Good news for tailors and seamstresses! The Boston Herald reports that two local tailors are keeping busy designing and altering dog garments and accessories (“Pampered Pooches Unleash New Market for Tailors,” June 25, 2012). The irony is rich, as most of our own clothing is mass-produced overseas and no longer worth paying a tailor to alter or mend.
I’ve been reading an eye-opening new book (Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth L. Cline) about the hidden costs of what she calls “fast fashion.” Cline reports that our addiction to buying cheap designer knockoffs from retail behemoths like H&M, Forever 21, Target and Walmart has not only killed the American garment industry, but is exacting a huge environmental and social toll globally. Today, most clothing is made of petroleum-based synthetic fibers, worn a few times and cast off to make room in our overstuffed closets for next season’s trends. Donations to charities now far exceed the demand for used clothing, and much of what is donated is so poorly made that it won’t last long enough to become vintage chic. Textile recyclers are inundated by the supply of clothing charities can’t re-sell and are struggling to break even recycling fabric of such poor quality. Simply put, the way we dress is as unsustainable as if we subsisted exclusively on a diet of Big Macs. Ask Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me) how that went.
So, don’t let your dog become another “fast fashion” victim. Before you buy another dog sweater or coat, check your own closet; maybe there’s something you can repurpose. I guarantee, s/he won’t know that animal prints aren’t in style this year.