“Sustainable, organic, fair: Your clothes make the man”
Today is Earth Day. Since 1970, it has become an annual event on 22 April to put environmental and climate protection at the (personal) centre of attention. Specifically, yours and mine. All of us. Every year there is a special motto so that everyone can deal with this topic in their own lives. This year it is about clothing: “Sustainable, organic, fair: Your clothes make the man”. I am very torn about this topic. The ambivalences feel huge. I take a clear line when it comes to clothes made of animal components; I don’t want them in my wardrobe any more. I still have two pairs of home-knitted woollen socks that I wear until they don’t work any more (and they’re from my school-leaving days at the beginning of the 2000s), otherwise leather and the like are out of the question for me.
What I also find difficult are the many labels, one of which is more intransparent than the other. Organic doesn’t mean at the same time resource-friendly (especially cotton has an immense water consumption¹), or without exploitation of the workers. Fair may also just mean that a certain minimum wage is paid, which the association of the label has considered, but which does not have to correspond to what a person needs to live (or survive). I recently saw an illuminating documentary about chocolate which addressed also the topic of fair chocolate.
My clothes are very important to me, they are an expression of my personality
I hardly have any clothes that I don’t wear for a long time, many pieces are beloved and have been in my wardrobe for a long time. Nevertheless, every now and then I add a new piece. To be honest, I never go shopping in fashion boutiques, I don’t really enjoy it (lucky me😛), but I often check out what’s on the street to give away, and there are some really great things that become favourites. I also like to put out clothes (and other things) to give away myself, and am super happy when these things find a new, appreciative home. I used to go to second hand shops when I needed something. Actually, I usually don’t need anything in terms of clothes except shoes (that’s another bottomless pit with vegan shoes, which unfortunately have a short-lived time especially with winter boots 🙄) And I also order things online sometimes, that’s one point I’d like to change.
I think I could have a lot less clothes, and keep dealing with the issue. I know that I am not perfect and that some issues take time to move on. The step from vegetarian to vegan also took 17 years, although it was clear to me several years before the change that it was the logical consequence.
I love our planet and want us and it to be well. Every day I go a little further in my journey to do what I can to contribute to it. It is especially important for me to remind myself again and again to deal lovingly with myself and other beings on this path, not to destroy myself with self-blame.
How do you deal with the topic of clothing and do you also feel these ambivalences?
Yours Leni Lecker
Animals Say Yeah!