The Shirt on Your Back Is More than You Might Think
Updated: Sep 1, 2021
My first of the month blog posts are dedicated to the practice of Living Connected. Clothing is the focus of our practice for August 2021.
Pick up a favorite article of clothing and study it. Notice the color(s) and feel of it. Imagine how you look and feel when wearing it. Read the label. Where was the item made and what is it made of? Celebrate the gift clothing is in your life.
All fabric comes from natural resources. Wool, silk, linen, and cotton are made from animal and plant sources. Semi-synthetic fibers like rayon are processed plant cellulose. Polyester, acrylic, and nylon are made from fossil fuels. Clothing manufacturing is the second largest industrial consumer of water, behind fruit and vegetable farming. It’s also a significant source of pollution around the world, particularly in the communities where clothing is made.
Look at your favorite article of clothing again. Reflect on the resources and people connected to it and who are with you every time you wear it. Say a prayer of thanks for them, and for those who work to protect the people and ecosystems where clothing is made. How might you change your clothing habits to honor the people and gifts of creation that make clothing possible?
I invite you to try one of the following practices this month.
When getting dressed, say a pray of thanks for the resources and the people who made your clothing.
Learn to mend and consider how long you can continue wearing an article of clothing, or how you might re-purpose it, since there are many issues with donated clothing.
Buy clothing from secondhand stores, yard sales, and other second-hand sources to reuse the natural resources already in economic circulation as clothing.
Make clothes last longer by breaking the habit of washing clothes after each wearing. Instead, wash them only when dirty or soiled. This is most important for synthetic fabrics, because washing them is a main source of primary microplastics in the oceans.
Buy Fair Trade Certified clothing.
Support non-profit organizations working to improve environmental and labor conditions in the countries where most of your clothing is made.
Comment on this post and suggest a practice. I struggle to find clothing that fits, does what I need it to do, and is made in a way that’s consistent with my beliefs about how people and creation should be treated. What works for you?