Reducin’ and Reusin’ Baby!

I like to shop. I have always liked to shop. As much as anyone who has been raised in a society based on consumption likes to shop, I like to shop. However, I also like our planet, and animals and people. I don’t want to contribute excessively to the degradation of the environment, the suffering of living creatures or the exploitation of human beings. So, I am trying, as many of us are, to think carefully about my purchases when I do have to make them, and how to reuse what I already have. And I am really excited about that last bit because I just came across a list of very cool websites via green my style that are all about that. These are a few that really got me to thinking…

1. Make Do and Mend – no-frills site with great tips on making things over and also good info on the social and environmental costs of overconsumption.

2. Swishing – remember back in junior high when you and your friends used to borrow each others’ clothes? (Jennifer B., wherever you are, I’m really, really sorry it took me so long to return your Guess jeans back in the 8th grade.)  This is just like that except you have a party and everyone brings an item of clothing to swap. You and your pals don’t where the same sizes? No prob! Swapping accessories works just as well. ( Looks like this is a big deal in the UK, but a quick search for this type of activity in the US was unsuccessful…surely it’s happening though. I will continue searching. ) OK so my searching for US clothes swapping parties was hampered by the fact that I used “swishing” vs. “clothes swapping”. Ms. Scarr pointed out that they have lots o’ swaps in Oregon and I found some in San Fran.

3. What’s Mine is Yours – feeling anti-social? This is swishing online. Users can also buy and sell items here.

4. Oxfam DIY – tips on refashioning old items into new ones. Second hand clothing for this purpose can be purchased on the site. More info on Oxfam in this fun video:

5. Wardrobe Refashion – if you are rolling your eyes and thinking: I am already way of ahead of you sister, I am an upcycling machine! then take the pledge at Wardrobe Refashion:

I pledge that i shall refashion, renovate, recycle preloved items for myself with my own hands in fabric, yarn or other medium for the term of my contract. I pledge that I will share the love and post a photo of my refashioned, renovoted, recycled, crafted or created item of clothing on the Wardrobe Refashion blog, so that others may share the joy that thy thriftiness brings!

Hope you find these as inspiring as I did. Have fun! 🙂


NYC Garment Workers: A Rags to Riches to Rags Story – Working In These Times

Most of the time I’m ok not having cable, but I really, really want to see this…

“In These Times features award-winning investigative reporting about corporate malfeasance and government wrongdoing, insightful analysis of national and international affairs, and sharp cultural criticism about events and ideas that matter.”

via NYC Garment Workers: A Rags to Riches to Rags Story – Working In These Times.

Stuff on the cheap…

Here is a quick run-down of the various coupons and discounts (plus a potential freebie!) currently being offered by a few cruelty-free vendors:

Alternative Outfitters– Save 30% on vegan sandals plus free shipping on orders over $100. I recommend signing up for their mailing list to keep up with their weekly specials-Check out the new Steve Madden bags while you are at it!

super cute turquoise Sugar shoes Sugar Shoes on clearance at AO.

Aveda-offering free shipping on orders over $80 until November 2nd and free samples with purchase through Thursday. See details here.

Ecouterre– is celebrating the launch of this Inhabitat offshoot with a contest to win a limited edition upcycled vintage necklace from Dirty Librarian.

Vegan Chic-free shipping on orders over $75 and a coupon for 10% off at checkout-includes sale items too! Plus summer bags are 35% off.

vegan jailbirds in the UK

what rights does one have when one is imprisoned and also happens to be vegan? here are some links that provide information about what is, or might soon be, available to vegan prisoners in the UK, and some info about, you know, human rights and stuff:

~ article from Telegraph;

~ VPSG website;

~ VegNews;

~ Prison Vegetarian Project;

~ Vegetarian Journal.


there’s a lot to digest here… it’s a complicated issue.  frankly, this doesn’t seem to be black and white to me, and i’m not sure how i feel about it.  i think we’re going to start seeing a trend here as far as how it is i go about posting, but, really, this brings forth a lot of questions.  namely, what exactly is the purpose of imprisoning someone?  to what end is the system working toward, and is the system effectively achieving that end?  are we seeking to reform these individuals?  are we seeking to punish them?  or are we seeking to isolate them from a society in which they fail to function at a level at which they are not a danger to themselves or others?

if imprisonment is all about punishment, then i would suppose providing prisoners with vegan or fair trade chocolates would be absolutely ridiculous.  but it doesn’t seem ethical to me to create a system into which the citizens of the world pump millions upon millions of dollars solely for the purpose of making someone’s life miserable.  i was, in my half-hearted, incredibly lazy attempt at research, not able to find any statistics on the world’s prison population that detailed exactly what it is people are being imprisoned for, but… isn’t it true that a lot of these folk are probably imprisoned because they stole a car or something?  i mean, i would be totally pissed if someone stole my car, but i don’t think that means they should have every human right stripped from them.  on the other hand… murderers?  rapists?  child molesters?  i’m absolutely on board for these folk to have everything taken away from them; chances are, they took everything away from someone else, and you bet if someone hurt someone i love in this fashion, i would be out for blood.  maybe that’s not very ‘liberal’ of me, but it’s the truth, and i would probably be absolutely livid were i to discover that the man who raped my sister or the woman who molested my son was being provided these amenities for which people ‘on the outside’ have to work so hard.  that being said… i’m having a difficult time imagining a vegan rapist, and maybe that’s also totally off, but, sort of strange, don’t you think?

essentially, if the goal of the prison system is to rehabilitate, which i think it should be in those circumstances in which rehabilitation is an option, ain’t nothin’ wrong with giving them law-breakin’ vegans something to hold on to.  i work for a transitional home for ‘at-risk’ teens – they get to leave the house and use the phone and smoke cigarettes, and i know how hard it is for them to be penned in… i can’t imagine how difficult it must be to literally be locked away from everything you once knew… if having a few creature comforts keeps your head screwed on tight, keeps you feeling like a person, then what’s the harm?  even more importantly… let’s imagine we live in a world where the prison system actually does at least attempt to rehabilitate people – and, let’s imagine we had a bad day and we stole our ex-boyfriend’s car – and, let’s also imagine we got our ass busted for stealing that car, and we suddenly find ourselves locked behind bars.  assuming that the act of rehabilitation has to focus on repairing or restoring or ’embiggening,’ if you will, one’s sense of mental health, or one’s sense of self… what’s to keep us interested or invested in rehabilitation if we have no control over our lives, and don’t have the ability to maintain at least some remote semblance of the self image we had before we made such a silly mistake?  people are easy to break; it’s not a simple thing to keep the long-term effects of one’s actions in mind when one is trudging down a long, mundane, monotonous, soul-sucking path, and, it seems that not providing people with a few small things here and there might actually mean we’re pumping more money into the system, or that we are preventing people from having the ability to rehabilitate.

this is all theoretical.  but that’s my schtick.  it would be awesome to see some actual research about some of this, or to hear other people’s thoughts on the whole vegan prisoners thing.

D. I. Wise

The annual DC arts and crafts fair known as Crafty Bastards was held on Saturday and not only was it lots of fun, it was totally inspiring. Seeing all the amazing creations, many of which were made by recycling other items, made me want to get to crafting myself. Etsy is a fantastic site, but there is something to be said for actually getting to see things live and up close. Here’s just a few faves from the day:

the devil made me do it

The Devil Made Me Do It– unique clothes made by recycling older garments…

weekend store charm bracelet

The Weekend Store– recycled vintage jewelry…

sardine clothing

Sardine Clothing Co.– Custom ordered “Tee-Skirts”!

Speaking of clothes and crafts, last week I came across this post at Ecoterre on revamping your old shoes for fall. I’ve made old clothes into cute little purses, my son’s favorite graphic T’s into throw pillows once he’s outgrown them, but I’ve never even thought of trying to do anything with my old shoes.  That may change soon-I will let you know how it goes!

How about you? What are some of your favorite ways to recycle clothing that doesn’t get worn anymore?