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Sustainable Menswear?

Panama

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There are just certain kinds of men (and they are more often than not, men) who just cannot bring themselves to admit ignorance. Ignorance isn't a bad thing - we're all ignorant in many areas (don't ask me about any American sports, or ballet, or fluid dynamics, to take just a few of many examples), but as you say, it's being aware of your limits that is important to both deeper self-respect and credibility. Aggressive ignorance, the refusal to back down, the whole pseudo-macho bluffing - it's a curse and it's a political tactic, because it is specifically designed to prevent honest conversation and the possibility of learning (which I think it really why people like this hate education so much).

I can't help noticing too, the little slipping in of 'Obama' as somehow being responsible for 'sustainability' (despite the 50-year history several of us have alluded to, and Obama not actually being particularly interested in the environment). It's rather telling, isn't it?
How can you not know anything about ballet?
 

Phileas Fogg

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So the banking crisis of 2008, and the earlier Enron scandal were great examples of self regulation?
many economists will tell you that part of the reason for the 2008 fiasco were government policies that promoted sub prime lending.


The larger point is not that regulation results leads to perfection and the lack of it is chaos. There’s a balance. What Enron did was criminal. There were regulations against that sort of thing. You could say the same of Bernie Madoff.
 

Phileas Fogg

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forced labor is one of the topics addressed in the UN sustainable development goals.
I’m comforted by the knowledge that the UN is all over this. Perhaps China, Cuba and Sudan will be part of the panel that comes up with regulations and policy initiatives. That is of course once the committee has met to select the the committee that will select the actual committee members so that the next committee can determine the make up of the committee. Then the committee meets to review what kinds of donuts should be on the conference room table.

But the China blows it up by vetoing it, and it goes back to the committee again.
 

Old_ School

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many economists will tell you that part of the reason for the 2008 fiasco were government policies that promoted sub prime lending.
...and they would also say part of the reason was poor enforcement of banking regulations. A more recent example would be that of Boeing essentially enforcing FAA regulations on itself, with some problematic results.
 
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dieworkwear

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I think the poster above is right and this thread should stay on the topic that OP discussed. A lot of these other posts, including some of mine, should be moved to CE. This is not a fruitful discussion for the CM side of the board.
 

Boggis

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In the spirit of getting the topic back on track...

Sustainability is it's basic form is about meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of people in the future to meet theirs.

Unfortunately, this makes it a very complex topic and very easy to go around in circles in the quest of "sustainability purity". Whether that's a genuine customer tying themselves in a knot trying to figure out whether a particular brand meets some deemed ethical threshold, or someone trying to knock brands/customers trying to be sustainable by engaging in bad faith whataboutery.

A simple case study might be "Son of a Tailor". They sell MTM t-shirts for a premium price, I.e. I could get 10 plain white t-shirts in Primark for the price of one of theirs. As part of that premium, they can point to a transparent supply chain including production in 1st world countries with 1st world labour laws. They have some form of carbon neutral certification. I can be assured the cotton in their t-shirts doesn't come from forced labor as it's made in California. However, I'm aware California has drought issues, exacerbated by intensive agriculture. So as an "ethical consumer" maybe I should think twice about purchasing from them?

Sustainable clothing generally comes at a price premium as it's often simply cheaper to exploit people in poorer countries, or to produce in a polluting manner than to provide a sustainable product.

I think the simplest approach, as echoed by many throughout this thread, is to simply buy less, buy more thoughtfully, and buy quality... probably in that order.
 

Phileas Fogg

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However, I'm aware California has drought issues, exacerbated by intensive agriculture. So as an "ethical consumer" maybe I should think twice about purchasing from them?
for the sake of staying on track, let’s examine the above comment. It makes sense on its face. However, comments regarding the lack of sustainability inherent in capitalism, allow me to put forward an alternative view point:

1) agriculture is the most essential of essential human activities. Period.

2) California has drought issues but ag is also integral to California’s economy. Some of the drought issues are brought about water policies the state has adopted over decades.

3) farmers in California rely on productive soil and sustainable farming policies in order to earn their living. One could argue that despite drought conditions, farmers have found a way to use less to produce more. Is that not an essential feature of sustainability?

I know the California example does not carry over everywhere, but we are also being very ethnocentric in our thinking. “Buying less and buying quality” is a dandy outlook when one has what he needs. It’s a play on the concept of Noblesse oblige yet most of the world doesn’t have that luxury.
 

Keith Taylor

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... but we are also being very ethnocentric in our thinking. “Buying less and buying quality” is a dandy outlook when one has what he needs. It’s a play on the concept of Noblesse oblige yet most of the world doesn’t have that luxury.
But the vast majority of the people on this forum, the audience for this conversation about sustainability, do. When you reach a level of material comfort at which you have the luxury of making consumer choices that cause the least harm it only seems sensible to do so, and I’m struggling to understand why you continue to kick back against that idea.
 

Phileas Fogg

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But the vast majority of the people on this forum, the audience for this conversation about sustainability, do. When you reach a level of material comfort at which you have the luxury of making consumer choices that cause the least harm it only seems sensible to do so, and I’m struggling to understand why you continue to kick back against that idea.
I’m not kicking back against anything. Given the choice, I’d much rather buy something that was made responsibly, both from the standpoint of resource management as well as preserving human dignity and rights.

My point is that we are a very small subset and the answer doesn’t lie exclusively in buying less and higher quality.
 

Boggis

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1) agriculture is the most essential of essential human activities. Period.

2) California has drought issues but ag is also integral to California’s economy. Some of the drought issues are brought about water policies the state has adopted over decades.

3) farmers in California rely on productive soil and sustainable farming policies in order to earn their living. One could argue that despite drought conditions, farmers have found a way to use less to produce more. Is that not an essential feature of sustainability?
If you're suggesting cotton growing in California at it's current rate is sustainable, I.e. it can continue indefinitely without impacting on future or current generations ability to meet their needs, then that's great. It's another feather in the cap of the brand mentioned above.

If it's true it would certainly be a strong advantage when marketing the product.

However it's difficult as a consumer to have intimate knowledge of the production impacts of all the various elements of a garment in different parts world. Realistically we need to rely on the brands to do the detailed research and make ethical decisions on our part.
 

Bromley

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The OP asked about sustainability-oriented brands that lean classic, and we haven't discussed many satisfying examples. What about clothing brands that don't necessarily lean classic? What's the best example of a "sustainable", responsible clothing company out there? Who's doing something that might serve as a model of sustainability right now?

(If you are one of the busy naysayers who will likely disagree with even the premise of this question, please go for a walk outside, pet your dog, or call up an old friend and kindly ignore my question).
 

cb200

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I think Patagonia gets thought of as one of the leaders of sustainability movement at scale and their efforts across the board and product lifecycle are always held up as a model. I think Eileen Fisher is admirable in their approach. Atelier and Repair's rework of deadstock puts them into an interesting category.
 

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