Despite all our efforts to encourage people to be mindful consumers, buying only what we really need, and buying second-hand at that, and mending/repairing things we already own, Americans still purchase, on average, a new garment every week! And it’s not good quality stuff. Surprisingly little of it gets resold; much of it ends up in landfills or in the hands of textile recyclers.
A new book, “Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion,” written by Brooklyn-based journalist Elizabeth Cline, addresses these issues, exploring the rise of fast fashion/disposable clothing and how our consumption of inexpensive clothes impacts society and the environment.
Marketplace reporter Stacey Vanek Smith recently spoke with Cline. An excerpt of that conversation:
Vanek Smith: If someone is maybe interested in changing the way that they shop, what’s a good way to start?
Elizabeth Cline: Well, there are so many different things. Just a handful would be supporting local designers, designers when they are starting up — honestly, they don’t have the capital to produce overseas, so a lot of them are producing in our communities — so support them, help them thrive. I would say also people should use their tailors and their seamstresses in their community, get your shoes repaired, take care of what you own. And lastly, I would say take that $1,100 a year, that American’s spend on average on clothes, and buy less but just invest your money in things that are a little bit better made.
More: The high price of cheap clothing | Marketplace.org
Elizabeth’s blog is on Tumblr here.