The Truth About the Clothes We Wear: How Fashion Impacts Health and The Environment: An Analysis

This Huffington Post article is written by Beth Greer, “Super Natural Mom®.” The article discusses environmental and health impacts of the textiles used to make clothing, namely the effects of pesticides on cotton. Greer also provides tips to aid readers in looking for better apparel. The article also presents the company INDIGENOUS as a “better” clothing company. I found the article to be very informative, and the tips at the end to be helpful. I did look further into the INDIGENOUS company as well (1) and found that while it provides clothing that is better all ‘round (for environment/ producer/consumer), it is also significantly more expensive than ‘fast fashion’ clothing — Which, yes, is to be expected, but can also put a damper on trying to be more ethically minded when shopping on a budget.

I broke “The Truth About the Clothes We Wear…” down into two separate parts, which is pretty much how it was originally sectioned, in order to examine my take-away points. The first section I will discuss, which I found most important to the article, is what Greer suggests a consumer can do to become a better shopper of apparel (and is actually the last third of the article). The second section I will discuss (the second third) is the part of the article which examines how pesticides and chemicals are actually unhealthy for bodies and the environment — I recognize that this is also important, but it has been argued in many other places; the other suggestions are much more specific to this article.

I found Greer’s tips for a conscious consumer to be ultimately helpful. While Greer does push INDIGENOUS throughout the article, the repetition standing out in a way which could only have been purposeful, she offers other options in the suggestions which provide more diverse and potentially cost-effective companies. Her overall points to look for organic cotton, fair trade providers, and Benefit corporations, and to avoid polyester, nylon, and clothing which contains myriad chemicals were all helpful, as were the links she provides in conclusion which will lead an interested reader to more content. I feel that this section of the article is significant because while many sources discuss what is wrong with the system, there are not as many which provide viable alternatives to readers or viewers. People cannot change their practices if they are not informed about which practices to change or how to change them.

Greer’s examination of how “our health might be at risk” was interesting to me, because while in the first and last thirds of the article discuss impacts generally, this section focuses on impacts of cotton specifically. She points out that “non-organic cotton farming uses 25% of the insecticides applied worldwide,” and that an average of one third of a pound of synthetic fertilizer goes into the production of one cotton tee-shirt. These numbers are both informative, and shocking, and I feel were well placed into convincing the reader to take into account and to try some of the alternatives which Greer outlines below this section.

Greer, B. (2013, July 1). The Truth About the Clothes We Wear: How Fashion Impacts Health and the Environment [Web log post]. Retrieved April 17, 2017, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/beth-greer/fashion-environment_b_3527049.html

-CA