Recycling is green; stealing’s just plain mean

My friend Gloria, who enjoys fashion as an art form as much as I do, prefers reading Harper’s Bazaar and Elle as opposed to say, Vogue, for the articles.  The rest is eye-candy, of course.  But she’s reached a boiling point.  An avid follower of haute-couture I am not, she cleverly pointed out several disparaging issues about the latest 2009 collections from the style bigwigs. 

…Dolce & Gabbana, my pick for this year’s biggest flop. pajamas? are you SERIOUS. the cut of these jammies are the same as the cotton ones my dad has been wearing to bed since i was born. did i mention my dad is 65 years old? in addition, their  leather sheath with chains hanging sloppily off the hem both gave me deja vu and a headache.

So you might not care about any of that.  Or you might not have understood about 57% of the contents of that blurb.  But even if you don’t care for that sort of thing, please care for this: I left a comment on her wall in accord with her argument but I took it in another direction.  This here comment is a morsel about what I think needs major fixing in the fashion world today (and in the world in general). 

I can already see you furrowing your eyebrow at me for this opener, but with the onset of the Obamanomics, our country– no, our world– has entered an era of change when it comes to consumerism. That being said, rip-offs of old anything is not change. It’s pretty exasperating to see big-time designers get so much money for doing so little in terms of progress and innovation.

The designs can be appreciated yes, Johnny, I agree. But let’s say you were “appreciating” the design of a cute girl from afar: she’s beautiful. Her legs are long and lithe. She’s got it going on. But… she’s totally vanilla. You’ve seen it all before, and it’s suddenly not appealing.

Voila the conundrum I feel we have at hand here in the fashion world. The issue is not whether the clothes are good enough to wear. It’s whether or not they merit the high-seated costs ($-wise) as well as the cost of production and contributing to an over-fed, flaky trend-driven market.

Using old stuff, actual physical vintage stuff, would be acceptable to me. That’s the type of cycle I’d like to see; recycling old fashion shouldn’t be about recycling whole ideas. It renders the high price tags ridiculous, insulting, and unfair. If Plato just regurgitated what Socrates said and passed it off as his own, he’d be a nobody. But no. He asked questions. He altered a few things. He cut and re-sewed ideas to make his own philosophy, so to speak. I think what Gloria is asking of the creme de la creme is to change the creme up, for pete’s sake, otherwise it just becomes sour milk.

I’m actually working on this myself. Using vintage clothing, I’d like to change (there’s that magic word again!) the face of fashion by yes, recycling old materials and making something new. Not only does this help the environment– begone crappily made clothes that are a) non-fair-trade and b) are going to be relegated to Goodwill the moment that several stitches inevitably come unraveled as well as c) clothes that simply won’t be loved because of the sheer variety and consumerist pressure to buy, buy, buy. And knowing that I can get something terribly unique and true to its era from a thrift store without resorting to eating Ramen everyday to be able to pay my bills is both serendipitous and satisfying.

Don’t get me wrong. Please. I was a compulsive shopper, and I still have a little of that in me. I’m impulsive in general. But instead of throwing these things away and replacing them with bygone-influenced bullshit, let’s see some other form of materialism: profit off of old materials, not old material! It’s hard enough watching our fellow citizens get fat off fast food and lack of exercise. I really don’t want to watch socially and economically privileged citizens get fat with money bags off fashion plagiarism. It goes straight to the thighs, anyway.

Oscar Wilde once said that fashion was a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.  It’s a form of ugliness if you make it ugly.  It can be a thing of beauty, my dear Oscar.  And weren’t you super duper homosexual, and like, sodomizing all up and down the country side?  I mean, you probably sported some dandy-rific threads.  Anyway, while I agree with Mr. Wilde to an extent, my main point is that this stupid capitalistic pressure that accompanies high fashion is what causes these sort of things.  It’s also the reason why people go out and shop for clothes they don’t need.  Want want want.  Like I said above, I’m far from being innocent of this crime.  But it’s something I’m working on and solving by creating art and sustainable apparel out of stuff I don’t need. 

Check out these fingerless gloves made out of and old sweater and some buttons. Rock on.


Wanna help me fix it? I urge you to do the same with anything you have, especially if it’s non-bio-degradable. 

“But.. but everything is biodegradable! … With time.”  Hush!  That’s actually a direct quote from a friend of mine I’ve known since middle school.  It’s funny, but it’s sad to think about and pretty much untrue.  Let’s review the options here in solving the daily problem of not being naked:

1 Buy really expensive designer clothes that aren’t vintage-inspired but vintage-ripoffs.

2 Buy really cheap clothes (cheap meaning pricetag-wise and quality wise) that ripoffs of the designer vintage-ripoffs.

3 Shop vintage.  Thrift.  Make your own clothing.  Swap with friends.  Go to a garage sale. 

4 Walk around naked.

These aren’t the only choices you have.  I’m sure there are more.  But seriously, just think about it.  I promise to post more about how to be less wasteful and how to use materials around the house to make cool things instead of having to go out and buy them.  Not only do you get to keep what you make, but you gain a sense of accomplishment unparalled by any other activity.  Plus, it’s more money in your pocket, dood.  That’s never a bad thing.  Unless you’re the Notorious B.I.G., then you may have mo’ problems.

One comment on “Recycling is green; stealing’s just plain mean”

  1. i’d walk around naked.

    everybody’s birthday suit is gloriously unique, and every baby is born in avant garde.

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