Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Laraine's Economic Stimulus Package Plan

I love clothes.


Not in the "yeah, I gotta wear something so it might as well match" kind of way.

In the "my body is a canvas and everything I put on it is an artistic expression" kind of way.


I might pull this off better if I were 5'10" and a size two, but hey, the artist works with the materials at hand. I get really excited when I find a unique item of clothing. Really excited. It's like finding a dinosaur fossil. If you were interested in finding dinosaur fossils. Which, if you ask me, is nowhere near as exciting as finding one of a kind purple and yellow pants with tassles. I don't need Prada and Gucci. I just need funky. (And please, nothing beige. Ever.)

Clothes are my hobby. I don't drink. Don't smoke. Don't go clubbing. (As if you could in Prescott). I don't go out for lavish dinners. I don't fuel up my private jet to go to Italy for the weekend (though if the possibility arose...) I buy clothes. I don't like to wear the same outfit twice ... ever. Not that I won't wear something twice -- just not in the same way.

This has resulted in problems. At one time my credit card debt looked more like the national debt. At one time I bought everything I could to avoid dealing with my own personal crap. But those times are past, and now I buy clothes like a painter buys acrylics. (Really, it's not my fault that being a writer requires such a minimal investment). Clothing (of the non-beige variety) makes my heart dance.

This results in new problems. Namely, what industries am I supporting by buying clothing? What are their work policies? What kinds of fabrics are being used? Are they sustainable? Are the dyes used in the clothing environmentally friendly? Were those buttons put on by slave hands? What is a diva attempting to be conscious to do?

I've come to a few conclusions (um...rationalizations...)

1) Buy bamboo, organic cotton, organic soy, or hemp clothing as much as possible.

2) Buy clothing from distributors or designers who contribute their profits to causes I support and/or create their clothing in sweat-shop free environments. Examples of such places: jonano, earth creations, and avatar clothing. There are many more. These are just some of my favorite places.

3) Support locally owned businesses for clothing. Prescott only has a few of these left, and unfortunately, they're not funky enough for me. They're more prairie-cowgirl in stiletto fashion. But they must work for someone. I have found some places in Northern Arizona -- Fool on the Hill and Magpie's in Jerome. Animus and Rainbow's End and Sundara in Flagstaff. Come on Prescott! Your destiny awaits.

4) Buy from individual people making individual funky clothes. How do you do this in a rural conservative environment? Enter your favorite series of tubes known as the Internet. Here's a site for you: Etsy. Etsy is more than clothes. It's jewelry. Pottery. Scarves. Kitsch. Recycled and upcycled items. All handmade by women all over the world. Seriously.

Here are some of the way cool things I have purchased:

Way funky upcycled sweater from katwise.

Beyond Yoga pants in organic cotton from herbandevi.

Patchwork Om Pants from sewingsmyfavorite.

Belly dance pants from avantgarbe.

I could go on and on. Here are the coolest things about Etsy. You correspond with the individual seller. They often can custom make the item to your actual body size. Think on that. Your actual body size. Often they'll hem something for free. The prices range from about ten dollars to over three hundred (I haven't bought anything in the high end range -- most of what I buy there falls between $30 and $50 bucks). Last time I strolled through Dillard's I couldn't buy much for $50. The seller is the designer, so she's totally jazzed about her work, and she's totally jazzed that you love it. She'll write you notes thanking you for purchasing from her store. She'll say that your purchase helped her to be able to remain a stay at home mom. She'll say that your purchase allowed her to pay an unexpected medical bill. She'll ask you about your own life, work, hobbies. You'll order a scarf and hoodie and the designer will embroider "Flow. Love. Breathe. Write." on the inside pocket as a special surprise for you. She'll send you a follow up e-mail to make sure everything fit and that you love it.

I don't understand the numbers of our national debt. I don't understand the math of the credit crisis, the mortgage collapse, the 30% loss of the stock market in 18 months. I do understand that right now, I am lucky enough to have a job. I can use the money that I earn to help an individual, or I can hoard it, or I can go to Target.

I do all of these things, lest you think I have achieved enlightenment. :-) Haven't. But I do my best to keep my spending at an individual level. Restaurants and coffee shops in town which are owned locally. Clothing designers who live everywhere, but who all are making art, one piece at a time, one customer at a time, trying to bring more color and funk to the world.

Check out the Etsy site. It's good folk.

And today, wear something funky. If every news report is going to talk about the impending doom of the universe, we might as well listen to it wearing burgundy velvet and a handmade purple scarf.

1 comment:

Astrid said...

Nice blog! I will check in again. Thanks!