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Sustainable Menswear?

Keith Taylor

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I do know this:
1) the consumer is not to blame for whatever is going on with cashmere and the Mongolian pastures.
Nobody has argued that the consumer is to blame. The subject of this thread is sustainability, and at present the cashmere industry in Mongolia is unsustainable. The average consumer has no way of knowing this because the average consumer would struggle to point to Mongolia on a map, never mind understand its environmental issues.

What’s to blame is the market in general, and I suppose the vampiric nature of capitalism as a whole when you get down to it. Herders will continue to add to their herds as long as doing so it profitable, because of course they will, and due to the communal nature of Mongolia’s land - a nature that would be impossible to change - there’s no mechanism by which the cashmere industry will slow down before irreparable damage is done, because individual herders have no incentive to give up their business to protect their own plot of land. Eventually there will be a harsh winter dzud and a massive population collapse, and that will be the end of the Mongolian cashmere industry. And the end of the steppe as a place where anything can survive.

The only viable sustainability plan for Mongolia is to dramatically reduce the number of goats. That’s it. The steppe is incapable of supporting around 30 million goats in perpetuity no matter how many clever solutions one might conjure. It just can’t produce enough food for them. It can barely support trees.
 

dieworkwear

Mahatma Jawndi
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I think if you're looking to make responsible decisions, then should avoid cheap cashmere. But if you want to solve the problem, then I think the government should regulate this industry.

Anyway, not looking to get into a debate on this thread. I think I've learned my lesson. CM used to be a really great forum with many knowledgeable people, but now it's just dumb arguments constantly.
 

norMD

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I think if you're looking to make responsible decisions, then should avoid cheap cashmere. But if you want to solve the problem, then I think the government should regulate this industry.

Anyway, not looking to get into a debate on this thread. I think I've learned my lesson. CM used to be a really great forum with many knowledgeable people, but now it's just dumb arguments constantly.
I am glad that your hiatus did not last too long as you make a create contribution around here.

Regarding online discussion I feel many forums are deteriorating as demagogic monkeys chase the knowledgeable people away.
 

Phileas Fogg

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Regarding online discussion I feel many forums are deteriorating as demagogic monkeys chase the knowledgeable people away.
yes, how dare we lay people have an opinion. I’ll keep turning widgets and drinking the oily gin and leave the smart stuff to the experts.
 

dieworkwear

Mahatma Jawndi
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so only buy expensive cashmere?
My feeling is that cheap cashmere is not worth the money, as it's often made from short fibers and knitted with a lot of slack. So when the material pills or the sweater stretches out, my impression is that most people discard or donate the sweater, and they don't feel too guilty about it because it was an affordable extravagance. Perhaps they would feel different about a $100 cotton sweater, but since this is cashmere, people are more OK with a lower quality knit if they can wear a noble fiber.

Personally think that, below a certain price point, you'd be better off buying a hardier, more durable sweater made from lambswool, Shetland, or even merino. Those will last longer and you'll likely be happier with how they age.

I think it's wasteful to buy things that 1) you won't like in a year or two and 2) can't be sold on the resale market. No one will buy a stretched-out, heavily pilled cashmere sweater that originally sold for $100 (some on Amazon are as cheap as $20, and one company a few years ago was literally giving them away for free if you signed up for their email list). These things are donated to Goodwill, where something like 90%+ of the goods eventually end up in incinerators, landfills, and rag markets in Africa.

So on the issue of sustainability, I think it's better to buy things that you will want to wear and use for a long time, and can be sold on the second-hand market if you decide to part with it (meaning, someone else will ideally want to wear for a long time).

This attitude has been criticized on some womenswear boards as being elitist (e.g. "don't buy cheap cashmere is very insensitive to people's budgets"). I don't have an answer to that, but do believe that this sort of consumption is harmful to the environment.

If you go down your list of materials, and the list of different processes for producing clothing -- such as dyeing yarns -- you will find that each thing has some environmental impact. It requires a lot of water to grow cotton; dyeing plants produce a tremendous amount of pollution in our waterways. There are rivers that run blue, green, and yellow from the local dyeing plants.

I don't have a good solution for these things, but generally think the government should at least regulate fast fashion. Also think it's a good thing for consumers to be more aware of the environmental impacts of their choices, even if individual choices may not make a big difference. Consumer awareness is a good thing and can perhaps lead to better policy.
 

Phileas Fogg

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I agree with you regarding cheap cashmere being, well, cheap. It’s why I don’t buy it and I try to steer people away from it.

In my opinion, I think making the argument more forcefully that way and not from a sociological/Mother Earth/sustainability point of view would go over better.

Telling people to avoid cheap cashmere because it’s bad for the environment could be construed as advocating for expensive cashmere as it’s more sustainable. And of course, those who can afford it will be the only ones buying it.

It’s sort of like saying avoid beef due to effects of industrial agriculture but Kobe beef is raised in a different manner, so I’ll go enjoy my delicious meal while you feast on soylent red.
 

Panama

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I now generally purchase mid market items that will last until I am deceased.
I am 51, my shirts will last a long time. My knitwear will last a long time. I am no longer buying the M&S and Uniqlo inexpensive products. My shoes will last.

There are alternatives such as Luxury Merino, and Yak. The Camelid family.

There is the Siberian Ibex. What about Mohair?

There is also recycled Cashmere, I am not sure how it works and whether the fibres will be long enough.
 

Nobilis Animus

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It's as simple of this, I'm afraid: stop buying cheap crap. Not because it's better for the atmosphere, but because it's cheaply made.

I agree with you regarding cheap cashmere being, well, cheap. It’s why I don’t buy it and I try to steer people away from it.

In my opinion, I think making the argument more forcefully that way and not from a sociological/Mother Earth/sustainability point of view would go over better.

Telling people to avoid cheap cashmere because it’s bad for the environment could be construed as advocating for expensive cashmere as it’s more sustainable. And of course, those who can afford it will be the only ones buying it.

It’s sort of like saying avoid beef due to effects of industrial agriculture but Kobe beef is raised in a different manner, so I’ll go enjoy my delicious meal while you feast on soylent red.
 

Nobilis Animus

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I am glad that your hiatus did not last too long as you make a create contribution around here.

Regarding online discussion I feel many forums are deteriorating as demagogic monkeys chase the knowledgeable people away.
There are lots more knowledgeable people than you think, though some of them prefer to think for themselves.
 

Phileas Fogg

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There are lots more knowledgeable people than you think, though some of them prefer to think for themselves.
“how was your day honey?”
“It was fine!”
“That’s good. Anything new?”
“I met a lot of really smart people today, and you know what?”
“What?”
“They all agreed with everything I had to say”.
 

dieworkwear

Mahatma Jawndi
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“how was your day honey?”
“It was fine!”
“That’s good. Anything new?”
“I met a lot of really smart people today, and you know what?”
“What?”
“They all agreed with everything I had to say”.
This kind of post is why I love coming to this forum. Always feel like I learn something new.
 

Nobilis Animus

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“how was your day honey?”
“It was fine!”
“That’s good. Anything new?”
“I met a lot of really smart people today, and you know what?”
“What?”
“They all agreed with everything I had to say”.
Worry not. I'm told that any day now, Bruce Boyer will be coming out with another rule book from 1966, and we can learn a whole new set of protocols to follow. Provided it fits our sustainable politics.
 

dieworkwear

Mahatma Jawndi
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Worry not. I'm told that any day now, Bruce Boyer will be coming out with another rule book from 1966, and we can learn a whole new set of protocols to follow. Provided it fits our sustainable politics.
Have you read anything by Bruce?
 

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