What's Up with Green Fabrics: Bamboo

One of my 2014 Ethical Fashion Goals was to learn more about fabric's ecological and labor impact.  Then I got sick and thought I was dying (literally) and didn't blog for a while and got very behind on those goals.  Anyway, I ran into this post about bamboo fabric on Treehugger and figured I'd excerpt some of it for you.

Growing bamboo is eco-friendly but the process to get it into material is not:

"The growing of bamboo is environmentally friendly but the manufacturing of bamboo into fabric raises environmental and health concerns because of the strong chemical solvents used to cook the bamboo plant into a viscose solution that is then reconstructed into cellulose fiber for weaving into yarn for fabric."

The FTC noted that the end product of cellulose is rayon (regardless of what the cellulose started as) and needs to be labeled as rayon.  But there are some rayon exceptions that are more eco-friendly: 

"However not all rayon is created equal; Lyocell, or Tencel, is made in a closed-loop process using less toxic chemicals. Like conventional viscose, it can be made from any form of cellulose including bamboo."

"Once the stuff had to be called 'rayon made from bamboo' it didn't sound quite so natural and green anymore and pretty much disappeared. If you see bamboo clothing, it might be spun directly from the fiber and described as bamboo linen; otherwise, unless you see the Lyocell or Tencel label, give it a pass."
Hopefully one day I'll write a longer series on fabric impact but I thought this was an interesting point to note now.  Thanks, Treehugger.


Pinterest DIY Attempts: or, how I developed humility

I don't know if I've ever attempted any DIY that turned out exactly how I thought it would, much less any DIYs I've attempted from Pinterest.  A while ago I pinned this orange pig planter and the whitewashed owl with the thought that this would be a super easy craft. (Also I know this look is kind of old news at this point but I need a low bar when it comes to DIYs.)  Apparently getting decent coverage with glossy spray paint is not that easy on figurines with a lot of nooks and crannies.  And if you live in a city apartment, you'll have to sneak into your basement courtyard to spray paint...and finish outside the apartment building doorway once you're locked out of there for the night.

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Exhibit A: fake Hummel, damaged Canada goose figurines
(I actually posted these back in March, for full disclosure)


Exhibit A, after:  several intoxicating coats of paint later
They look less shiny in real life.  Acceptable result.


Exhibit B: Brian, a sad piggy bank


Exhibit B, after: Brian, a less sad piggy bank
whose eyes it took me 4 months to paint on
after he sat there looking like a blind Smurf pig
forever...mocking me.



I thought I would do such a pro job on his eyes.  Why would I think this, especially when I can't even do the most basic nail art with the same tiny brush?  No idea.  So poor Brian looks like he's a home craft project but at this point I'm sure he's just glad to have eyes.

Please mollify me with your tales of DIYs gone terribly mediocre, harder than expected or the like. Or link me to easy re-purposing DIYs.  I'm a glutton for punishment, I guess. (I don't use the "u" word here for various reasons.) 


Vegan Style: back to work

I'm a little rusty in the blogging department.  And in the life department, really.  I just started feeling better within the past week or so.  No one really knows what my mystery stomach issue was but some combination of acupuncture, Chinese herbs, medicine and time seems to have helped.  I'm still not 100% but it's way better than it was.  I'm grateful for all the help and kind words from professionals, my partner, friends, blog comments, my cats, the world, et al.  And I'm also really grateful that after 20 years of veganism, no one tried to blame this on being vegan.  Not one medical professional or consult or family member.  My uncle still blames it on me working with cats though.  (Ridiculously unfounded.)

In celebration of my first (half) day back at work, I offer you a blurry outfit picture.  I bought those Cri de Coeur sandals so long ago -- when I had no idea my weird symptoms were about explode and drag me along for the ride for a few months -- so this is the first time I wore them.  I smashed a tiny champagne bottle on the heel before I stepped out onto the sidewalk.

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babydoll dress & leggings/American Apparel
sandals/Cri de Coeur
necklace/Verameat, gift from S

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Slow Summer

This summer is not really like my others, that's for sure.  I'm seeing some slow improvement, though.  I weighed in at 3 pounds heavier than my last visit and I'm 3 pounds away from normal weight.  (I've been warned that my weight gain will slow at this point so to continue to expect slow improvement.)  My appetite is improving but not all the way yet.  I'm still doing acupuncture and Chinese herbs and other medicine.  I'm able to get around by myself now, though, which I couldn't do before so that is a great improvement to feel like I can leave the house without my body f'n failing me.

I know it's the blogger cardinal sin to repost stuff from Instagram but I'm having a low content life lately so here you go --- headbands with salt & pepper roots, a DIY manicure (the first sign I was feeling better) and some picnic reading in the sun adjacent to a dog who really really wanted my sandwich.


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Basics - Threads 4 Thought Scoop Neck Tee

While I try not to buy new if I can help it, what I usually find myself buying new is basics.  I just saw Ecolissa post about a basic short-sleeve scoop neck top that I could see getting a lot of wear.  The Ecolissa product details just say "Imported" but I hit up the Threads 4 Thought site and they have a nice video that discusses where they manufacture, working conditions and waste water recycling. 

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I'm skipping buying clothes these days and you won't see any outfit pictures on this blog any time soon since I'm still dealing with this stomach illness issue.  The interesting thing about still being really sick and being forced to work remotely (since I have to plan my specific meals at specific times) is that I rarely care what I look like and I'm content in the same pair of denim shorts and a t-shirt pretty much every day.  Granted, if I had to go to work, I'd be responsible for appearing more presentable and I'd need more put-together clothing without wearing the same thing every day - but for now I don't.  I wish I could say it felt liberating at this point but it really just feels like I still don't have the energy to stay on top of basic self-care needs.  It seems to be improving in tiny increments very very very slowly so I'm hoping that I am almost through this very soon.  

I haven't quite decided if I'm letting all my gray hair grown in or if I'll end up dying it again since I haven't been to the salon in so long.  (When the only time you leave the house is to go to doctor appointments and that's effort that messes up your eating, you don't prioritize the salon very much.)  On the pro side of the argument: wouldn't need to make hair dye appointments any longer and I hear catcalls decline when you have gray streaks.  Con side of the argument: I don't have cool platinum gray or nice Bride of Frankenstein streaks so I don't know if I really want the level of salt-and-pepper I have right now.  I might have to wait until I can trade up to a full silver fox bob later in life.


Mata Traders' Blogger Style

As you guys know, I had two posts about Mata Traders clothing and accessories recently and they've now posted them to their blog here and here.  I always like seeing how clothes looks on non-model people so I've liked looking at their other Blogger Style features and seeing not only how the Mata Traders stuff fits others but also how they wear it. 

Mata Traders also talks about their design and production on their blog so I've liked getting a glimpse of that as well. Just wanted to do a little shout out to that kind of transparency.

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How green is "one in, one out"? The Rag Bag "Solution"

I've seen a few posts about Uniform for the Dedicated's initiative, The Rag Bag.  Uniform for the Dedicated seems to be a clothing company that's dedicated to ethical and ecologically sound production and material sources (in their words - couldn't find any other details on their site).  The Rag Bag is a shopping bag that you can re-use to send used clothing items to a charity of your choice, postage-paid.

The video on The Rag Bag's site says the problem is not really that we buy so much clothing...but what happens to it when we are no longer using it.  Their solution is encouraging shoppers to adopt a "one in, one out" philosophy so when they buy something, they're expected to ship an old item off to charity -- to solve the environmental issue with our clothing.  

So, just wanted to break that down a little...and let's see what we think. (And by we I mean me.)

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1) The concept that it's totally not a problem to buy new clothes (asserted by an initiative put forth by a clothing company) is kind of a problem.  I don't need to explain this.  I'm not against buying stuff.  I'm against thinking it's no big deal and not at least part of the problem, though.

2) How green is "one in, one out"?  They don't outright say this is the concept they're putting forth but it's pretty much implied.  If you buy something new, you'll have something older to get rid of - and what better place than charity!  (Actually, we don't know that charity is the best place for old clothing.)  But more so, I'm not sure that the concept of "one in, one out" or being encouraged to get rid of older clothing is all that green.  And it might make people feel better about buying new stuff if they think giving an old item to charity makes up for it.

I think if you're just trying to create a manageable or minimalist wardrobe and you use it as a way to have a wardrobe while you shop for better-made pieces that better suit your style, great.  That's a good way to not divest yourself of your entire wardrobe and then fall into the trap of just buying anything to replace it.  What "one in, one out" doesn't do, though, is make sure that those clothes are used to the extent they could be whether that's with you for a while longer or you're matching them with future-owners who will get use out of them.  (I do think re-sale shops like Beacon's Closet and Buffalo Exchange are likely better at getting stuff into the hands of people who will use them since they're more "curated" while charity shops are a hodge podge, harder to shop and their turnover is usually faster.)  I always balk at people proclaiming that they're getting rid of all of their sweatshop clothing and replacing it with ethically-made stuff.  It's already there!  Just use it until you can't use it any longer!  Putting it into the stream of used clothing doesn't guarantee it's life here on earth will be more sustainable.

3) The positive! (I saved it for last since I'm usually such a critical mellow harsher at picking apart what I think is green-washing.)  An initiative like this might encourage shoppers to consider where their old clothing goes.  A lot of people just throw them in the trash instead of charity, re-sale shops or textile recycling.  So that would be an improvement. 

That's where I landed.  I think it's more "feel-good" than "solution" but at least it's admitting there's a problem...sort of.  Agree? Disagree?