Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Mindful shopping

Lots of students have commented on some of my shirts lately. They wanted to know where I got the shirt. Ever since reading Schwalbe's Sociological Mindfulness, I have been thinking a lot about what I wear. First, I am tired of being a walking billboard for these companies. I am not wearing anything with a blatant logo on it. I am not wearing a baseball cap that says "Gap" or a tee-shirt that says Ambercrombie in huge letters across the front. I don't want my identity tied to some brand name. I am more than that. Instead I started really thinking about what I am promoting. I wear an Obama shirt because I believe in him and his vision for America. I wear a shirt that says Chicago because I am from Chicago and that is a part of my identity. Another aspect of this is authenticity. It seems so generic and so bland to be wearing a t-shirt from some nationwide chain store that sells the same garments all over America. It's like some kind of upper-middle class uniform. I wish I could make my own clothes, but I can't. I have also started thinking mindfully about where the clothes come from. I have found a number of websites that sell fair-wage clothes, organic clothes, that are not harmful to the environment. Obviously, if you can buy used stuff it is even better because it is not creating any extra waste or using extra resources, but if you can't do that, try some of these:
American Apparel
They support fair wages for American workers. If you buy American goods it keeps the money closer to home and helps American workers. It also uses less fuel to get the clothes to where they are being sold. (If you don't mind the misogyny.)
Clothing of the American Mind
An American owned company that uses environmentally friendly products and supports social causes.
This magazine is dedicated to helping readers rethink how they have been shaped by media, especially corporate media. The magazine has a shop where you can buy clothes that support fair-wage workers and support causes that are more than simply supporting some amoral corporate conglomerate.
This site is mostly about creating t-shirts that express your ideas. You can even create your own.

What do you wear? Why do you wear it? Can you recommend any local/authentic/ethical clothing that I might not have heard about?

1 comment:

  1. I love the idea, and i didn't realize it until i read this, but i kind of do the same thing. I have never really liked the idea of paying to become advertisement, though i do think the designs are pretty cool. I'm not opposed to all advertisement-most of the shirts i wear are of bands, but unlike corporations, bands need all the support they can get. I also print some of my own t-shirts. I feel that making my own shirts makes it possible for my clothing to define me, without a label defining me. So i guess in a way i can recommend local custom clothing.