Yesterday I bought 5 garbage bags full of discarded clothing from the local thrift store for $25. Not to worry: they were happy to reduce their overabundant supply. It seems that folks donate a lot more clothing than can be sold. I had requested worn-out and un-sellable garments, and only one piece out of 441 was too worn to wear. I kept 10 intact for my own closet, 2% of the total.
Why did I buy all this? I wondered what kinds of clothes people discard, and what happens to it. From Travels of a T-shirt, I know that used clothing is a complex economic system involving sourcing, transporting, and marketing. You think you're doing a good deed by giving your "gently used" clothing to charity. In reality, only a small amount of used apparel can be sold at second-hand stores or given away. A lot of it gets shredded into rags. Some gets shipped overseas. I think we can do better.
My goals for this project:
1. Create useful objects
2. Make a creative statement challenging our consumer habits
3. Make these things look good - diminish the appearance of recycled material
First step: Sort and observe
Next: See what I can do with it. Check back next week!