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Clothing That Doesn’t Suck (At All)

January 9, 2013

Last month Greenpeace threw my minimal-impact (minimal shopping, minimal fashion, minimal thinking) clothing strategy into chaos by calling Levis out regarding hazardous chemicals.

This was a problem, because until then my entire wardrobe was based on Levis jeans, hand-me down clothing from various relatives, and free sailing apparel (which is one of the many perks of writing about the sailing world–though my wife does get embarrassed that most of my shirts that have boat names like “Tsunami” stitched on them).

I didn’t have to think about what to buy or wear. I was happy. But if I couldn’t wear my jeans in good conscience, what could I wear? Happily, the folks at Repair The World, which makes Earth-friendly clothing from recycled cotton scraps and recycled plastic bottles, stepped forward to help me resolve my clothing crisis. (You can read more about Repair The World here).

They took pity on me, and offered to send me one of their shirts, for a test run. So I selected a long sleeve t-shirt, not really knowing what to expect.  I was fully prepared for a scratchy, ill-fitting, shirt that might melt if I got too near a lamp. Instead, I opened the mailer to find a shockingly soft, well-made, long-sleeve shirt. Exactly the sort of thing a lazy environmentally conscious person could rely on day after day.



I’ve been wearing it for a week now, and it even (unintentionally) went through a full wash and high heat dryer cycle. Came out fine. (No, I haven’t grown a tail as a result of wearing the shirt; I guess the dog didn’t want to be left out of the photoshoot).

The material is quite thin, so it will be interesting to see how long the shirt lasts. As you can, see I am sticking with my Levis down below (no Anthony Weiner pictures for me; and Levis has agreed to address the problem of chemical release). But it seems that there just might be an ethical clothing solution for those in search of one. And you have to admire the ingenious effort to come up with a clothing fabric that tries to address the environmental shortcomings of cotton (even organic cotton), which takes huge inputs of water and energy to produce and process.

I don’t know if it is something that the mass market will go for (because the mass market is not really that concerned about the future). For anyone who thinks about what they eat, and what they wear, though, Repair The World just might have some clothing for you. If necessary, you can stitch boat names on it yourself.

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