I belong to the American Sewing Guild, and enjoy my time at meetings. Today I was speaking to a college instructor who was talking about a class she’d taken on modern textiles – from which she returned horrified. Apparently many modern textiles are actively bad for us.
I knew that fast fashion contributed to environmental damage and I knew about factory conditions in the countries that make our clothing most cheaply. Anyone who has picked up a t-shirt in the last five years has noticed textile quality dropping sharply.
I also knew that my older clothing, and the clothing that I had made myself, from high-quality materials, felt distinctly different from clothing I’d purchased from big-box stores or made from cheap fabrics. I thought that was all about quality… certainly it doesn’t take a wizard to tell you that a long-staple cotton from Italy is going to be nicer than a quilting cotton from China. Eesh. The dye job on the latter can give you that information.
But is it more than that?
So I decided to do a bit of research on my own – are we really wearing things that are bad for us? For our children?
It looks like it well may be.
Just one more reason to choose your clothing carefully. Avoid polyester as much as possible. Choose undyed cotton or linen to wear against your skin. Wear high-quality fabrics from countries with better records in regards to pollution and toxicity.
Not an easy task, not in the least. How can we do this? Good cloth is expensive (and always has been). I think it comes back to returning to the clothing ethos of our foremothers, where a few good things were kept nice. It won’t be an easy transition, not for any of us.
Sometimes, the old ways are best.