Where Are The Michael Pollans For Clothing?

by Zoe Pollock

Andy Selsberg asks for one:

Fashion has parallels to food: most clothing is too cheap, that cheapness has tragic costs, clothing is an agricultural product, and we consume too much of it. ... As a recovering bargain-hunter, I would like to know what a reasonable price is for a men’s dress shirt. Not a good deal, but a fair deal. A price that hasn’t factored in extraordinary human pain and economic distress and environmental destruction. ...

Before the price tag, there was more haggling, which required more knowledge about the market and what you were buying. And this buying and selling were generally done within a communityso if you screwed somebody from either side of the counter, it’d come back to haunt you.

But it’s hard now to be deeply knowledgeable about clothing. We’re specialized, and the clothing industry is opaque. You can plant a tomato or raise a chicken, but most of us can’t grow and process enough cotton to make sweaters, or become boot makers by reading a few articles.

As a huge proponent of both vintage and clothing exchanges, I think he raises some interesting points. The Uniform Project tapped into just those ideas about sustainability and fashion, and apparently founder Sheena Matheiken just gave a TED talk.