"May God fill me with foolishness so that I can claim in Gods name what others claim is impossible" - this is how I jotted it down but not sure who said it first.
I heard those words at church on a recent Sunday morning and those words spoke to my soul. Because let's be real my work is foolish.
I work in opposition to everything that the world supports bigger, disposable, and more. I work in small, heirloom and multi-use.
Since being in design school I was mystified and sadden by stories of professors that shared their experiences of going to third world countries to check the quality of $300+ coats while those working in the factories lived in conditions unthinkable to any of us.
Now don't get me wrong I love a global economy and support organizations that bring opportunities for self-reliance. Look at organizations like Reclaimed (www.ReclaimedProject.org) as one example of I'm sure hundreds.
But the truth is many factory workers are -
- working in unsafe conditions (read about the 2013 Bangladesh factory collapse here, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/2013_Savar_building_collapse
- working shifts that are extreme a short overview on conditions, http://www.ask.com/business-finance/working-conditions-textile-mills-593fa55d72e66ee7
- living lives we read in our American history books from factory life in the 1800 and 1900s. http://www.newlanark.org/learningzone/clitp-dangerinthemill.php
But we don't see it or choose not to and so we except the standards which sometimes equates to inexpensive "disposable" clothing or for $200 boutique tops made in third world countries.
So what can you do about it?
Look at where your items are made and learn about their work standards. Are they supporting a culture you are proud to be a part of?
1. Consider buying more American made products it may not be easy at first but you'll learn to look just like some look at calories (I on the other hand have no clue how many calories are in the slice of carrot cake I just enjoyed and I like to keep it that way)
You can find several comprehensive lists. This is one I recently found - www.americansworking.com
It's not really that hard. This is a recent K'Nex set I purchased for a birthday gift. It was made in America and purchased at an AC Moore store. I am not sure that all K'nex products are made in the USA but they are worth looking into especially because they are a neat gift that inspires creative play.
2. Be a part of the slow fashion movement (read more about the movement from NPR http://www.npr.org/2015/04/24/401764329/slow-fashion-shows-consumers-what-its-made-of). When you make a purchase make sure it will have a long life span in your closet. Think 80-90% classic and 10-20% trendy pieces.
3. And if you are feeling creative whip up your next pair of pants or dress. It's a creative outlet and a little cognitive exercise too.
This is not a bunch of talk either. I've taken my own advice and vowed to not purchase clothing in 2015 that was not made in America. And I look for the "Made in" location for every purchase. This is no easy feat but over the next few weeks I'll share part of my wardrobe collection. Maybe you'll consider joining me in 2016!
I'd love to know your thoughts. Do you have foolish notions to change the world in your own corner of the earth?