Oh, the Monstrosity!

The readings this week, to me, seemed to contradict each other. Plus, if I am being really honest, quite a bit went over my head. On the one hand there was Fletcher was talking about material diversity and how we ‘shouldn’t put all of our eggs in one basket’ in Design Journeys. Then there is Cradle2Cradle that talks about the need to keep the separate spheres so that they all can be cycled through again without any complications and contaminations. Perhaps I am being narrow minded but it seems like an ‘either/or’ scenario.

As much as I feel that, yes, cradle2cradle, is the best and most sustainable option for the planet from here on out, I also feel that it is entirely unattainable… at least right now. I don’t see how we can separate the natural from the manufactured not just in clothing but ANY other area of consumption. Even the food we eat has been genetically modified and use pesticides and herbicides and whatever-icides that are “required”. At the risk of sounding like an old grouchy lady, technology has become so integrated into our daily lives that it is so grossly overlooked as an added part of the process. I don’t think that many of us really know what truly organic processes would look like.

Diversifying the assortment of what we deem useful for clothing products, to me, means that there is an equal amount of natural and manufactured fibers because each requires a different amount of different resources. This means using product from both the biosphere and the technosphere which makes them “monstrous hybrids”. Everything has some kind of mixture of natural and manufactured fibers. And that is how I like it, apparently.

I was curious as to where my clothing would fit into these different spheres so I looked in my closet. It didn’t take too long because I haven’t done laundry in about a month and I didn’t feel like rummaging through dirty laundry. I found that pretty much everything I own is a monstrous hybrid with the exception of a 100% cotton skirt that I don’t wear because it doesn’t have any stretch and isn’t comfortable. Even my t-shirts, the VERY FEW that congregate in my pajama drawer, that are 100% cotton have been screen printed or dyed or washed with fairy dust. All of this, to my understanding, takes it out of the true biosphere and crosses over into the technospere.

I feel that even when we use natural fibers to try to lessen our carbon footprint or because we feel it is more environmentally friendly, we still use harsh chemicals and treatments to make the garment more suitable to our desires. It needs to be wrinkle resistant, stain resistant, mold resistant, softer, have more stretch, be more durable, bullet proof, insect repellant, resistant to friction, body shaping, tummy flattening, cellulite concealing, bust enhancing, cooling, heat retentive, water proof, high absorbability, gps enabled, invisibility cloaking and most importantly machine washable. All of the things we require of our fabrics fall so far outside the natural realm that there is almost no way to have anything less than monstrous hybrids.

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