"For each of us there is some mission in life if we but find it. All have some definite thing to do, something for which they have been created; and only the doing of this thing will justify their existence here on earth. If we come into the world and occupy space and time without giving back for this privilege, we have not justified ourselves, and our lives in the end are barren." ~ Hay

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Cotton: The Fabric Of Our Lives

“The look, the feel of cotton, the fabric of our lives.”  If this statement is true, where is it?  Why has cotton been replaced by synthetic fabrics such as modal, polyester, viscose, acrylic and nylon?  Today, all I see is rows of beautiful clothing made of these synthetic fabrics.  Cotton is getting just as hard to find as something made in the U.S.A. It is almost impossible to find an article of clothing that is made of cotton and manufactured in the United States. Talk about trying to find a needle in a haystack…or is it like finding a goose that lays a golden egg?  Unfortunately, there are health complications from not wearing natural fibers such as cotton.  Until the 20th century, all clothes were made of natural fibers…what happened?
I talked with Joann Maguire, who owns a women’s clothing store called Max & Millie in Port Jefferson, New York.  Ms. Maguire explained to me that the sweat shops in the United States are unionized.  The unions demand a certain wage for its members.  It is much cheaper to have items produced in other countries because manufacturers don’t have to pay such high wages.  She further explained that the American consumer wants items cheap.  So this is what manufacturers need to do to keep the prices down, exported labor.  To further satisfy the cheap American consumer, articles of clothing are made of synthetics because the fabric is cheaper than natural fabrics and it has the added benefits of not shrinking, wrinkling or stretching.  Now we lazy Americans don’t have to worry about ironing!  Even if you can find say a shirt today made of cotton, it is usually grown with heavy duty pesticides.  Organic cotton is great….if you can find it. 
We dress for warmth, for comfort and for style.  But because we like to dress for cheap, we are smothering our skin in fabrics that do not allow our skin to breathe.  Our bodies need light as well as air.  Synthetic fabrics do not allow our body to perform its ordinary and necessary detox functions.   Putting on an item that is made of synthetic fabrics is like putting on a bullet proof vest.  It doesn’t allow penetration.   One should wear no more clothing than is necessary and should be of a type that permits easy access of air to the skin.   Cotton and linen are made from natural plant fibers.  They are porous and allow air to circulate around the body.  Silk, which is made from a fine web spun by a caterpillar is another good breathable fabric.  Leather has always been a great choice for footwear.  It is also porous and molds to the foot allowing it to breathe.  Today, it’s getting harder and harder to find that nice pair of leather shoes.  Most shoes are made of “man made” materials.  Seriously, we need to pay a little more money for our clothes and bring back natural fibers.
I visited White House/Black Market to see if I could find a nice summer cotton dress.  They have the most beautiful dresses.  I just love whoever designs their clothes.  However, over 90 percent of the fabric in this store is synthetic.  What a complete disappointment!  Why can’t they make the same designs in cotton?  I would pay a bit more so my skin can breathe.  Did you ever try wearing a 100 percent polyester dress in 100 degree weather?....YUCK!

Beautiful polyester dress - White Houe/Black Market

Beautiful polyester dress - White/House Black Market

 I did find this beautiful dress…..97 percent cotton, 3 percent spandex.  Not a bad choice.

Not bad....White House/Black Market

Over 50 percent of Ms. Maguire’s store (Max & Millie) is made in the U.S.A.  She says, “Having clothing made in the U.S.A. is very important to me.”  In addition, most of the clothes in her store are made of cotton or a natural fiber.
Look at these beautiful summer dresses that are 100 percent cotton, made in India.

Beautiful 100 percent cotton dress - Max & Millie

Beautiful 100 percent cotton dress - Max & Millie

I found it!!  In this picture is a tank top that was made in the U.S.A. and is 100 percent cotton!  I get a gold star!!

Love this!  Made in the U.S.A. and 100 percent cotton

I am always stressing how important it is to read the label of what you are eating.  I am now stressing that it is equally important to read the label to what you are wearing.  Cotton feels great against your skin and allows the light rays of the sun to penetrate.  I would love to see organic cotton clothing more mainstream.
I can enjoy the heat!!

Macfadden, Bernarr, 1928, MacFadden’s Encyclopedia of Physical Culture, MacFadden Publications, Inc, New York

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Jeanne said...

Jeanne wrote: "Hey there, another great piece. I feel your frusration, when I worked in NYC I would shop for most of my clothes in SoHo and was able to find Cotton or Linen at reasonable prices. They didn't have the same label laws, so they didn't have to put the country on the label. I always try to buy made in the USA when I can. And, I refuse to shop Walmart as the Walmart syndrome is actually making things worse for our economy. Let me see if I can find the article I was talking about, it explains it precisely."

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