For my birthday in 2010 I received shares in Jacob’s Reward Farm, a local fiber CSA that is 15 minutes from my house.
I received one pound of alpaca, eight ounces of cotton and one ounce of Angora rabbit fibers.
I am crazy about the stuff but I don’t know how to spin, so my next task is to find someone who will spin this for me.
By the time I am done, this will probably be the most expensive yarn I have ever purchased but that’s just fine by me. I like that I am supporting a local business. I purposely requested the raw (versus dyed) fleece because I happen to like it in its raw state, but also I know how dyes impact our environment.
I’m going to choose the projects that I use these for very carefully. Seeing the alpaca grazing in the field when I went to pick up my share weaves a story about my fiber and therefore, makes it all the more special to me. I want to it be something that I will use for a very long time.
In the course of my “real” job, I ran across this post about Tom’s – the famous shoe company that promotes buy one, give one away.
I had a pretty high regard for Tom’s. I thought that it was a socially responsible company, but after reading the above post and this one, coupled with the book I am reading, Naked Fashion, I realize that while their intentions may be good, they really are going all about it the wrong way. The best way for me to sum it up is this:
Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for life.
Tom’s is giving the fish away, and the sad part is that there are already plenty of fish. The people in these countries aren’t looking for fish, they are looking for a way to build a viable economy that can sustain them. When foreign aid comes in the manner of free goods, it undermines the local economy.
I guess I won’t be buying those Tom’s shoes after all. Instead, I am eyeing the shoes made by Nisolo. I’m digging their Bolivar Wedge.
I recently picked up Naked Fashion – The new sustainable fashion revolution by Safia Minney (founder of People Tree).
I haven’t finished reading it but the point that it makes is that our current state of the fashion industry is not sustainable – for the environment or for the people that are employed (and I use that term loosely considering the squalid conditions some people live in so that we can buy a $4 t-shirt and then throw it away in 6 months).
It is definitely thought provoking.
Here is another interesting article about how leather is processed.
I don’t think we have to give up our style or beautiful clothes. I just believe that we have to rethink how we approach it and do it in a mindful manner that is respectful of the environment and the people who are employed. How can we claim to be caring and thoughtful of our fellow humans if we allow others to live in substandard conditions, for what, to save a few bucks? Because if we allow it to happen to others, there’s no stopping it from happening to us.