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Textile Stuff and Cheap Foreign Crap

So, I was looking at various stuff online and in the stores this holiday season, specifically purses, bags and the like. Most of it was sheer, unadulterated crap - ugly, all that same thrown together look, regardless of "brand", like it was made in the same third world sweatshop. Yeah, the labels were different, but the workmanship, the colors, and the designs were all the same nauseating garbage.

I went to four different fabric stores. The notions were all the same, even though the brands were different - except for the high end one, that had a few added different things. The pattern selection was limited, and was was supposedly "fashion" was ill-fitting crap too - sloppy necklines, narrow sleeves, pants without pockets, blah, blah.

Same thing with manufactured clothing. Cheaply made, trashy looking, priced like it was fucking haute coture. Sorry, but why should I pay business suit prices for cheesy whore clothes?

People cry about manufacturing jobs going overseas, about small businesses vanishing. Well, when you have to pay the city bunches of money for the privilege of making stuff to sell in your own home, that's why. When it's easier to wear garbage than to make something that looks decent, that's why.

I used to do flea markets 15 - 20 years ago, and people used to look at my hand made jewelry and sneer, saying they could buy "better" for less at WalMart. No, assholes, you can't. You can buy mass produced crap at WalMart and Target. I couldn't even make my booth fee. Craft fairs were out of the question - they wanted too much money for the privilege of being sneered at.

Now, at least there is a resurgence in interest in hand crafts, in things like knitting and quilting, and sites like Etsy.com. I'm hoping that American cottage industry comes back, that people with money not time start putting that money back into the US economy, not send it overseas, and the people with time not money start spending their time making things for sale.

Someone was commenting about them outlawing plastic grocery bags. A sucky idea, even though I actually like reusable bags, and try to remember to bring mine, I don't like being ordered to do so. But to crochet a string bag only takes me a few hours, and not all at one sitting. If you do it while commuting by bus or train, you can churn out about one a week. All you need is a cone of butcher's twine - between 16 and 30 ply - and a G or H crochet hook (size depending on the thickness of the twine). It's time you would otherwise be sitting around.

So if you have money, not time, spend it on stuff made where you live, please. The livelihood you save may be a friend. Plus, it's "greener" - it didn't have to be shipped from sweatshopland in nasty plastic packaging that cuts you.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 3rd, 2010 12:14 am (UTC)
Evil -psychotic- killer plastic packaging. I SO hate it. [hate - seethe - can you see the steam?] Those dang things have made me shed blood more than is ever reasonable.

... oh yeah ... and I agree with you about the whole 'support local crafters' idea.
Jan. 3rd, 2010 12:25 am (UTC)
Total agreement with the sentiments herein.

RE: banning plastic bags: this is the stupidest idea since corn ethanol. policies in other countries have shown that banning plastic merely dramatically increases the use of paper - which is actually harder on the environment, from production to recycling to disposal, than plastic (which actually recycles fairly cleanly). However, *charging* for (or paper!) results in dramatic increase in reusable bags/reduction in use of plastic and paper, because nothing motivates people like money. So simple, and yet....

Back to my knitting. Though don't get me started on the "real cost" of affordable yarn, most of which is "grown" in south america but manufactured in Turkey before being imported to the US.....
Jan. 3rd, 2010 12:36 am (UTC)
You mean unlike acrylic, which is grown in vats? (Acrylic yarn is plastic fiber that is spun. Where it is processed I don't know.)

Decent wool or cotton are not very affordable - most yarn sold these days for crafters is acrylic or acrylic blend. You're lucky if you can find a rayon blend (IIRC rayon is cellulose - wood fiber.)

I always wonder what the hell happened to the mighty US cotton industry, you know, the one we fought that pesky war about...
Jan. 3rd, 2010 02:47 am (UTC)
I loathe acrylic, but it's ubiquitous. And it pains my soul to buy natural fibers that have used so much fossil fuel in their manufacture that the oil byproducts are "greener" by default. Feh.

Cotton has it's own issues (mostly soil depletion and pesticides) but if it's domestically produced or, gods forbid, organic, it's ridiculously expensive.

If we would just get over our (political) selves and make it legal to grow hemp in this country..... it's renewable, makes lovely soft drapey fabrics, archival quality paper and let's not forget about the rope...
Jan. 3rd, 2010 03:51 am (UTC)
Have you been following the marijuana legalization push at the state level? It's getting bigger... I'm all for it. Then ironic thing is, I actually am allergic to ingesting the stuff. But for cloth and paper? Good shit, maynard!
Jan. 3rd, 2010 05:38 am (UTC)
I am following, pretty closely - I'm a medical user, though not a combuster. The topicals are amazing for neuropathy and tendonosis.

The Ammiano bill is well-written. The initiatives? not so much, and the one getting most of the press could substantially erode the medical gains of 215. However, NONE of them would allow for growing industrial hemp, only the "ingestible" form of the plant. isn't that rich? All because Wm. Randolph Hearst wanted to promote tree paper, or so the story goes. Whatever the genesis, the governator keeps vetoing the industrial (non consumable) hemp bills that make their way to his desk. Need those farmers growing genetically modified corn and wheat, at least until DuP*nt figures out how to corner the market on GM hempseed....
Jan. 3rd, 2010 11:23 am (UTC)
Argh! Thing is, we really need the easy cashable crops like hemp and non-GM grain. When oil becomes too expensive to run industrial farms, everything goes to shit otherwise if we're too far monocropped and sole sourced.

In general, we need the transport lines to get *shorter*, and the oil burden to get lower, for our food supply to be stable. Otherwise, third world status here we come. The whole global warming argument is just a diversion for the real disaster of global climate change combined with peak oil and biodiversity destruction. Monsucko and Dopunt are just a "grey goo" scenario away from biosphere destruction, IMO. Scary people - fundamental changes without deep thought or ethics.
Jan. 6th, 2010 12:34 am (UTC)
I make stuff 'cause that's the only way I can get what I need. Unfortunately, most people don't respect hand made anymore. they'd rather have store bought crap than something nice. Better to have crap than nothing at all seems to be the philosophy. There does seem to be a resurgence though, in crafting, bringing back the old crafts, and shopping local.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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