Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Could you live on a Hundred Mile Clothes Diet?


Yesterday's post set off a flurry of thoughts and contributions on clothing as class indicators, and the inevitable: the politics of clothing.

Materfamilias commented that her Hermes scarf is made in France, where workers receive far higher wages and benefits than developing countries.


I think of this when I buy made-in-EU items...but besides contributing to the French workers' benefits, I am also paying for the company's gazillion-dollar ad campaign.


Feel a twinge when I read the Made in Sri Lanka label in a $30 Gap t-shirt, and pause... som
etimes buy, sometimes not. Then I pick up the German t-shirt, yikes, $120!

I struggle with this issue every time I shop, pleased and relieved when I can Buy Canadian. I like to support our local designers, even though many skew too club-kid cute or society-matron safe for my taste.

What if I invoked the clothing equivalent of the Hundred Mile Diet for my clothes: nothing not designed and made outside of 100 miles?

Adios, Fila yoga pants, which wear like iron. Ciao, shawls from Italy, France, India. Sorry, DH, the Sabbia Rosa lingerie est partie. Sayonara, Uniqlo $
70 sweater.

If I adhered to the rules:

The shoe situation would be dire. Roots and John Fluevog (shoes shown in photo, top) manufacture offshore now. There's a bespoke shoemaker I can see from my house, a sweet guy my husband likes. He uses some Canadian hides, but how many brogues do I want?


The findings, from coat buttons to bra hooks are not produced here, a major problem. Opaque tights- could I live without? The Comrags suit shown is a winner, but the fabric is not local. Revised in Ontario-spun hemp, gaaaah!

Bags would be a breeze- there are some world-class leatherworkers like Negash at Dessa and Negash in Toronto... maybe he could assure me the brass fittings are forged locally.Swimsuits? Hello, skinny-dip.

Some Hundred Mile Dieters say they cheat on coffee, so I would cheat on hosiery and bras (the thought of tying a bra closed is terrifying).



5 comments:

materfamilias said...

such interesting posts here, like Cybill, I wish we could all be together in a room hashing this out over wine -- as it is, I feel myself reluctantly backing towards the door, still listening and chatting, but aware that I have a plane to catch . . .
Like you, while I cited fair wages as a potential justification for some of the Hermès scarf's exorbitant cost, I have so far been unwilling to eschew all I would have to in order to live on a Hundred (or, heck, even thousand) Mile Clothes Diet. While I admire those who can be so ecologically consistent,design,as often as cost, is a factor, especially when we're already contending with the challenges posed by "maturity."
Better go catch my plane, but I'll be trying to eavesdrop as I'm running for it . . .
Greying Pixie's found a partial answer in secondhand/vintage, which brings so many items "from away" into our Hundred Mile range (and her new evening outfit, described in last post's comments, sounds wonderful!)

Nancy said...

I am ready to use up all my carbon karma to fly to Canada and buy a bushel of those Comrags clothes. Heck, I'm considering MOVING to Canada just to be near one of the stores that sells them. You self-effacing Canadians--how could you have hidden this treasure from us? Seriously. They're fabulous.

Duchesse said...

Come on up, Nancy...and bring a big bag- I'll show you a few more treasures.

La Belette Rouge said...

Really interesting idea. I do fear that if I dressed in only Austin area clothes my wardrobe would be limited to hippy garb and western wear. Now, once I get to Paris this 100 mile rule would be much easier to live by.

cybill said...

No way could I live on a hundred miles clothes diet, not here. I think I'd end up in a rabbit skin outfit of my own making.
When I purchase clothing my wish/hope is that the workers are fairly compensated for their work.