I have historically approached living green from the energy perspective, but now as I learn more about how interrelated all the various components are, like transportation, food, textiles, & energy, and how they contribute substantially to the green house effect and climate change, I have started to look beyond energy. It also helps having done so much to save energy, like cutting our primary consumption in half, additional reductions in energy use are hard and/or expensive. Don’t take that to mean we’ve given up, but rather are focusing our limited time and money on making improvements in other areas of greening our life. Think of it as having picked all the low hanging fruit from the apple tree and then moving to pick the low hanging pears from the pear tree rather than getting the ladder to get all of the apples. Today’s fruit is sustainable clothing.
I’ll start my story a few weeks back when I desperately needed to replace my blue jeans as my current pairs all had holes in inappropriate places. Rather than just getting my standard replacement Levis 560 Loose Fit, I started looking for environmentally friendly jeans. My philosophy is use what you have until it needs to be replaced and then replace it with something better (some exceptions for things that consume energy as improved efficiency can justify early replacement). My search led me to places like H&M, recoJeans, and EVO (apparently now defunct). H&M sells organic cotton jeans, but only in tight fit and since I’m a big man, I needed my loose fit jeans. RecoJeans selld recycled denim jeans, made from commercial scraps of denim, but the price tag was over $100 per pair. As I browsed through retailers at EVO as well, I kept coming back to the same thing, a pair of environmentally friendly jeans was going to cost me over $100. I’ve never spent more than $40 on a pair of pants in my life. Another alternative I considered was buying used jeans from a thrift store, but given how time constrained we are and how few jeans actually fit my legs, I passed on that idea. I wish there was an online source for used clothing that would be able to provide specific used clothes, like a Levis 560 in my size, but I just don’t see that business model being profitable yet.
After a few hours of frustrating research on the topic, and since buying a single pant leg (the amount I was prepared to spend was about $50) wasn’t useful, I made up my mind to save money and get my standard not so ecofriendly Levi jeans. I got two pairs for $75 including shipping and some guilt. I had pretty much given up for now on owning environmentally friendly clothes.
Then I got lucky 🙂
I entered a giveaway at greenLAgirl to win one of these really cool organic cotton t-shirts and I won. Now I am the proud wearer of this cool organic cotton wind turbine t-shirt from bgreenapparel. I still feel that organic cotton and other sustainable fabric clothing are too expensive for most folks, when compared to basic (not designer) jeans or clothes, but am hopeful that the prices will come down and I will continue to check in on the market as I slowly need to replace my wardrobe.