game). She also shared some of the stellar U.S., British and European yarn brands who are holding on against the tide.
You are what you wear and what you create. Choose carefully.