• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com pie forums private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • r ranson
stewards:
  • Leigh Tate
  • paul wheaton
  • Nicole Alderman
master gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • Beau Davidson
  • Jay Angler
  • John F Dean
  • Nancy Reading
gardeners:
  • thomas rubino
  • Casie Becker
  • Mike Barkley

Where to buy undyed/unbleached clothes?

 
pollinator
Posts: 258
Location: USDA Zone 8b
45
monies foraging books medical herbs homestead
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Anywhere I an purchase undyed/unbleached clothes without breaking the bank with shipping costs?

Found this site but prices are $100-200+ for jeans or a shirt IndustryOfAllNations

Etsy is mostly women's clothes which isn't very helpful as a man.


Has anyone bought undyed clothes? I like the look but wonder how the dyeing process affects durability.
 
pollinator
Posts: 298
Location: Hamburg, Germany
91
  • Likes 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Dharma Trading Company has been selling for decades.  I haven't bought anything from them in a long time but they were great quality back in the day.  https://www.dharmatrading.com/clothing/clothing-and-dyeables-from-dharma-trading-co.html
 
T Simpson
pollinator
Posts: 258
Location: USDA Zone 8b
45
monies foraging books medical herbs homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm mainly looking for natural fiber jeans & buttoned shirts which Dharma doesn't seem to have even in undyed.

You would think there would be a bit more of a market for it.
 
pollinator
Posts: 463
Location: Málaga, Spain
154
home care personal care forest garden urban food preservation cooking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The only way to have an undyed unbleached natural fiber clothe where I live that I know, is to purchase the fabric and make yourself the clothes.
Romans had a way to dress themselves without cutting and sowing the fabrics...
 
Posts: 131
Location: Manotick (Ottawa), Ontario
11
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

T Simpson wrote:I'm mainly looking for natural fiber jeans & buttoned shirts which Dharma doesn't seem to have even in undyed.

You would think there would be a bit more of a market for it.


I'm wondering what you have against traditional blue jeans (and plain-coloured cotton work shirts). The style has evolved from Levi Strauss's original version, replacing buttons with a zipper, for example, but they're still durable and comfortable for most of us. You can easily buy them pre-faded, if the standard colour seems too strong. I doubt that dyeing affects the strength.   Personally I've developed an appreciation for cotton fibre blends that incorporate some polyester, because it multiplies the lifespan of clothing, especially underwear.

I don't recall having a hard time finding unbleached heavy cotton for the liner of the tipi I made, but that was half a century ago in Vancouver. It may be necessary to learn to sew to have the clothing you're looking for.
 
Posts: 24
Location: Harlan, Oregon Coast Range
1
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It's unclear whether you're looking for cheaper shipping, less expensive undyed/unbleached clothing, or more durable (due to being undyed/unbleached) clothing.

But, for what it's worth, I've been trying to buy more durable, more sustainably made, clothing for a little while, and have come to the conclusion that clothing manufactured in any kind of sustainable way is just expensive. It's the realities of getting away from the economies of scale that come from fast-fashion. To get sustainable clothing off the rack, that clothing can't be shipped around the world, and must be made from fibers that are sustainably produced. The result is the cost is at least two orders of magnitude higher. But, the benefits are there, and the trade-off is worth it. My few higher-quality, more sustainable items, are holding up well and are wearing out due to wear, not due to lower quality and lighter weight textiles.

In the end, I think it's a choice between paying a lot, or making it yourself.
 
Posts: 72
Location: Allentown, PA but we bought off-grid property in Newark Valley, NY
18
3
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Andrew Sackville-West wrote:In the end, I think it's a choice between paying a lot, or making it yourself.



I used to sew a lot but have found it increasingly difficult to source quality fabric and no longer do.  And it's not any cheaper to sew most of the time now due to fabric cost.  The biggest argument in favor of sewing your own is either for mending, repurposing, or because you are a difficult size (my case, I'm very tall and don't want to look like I outgrew everything).
 
Posts: 154
17
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Andrew Sackville-West wrote:It's unclear whether you're looking for cheaper shipping, less expensive undyed/unbleached clothing, or more durable (due to being undyed/unbleached) clothing.

But, for what it's worth, I've been trying to buy more durable, more sustainably made, clothing for a little while, and have come to the conclusion that clothing manufactured in any kind of sustainable way is just expensive. It's the realities of getting away from the economies of scale that come from fast-fashion. To get sustainable clothing off the rack, that clothing can't be shipped around the world, and must be made from fibers that are sustainably produced. The result is the cost is at least two orders of magnitude higher. But, the benefits are there, and the trade-off is worth it. My few higher-quality, more sustainable items, are holding up well and are wearing out due to wear, not due to lower quality and lighter weight textiles.

In the end, I think it's a choice between paying a lot, or making it yourself.



Because it isn't the 'usual' wasteful way of manufacturing clothing, the market for undyed clothing, or even fabrics, sometimes, is that its considered a niche industry. Not everyone is going to want to  buy and dye their own clothes, or purchase fabric and  make their clothes. Because it isn't 'mainstream'; it does cost more to produce  it than regular dyed fabrics.
 
Andrew Sackville-West
Posts: 24
Location: Harlan, Oregon Coast Range
1
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Dianne Justeen wrote:

Andrew Sackville-West wrote:In the end, I think it's a choice between paying a lot, or making it yourself.



And it's not any cheaper to sew most of the time now due to fabric cost.



Oof. So it's a choice between paying a lot or ... paying a lot

 
Kim Huse
Posts: 154
17
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Andrew Sackville-West wrote:

Dianne Justeen wrote:

Andrew Sackville-West wrote:In the end, I think it's a choice between paying a lot, or making it yourself.



And it's not any cheaper to sew most of the time now due to fabric cost.



Oof. So it's a choice between paying a lot or ... paying a lot



My mom and I used to make out clothes; we were/are larger, well endowed, curvier women; when we started getting catalogs in with clothing at such cheap prices, we used to say " We can't make it for that"; because  yardages at the  fabric store pricing went up; and the clothing costs were coming down; now, its swinging the other way; cloth9ing costs are going back up; and  yardage is starting to come back down in price; so I am going to be making some of my own clothes again; and  I have not seen much in the way of clothes in the catalogs that I want to wear, anyways...
 
Dianne Justeen
Posts: 72
Location: Allentown, PA but we bought off-grid property in Newark Valley, NY
18
3
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Kim Huse wrote:[  I have not seen much in the way of clothes in the catalogs that I want to wear, anyways...



Amen to that!
 
David Wieland
Posts: 131
Location: Manotick (Ottawa), Ontario
11
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Andrew Sackville-West wrote: To get sustainable clothing off the rack, that clothing can't be shipped around the world, and must be made from fibers that are sustainably produced. The result is the cost is at least two orders of magnitude higher. But, the benefits are there, and the trade-off is worth it. My few higher-quality, more sustainable items, are holding up well and are wearing out due to wear, not due to lower quality and lighter weight textiles.



Although it's clear that sustainable clothing is regarded as a good and desirable thing, I have no idea what it actually means. Is there some way in which we can run out of fibre or clothing? Isn't durability an important quality for reducing the need for replacement? I'm not aware of any component of my clothing (which no sane person would call "fast fashion") that won't be available decades, if not centuries, from now. What does "sustainable item" mean?
 
Posts: 85
Location: Franklinton, NC
5
dog books homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
John Ott demonstrated in several of his books that a person lost strength when they wore synthetic fibers, or even a wrist watch, for that matter. I don't know if anybody has duplicated his experiments to date, but it makes sense to me. And even if you don't buy that, then sticking to natural fibers will at a minimum reduce the micro-plastics polluting the world. I would just stick to cotton, silk, wool, etc, as far as you can, and any dyes or bleaches should come out in the wash over time.
 
David Wieland
Posts: 131
Location: Manotick (Ottawa), Ontario
11
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Joe Banks wrote:John Ott demonstrated in several of his books that a person lost strength when they wore synthetic fibers, or even a wrist watch, for that matter. I don't know if anybody has duplicated his experiments to date, but it makes sense to me. And even if you don't buy that, then sticking to natural fibers will at a minimum reduce the micro-plastics polluting the world. I would just stick to cotton, silk, wool, etc, as far as you can, and any dyes or bleaches should come out in the wash over time.


That's odd -- and doubtful, especially considering my personal experience. I'm a 75-year-old with low testosterone who has been able to build muscle in the past few years since learning my natural thinness comes from being an ectomorph. So I figured out how to fit more nutritionally dense food into my small stomach and increased my morning exercise routine. Voila! I got  bigger and still wear durable cotton blend clothing and wear a wristwatch.

I'm still wondering what sustainable clothing is. Is it being introduced as a new synonym for all-natural fibre clothing?
 
Abraham Palma
pollinator
Posts: 463
Location: Málaga, Spain
154
home care personal care forest garden urban food preservation cooking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

David Wieland wrote:

Andrew Sackville-West wrote: To get sustainable clothing off the rack, that clothing can't be shipped around the world, and must be made from fibers that are sustainably produced. The result is the cost is at least two orders of magnitude higher. But, the benefits are there, and the trade-off is worth it. My few higher-quality, more sustainable items, are holding up well and are wearing out due to wear, not due to lower quality and lighter weight textiles.



Although it's clear that sustainable clothing is regarded as a good and desirable thing, I have no idea what it actually means. Is there some way in which we can run out of fibre or clothing? Isn't durability an important quality for reducing the need for replacement? I'm not aware of any component of my clothing (which no sane person would call "fast fashion") that won't be available decades, if not centuries, from now. What does "sustainable item" mean?



If you are concerned about sustainability, then you should not use anything that comes from, or makes critical use of non-renewable sources, except maybe iron which is so abundant and long lasting that it is almost renewable. Synthetic fabrics are an obvious non choice. But also cotton that has been produced by depleting fosil water or requiring synthetic fertilizers/pesticides.
A second issue is pollution. The way fibers are produced and then manufactured matters. Fibers have to be grown, harvested, treated for softness, treated for forming threads, then treated again to accept dye (usually by bleaching) and finally dyed. And all that before shipping. On the case of synthetic fibers, the pollution is obvious: microplastics that are sent down the rivers into the oceans. But even natural fibers are treated with chemicals that, used in abundance, may cause pollution issues.

So we have natural fibers that can be produced in a sustainable way but they still pollute (fair), natural fibers produced in a non sustainable way (wrong), and synthetic fibers (awful).

You could think that if we switched everything to natural fibers produced in sustainable way would be enough that would solve everything, but there's still the problem with availability and the inevitable pollution. Both problems can be addressed by reducing our fiber consumption. Any person needs a couple of clothes a year, even if they are well made and mended; we are more than 7 billion people. I didn't do the numbers, but I see how the sustainable fibers might not be enough for dressing every soul in the planet. So next step is reducing our fabric needs. Denim fabrics made of combed cotton have very good durability, so wearing those jeans of old is a good way to reduce our fibers consumption. Current way of producing ootton fibers is by making use of a shorter cotton fiber (that is more productive in the fields), and then sprying the fibers into a thread as if it were a sugar cotton from the fair. This thread is advertised as 100% cotton. Cotton threads made this way become weary just by washing them, and it is a miracle if you can wear it for more than a year. Not a problem for the fashion industry, but one for our planet.
Mending is a great way to reduce fiber consumption, however it is not well regarded to wear mended clothes in a city, as it is telling that you are very poor. We people in developed countries think of ourselves as middle class workers (even when we aren't), and middle class can't dress in mended clothes. It's ok to mend your socks, since the mending is not in sight, but the socks are usually made of weary fibers so when a hole appears, the rest of the sock is ready to fall apart.

Well, that was the theory. Then, in practice, if you want sustainble and low pollutant clothes, you either pay a prince's ransom or get ready to sew yourself. For those of us who cannot commit to such noble endeavour, there's still choice.
First, avoid any synthetic fiber. They are the worst in terms of sustainability and pollution, and you can get rid of them with careful attention to your purchases. Combed cotton is more durable than 100% cotton. Animal fibers are as good as can be, especially silk and alpaca, but they are not aplenty.
Second, look for quality. High gramage, thick stitches, no fancy fragile attached stuff. Plain colors make it easier to dye them again, if color wears out. Real denim weave is very durable, but other weaves might be softer and still good, they usually look thick and good quality.
Third, care for your clothes. Before washing them, try to hang them in the sun for a while inside out (to protect outside colors). If dirtiness persists, then wash it in cool water. Use hot water only when fats can't be removed. Don't wear the same clothes the whole day, let them dry or fungi will root on.
Lastly, if your clothes are high quality, then mend them as needed, you can pay for a professional mending if the quality merits. Dye them when the color goes away if you like, the pollution would be less than producing new clothes.
When the clothes serve you no more, you can still make use of the remnants. Patchworks, cleaning rags, animal blankets, be creative.
 
gardener
Posts: 2277
Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
301
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

David Wieland wrote:

Andrew Sackville-West wrote:  What does "sustainable item" mean?



Not sure I can answer completely, but part of clothing being sustainable is what was utilized  in the manufacture...  There was a phase where "stone washed" was "in".  Stone washed jeans and stone washed shirts and blouses. The stones were a kind of light weight and abrasive mineral being mined.... maybe something like perlite.  The question is whether it is sustainable to disassemble a mountain for this "stone".   If the dyes being used to dye the fabric are toxic and result in pollution of  streams rivers and ocean, that's probably not sustainable.  It is hard work to know these things about commercial products, and especially when the industry and regulatory agencies collaborate in obscuring the information from the buyer.

One other thing is the conditions of the workers who made the clothes.  Are they paid a living wage?  Is it a sweat shop.  The abuse of humans isn't sustainable.  It's short term for the laborers and the exploiters.

I think shopping at second hand and thrift shops is more sustainable than new, because IMO, of the three Rs reduce reuse recycle the re-use is the most effective at impacting the waste stream.

 
David Wieland
Posts: 131
Location: Manotick (Ottawa), Ontario
11
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Thekla McDaniels wrote:

David Wieland wrote:

Andrew Sackville-West wrote:  What does "sustainable item" mean?



Not sure I can answer completely, but part of clothing being sustainable is what was utilized  in the manufacture...  There was a phase where "stone washed" was "in".  Stone washed jeans and stone washed shirts and blouses. The stones were a kind of light weight and abrasive mineral being mined.... maybe something like perlite.  The question is whether it is sustainable to disassemble a mountain for this "stone".  
...
I think shopping at second hand and thrift shops is more sustainable than new, because IMO, of the three Rs reduce reuse recycle the re-use is the most effective at impacting the waste stream.


I don't know where the idea of disassembling a mountain comes from. Certainly mining is involved in some way with practically everything we have, even if it's just digging up clay to make bricks or cob. We wouldn't be sustainable without it.
As for perlite, mountain disassembly is hyperbole. Here's a description from a gardening website:
Perlite is a volcanic glass that is heated to 1,600 degrees F. (871 C.) whereupon it pops much like popcorn and expands to 13 times its former size, resulting in an incredibly lightweight material.
(Read more at Gardening Know How: What Is Perlite: Learn About Perlite Potting Soil https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/soil-fertilizers/perlite-potting-soil.htm)

The Three Rs practice is good but not enough to sustain us. It certainly can't build a thrift shop, for example.

 
Thekla McDaniels
gardener
Posts: 2277
Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
301
3
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

David Wieland wrote:[
I don't know where the idea of disassembling a mountain comes from. Certainly mining is involved in some way with practically everything we have, even if it's just digging up clay to make bricks or cob. We wouldn't be sustainable without it.
As for perlite, mountain disassembly is hyperbole. Here's a description from a gardening website:
Perlite is a volcanic glass that is heated to 1,600 degrees F. (871 C.) whereupon it pops much like popcorn and expands to 13 times its former size, resulting in an incredibly lightweight material.
(Read more at Gardening Know How: What Is Perlite: Learn About Perlite Potting Soil https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/soil-fertilizers/perlite-potting-soil.htm)

The Three Rs practice is good but not enough to sustain us. It certainly can't build a thrift shop, for example.



Disassembling a mountain is mining.    So, it's not that mining is intrinsically wrong.  Mining is a tool of sorts, like burning, like tilling the soil.  Like all tools, there is appropriate and inappropriate use.  In permaculture we try to find that balance, between appropriate and inappropriate use of anything.  It's my opinion that expending resources required in mining and the transportation of the substances mined isn't appropriate expenditure of resources when it's for fashion, and it likely decreases the life of the garment.  No need to agree, we're just exploring ideas here about sustainable clothing and I used "stone washed " clothing as an example.  Probably the clothing would be more durable without having been stone washed.  I chose an example from the past, so that I would not be speaking of someone's favorite something or other.  Probably that specific  texture of cloth is more  important to others than to me.  That's no problem.  In permaculture we look at the specific conditions of our project, and then figure out what's best.  We can't all do the exact same thing because we don't all face the same set of variables.  

 
Posts: 81
Location: A NorCal clay & rock valley
4
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I don't know about stuff being undyed, but if you're in an area of an Amish community they have simple clothing. Might be a consideration.
 
steward
Posts: 19168
Location: Pacific Northwest
9416
7
hugelkultur kids cat duck forest garden foraging fiber arts sheep wood heat homestead
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Did the question of "what is sustainable clothing?" ever get answered?

I'm going to take a stab at it, but I'm super tired, so I'll probably miss some aspect.

Just like growing food can use a lot of resources (water, fertilizer) and create a lot of pollution (pesticides, herbicides, pollution from the energy used to process the fibre, etc), so too does growing clothing.

Clothing doesn't come from no where. It has to be grown and then processed. Sometimes, we try to grow something in an area where it doesn't work naturally, like growing large-scale cotton in the frozen north, or linen/flax in hotter regions. If there's a lot of demand for cotton, people will try to grow it in places where it wouldn't be happy naturally, so they add fertilizers, water, pesticides, etc.

Some fibres create a lot of nasty waste products when processed. When linen is processed on a large scale, it's usually vat whetted, which is aerobic and makes lots of yucky chemicals in the process of being turned into something useful for fiber.

Some fibres use a lot of energy to be processed into fabric--I think cotton is one of these. "Bamboo rayon" is one that uses a lot of energy and chemicals to be turned into something spinnable. And, of course, polyester fabric is just spun plastic. And the plastic makes tiny microplastics (aka lint) when you wash it, and that goes into our water supply, and also into conventional food (sewage sludge is applied to non-organic fields as an affordable fertilizer. mmmm, human poop + microplasctics + whatever else went down the toilet+sink).

And then there's the dying process. Some dyes are probably less sustainable than others. Not to mention those plastic pictures painted onto kids clothing and logos on adult shirts.

When I look for sustainable fabrics, I look for linen, organic cotton, hemp, and wool. I like these because (1) they can decompose, (2) they can be sustainably grown and processed without as many chemicals and pollutants.

Wool is really great, because sheep can graze on land that's not useful for crops. And it's renewable. And compostable. And helps you stay cool in summer and warm in winter. And it's generally antimicrobial).

I also like buying used clothing in natural fibres, and like linen and organic cotton when I can find it. :inen is nice because it keeps you cooler in summer, and is also nice in winter.
 
David Wieland
Posts: 131
Location: Manotick (Ottawa), Ontario
11
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Nicole Alderman wrote:Did the question of "what is sustainable clothing?" ever get answered?
....


I think the word "sustainable" is misused a lot these days as a sort of code word for "produced in a more primitive way". I don't see any sign that modern manufacturing is running down, although some practices (e.g., fast fashion) are egregiously wasteful.

Your description of linen processing was interesting and illustrates that using even natural fiber may require steps and chemicals that purists find offensive. Personally, I have great appreciation for synthetic fibers. Having some polyester blended with cotton makes my underpants last several times longer than the 100% cotton ones I've worn in the past, without any apparent compromise. Polyethylene rope is much lighter and more resilient than natural fiber equivalents. And I definitely appreciate that it doesn't rot just from getting wet, so it can sustain tension for many more years.
 
Abraham Palma
pollinator
Posts: 463
Location: Málaga, Spain
154
home care personal care forest garden urban food preservation cooking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

I think the word "sustainable" is misused a lot these days as a sort of code word for "produced in a more primitive way"


It's a matter of the load capacity of the system. Any activity, human or not, is wasteful and produces pollution and entropy. But the system has ways to deal with that by counter-balance forces. You are right about ancient ways of doing things not being exactly clean, and given a big enough population, no matter how clean clothing is produced, it might be too much for the ecosystems. However, our current 'use and throw' model is too wasteful, no matter how efficient it has become compared to ancient ways. Living this way reduces the sustainable carrying capacity of the planet. We don't have to do things exactly as the ancient ways, but surely we can find more ecological processes that don't depend on non-renewable resources and cleaner, maybe at the cost of more expensive clothing that we should care better.

By the way, your 100% cotton clothes ware out too fast because of the weaving process. Any time you wash your clothes, some fibers are lost down the drain. Adding polyester is a cheap way to increase life expentancy of a cheap fabric, but it's not sustainable or eco friendly. If you want long lasting cotton fabric, look for combed cotton.

If polyester was only used to make safety ropes and such, then we could recycle them quite easily, and pollution would be easily contained.
 
David Wieland
Posts: 131
Location: Manotick (Ottawa), Ontario
11
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Abraham Palma wrote:

I think the word "sustainable" is misused a lot these days as a sort of code word for "produced in a more primitive way"


It's a matter of the load capacity of the system. Any activity, human or not, is wasteful and produces pollution and entropy. But the system has ways to deal with that by counter-balance forces. You are right about ancient ways of doing things not being exactly clean, and given a big enough population, no matter how clean clothing is produced, it might be too much for the ecosystems. However, our current 'use and throw' model is too wasteful, no matter how efficient it has become compared to ancient ways. Living this way reduces the sustainable carrying capacity of the planet. We don't have to do things exactly as the ancient ways, but surely we can find more ecological processes that don't depend on non-renewable resources and cleaner, maybe at the cost of more expensive clothing that we should care better.

...Adding polyester is a cheap way to increase life expectancy of a cheap fabric, but it's not sustainable or eco friendly. If you want long lasting cotton fabric, look for combed cotton.
...


You've made a few claims that I have to question.
Any activity, human or not, is wasteful and produces pollution:  In my garden, I grow food. I have to put nutrients into the soil at a level at least equal to those removed through harvest to make it sustainable. Sufficiently rich compost provides that (in conjunction with sunlight and carbon dioxide, of course), although I occasionally use some fish fertilizer or beet extract. In what way is that wasteful and polluting?

Our current 'use and throw' model is too wasteful, no matter how efficient it has become: The 'use and throw' model does apply to some things in advanced societies -- but definitely not to everything. While it's true that manual skills that facilitate the repair of useful items have faded in our increasingly urbanized world, there are still many of us who look for durability and take pride in extending the life of the tools we use and the clothes we wear. Durability and repairability reduce waste, and durable items specifically reduce time spent (wasted) in early replacement or repair.

Surely we can find more ecological processes that don't depend on non-renewable resources:  Human progress has relied on our ability to utilize the available energy sources. Energy-poor regions struggle to progress. Some energy sources (such as slavery) have a heavier impact than others, but all have enabled progress and, assuming availability, been progressively more efficient. From cave-dwellers using open fires, through stoves, water wheels, steam engines, internal combustion engines, and electric motors -- not to mention lighting advances -- humans have improved our use of energy sources. As we've been able to utilize more concentrated forms of energy, we've been able to multiply our ability to accomplish tasks, manufacture goods, and turn our attention further and further from survival and toward a big picture view of our world. The wofati greenhouse project is making excellent use of modern earth-moving machines to expedite the work (and likely make it safer). The "renewable" energy sources (hydro, wind, solar) rely heavily on non-renewable energy, primarily fossil fuels. So what processes don't depend on non-renewable resources? Rocket stoves and mass heaters are an especially efficient way to burn wood, but they'll never power factories or vehicles -- and they require some non-renewable energy input.

Maybe at the cost of more expensive clothing: Accompanying this progress, especially since the beginning of the industrial age, has been a lowering of the cost of the goods (and food) that sustain us. Is that a bad thing? How would that impact poorer people?

Adding polyester is a cheap way to increase life expectancy of a cheap fabric, but it's not sustainable or eco friendly: I read a phrase like "not sustainable or eco friendly" from time to time, but I wonder what it truly means. Energy-poor parts of the world are where sustenance and sustainability of any kind are hardest to achieve, and eco-friendliness is the last thing on the inhabitants minds. (I'm thinking of places that still do indoor cooking on open fires fueled by dried dung or scavenged plant material. Yes, they still exist.) Why isn't increasing the life expectancy of cheap fabric a good thing?
 
Nicole Alderman
steward
Posts: 19168
Location: Pacific Northwest
9416
7
hugelkultur kids cat duck forest garden foraging fiber arts sheep wood heat homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

David Wieland wrote:

Abraham Palma wrote:

I think the word "sustainable" is misused a lot these days as a sort of code word for "produced in a more primitive way"


It's a matter of the load capacity of the system. Any activity, human or not, is wasteful and produces pollution and entropy. But the system has ways to deal with that by counter-balance forces. You are right about ancient ways of doing things not being exactly clean, and given a big enough population, no matter how clean clothing is produced, it might be too much for the ecosystems. However, our current 'use and throw' model is too wasteful, no matter how efficient it has become compared to ancient ways. Living this way reduces the sustainable carrying capacity of the planet. We don't have to do things exactly as the ancient ways, but surely we can find more ecological processes that don't depend on non-renewable resources and cleaner, maybe at the cost of more expensive clothing that we should care better.

...Adding polyester is a cheap way to increase life expectancy of a cheap fabric, but it's not sustainable or eco friendly. If you want long lasting cotton fabric, look for combed cotton.
...



Adding polyester is a cheap way to increase life expectancy of a cheap fabric, but it's not sustainable or eco friendly: I read a phrase like "not sustainable or eco friendly" from time to time, but I wonder what it truly means. Energy-poor parts of the world are where sustenance and sustainability of any kind are hardest to achieve, and eco-friendliness is the last thing on the inhabitants minds. (I'm thinking of places that still do indoor cooking on open fires fueled by dried dung or scavenged plant material. Yes, they still exist.) Why isn't increasing the life expectancy of cheap fabric a good thing?



Personally, I've never really found a benefit to wearing polyester. Every time I've found jeans that are uncomfortable (hot and sticky in the summer, cold and damp in the winter), they have a percentages of polyester in them. I've even bought some thinking they were 100% cotton, wore them and found them uncomfortable, and then scruitized the tag and found it had polyester. And when I used polyester inserts in my son's diapers, it gave him horrible diaper rashes because it was (1) not moisture wicking enough and (2) Didn't come clean as easy and so got ammonia build-up. 100% cotton inserts were far, far better.

As for people in developing countries, those people are usually the ones dealing with our mountains of trash. Would they rather have clothing that decomposes, or that makes more trash in the landfill. I'd personally love to be able to take my old pair of pants, or my shirt/coat that's too worn out for even use as rags, and throw them in my garden and let them act as natural weed barriers until they decompose into nutrients for my garden. Go back 100 years ago, and you could do that.

My kids and I have been reading Charolette's Web for school, and this passage really stood out to me:

Below the apple orchard, at the end of a path, was the dump where Mr Zuckerman threw all sorts of trash and stuff that nobody wanted anymore. Here, in a small clearing hidden by young alders and wild raspberry bushes, was an astonishing pile of old bottles, and empty tin cans and dirty rags and bits of metal and broken bottles and broken hinges and broken springs and last month's magazines and old discarded dishmops and tattered overalls and rusty spikes and leaky pails and forgotten stoppers and useless junk of all kinds, including a wrong-size crank for a broken ice-cream freezer.



The book was written in 1952. And you could put all your trash outside, because it all eventually broke down and composted, or was just inert. And people didn't have nearly as much of it. (It blew my mind when they gave Wilbur the cheese wrapper to eat, until I realized the cheese wrappers back then must have been made out of paper!). Back then, people could manage their own trash. Back then, most of their trash just was slowly decomposing back into the earth. Now, thanks to plastics, we have mountains of stuff that will never go away. Worse yet, it'll break down into microplastics. Microplastics that are now in our salt, in our drinking water, even in our rain. And a large portion of those microplastics are from the link off of our polyester clothing.

Here's some good threads on microplastics BBC article - our clothes are polluting the ocean and Not all that meaningless - microplastics in our food
 
Nicole Alderman
steward
Posts: 19168
Location: Pacific Northwest
9416
7
hugelkultur kids cat duck forest garden foraging fiber arts sheep wood heat homestead
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think the key here is that this thread is about a person looking for natural clothing. Whatever their reasons, let's focus on helping them, rather than debating their decision.
 
David Wieland
Posts: 131
Location: Manotick (Ottawa), Ontario
11
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Nicole Alderman wrote:I think the key here is that this thread is about a person looking for natural clothing. Whatever their reasons, let's focus on helping them, rather than debating their decision.


Exactly. That's what my initial reply was intended to address, but it seems that I triggered a tangent by asking what the subsequent reference to "sustainable item" meant.
 
Abraham Palma
pollinator
Posts: 463
Location: Málaga, Spain
154
home care personal care forest garden urban food preservation cooking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

I think the key here is that this thread is about a person looking for natural clothing. Whatever their reasons, let's focus on helping them, rather than debating their decision.



Ok. I was going to reply to all of my questioned claims, but you are right, this thread should focus on where to get what OP asked for. Let's just say we have our reasons.
 
gardener
Posts: 2381
Location: Cascades of Oregon
415
 
What are you saying? I thought you said that Santa gave you that. And this tiny ad:
177 hours of video: the 2017 Permaculture Design Course and Appropriate Technology Course
https://permies.com/wiki/65386/hours-video-Permaculture-Design-Technology
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic